The power of visual content is simple: it can bring your mission to life to someone on a computer thousands of miles away.
But graphics can be expensive, and it’s not always possible for nonprofits to have a full-time professional graphic designer on staff. In fact, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, nearly one-third of nonprofits have expenses less than $100,000, and two-thirds spend less than $500,000 in revenue.
But a tight budget doesn’t have to limit you to poor visual content. Below are four types of digital graphics you can easily create to reach your online supporters, along with free or low-cost design tools to produce each one.
1. Quote Cards
Good quotes are so effective because we, as humans, know they communicate somebody’s truth, even if it’s not our own. They’re also more authentic than other forms of marketing materials because they embody a human experience, not a branded campaign.
Create visual “quote cards” that share messages from your organization’s beneficiaries, volunteers, supporters, or staff.
Awesome Example: Walk With Sally, a nonprofit that provides mentor support services to children with family members impacted by cancer, shares heartwarming quotes from mentors.
Recommended Tool: Canva.com is a free online design tool that’s easy to use. Just pick a graphic template, drop in your quote, change the colors, and add your logo.
2. Mini Infographics
Infographics don’t have to be long and design-heavy. Try sharing a single data point in a social media digital graphic—that’s an infographic too.
Awesome Example: Barbells for Boobs, an organization promoting early detection of breast cancer, creates simple infographics that demonstrate the nonprofit’s impact and educate readers about the cause.
Recommended Tool: Piktochart provides infographic templates which you can customize with fonts, colors, text types, and more. You could also use Canva.com to whip up an infographic too.
3. Smartphone Videos
Not all videos require high production value. With a smartphone, you can record short and impactful clips for social media. Plus, platforms like Facebook prioritize videos, so you can reach more of your followers.
For those of us with limited videographer and editing skills, interviews are great and require little editing, if any. The trick is to make them passionate and relatively short. Instead of a 10-minute interview with a board member behind a desk, take them outside to answer one question on camera in under 60 seconds: Why are you passionate about representing our organization?
Ask them to give you energy, while staying true to their personality. You can try this with beneficiaries or other supporters as well.
If your brand allows it, you can also have fun with video trends. Mannequin challenge, anyone? Have your office give it a go.
Awesome Example: Athletes for Cancer, a nonprofit serving young adult cancer survivors through outdoor adventures, posts engaging smartphone videos to their social channels. Check out Executive Director Tonia Farman recording a smartphone video at one of the organization’s program camp locations.
Athletes for Cancer also asks survivors to submit smartphone videos talking about how the organization’s Camp Koru survivorship program has impacted them.
These attention-grabbing, looping graphics are all about expressing some personality. Why not use them to share your organization’s personality too?
Awesome Example: She’s the First, a nonprofit providing scholarships to girls in low-income countries, posted this twitter GIF as a fun year-end donation appeal.
— She’s the First (@shesthefirst) December 30, 2016
Recommended Tool: Giphy is a great tool to create GIFs, allowing you to turn any video into a GIF with a one-click upload. If you’re looking for a pop culture reference for a humorous post, it’s a good place to search for GIFs too.
You can create stellar digital graphics and visuals, no matter your budget. Now try your hand with the help of these free, online user-friendly apps and your smartphone.
Noelle Smith is an account strategist at CauseMic, Classy’s first Certified Strategic Partner in the nation. CauseMic has raised more than $6 million for their nonprofit clients on the Classy platform. Follow the CauseMic Crew on Twitter at @Cause_Mic or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support in creating your own campaign graphics.