The Rise of Visual Storytelling

charity:water visual storytelling

A great example of storytelling by charity:water (

Problogger recently featured a great article about the rise and importance of visual storytelling in marketing.

With the rise of sites like Pinterest and Instagram, and the major changes going on with Facebook and their new Timeline layout, it is quickly becoming apparent that social media is in a major shift to a more visual space.

In the already cluttered social media platforms, readers want quick, bite-sized pieces of information that are easy to digest. People are already being bombarded by tons of information on every social platform they use, forcing them to better control their feeds and ignore anything that may be too time consuming.

Strong visuals allow you to cut through the clutter and provide readers with a quick snapshot of what you are doing, in a simple and engaging way. A captivating photograph or infographic can tell the reader as much as an entire article, while only requiring a fraction of the time to understand.

What does this mean for marketing your nonprofit?

It means that charities need to start making the shift to telling their story/mission through visuals. Three paragraph explanations on the work you have done in the past and the problems you are trying to solve put a major strain on the reader. Although your work may be very interesting and very relevant to a reader’s interest, just seeing several blocks of information is very off-putting for most readers.

Especially in the nonprofit space, getting readers to pay attention to your cause can be extremely difficult. Often times, casual readers do not want to put in the effort to read an essay about your cause if it means spending less time checking out the photographs of their friends or playing Farmville. It’s a struggle that every charity is constantly facing, how do you get readers to want to pay attention to your work?

The solution: Do the work for them.

Your marketing goal should be to make understanding your mission easy and entertaining. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a complex infographic, an engaging picture and a brief caption is often more than enough to get readers (and donors) excited about your cause.

 Are you utilizing visuals to tell your story yet? What are the biggest challenges for making the shift to more visual marketing?


The Importance of a Great Brand Name

St. Dunstan’s, a UK charity that focuses on helping veteran’s who suffer from sight loss, has recently changed its name to Blind Veterans UK. The nearly 100 year old charity was looking to modernize its brand to better connect with donors.

It seems pretty clear why they decided to change the name from the vague, religious-sounding St. Dunstan’s to the more clear and literal Blind Veterans UK.

The most interesting thing to note is how St. Dunstan’s opted to rebrand its name to be more direct and clear with its mission, unlike in commercial industries, where companies focus on creating brands that are distinct and original.

In the nonprofit world, direct seems to work better. For charities, this simple, direct branding seems like a smarter choice. You want donors to know exactly what your charity’s mission is just by reading the name. And when what you are “selling” is the great work you do for those in need, you don’t need to be flashy with your marketing. A simple message is often more than enough.

What do you think of this rebranding strategy? Is direct branding better than flashy ones?