How to find images for your nonprofit’s website and social media

Chris Esh

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash
Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Good quality photography does wonders for your organization’s marketing efforts. Photos on your website and social media tell a story and create an emotional connection with your audience.

There are 5 basic ways to acquire photos for your marketing, and most businesses and nonprofits will want to rely on a mix of them.

Photo by Mia Domenico on Unsplash

Professional Photography

If you can, you should aim to get a professional photographer to capture your organization at work a couple times a year. Have them do a shoot at important events, your office, and/or wherever is best to showcase the core of your work.

Professional photography isn’t cheap, but if used strategically, is well worth the expense. Ideally you’ll develop a large archive of photos can that can be reused throughout the year for lots of different marketing purposes.

Also some photographers provide discounts for nonprofits, so don’t automatically assume you can’t afford it.

Take your own photos

While professional photos are obviously ideal, they aren’t always available, particularly for smaller organizations. If this is your situation, don’t just immediately fall back on stock photography. In many cases, decent photos of your people and organization shot on a smartphone will serve you better than the most beautiful, artistic stock photo.

You want to build trust and authenticity with your organization, and real photos will go a long way, even if they aren’t perfect.

If you take a lot of photos, you might want to consider purchasing a DSLR for your organization, but if not, an iPhone/Android can take decent quality photos, especially in well-lit areas.

Ask your supporters!

If you do a lot of events and/or have lots of engaged volunteers, chances are other people are snapping photos of your events and impact without you even knowing. So start asking people to 1) Take photos and 2) Send them to you! Most people won’t think to do it otherwise.

You might be able to find some of your supporters’ photos on social media, just make sure to get the owner’s permission before reusing them.

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Free stock photo sites

As long as stock photos aren’t your only/primary photos, they can be a great asset. There are plenty of good paid sites out there but also lots of really nice, entirely free stock photo sites:
Shopify Burst

If you use these, just make sure to credit the photographer, even if it’s not required.

I like to periodically download a ton of photos I like from these sites and save them to a folder so they’re easy for me to find when I need them.

If you can’t find what you need on a free stock photo site, check out Shutterstock or iStockphoto for paid stock photos.

Create graphics

Lastly, you don’t need your own graphic designer to make quality graphics for social media. Canva is an excellent tool with thousands of beautifully designed templates including social media posts, flyers, blog headers and more. It allows you to build professional-looking graphics for free (or cheap, with a paid plan):

Wrap up

You don’t need a large budget to make your nonprofit shine with quality images. Invest some times (and maybe a bit of money) and reap the rewards of a more engaged audience and a better image.


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