Site Overlay

Photography for nonprofits: reaching your goals

A girl bids for her family at the New York Pops gala
A girl bids for her family at the New York Pops gala


I’ve been thinking about photography for nonprofits. They’re a big part of my client base, and I think it will be helpful to itemize some points every organization should think about. At the risk of oversimplification, here are four points to consider.

  • Why do you need photography? What do you want it to do for your organization?
  • What should you photograph?
  • Who’s your audience?
  • Where will people see them?

Digging down further:

What’s the purpose behind your photography? (If you don’t have a purpose in mind, a photo is just décor.)

  • Increase donations and improve donor relations: keep them informed and excited about your mission, and what you’re doing. They’ll want to know their donations are doing good.
  • Boost employee morale: show your employees you appreciate them and the work they’re doing.
  • Engage volunteers: encourage and boost current volunteers, and get more.
  • PR: spread the word to the world at large, and raise general awareness.
Two women at work for Habitat for Humanity
Two women at work for Habitat for Humanity

What should you photograph?

  • Document ongoing projects. This is often overlooked, and can be powerful. Frequent updates can keep you top-of-mind. Provides good material for social media.
  • Galas. People who attended will recall the good time they had, and those who didn’t attend will see what they missed.
  • Headshots and group shots of staff. These kinds of images, while often utilitarian, will put real faces behind your organization., and will show they’re people you can relate to. And people like to know who’s who.

Who are you trying to reach?

  • The public at large: raise awareness and get them engaged.
  • Volunteers: they want to know you appreciate them and their work.
  • Staff: they, too, want to know you appreciate them.
  • Donors, current & potential: if they’re informed and excited, they’re likely to give more.
  • Participants
  • Potential participants.

Where will it be seen?

  • Website
  • Annual reports
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Press releases
  • Fundraising communications
  • Books
  • Print collateral
  • Display, in-house and out-of-home 

That’s a lot of potential.. Do you want to talk about your nonprofit’s photography needs? Get in touch.