07-13-2011 11:58 AM, EDT
Here's a review of the sites we pulled out as good examples, along with our experts' comments. We hope you find these helpful as you consider optimizing your organization's online home.
Organization: Safe Place
07-13-2011 12:03 PM, EDT
Organization: Capital Area Food Bank
07-13-2011 12:05 PM, EDT
Organization: Austin Pets Alive
07-29-2011 12:11 PM, EDT
Stock photos vs real photos? My nonprofit is a social service agency that is a large umbrella covering many things: parenting programs, mentoring, domestic and sexual abuse, substance abuse prevention. Because of privacy, we can't show clients of domestic and sexual abuse, but they are out biggest heartstring. We do have a homepage slideshow with photos of community interaction mixed with advertising of latest campaigns. Would a stock photo of an abused woman seem disconnected?
Also, I have read where people want to be part of a winning team, and your website needs to look like a winner. Pictures need to show triumphs. So do I go with heart-pulling, down-out sad pictures , or the "winner" approach with happy, smiling people?
08-02-2011 12:19 PM, EDT
Great question and I know this comes up a lot for organizations like yours. When privacy/sensitivity is a concern, you definitely want to be careful. That said I think you have a few options that could work. I think the key is using good photography vs. generic stock images that clearly don't resonate. That is, I think you could use photos that aren't necessarily of your clients *if* they feel personal and connected to your message.
Another thing to consider is to put a call out to any of your volunteers or success stories that might be willing to lend a hand to be photographed. While many may not want to do this, there might be a few that would be open to sharing their success to help tell the story for others who may also benefit (as well as for donors).
You bring up another great point: negative vs. positive imagery. In this case, I do lean toward using a more positive image, (like mentioning a success story), but I think you have to go with what you feel is going to be the most compelling issue for the story you're trying to tell. Jeff Brooks recently posted some thoughts on this that might help you think about this from a different perspective: http://www.futurefundraisingnow.com/future-fundraising/2011/06/images-that-work-in-fundraising.html
I look forward to hearing how others have tackled this challenge and I hope you'll share what you decide and how your pages are coming along!
Caryn D. Stein
Online Community Strategist
Network for Good