Uses for photography and video in nonprofit communications

Here are some examples of how photographs and video can be used to advance nonprofit communications. 


Examples of target audiences:

Institutional Donors

How can donors better understand an organisation’s programmes from the perspective of participants and communities? Context and personalisation. Case studies, quotes, video interviews with beneficiaries, portraits and photographs of daily life can be used in proposals, quarterly reports and end-term evaluations to bring life to your programming and encourage donors to continue funding.

Individual Donors

What spurs ‘mom and pop’ donors to pick up the phone or click the DONATE button on your website? Put a face to the name (your project, event or initiative). Powerful quotes and video interviews and with beneficiaries and staff, photo slideshows of your projects in action - turned into dynamic TV adverts, social media campaigns, brochures and posters - can be used to connect individual donors with the people you serve.


What encourages a volunteer to donate their time and effort for a cause time and again? Community. Foster this community through fun TV and radio campaigns, media engagement, a “Thank you for your support” video, email blasts and social media.


How can an organisation create positive and long-lasting relationships with implementing partners, local government officials and community leaders? Share the credit. Blog articles, public events, media engagement, interviews and quotes all help to ensure that partners feel valued and see the fruits of their labour, in turn strengthening your relationships and your programming.


And the key to strong relationships and an effective programme? People and relationships. Ensuring beneficiaries know why your organisation is working in the community, and on a specific project, takes strategic and respectful communication. Use permission forms (model releases) and explain carefully why you are taking photographs, capturing video or interviewing people for case studies. Bring pictures, video and printed materials back to those who have shared their lives with you.

Jenn Warren specialises in photography, communications, Communications for Development (C4D) and graphic design for humanitarian and development clients. Jenn has worked for a wide range of government, donor, UN and NGO clients. Her photography and writing has been published internationally.