Given tight resources, postponed and canceled events, and COVID-19-related social distancing guidelines, nonprofits need new digital ideas to maintain authentic, community connections and replace in-person event revenue. While the world waits for in-person events to return, one way you can accomplish this is by maximizing the value from your past events, as well as your new virtual events, with a photo-related strategy.
For example, event participants are fanatical about browsing and sharing nonprofit event photos, which can help increase your nonprofit’s exposure in their personal networks and beyond. For this reason, photos from your events such as golf tournaments, galas, 5Ks, youth sports, school performances, and camps can become valuable tools to market your organization.
Below, we’ll show you how to create, organize, and promote your nonprofit event photos—past in-person events as well as present virtual events—to help create deep community touch points, unlock new marketing opportunities, and increase fundraising revenue.
1. Create and Promote A Central, Photo Home
Nonprofits regularly rely on multiple sources for nonprofit event photos, including hired photographers, internal staff, and community volunteers. When these different photographers store these photos in different locations, it becomes difficult for your nonprofit to quickly access the content for internal marketing use.
This can be especially challenging if you have supporters who want to easily search for, and obtain, these photos for their use in campaign pages, social promotions, or other marketing efforts. To help solve these issues:
- Create a central, preferably cloud-based, destination that makes it easy for your staff to quickly access photos for internal or social marketing use.
- Make it easy for photographers to upload photos to this destination and be sure to thank them for their efforts.
- Encourage your supporters, event attendees, board members, and others to visit the public, branded destination to view and download all event photo content.
When it comes to promoting your central photo location, you can create additional marketing opportunities for your cause by:
- Maintaining a dedicated photo destination link on your organization’s website
- Keeping regular links in weekly e-mails and print communications sent to your community
- Providing physical banners and signage at events and in other, dedicated physical space, equipped with URLs and QR codes for users to easily access the central photo destination via mobile phone
- Including links on event programs and tickets, providing gallery links and QR codes
2. Market Photo Galleries Across All Channels
Many are familiar with posting photo galleries to social media. However, given the latest social network algorithms, it’s likely that fewer fans will see your social media posts. Average organic Facebook business page post reach has dipped to 5.2%, meaning that only about one fan out of every 19 sees your post unless you pay to promote it.
In other words, your photo gallery posts on social networks may earn some likes, but the level of exposure your post receives may be limited. One way to create more social media marketing value is to post only a single photo and direct users to a gallery link. For Instagram, you can make use of bio link tools, like lnk.bio, to drive users to your photo galleries.
You should also add gallery links to your other marketing channels to maximize your gallery’s exposure, including:
- e-mail lists
- your website, including specific gallery links
- chat app groups on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, TeamSnap, and others
- pre and post-event press releases
These tactics can increase engagement with your nonprofit event photos that, in turn, can drive awareness for your virtual events and tap into audiences of potential new supporters.
3. Ask Attendees to Submit Photo Content
Professional and amateur photographers aren’t the only ones who take photos at your events. Your event attendees are also likely capturing photos and videos while they attend, even at virtual events. The key is to open avenues for them to easily submit their photos to you, which you can then upload to your central photo storage.
With virtual events, making an ask for this user-generated content can double as a fun way to drive engagement during the event and keep your nonprofit top-of-mind when the event is over. In order to capitalize on user-generated photo content during and after COVID, your organization can:
- Ask attendees to capture photos
- Provide an easy way for users to upload photos to specific galleries
- Confirm that you have the rights to reuse the photos in you marketing collateral
- Give public shoutouts or incentives when you request and receive user-submitted content
4. Create New Engagement and Revenue Opportunities
A key benefit of a central photo destination is the traffic it can drive to your website, fundraising campaigns, or donation forms. This is especially important when pivoting to virtual events, since they sometimes offer fewer touch points with your nonprofit than an in-person event might.
The following tactics can help your nonprofits increase engagement with your photos, which can lead to higher traffic to your website.
Make photos available post-event as fast as possible to allow your community to tell their stories and share with their personal networks.
When posting new galleries and allowing your community to download photos, ask for donations to support your cause. We regularly see Snapphound-powered gallery users, if prompted, making impulse micro-donations to support a specified cause, sometimes totaling more than $250 per gallery.
Marketing and Sponsorship
Many national and regional sponsors struggle to effectively promote themselves at the grassroots level, so creating brand sponsorships within your high-engagement galleries can bring completely new, photo-related revenue streams.
Resurface Old Content
Consider creating ongoing Year Ago Today, Anniversary, and other throwback galleries to bring even more engagement to archived content.
Photo and video contests can generate ongoing interest in your brand and can even create viral marketing exposure if a specific initiative catches on, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Offering physical goods and cool gear is a fun way to generate additional engagement. For example, you can create an offer or sweepstakes that awards prizes for the most downloads on a specific photo, or the highest amount of in-gallery donations.
Make Good Use of Your Nonprofit Event Photos
These unpredictable times call for flexibility and creativity to maintain community relationships. Giving people a way to engage with your nonprofit through photos is especially important at a time when in-person events are pivoting to virtual events.
Whether you’re building a photo marketing strategy from scratch, or looking to improve an existing one, now is the time to implement or improve. Then, when in-person events come back, you’ll be well ahead of the curve to create new engagement and marketing opportunities.
Mike Zarilli is the founder of Snapphound, a photo management & marketing platform for community organizations and brands. For more information on how to create more value from your nonprofit’s photo moments.