Visual Storytelling for Nonprofits: A Guide to Impactful Design

Visual storytelling is both an art form and an essential tool in conveying the mission and purpose that drive nonprofits.

Words form the foundation of how humans interact with each other and assimilate information. By themselves, words can drive narratives in a compelling fashion that inspires a reader to take action. Even better, combining words with video footage and audio elements creates a trifecta of nuanced, inspiring messaging that nonprofits can leverage to garner support.

What Does it Mean to Create an Impactful Design?

Visual storytelling is an art form, but it has to produce a result, too. When done right, impactful design in visual storytelling engages the audience in a persuasive narrative arc that portrays characters and messages associated with the nonprofit and its good work. 

Visual storytelling can be poetic and artistic in its flow and visual/audio effects, but it should be consistent and well-structured to be impactful.

Practical Tips for Nonprofit Storytelling

When a business promotes goods or services, it relies on tested marketing and advertising practices to convince viewers to buy. In nonprofit storytelling, however, no one’s trying to sell products or for-hire services. Rather, the nonprofit’s goal is to garner support from the community so it can better pursue its mission.

Because the goals of a nonprofit’s visual storytelling are quite different from those of a for-profit entity, visual storytelling for nonprofits will look quite different. For example:

  • It should be relatable. Visual storytelling produced by the nonprofit should connect with the audience on a very basic, human level and be relatable to them, something they can associate themselves with.
  • It should be honest. Nonprofits already have a great story to tell, as they’re doing good work within their communities daily. Honest, clear, compelling, and dynamic depictions of the nonprofit’s work in the community make for incredible visual storytelling.
  • It should be inspiring. Nonprofits strive to meet an unmet need, be it environmental, social, economic, humane, or educational. Visual storytelling from nonprofits should detail the crisis they’re trying to solve, but such storytelling should also be inspiring to the audience by showing how the nonprofit is working to solve that crisis every single day.

Visual Communication: A Critical Way to Get Your Message Across

Visual communication from nonprofits should accomplish three key tasks, ideally in this order:

  • Identify the challenge or crisis the nonprofit is working to overcome.
  • Clearly delineate each of the primary ways the nonprofit addresses that crisis.
  • Directly connect the viewer to the crisis on a personal level and inspire them to take action and get involved.

Sulzer Inc., Creating Effective Design Elements for Nonprofits

Design elements in visual storytelling are effective in conveying a nonprofit’s narrative when they are intentionally and purposefully created by a firm that specializes in uniting nonprofit passion with strategic expertise. That’s where Sulzer Inc. comes in. 

Sulzer identifies and accentuates the passion that fuels nonprofits through visual storytelling, all while leveraging strategic experience to showcase the nonprofit’s purpose and mission for all to see. The result? Nonprofits who work with Sulzer become well-known within their communities, experience brand elevation, attract new supporters, and accrue more donations. Contact Sulzer Inc. today to get started.