The saying “a photo is worth a thousand words” first appeared across newspapers in the early 1900s. More than a century later, the popular idiom leaped from print to every digital aspect of our lives — including online job posts and volunteer opportunities.
According to industry research, when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of it three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65% of the information three days later.
The reason? Our brains process images faster than words (because after all, a picture is worth a thousand). Furthermore, 60% of consumers give more consideration to local search results that include images.
This week, we rolled out a new and improved VolunteerMatch Member benefit called Photo Manager to make it easier for you to add an engaging image to your profile and to each volunteer opportunity, allowing you to reach more potential volunteers with your mission.
In this post, we’ll share best practices for adding an image to your organization’s VolunteerMatch profile, and to your volunteer opportunities; plus we provide tips for making the most of Photo Manager.
Best Practices for Adding Photos to Volunteer Opportunities
Your volunteer opportunities serve as a chance to describe your organization’s mission to prospective volunteers. It’s also the perfect moment to provide a visual “sneak peak” into your organization’s culture and the good work you do.
Of the more than 55,000 VolunteerMatch volunteer opportunities volunteers connected with in 2018, three fifths included an image. And according to our data, volunteer opportunities with images received more connections than opportunities without.
If you’re crafting an opportunity from scratch or updating an existing opportunity, you might consider spotlighting a photo of your volunteers, including a photo of volunteers in action, or featuring a photo of the people you serve (with their permission of course).
By adding an image to your VolunteerMatch profile or to your volunteer opportunities, you allow prospective volunteers to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to volunteer with you.
Swap out images often to explore how different visuals affect your volunteer opportunity views and connections report; then optimize imagery based on what resonates most with volunteers.
Resources for Finding Free Images Online
No doubt volunteer opportunities with images are more engaging than volunteer opportunities without. And we recommend including real photos from real people in your organization.
But if you’re just starting out, you might not have much of a visual inventory to begin. (Tip: The VolunteerMatch Learning Center is chock full of resources and 22 webinar topics to help you get started or brush up on volunteer engagement best practices).
If you’re just starting out, opt for a graphic design or stock image to get the ball rolling.
Pixabay.com is a curated online resource for free stock imagery. You can pull existing keywords from your volunteer opportunities, such as “animals,” “tech, or “youth,” to begin your search. Then, find an image that aligns with the work you do and your volunteer appeal — one that is visually engaging enough to resonate with your audience.
Ask yourself: what will a potential volunteer understand about my organization or the worked that’s asked of them by viewing this image?
Another free resource we can’t live without is Canva — a drag-and-drop image editor that lets you design stunning graphics seamlessly. Get started by working with an existing template, or if you want to create something truly unique, build a design from scratch.
Customize your image’s colors and fonts to reflect branding, and polish it with your logo.
How to Make the Most of Photo Manager
Thanks to Photo Manager, you can associate one image with your profile, and one image with each of your volunteer opportunities. Photo Manager lets you to store up to 20 images on your account. You can post the same photo to all your volunteer opportunities, or select a specific photo to associate with each opportunity.
For best results, we recommend using an image that’s at least 235 pixels by 235 pixels. There are many acceptable image formats including .gif and .jpg. Which format works best?
.gif is great for computer-generated images with limited palettes while .jpg fares better for photographs. An easy rule to remember: if you’re working with stock images or real-world photos, save and upload your images in .jpg. For images designed through Canva, .gif works best.
Learn more about how to add a photo to your VolunteerMatch profile, and how to add photos to your VolunteerMatch volunteer opportunities to begin reaping the benefits of the new and improved Photo Manager.