Visual content is an essential social media best practice. Infographics are now a standard part of nonprofits’ marketing tool kits.
Infographics can be used in different and creative ways and some obvious ones such as marketing messaging, educating about a social issue, to celebrate a successful campaign, to report to stakeholders on key performance metrics, an annual report, and even a marriage proposal!
Whether you are working with a graphic designer or doing it yourself, the first step is to identify the goal, audience, data, and key message that you want to communicate. If working with a graphic designer, they will certainly help you refine your initial idea.
Some nonprofits make use of their in-house designers to create beautiful and eye-catching infographics. One example is Best Friends Animal Society as profile by John Haydon on his blog in “Nonprofit Storytelling with Infographics” which offers some simple tips for getting the most out of your infographic. Others are working with graphic designers to commission infographics as part of campaigns. For example, last year, when the Humane Society reached 1 million fans on Facebook, they created an infographic as part of the marketing campaign.
If your organization doesn’t have an in-house graphic designer and you have a budget to hire one, ask colleagues from other organizations that have created infographics for referrals. A colleague recently posted a request for referrals on Facebook and within 15 minutes got these designer names that have experience working with nonprofits: Rad Campaign, elefint designs, submit infographics, and Jennifer Reynolds. Visual.ly matches infographic designers with those who want to hire them. Many designers sign their work, so if you find an infographic by a nonprofit that catches your attention, you can easily find them.
If you want convert more of your content to visual material or if you don’t have any budget for a designer, going the DIY (Do It Yourself) method is an option. It used to be that if you wanted to create an infographic and you had zilch graphic design skills, your only choice was to hire a graphic designer to execute your vision for you. But, now thanks to some free and low costs online software applications and decent clip art, you can now create your own visualization of ideas and data yourself. And if you do it right, it can capture attention, be fun, and , even get shared and spread by others.
Creating an infographic is more than drawing skills. Infographics not only include pretty pictures or illustrations, but those visuals are summarizing some data to convey your key marketing message. So you also need data visualization, marketing, and storytelling skills. You might want to brush up on what types of charts and graphs are best for making presenting your insights gleaned from the data.
When you are ready to add charts and graphics to your infographic, there are plenty of free or low cost tools available. One favorite tools is Piktochart, a simple, easy to use infographic creator that was recently profiled in Forbes. Another approach is to use free infographic clip art from the Noun Project or this collection in combination with Microsoft Publisher or Photoshop and create your own infographic from scratch.
Here’s a DIY infographic from Sarah Mapes, Director of Communication, Colorado Coalition for Medically Underserved. The infographic was part of their content strategy to share policy data about oral health issues for children in Colorado. Sarah uses Microsoft Pubilsher and attractive free infographic images such as those found in this collection.
Here’s another example from NY Cares.
But remember, infographics don’t go viral on their own. It takes some focused attention and work, but these two posts “5 Ways to Get Your Infographic to Go Viral” and “21 Things to Help Your Infographic Go Viral” can help you think it through.
Is your organization working with a graphic designer to create infographics, taking the DYI route, or a combination. If you’re going the DIY route, please include a link to an infographic your organization has created!