You work hard to connect with supporters through regular email newsletters, fundraising appeals, and event invitations.

But if your nonprofit sends emails without great-looking images and visuals, you’re selling your organization short.

Visual content is one of the best ways to elicit a response from your email readers. Whether you want to share the impact of your organization, encourage supporters to take action, or deepen connections with your email subscribers, the right images will help you reach your goal.

Here are six ways nonprofits can use images to create visually stunning emails:

1. Make an emotional connection

As a nonprofit, you have a huge advantage over other businesses and brands; your emails have the power to make a real emotional connection.

Sure, some consumers might get a bit worked up over a flash sale on designer shoes (no judgment). But your organization can pull heartstrings in a much more meaningful way.

The Pajama Program is an organization that delivers sleepwear and books to children in need. Their emails often include pictures of the children they support to remind readers how much their contributions mean.

Take a look at the email below. Here, the Pajama Program shares a picture of the children they help, wearing their new pajamas:

6 Ways to Create Visually Stunning Nonprofit Emails

Think about the people your organization supports. How can you use an image or picture to create emotional connections with your email subscribers?

Read also: #UserStory: How Visual Content Drives Social Change in Africa

2. Introduce your killer staff

Here’s another great opportunity to show the people behind your mission. If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated and inspirational staff, highlight them in your next email newsletter.

Getting to know the people who keep your organization running helps build trust with supporters. They’ll feel more comfortable donating to your cause if they believe they’re giving their time or money to a group of people that live out the organization’s mission.

Take a group shot of your staff at your next event or highlight one staff member at a time in separate mailings. Go a step further by including a quick Q&A where you ask a staff member why they got involved with your organization and why it’s important to them.

3. Combine the power of images and text

Once you get more comfortable adding images to your emails, you can get more creative.

Creating awesome visual content isn’t just for creatives. Even if you’re not a Photoshop wiz, there are plenty of online tools and apps that allow you to edit or create eye-catching images.

Make your images stand out by adding text with easy-to-use tools like Canva, PicMonkey, and any of these free design tools. Or start with a ready-made template; Piktochart has over 500 professionally designed templates to choose from. Oh, the possibilities!

Here’s an example from Artists for Humanity. They edited an image to include their logo and a few lines of text to draw readers in.

Notice how Artists for Humanity uses just a few attention-grabbing lines of text, plus some color, to get the message across perfectly. The organization then includes the rest of their message below.

4. Show your value

if your nonprofit sends emails without great-looking images and visuals, you’re selling your organization short. Visual content is one of the best ways to elicit a response from your email readers.

I bet your organization has plenty of jaw-dropping stats and metrics that support your work and demonstrate the impact of your organization, right?

The problem is numbers and percentages aren’t enough on their own. Use charts, graphs, and icons to represent this information visually, so your supporters can process and engage with your information more easily.

In other words, you need a great-looking infographic. Luckily, it’s easier to go from data to design with an infographic template. With Piktochart, you can make charts and graphs easily by importing your data from an Excel or Google spreadsheet.

Then, add some color and icons, and — voilà — your metrics makeover is complete.

Read also: #UserStory: How Social Misfits Media Takes its Nonprofit Annual Reports to The Next Level

5. Go for video

When you think visual content, don’t forget about video. Videos increase your email click-through rate and are the ultimate show, don’t tell content tool.

Videos are a great way to introduce your organization. Create a thank you video for donors, recap your latest event, or show your organization in action.

In this email, mentoring organization Strong Women Strong Girls features a video to show donors how their contributions are being used:

6 Ways to Create Visually Stunning Nonprofit Emails

What better way to persuade your subscribers to take a leap and make a donation with you?

6. Create serious, event Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

We’ve all seen photos of an awesome event and thought: Wow, I wish I was there!

When promoting a fundraising gala or volunteer opportunity, images are a great way to tap into audience FOMO. Start by adding fun photos to event invitations to build hype and persuade people to register.

Then, in your event follow-up email, be sure to add photos or a link to a photo album. Your event attendees will be eager to see if they’re in any of your pictures.

And the people who didn’t attend? They’ll be sure to jump at the opportunity next time around.

Make your mark with visually stunning emails

Don’t overlook the importance of visuals in the email inbox. Ready to get started? Use one of these six ideas to drive connection and action for your nonprofit in your next email.

Make sure to follow email image best practices. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t go overboard with images. We’ve found that emails with one to three images are optimal for most organizations.
  • Never send an image-only email. Image-only emails are commonly associated with bulk spammers, and could send your email to the spam folder.
  • Add an image description. If an email client automatically turns off your images, an image description allows your reader to understand what they should be seeing.

The most important thing is that your image supports the theme of your email and your organization’s brand. If you use images on your social media profiles, start including some of those in your emails to create a consistency across your digital marketing channels.

How does your nonprofit use images in emails? Leave us a comment to let us know what works for you!

Images from Constant Contact, Unsplash