The Blind Spot: Nonprofits and Visual Communications

October 17, 2012

Nonprofits have made tremendous progress over the past two decades by embracing the use of values-based messaging to connect with our audiences. We’ve learned to use research, and not just a gut feeling, to develop effective messages. But how do we choose the visuals that accompany our messages, or that populate our websites?

Resource Media’s initial research shows that nonprofits are still relying on that gut feeling. Advances in brain science show us that visuals are processed before any other information in any communique, and are perhaps the most influential communications we can deploy to reach people at an emotional level to act on a cause. How can nonprofits address this blind spot in our communication toolbox, and what are the most strategic ways to leverage visuals for maximum communications impact?

Building off knowledge honed within the corporate marketing world and explored in the cognitive sciences, Resource Media is launching a Visual Storytelling Research and Training Project to help environmental and health advocates better understand how people process visual media and how they can use powerful imagery to support more effective environmental and public health campaigns.

Every few weeks we will be blogging on the topic of visual communications, sharing with you the latest research, snazzy visual campaigns being launched by your friends and enemies, and our emerging ideas around best practices. Please send us a line if you have ideas to contribute. This is a learning community!

Liz Banse


* Photos courtesy of Flickr users Gilberto Filho and Kaptain Kobold  (respectively)