“For a charity to operate successfully, it needs to use design as a tool to convey the very specific messages that it thinks are important, in order to stir people and create the social leverage they require to affect change”Ambrose and Harris, The Fundamentals of Graphic Design.
When it comes to branding, creating marketing materials and crafting fundraising campaigns, many charities don’t give the design enough consideration.
This is crazy when you think about it as a charity’s success depends greatly on its ability in communicating messages, not just any message but the right message.
Communication is essential to connect with supporters and to form long-lasting, loyal relationships with them. Here’s how graphic design can help charities do just that.
Graphic design can stir certain emotions
In many ways, donations depend on instinctive emotions; if a viewer isn’t ‘hooked’ in the first few seconds, they are far less likely to donate.
Graphic design can be used to elicit such emotions which promote action, such as empathy, almost immediately in a campaign. For example, research shows that using ‘sad’ facial expressions in charity advertisements almost doubles donation amounts when compared to ‘happy’ or ‘neutral’ expressions. Similarly, using less information in a campaign increases this emotional impact.
Emotions are key to forming relationships, so graphic design that triggers strong emotions is an effective way of creating a connection with the public.
Graphic design can be used to tell stories
People are hard-wired to listen and engage with stories, and if they make an emotional impact, to remember them too.
By using graphic design, charities can communicate and tell stories to the public through the use of images alone. The key to forming a connection is to leave room for imagination. For example, studies have shown that campaigns that tell visual stories where there is room for the viewers to ‘fill in’ details are far more memorable and universal.
When it comes to using graphic design, charities should always leave something for the viewer to ‘fill in’ for themselves.
Graphic design can compel people to take action
A picture says a thousand words; it can evoke powerful emotions and compel people to take action without even saying what that action is.
Many people want to give voluntarily, they don’t want to be sold at, persuaded or pressured into giving their support. This is where graphic design comes in.
If used well, graphic design can communicate a need by triggering the personal understanding process. For example, a picture of a child facing away from the camera who is expressing a defeated body language can be extremely powerful. Without even seeing their facial expression, the viewer knows that the child is sad, perhaps even lonely, and they feel sorry for them. Perhaps they even start to fill in the details of why the child is sad.
Because of this personal understanding process, the viewer feels connected on a more significant level and is far more likely to donate, and all without any coercion or pressure.
Make sure you utilise graphic design in your campaign!
Through using graphic design, you can tell impactful stories, demonstrate your authenticity, and improve your relationships with your donors and supporters. All you have to do is make sure that you are communicating the right messages so that you can form the right connections.