Visual Storytelling: A Powerful Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits

900 500 Maria Breston

In the past few years, the nonprofit world has embraced the potential of social media to garner more support and increase the visibility of an organization, but many still search for a more impactful social media marketing strategy for nonprofits. Social media is an excellent marketing tool for nonprofits for a variety of reasons, but specifically, because it does not require multiple staff members to manage, a huge time commitment, or a lot of money.

As a social media specialist working primarily with nonprofits, I have noticed organizations commonly ask for a simple way to “market their nonprofit better on social media.” When someone says they want to market their organization on social media better, they are most likely referring to marketing it to more people – expanding reach – and increasing the number of people liking, commenting, and acting on their nonprofit’s content. In other words, increasing engagement.

A simple way for nonprofits to market their organization more effectively on social media is by visual storytelling. Chances are you have already heard that storytelling is an advantageous tactic to use in business, marketing, or even life in general. Humans are wired to connect with stories and the source from which they originate. On top of that, visual content plays a vital role in any marketing strategy and is increasing in popularity in the nonprofit sector.

Incorporating graphics into materials conveys your message to your audience in a more digestible and engaging fashion. Visual storytelling is more effective than just words on the screen because, according to HubSpot, the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

Using visuals to tell a story lets your audience understand the message faster, making the impact of your message stronger because they have more time to let it resonate with them. Think about how quickly you scroll through social media feeds with your thumb or mouse. Visual content is especially compelling.

To start using visual storytelling in your nonprofit’s social media strategy, I recommend trying these types of visual content:

  • Photos and videos of your mission in action

For example, let’s say your organization is a social service agency, and your mission is to help the people of your community by providing information, referrals, and case management. I would suggest taking a story of someone your organization has helped in the community, removing their personal information from it, and using stock images and videos to make a short piece to bring that success story to life.

  • Infographics to showcase statistics about your cause

What is your organization’s mission? Use statistics from your mission in action to create an infographic. For instance, how many people has your organization served in the past six months, or how many children does your organization provide clothing for – whatever it is your nonprofit does to help your community, showcase it.

  • Short videos to share on social media

Give your audience a behind-the-scenes look into your nonprofit’s day-to-day work or post a video recap from a recent event. Create and publish short videos instead of a paragraph summary because using visuals to tell the story lets your audience understand the message faster and makes the impact stronger.

  • Live or prerecorded testimonials from fundraisers, staff, or volunteers

The people dedicating their time to your organization beam with pride and enthusiasm when talking about the work they do and why they do it! Determine who would be willing to go live on your organization’s behalf or prerecord a testimonial and post it to show your audience on social media.

Download a one-page guide to using visual storytelling as a social media marketing strategy for nonprofits. 

Visual storytelling guide, social media marketing strategy for nonprofits

In addition to using visual storytelling as a social media marketing strategy for nonprofits, it is essential to always remember the basics of running any social media account – post consistently and confidently.


Interested in becoming a nonprofit marketing professional or increasing your impact? Learn how you can work with an Impact Coach to take your nonprofit career to the next level.


Sibley, A. (2017, February 3). 19 reasons you should include visual content in your marketing [data]. HubSpot Blog. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from