3 Ways to Develop Free Visual Assets

In this era of mobile, portable and visual social media, the right image or video means more than great words. You need something that catches the eye to distinguish your cause, and help tell your story. Developing graphic design, photography, and video assets can be an expensive proposition for a cause or an independent fundraisers.

Here are three tips to develop more visual assets in a cost effective manner.

1) Enlist Creative Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many nonprofits. Email your contacts and see if any have visual talents and are willing to donate their time. If you don’t have any luck with your house file, consider a service like VolunteerMatch or LinkedIn. Make sure to develop the opportunity so it offers a meaningful experience for the volunteer, both professionally and personally.

2) Develop Social Photography Skills

Social photography is an increasingly popular movement. Anyone with a smartphone can become a half-way decent photographer with the many applications that are available. Use the equipment this available–iPhones, Androids, etc.–to practice.

Networks like Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter are great places to socialize these photos. Be sure to create a repository on a site like Flickr so you can use them again in the future. Here are four tips to get your effort started.

Others have taken similar amateur approaches towards developing video content. Whether with their iPhones or those old fashioned Flip cameras, developing video is easier than it has ever been. Becoming good at social video can be even more difficult than photography, so make sure to seek out tips and practice.

3) Crowdsource Photos and Videos

If you already have an active social media community, it may make sense to crowd source for photo and video assets. Crowdsourcing can be fun for the community, and provide a great to involve them. You can come up with awards, prizes and other forms of peer recognition to engage them.

Crowdsourcing has its down side, too. It takes time. You need to manage the crowd with structure and rules. Further, the end results can be less than expected. Ninety percent of what you receive can be disappointing.

What tips would you add?