Have you ever designed a brochure or newsletter and used a random image off of Google image search? I have. I admit, when I first started at a nonprofit I was just winging it (in many ways I still am) and I used whatever image I could find.
Please, don’t do that!
If there is any way possible to take or get photos taken of the services your nonprofit offers, then you must do that. Those photos, even if they aren’t super snazzy, are authentic. People will recognize that they are real and that will move people. If you don’t have a solid photographer on staff, or a professional volunteer, I would consider taking Nicole Cassidy’s advice over at Bloomerang and invest a little money on hiring a professional photographer.
There are however some really wonderful free photo sites available now. These images will never replace your program photos, but they can be extremely useful for backgrounds and such. The five listed below all use the Creative Commons Zero licensing, this means that the photographers have given their express permission for anyone to use their photos in just about any way with no photo credit required, though it is a nice gesture to help support the artist and hopefully encourage them to produce more great photos!
In my order of preference, the top five truly free photo sites for nonprofits:
- Unsplash – This site has some of the most amazing, and I mean AMAZING, photos you have ever seen. And guess what, they’re all free to use. Seriously, don’t follow this link if you’re in a hurry or have a donor meeting in the next thirty minutes because you’re going to be sucked in longer than Facebook. I use Unsplash almost exclusively for the photos on this site.
- Pixabay – This site one of the largest collections of free photos. I would say their photos aren’t quite up to the level of Unsplash, but they have more variety in the subjects of the photos. They support their site through advertisement for Shutterstock.com, so be sure not to click on one of those photos.
- Stocksnap.io – The images on this high are all very high quality, professional images. They lack the quantity of the top two sites above, but their quality is well worth the look if you can’t find anything elsewhere.
- Pexels – Again, nice high quality images, but a little short on the quantity.
- Negative Space – This site majors in people focused photography and features some amazing photos of people in a variety of situations.
These are my favorite sites for free stock photos for nonprofits. If you have one to add leave a comment below with your pick.
Photo Courtesy of Nitish Meena
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