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Top Websites to Find & Build Great Visuals for Your Nonprofit’s Digital Content

by | May 8, 2019 | Marketing, Nonprofit

Images get people’s attention. We’re hardwired to notice them.

Take this for example – if someone sees a message that’s not accompanied by an image, three days later they’ll remember only about 10% of it. Add a picture to that message and more than half of the information will be retained. So, if you want to boost engagement with your donors – add images to your messages to hook them and maintain interest.

Just take a look at these stats:

Images are powerful tools, and they can help your nonprofit reinforce its messaging while getting noticed online.

Not just any image works – the key here is finding relevant images that resonate with your audience. However often times, you don’t have a personal stash of relevant images to accompany your web posts… But we’ve got you covered with a selection of resources to get and build great visual content for your online needs.

7 of our favorite places to find great images

Pixabay, Unsplash, Pexels, and Stocksnap

All of these companies offer free images for commercial and non-commercial use.  Although it’s always appreciated, you’re not required to give any credit to the photographer. With over 1.5 million royalty free images, Pixabay is the largest of these 4 image collections.


A visuals collection that offers both free and premium content, including images, PSD mock-ups, vectors, public domain photographs, and other useful design resources. You can choose to download 5 images per day from the free collection or subscribe to premium services for $228.

Death to the stock photo 

With a little over 3,500 shots currently available, it’s one of the smallest image collections out there, but it also is the most original. Unlike Rawpixel, DSP doesn’t cross-publish its photos on other websites. Standard pricing plans start with $144 a year, although the company does offer discounts to nonprofits in need. Detailed information about discounts is available upon request.

Getty Images 

The company’s database currently contains over 65 million images. However, it takes a small fortune to actually download Getty photos. A small image download costs $175, while a large image costs a whopping $499. Before you stress, let us tell you a secret : There’s a way to get Getty Images without paying a dime. The website allows you to embed their images to your non-commercial blog or website for free.

3 best editing tools on the web

Having the right images is just a part of the audience-engagement-puzzle. To get great visuals that grab the reader’s attention, or any casual social media scroller’s, you’ll need to edit them. Thankfully, you no longer have to be a Photoshop guru to edit images like a pro!


The company’s list of clients currently includes more than 4,500 nonprofits and other for-profit businesses, including such giants as Apple, Netflix, Disney, and LinkedIn. What makes Canva stand out is  that it offers a free Canva for Work subscription to nonprofits. Access 400,000 free photos, illustrations, and templates along with  features including basic photo editing, graph editing tools, and printing solutions. Even more, Canva is also concerned with your education! These guys have a great learning section with courses and tutorials. Their blog serves as a great source of information about design, marketing, branding, and photography.

 Adobe Spark allows you to edit graphics, create web pages and video stories.

Spark has three separate mobile apps for iOS users: with Spark Post, you’ll be able to create graphics, Spark Page works with web pages and Spark Video helps you edit videos on the go. The basic plan is free while the Premium option, which also includes Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC, costs $119.88 a year. Adobe offers special nonprofit pricing programs for Spark and other software, more details here.


A great tool to edit photos, touch-up portraits and create designs. This design platform also offers great learning resources and printing services. The basic annual subscription costs $72 while the Pro plan, which offers unlimited storage and priority email support, costs $120.

Don’t forget about infographics!

As we’ve told you before, images make your content that much more appealing.

If images are great for engagement, infographics are even better! According to Hubspot, people are 3x more likely to share infographics than any other type of content. That’s why, since we’re talking about visuals, we couldn’t avoid dedicating some time to helping you make your data shine.

Here are the best tools for creating graphics:


Infogram gives you the option to create stunning infographics, interactive marketing reports, charts, dashboards, maps, and social media visuals. The tool is currently used by over 30,000 companies and nonprofits including UNICEF, UN Women, Amnesty International, and many others. Infogram’s database has over 1 million royalty-free stock photos, GIFs, icons and other visuals that you could use to enliven your reports. One of the biggest advantages is the fact that Infogram offers a wide range of exporting formats, so you get to choose if you want to keep your content static or interactive. Infogram also offers special pricing for nonprofits.


Venngage offers a wide range of creative features, including solutions for infographics, reports, newsletters, invitations, e-books, and much more. Nonprofits can benefit from a 50% discount off standard plans. Your organization will have to pay $48 for a yearly premium subscription or $120 for a business.


Another useful tool you should know about. The website offers solutions for working with infographics, presentations, reports, flyers, and posters. Files can be exported either as HD images or as PDFs. For $39.99 per year, your nonprofit can get access to over 600 templates.

Whatever you do, don’t forget about copyright law

 Copyright law is a form of intellectual property law, protecting the rights of creators of “original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.”

Photographs are covered by copyright law; this means that you don’t have the right to use an image you found online just because you want to. You must clarify its copyright status to avoid legal actions. To learn more about what you can and cannot do, read Public Counsel Center’s Copyright and Fair Use Basics guide for nonprofits.

We advise you to use images licensed under a Creative Commons license. Most of the time you will only need to credit the photographer, however, in some cases, there may be additional restrictions. For instance, the NoDerivs license does not allow you to share edited images, you get the right to distribute only the unmodified original. All the different types of CC licenses can be found here.


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