The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Cheese! Photos make you more persuasive

A series of studies (described in Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley) shows that including a photo with your message makes it far more persuasive.

Says Dooley: “Even general knowledge claims were enhanced by photos. The statement, “Turtles are deaf,” was judged to be true more often when accompanied by a photo that shows a turtle but in no way demonstrates their hearing ability or lack thereof.”

I’m a cute turtle and may be deaf.
Photo from TurtlesOHoolihan

I’m not advocating misleading use of photos.* But I’ll be the first to endorse Roger’s advice that images make your appeals, news and reports stronger.

Follow these guidelines:

1. Pick a relevant image and include it!

2. Use captions below the photo that reinforce your point – that’s also been shown to improve the effectiveness of images.

3. Stay away from stock photos. Says Dooley, they lack authenticity and tend to be general and generic. Specificity works better.


*Turtles are not deaf, according to my Internet research.

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Caryn Stein
Vice President, Communications and Content, Network for Good

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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