Cover Photo Tips: Using Your Cover Photo to Drive Donations

Close up photo of man holding a camera

Whether you’re running a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization or a personal cause, your cover photo announces what your fundraiser is all about. It lets people know, at a glance, why you’re fundraising. It represents your cause on the Razoo platform, on social media and can be the deciding factor in whether someone chooses to click on your fundraiser and make a donation. So what makes for a strong cover photo? These tips will help you choose a cover photo that makes a great first impression.

Close up photo of man holding a camera

The Importance of a Strong Cover Photo

The cover photo you choose for your fundraiser sets the tone for your campaign. A high-resolution, visually striking cover photo announces that your campaign is thoughtful, professional and worth supporting. A blurry, pixelated photo that is disconnected from your fundraiser’s purpose can lead people to feel that your campaign has been slapped-together at the last minute.

And it follows you everywhere online. Every time you post a link to your fundraiser on social media, your cover photo will be shown. It’s the first thing people see when they visit your page. When people search for fundraisers on Razoo, it’s shown in the tile with information and a link to your page. Because it represents you in so many places, it’s important to ensure that it represents you well. In many cases, a powerful cover photo can inspire donations on its own.

Technical Tips

Fundraisers on Razoo are a template so the first thing to consider is whether your fundraiser works within the page design. The image container for your cover photo is 770 by 570 pixels. When you upload your photo, you’ll be forced to crop it to fit within the image container. For that reason, it’s a good idea to make sure your photo will fit.

  • Crop before uploading. You can use photo editing programs like Photoshop or Canva to crop your photo before uploading to make sure you don’t lose anything important in your image!
  • Pay attention to aspect ratio. The aspect ratio is the height and width of your image. You can use image files that are larger than 770×570, but you’ll want to choose an image with a similar aspect ratio. An image that is landscape-orientation (meaning that it is much wider than it is tall) will not fit comfortably in the image container. A portait that’s taller than it is wide won’t fit either. So choose one that’s similar in height and width to the image container.

Optimizing for Social Media Sharing

When you share a link to your fundraiser on Facebook, Facebook will generate a link preview with your cover image. Because the image container in Facebook’s link preview is different than the image container on your Razoo page, we’ve given you the ability to add a customized image for social media sharing. If you’ve uploaded a cover photo with a text overlay, you might find that Facebook’s link previews cut off part of your text. But you can upload an image just for social media sharing in your page’s Settings.

Screenshot of Social Sharing setting

The ideal size for a Facebook image is 1200×627 pixels. Creating and uploading a second image file for Facebook sharing ensures that you’re putting your best foot forward on Facebook. (This is also a great way to optimize your page if you’re using a cover video instead of a still image — sometimes the frame YouTube or Vimeo pulls from your video is not the one you want to represent your fundraiser!)

Screenshot of Social Sharing setting upload window

You can also add a custom description to appear alongside your image in Facebook’s link preview. You can even add your Twitter handle so anytime someone tweets a link to your fundraiser on Twitter your account is tagged, as well as hashtags you’re using to promote your campaign.

Person photographing small child with smartphone

Choosing Your Cover Photo

The choice for your cover photo might be obvious to you. If you’re fundraising for your dog’s veterinary bills, for instance, you’d want to choose a great picture of your dog. If you’re running a #GivingTuesday campaign for your school’s PTA, you’d want to choose a bright, lively photo of kids at your school. But sometimes the choice isn’t as obvious. Here’s how you can narrow down the options and find the perfect cover photo.

Is the photo relevant to your fundraiser?

The most important thing in choosing a cover photo is that it’s relevant. Think about the cause for which you’re fundraising. Does the photo you want to use convey that cause? Step outside of yourself to evaluate it, or ask a friend for feedback. Can you look at your photo and quickly understand why you’re fundraising? If the answer is no, then move on to another photo.

If you can’t find a personal photo that suits the cause, don’t be afraid to use stock photos! Sites like Unsplash and Pexels have lots of great, high-resolution images you can download for free.

Does the photo grab your attention?

People make decisions about what content to click on fast on the internet. You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention and convince them to click on your fundraiser. So make sure your cover photo stands out! Choose a photo that is:

Bright

We’re not saying that you should choose the most garish photo you can find, but look for a photo that’s got bright, rich colors. Washed out, bland or blown out photos don’t draw the eye and make it less likely that someone will click on links to your fundraiser. The Crema filter might be fine for Instagram, but avoid washed out photos on your fundraiser.

Features people (or animals)

The human brain is hard-wired to seek out other human faces. Having a person in your cover photo (preferably one who is relevant to your fundraiser) is a great way to guarantee that people will stop and look. If you’re raising money for an animal cause, photos of animals work just as well. It’s important that they’re looking into the camera. Eye contact (even if it’s with a photo of a person online) guarantees a human response. (Think about famous photos like National Geographic’s “Afghan Girl” or paintings like Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Eye contact can take an image from artful to iconic.) The nonprofit charity: water has had tremendous success getting people involved in their cause by prominently featuring the people their nonprofit helps at the center of all their campaigns. NuDay Syria raised more than $150,000 for emergency response in Aleppo with a striking image of one of the children affected by the air strikes. It’s a proven way to grab people’s attention and inspire them to click and donate!

Connected to your story 

Your photo and your story should be connected. So if you choose a vivid photo of a person, make sure you tell that person’s story in your description of your campaign. If your photo is of something else, tie into the story you write. When Madeline Fox’s mom Erin helped her create a Razoo fundraiser to help Hurricane Matthew victims, Erin uploaded a photo of the note Madeline wrote to let her know that she wanted to help. It was an incredibly effective cover photo that helped Erin and Madeline raise more than $3,000 for the nonprofit Direct Relief.

Person photographing tree with a smartphone

Cover Photo Photography Tips

The cool thing about photography is that it’s a skill anyone can learn. No natural talent is required to be a perfectly capable photographer! And technology has made it so anyone with an iPhone has a powerful camera right in their pockets. If you’re planning on taking a photo for your fundraiser, these simple tips will help you take a photo that stands out.

Use the tools you already have

Just 10 years ago, if you wanted to take a professional-quality image, it was going to cost you. You needed a DSLR camera and expensive lenses that could cost you thousands of dollars. But now, all you need is a smartphone. So make use of the tools you already have at your disposal!

If you work for a nonprofit, get in touch with a volunteer photographer about your campaign. Hobbyists love the opportunity to build their portfolios and get practice, while many pros are happy to lend their skills to worthy causes.

Go outside

Natural lighting makes for the best photographs! The ideal weather for photography is sunny but slightly overcast. (The sun can cause glares that affect the quality of your images.) Early morning or evening are the best hours to have an outdoor photoshoot. Indoor lighting can cause a number of lighting issues, including blurry images, poorly lit subjects and blown-out images from a flash that’s too powerful.

Get on your subject’s level

When photographing kids or animals, you’ll end up with a much better photograph if you get down on their level. Stoop down so you’re at eye-level and they can look straight into the camera. You’ll capture your subject more clearly than if you’re hovering over them, and it’ll put the person viewing the photo at their level as well, which makes it easier for them to connect to your subject.

Consider framing

“Framing” is how elements are composed within your photo. These pointers will help you take a more attractive photo:

  • Fill the frame. While negative space can be great for artistic shots, it’s not very effective for fundraising purposes. Make sure your subject fills the frame so the person viewing it knows what to focus on.
  • Leave a little room for cropping. Your raw image (meaning, image that has not been edited) should have some room on the outer edges. This is so it can be comfortably cropped to fit within the image container. Fill the frame, but not so tightly you’ll end up cropping off something important when you upload your photo to your fundraiser!
  • Focus on your subject. The other elements of the photo are slightly blurred and less prominent when you focus on your subject. Press your shutter button halfway down to focus with a camera. Smartphone cameras all function a bit differently but most often you just need to tap on your subject.

Take several useable shots

Don’t stop when you think you’ve got the winning shot! Make sure you have several winning shots. You’ll have to crop them to fit in several places (the image container on your Razoo page, social media) so it’s a good idea to have several images to work with. Make sure you’re got a variety of different types of shots. At a minimum, you’ll want to have a few portrait-oriented shots and some with landscape-orientation. You’ll also want some variety in the poses and expressions of your subject. (Assuming it’s a person. If you’re photographing a building, you don’t need to worry about posing!)

 

Each part of your Razoo page serves a purpose, and with these tips, you can make sure your cover photo is doing its job. With a strong cover photo, you can get clicks, grab people’s attention and inspire them to support your cause. Start your fundraiser on Razoo today!

About Linda Gerhardt

Linda spent most of her career in the nonprofit sector before joining Razoo. She has worked for animal welfare groups large and small, in nearly every position. She specializes in social media strategy, communications, and digital marketing.

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