A couple of weeks ago, I attended a Flickr session at the Non-Profit Technology Conference. A common question asked was “How can we use Flickr to reach new audiences?”
A lot of nonprofits have started using Flickr to increase their visibility online. Flickr has become a popular social media tool because it allows nonprofits to upload their photos and supports an active community where people share and comment on each other's photos. But what truly sets it apart is its tagging feature. Tagging (keywording) your photos makes them easily findable on Flickr and the web.
Inspired by the many ideas and conversations I had during the session, I thought I'd share them with you. So here are five innovative ways that your nonprofit can use Flickr to reach new people and build a rich online community:
1. Run a photo contest
Use your organization’s Flickr album as an engagement tool and run a photo contest on Flickr. Invite your supporters to post their photos, add a link to your Flickr group on your website and offer a photo RSS feed so when a new photo or comment is added they are immediately notified. For example, The Nature Conservancy ran a photo contest for individuals to contribute their own nature photography. Winners were featured online and in a calendar and over 7,000 photos were posted. Contests like these encourage many nonprofits to use Flickr where images can be posted, organized and discussed all in one place. It also allows for some great feedback from the community. Another great contest I'm reminded of is the March of Dimes flickr contest that asked people to photograph where they kept their change because a handful of change is what a premature baby weighs at birth.
2. Tell your story through Flickr
We all know the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” so why not let them tell your organization or cause’s story. Setup an account at Flickr, post pictures about your cause and spread your story that way or connect with your supporters and start a Flickr group. Groups can be private or public and can be organized around an event, subject, theme or pretty much anything you want the group to be about. Encourage everyone to comment and give their feedback on the photos. Don't worry if you are a small nonprofit and don't have a lot of pictures to post. Even a few will help demonstrate to supporters your work towards your mission. Camera Rwanda is a great example of storytelling using Flickr. Here are the stream of photos on Flickr and a post with an interview.
3. Promote your event
Upload your event photos and encourage your attendees to do the same. Adding photos and organizing them on Flickr is really easy too. You can create sets or sub folders within your Flickr account to showcase your event photos and share them with everyone. This will help you reach a much wider audience than if you just posted them on your web site. As an example, here are Flickr photos from the NTEN conference.
4. Launch a campaign
A great example of a fundraising campaign on Flickr is The Children at Risk Foundation. They are asking supporters to donate $10 per person to support their street kids programs and to contribute their own photos to their Flickr group. The photos and the conversations they generate show how a small amount of money $10 can make a huge difference. There are many advantages to launching campaigns on Flickr . They can be easily done on a low budget; nonprofits could really increase their visibility, provide an interactive community for supporters and engage new audiences.
5. Engage your volunteers
Encouraging volunteers to share photos, ideas and stories allows your nonprofit to take advantage of the creativity of as many people as possible and engage them in your cause. Volunteers are an asset for all nonprofit organizations and they are always willing to help. You’ll be amazed by how fast they can connect with your members and potential supporters.
What are some other ways that Flickr has helped your nonprofit?
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