Use New Technology for Visual Storytelling at Your Nonprofit

Use New Technology for Visual Storytelling at Your Nonprofit

Technology trends like animated GIF's, cinemagraphs, virtual reality, and 360 video and photographs are starting to be used as storytelling tools for nonprofits. We recently wrote a post about what trends we thought were up and coming in the scene of visual storytelling for nonprofits. We wanted to follow up that post by showing you how some nonprofits are using new technology to tell their stories. They definitely inspire us to try something new and we hope they'll do the same for you.  

Animated GIF's


©Charity Water.

An animated GIF is an image which contains a number of different images or frames in a single file. The frames are presented in a specific order to create animation. Animated GIF's have been around for awhile. I know we all love that typing cat. But now, we're started to see nonprofits use them in interesting ways. We find that GIF's are quite successful and can show the more fun, humorous, or human side of a story. Yes, humanitarians, it's important to stop taking ourselves so seriously all the time.

If you want to learn how to make an animated GIF in Photoshop, check out this quick tutorial. If you don't want to go high tech then simply download the Boomerang app from Instagram on your smartphone! I don't know about you but I find boomerangs fascinating and I'm certain that they will catch your audience's attention.



©#GIF by @be_dizzle for @ICRC

Cinemagraphs and animated GIFs are created from a similar process.The primary difference is that animated GIF's are less concerned with image quality and artistic content. They tend to be a lower image quality than their HD cinemagraph counterparts. Cinemagraphs are in HD and beautiful! For example, we were blown away by ICRC's one-page website entitled Syria Street which included a series of cinemagraph portraits. Be sure to check out our interview with ICRC on this project or vist their Syria Street site to learn more.

If you want to learn how to make cinemagraphs, check out this tutorial.

360 Photographs & Video

Virtual reality has come on the scene and we've been excited to see how that plays out for nonprofit storytelling. 360 photographs and videos are images and video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time by using an omnidirectional camera. This allows the viewer to look around them in all directions, just as they can in real life. We think that 360 is likely the easiest jumping off point for most nonprofits looking to work with virtual reality. Be sure to check out this incredible film created by Plan International which shows Mamie's life from every angle.

©Plan International UK

Interested in 360? You can now purchase a decent 360 camera for under 100 bucks. And here's a quick video to help you create 360 images on your smartphone for facebook.

Now, we'd love to hear from you. Have you created interesting stories for your nonprofit using these technologies? If so, we want to know about it! Comment below or send us a note at If you use this post to create something new, be sure to send it our way!

Lead Image: Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels.

Job Around the World: May 2018

Job Around the World: May 2018

Survey: How Much Are Photographers Paid by International NGOs?

Survey: How Much Are Photographers Paid by International NGOs?