Do Sad Images Really Have A More Powerful Impact On Donors Than Happy Images?

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Suppose you flip through the pages of a magazine and you see an image model donning a very classy fashion piece while she pulls funny faces. Would you look at the classy piece of clothing in a different way?

Images are very powerful. A research was recently conducted to know the influence of images on people's emotions. According to the results, donations are much higher for fundraising campaigns with sad images as compared to those with happy or neutral images.

Although the images alone will not be enough to conclude what the campaign is all about, people are more likely to base their support on the image. This is why images are considered to be a starting point for promoting a campaign for most organisations.

The implication of sad faces

If you were to put yourself in your donor's shoes and look at a sad photo carefully, you will realise that it elicits giving and sympathy. You may have a beautiful and compelling caption but the moment potential donors rest their eyes on the image and it does not connect with your story, you can blow your chance of attracting a donor.

Would you still use an image of a happy child if you are trying to raise money to help children dying of hunger in some parts of the world?

If your photos contradict with the sad stories you tell, your campaign will be empty and meaningless as it does not convey the right message to your donors.

How do happy images send the wrong message?

Now that you know that sad images can stir sympathy, it is also imperative that you gain a better understanding of the impact of happy images if they are not used appropriately. For example, you want to help a family who had survived a typhoon disaster.

The first thing you would do is to create a compelling copy that will capture your prospects' interest and emotion. You provided a detailed account of the ordeal that the family had to go through because of the typhoon disaster. The story could have brought your prospects to tears until they saw the photo that came with the copy.

The photo showed a family with the sweetest of smiles gracing their faces. Potential donors stopped reading the rest of the story and moved to the next email. So what went wrong?

The problem with producing happy images for sad stories is that they do not mix well. The truth is donors do not have the luxury of time to read your stories and they will usually rely on images to understand the message you want to convey. If they see a happy family, it will not take long for them to conclude that nothing is so special about the organisation because, again, the images do not tell a story.

Your images should work as hard as your copy. When reaching out to donors, you should show them that a problem exists. You can even show both the problem and solution in one image, but it should be powerful enough to connect with your words.