The Power of Photography: Quality Photos Capture Your Nonprofit’s Mission

The Power of Photography: Quality Photos Capture Your Nonprofit’s Mission

It’s terribly cliché to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s true: A picture really is worth a thousand words. In a world where people are increasingly consuming mountains of information based on visual media, good photography can stop someone in their tracks, and make them eager to learn more about what they have just seen.

Nonprofits are no exception to this rule. Photography can be a powerful communications tool, and posting it on social media and website can garner attention to your cause. Good photos can create a visceral emotional connection that mere words might not. Your website should be full of good photos, and your social media accounts should as well.

Of course, you probably don’t have a professional photographer on staff. But you can hire one to shoot certain individuals or events. And given how advanced smartphone cameras have become, someone on your staff with a good eye can document other things on a daily basis.

What are some subjects you can shoot? Glad you asked:

Events. This one goes without saying. You should always have someone assigned to taking photos of your big events.

People you’ve helped. It’s very compelling for potential and current donors to see the faces of the people their money has or could help. Caption these photos, or build blog posts, with information about the person, their condition, and what you’ve done for them. In other words, tell their story. And if possible, get photos of these people smiling! 🙂

People who are helping. Give some love to your volunteers by sharing photos of them doing good work. If possible, tag their social profiles to encourage them to share your photo(s).

Your staff. In order to humanize your nonprofit, it’s helpful to show your audience who is working behind the scenes to make everything go. Post a photo of one of your staffers occasionally; you can fill out the caption with information about that person and their role, along with any personal or professional information that he or she would like to share.

There are many other subjects you can photograph; it’s up to your imagination. If something happens that you feel should be commemorated and shared, always have the camera ready. Good photos can create visceral, human connections that mere words can’t.

Join Our Donor Cultivation Webinar!

Join Our Donor Cultivation Webinar!

Cloud 9 Strategies is proud to offer several unique opportunities to learn more about donor cultivation this month.

During these donor cultivation webinars, our CEO, Jason Burgess, will focus on the following:

Getting to Know Your Donors

Building Relationships That Will Last

Providing the Ultimate Donor Experience

Increasing Online Giving

If you’re interested (and we hope you are; we’re going to be sharing some good advice!), please sign up for a time and date below. Webinar instructions and details will be sent following your registration!

DonorLynk Becomes Cloud 9 Strategies – A Technology Consulting Company for For-Profits AND Nonprofit

DonorLynk Becomes Cloud 9 Strategies – A Technology Consulting Company for For-Profits AND Nonprofit

DonorLynk, the leading provider of customized technology solutions for nonprofits, announced today that it has changed its name to Cloud 9 Strategies. While its nonprofit solutions will still be known as DonorLynk, the company will operate under the new name of Cloud 9 Strategies, which is now live at


“We’ve learned a great deal about the needs of nonprofits over the years, and we will continue to support and serve our current and future nonprofit customers with the same level of dedication and expertise the nonprofit world has come to expect,” said Jason Burgess, CEO of Cloud 9 Strategies. “But along our company’s journey, our success in the nonprofit world has attracted clients from numerous other industries in the for-profit world. We decided now was the time to rebrand our company to better reflect the depth and breadth of our services.”


Burgess, whose experience in the technology consulting world stretches back two decades, said the newly-branded company will offer a wide range of customized solutions to for-profits, including application development, CRM development and implementation, data migration, data warehousing and mining, system integration, mobile portals and kiosks, website creation, Salesforce boot camps, social media strategy and programming resources. The entire DonorLynk offering remains, and will remain, intact.


“Now, both business owners and nonprofits can take advantage of our comprehensive technology consulting services,” said Burgess. “Again, for our existing customers, nothing has changed but our name. And for our new customers, Cloud 9 Strategies might be a fresh face, but one that has an experienced, savvy and knowledgable staff that has developed and delivered transformative technology solutions to all sorts of organizations for many years.”


There is one change of which existing DonorLynk customers need to know: All DonorLynk email prefixes will remain the same, but the domain you should now use is (for example,


About Cloud 9 Strategies

Cloud 9 Strategies, based in Murfreesboro, Tenn., offers technology consulting services to businesses, organizations and nonprofits across the United States. Founded by technology consulting veteran Jason Burgess, Cloud 9 Strategies was founded in 2017 with one simple proposition: Wherever any organization has a technology challenge, Cloud 9 Strategies can deliver a fully customized, optimized and effective solution. Visit Cloud 9 Strategies at, or call us at 615.988.4600.

How Going Live on Social Media Boosts Your Nonprofit Brand

How Going Live on Social Media Boosts Your Nonprofit Brand

Social media is not just about posting interesting news anymore. Social media gives your nonprofit a chance to broadcast live video of yourself, any time you want. Services like Facebook and Instagram make this super-easy to do.

Even though it’s easy, you shouldn’t abuse it. Instead, you should think carefully about how and why you are going to go live on social media.

However, you should also know that lots of nonprofits, especially larger ones, have gone live, with good results.

How does going live benefit your nonprofit? Well, for one, it’s more or less a proven fact at this point that live videos are given preference by networks like Facebook. Your live video is more likely to turn up in your fans’ social media feeds, as these platforms crave promoting video, and especially live video. Your chances of engaging people with these videos is much higher than it would be with a “traditional” post.

That’s the “algorithmic” view. There’s also a human touch to going live that can’t be ignored.

For one, it promotes authenticity and transparency. It’s one thing to follow a nonprofit’s social media profile, but another to actually see and hear people involved with the nonprofit in real time. This immediacy is a premium experience for social media users, and it immediately humanizes and legitimizes your nonprofit even more among your social audience.

In the end, it all depends on what would be appropriate for your individual nonprofit, and what would be compelling and helpful to show when you go live. Don’t just turn the camera on without giving it some thought.

A good exercise is to think about all of the things you would like to communicate to your audience with live video, and then figure out how you would like to do it. Your live videos don’t have to be major motion-picture productions… a smartphone will suffice. People don’t (yet) expect high production values for all live video. But you can, perhaps, build a little set in the office with your logo in the background. Identify your “talent”… the people who will be going onscreen. Think of several ideas for live videos. Rehearse them. Even more importantly, schedule them. If you don’t, your staff will likely get distracted by the mountain of other work they have to do and nothing will ever go live.

Some ideas for live videos: You can broadcast your latest financial information, news announcements, updates on donation levels, go live at an event you’re running, or just give a look behind the scenes at the office and the people who work there. You can interview people you have helped, talk to policymakers, donors, or volunteers, or just tell interesting stories. You can even do something like a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” segment where you answer viewer questions in real time (yes, going live can be extremely interactive if you have an audience!).

Above all, consider what you can do that is original, at least to your audience. Put yourself in their shoes: What, as a donor or potential donor, would convince you to tune into your live video… and STAY there for the whole show? Look at the live videos other nonprofits are doing on their feeds; maybe they’ll help get the ideas flowing.

To sum up, going live can be a huge opportunity to bolster your nonprofit’s mission and bottom line. Definitely check it out!

Appointing Social Ambassadors for Your Nonprofit

Appointing Social Ambassadors for Your Nonprofit

Your nonprofit might have a great social media following, or a not-so-great one. No matter what “social situation” your nonprofit finds itself in, you can grow your social media presence significantly by enlisting social ambassadors.

Who can be your social ambassadors? Well, they can be your staff, your volunteers, your corporate partners, your most avid social media fans… even donors. You must rely on the goodness in the hearts of people inside and outside your organization. The key is to make it easy for these people you appoint as your ambassadors to share your social content with their own networks — greatly expanding your social reach.

First, look in-house. It could be as simple as encouraging your staff to share your posts whenever you post. Come up with some original posts they can easily share — a good idea is to build a shared document schedule full of tweets, or Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram posts (don’t forget to tag partners where appropriate and use hashtags), that they can easily copy and paste into their social accounts. You don’t want to make this a chore for them; you know how busy they are!

Another source of social ambassadors can be your social media super-fans. These are the people who already frequently like or share your posts, and who comment on them. Identify these people, and start an outreach program. Thank them for their engagement, and tell them that they can make a real impact by becoming one of your nonprofit’s official social ambassadors. Maybe you can even name them on your website, or tag them to make them famous in your community!

Then, there are your most dedicated constituents: your volunteers. These are people who are already donating their time and energy to your cause. It’s not a great leap for them to extend that spirit into social media.

Maybe you have some local or national celebrities who are aligned with your cause. You could also approach them to be your social ambassadors. Many of them are happy to help charities by exposing them to their substantial audiences.

To incentivize your social ambassadors, have a contest for whoever gets the most likes and shares in a given month. Give that person an award of some kind — maybe even a donation in their name from one of your sponsors.

Another idea: Once you have your ambassadors in place, consider having an online conference where you gather all of your ambassadors and talk about way that can boost your nonprofit’s social profile. Some of your ambassadors are likely social media superstars, and might have great ideas you’d never think of on your own. Remember, social media success is not a science; a lot of it revolves around luck, and all of it revolves around great ideas.

In today’s cluttered social media landscape, you need all of the help you can get to be seen and heard. Social ambassadors can provide a huge boost to your profile(s)!