A Picture is Worth (at Least) a 1,000 Words


A Picture is Worth (at Least) a 1,000 Words


Monday through Friday, I look forward to going to my in box and getting “Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog.”  Yesterday, her article alerted me to a study affirming something I already knew:  pictures make a difference.  I love it when science backs my intuition. 


Roger Dooley from Neuromarketing describes a series of studies done in New Zealand showing that a photograph accompanying a story, even if it is untrue (for example, stating a celebrity was dead – even though the celebrity was really still very much alive), is perceived as being true because of the photo.  He called it a “truth bias” associated with an image.  


In another experiment, researchers made the claim “Giraffes are the only mammals that cannot jump,” accompanied by a photo of a standing giraffe.  Once again, people said the claim was “true” even though, if you gave it much thought, you might assume that an elephant, rhino, or hippo aren’t exactly built to jump either (in fact, giraffes are technically capable of jumping…but not very high or well as seen in this highly entertaining 42-second video).


In no way should you mislead your congregation by throwing in any old photo for the sake of a visual.  However, a photograph can enhance your message and give it greater credibility.  And the best ones?  The ones with the most integrity?  Not stock photos of “perfect people” but photos of real people in your congregation.  


Remember:  Whenever you send a mass thank you letter, or do an update in your quarterly giving statement, or run your stewardship campaign…a picture, not of a giraffe, but of a person who people recognize and respect, will speak more than a 1,000 words.


Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.