Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Instagram for Nonprofits: Powerful Images in the Palm of Your Hand

How many of you played with Instagram over the holiday break?  I did and I *love* it.
  • I love how simple it is to use
  • I love how good it makes my photos look
  • I love how easy it is to share images across networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr)
  • I love "reading" my feed of stories told through images each day
The Instagram community has grown quickly.  On December 22nd, the New York Times blog, Bits, reported that Instagram passed 1 million users in two months.  As of right now, Instagram is only available for iPhones. Once it's available for Android, I think it will be a fabulous storytelling tool for nonprofits.

NPR is already sharing photos with Instagram that range from a Hubble telescope image, to Haitian children playing in front of latrines, to a close-up of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's husband holding her hand.

Nonprofits could use Instagram to share photos:
  • from the field
  • from an event, march or fundraiser
  • as they build, or create something (e.g. a home, an urban garden, a mural)
  • of natural places they want to preserve
  • of and by the people they serve
  • of and by volunteers, or donors
  • of animals that need to be adopted
  • of a "day in the life" of their staff, or constituents
  • as a teaser to a longer story, or a video on their website
Unfortunately, I think folks are inundated with words these day (even when they are packaged in only 140 characters!), which is why it is a perfect time to reach them with a stream of powerful images that they hold in the palm of their hand.

Update: The January 27th Mashable post, Instagram Introduces Hastags for Users and Brands, talks about how NPR and Charity:Water will be using hastags: "Charity: Water is asking users to share images of water in their life using #charitywater, and NPR is on the lookout for photos that capture the ideas of #love and #hate."

Update: The June 8th post, Nonprofits on Instagram, lists a few more.

This post is a submission for the January Net2ThinkTank.
Image: Photo taken in Oakland's Redwood Regional Park made to look extra awesome with Instagram.

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  1. Thanks for your Net2 Think Tank submission, Britt! I'm really excited to share this one with the community! Instagram seems like such an easy way to tell a story in a new way.

  2. Love it! Great way to add some creativity for orgs submitting Flickr slideshows for TechSoup's Digital Storytelling Challenge, too. :) Thanks Britt!

  3. So glad you like the post, kg and Claire. I haven't been this excited about a new social media tool in awhile (:

  4. Hey Britt - the #Net2ThinkTank Round-up, including a link to your submission is posted at

    Also, after reading your excellent review I've now created an account - you're right it's super easy to use and looks like a great tool for the arsenal.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us!

  5. Hi Britt, I love your website! I featured it today on my blog:

  6. Maisha ~ Thanks so much for highlighting me!

    Claire ~ Did you see the Mashable post about how Instagram has added hashtags, and how charity:water & NPR are going to use them?


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