Handy tools & proven ways to
accelerate your visual connections
A gardener’s guide
to making the most of your
visual impact(a story told in four seasons)
connect | create | blossom
1 | a gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
“Create your own
visual style... let
it be unique for
Disclaimer: yet identifiable
We are visual people, and the visual side of your communications for others.”
is a great place to connect with the people who want to “see” your —Orson Welles
story. I realize it’s only one piece of the relationship puzzle, but being a
graphic designer, it’s my bias. Be sure and have a solid strategy to reach
your tribe on all levels of communication. Enough said, let’s dig in!
As we learned in the 2000 election:
2 || a gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
2 a gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
A garden requires
planning, cultivation and
From that effort comes the harvest, learning
what worked, and beginning again. Each season
is integral to the process. There is a rhythm to it.
Here is an organic view to create the
supporting tribe that you need to cultivate.
Like gardening, it takes time.
But the harvest is worth it.
| gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
3 3| a a gardener’s guide to makingthe most of your visual impact
Planning & Dreaming
What do you want to grow?
Winter is a time to visualize the bounty of the summer crop.
Think about the relationships you want to cultivate. What do
they need to grow? How can you give people what they need to For your toolbox:
thrive? Why should they care?
ɶ Consider a strategic brief for a project or
DIG DEEP. Like seeds, the more you know creating a “persona” to develop a clearer
about your people’s interests and what’s idea of who you are trying to reach. Get
important to them, the better you can serve and to know them, what feeds them, what kind
connect with them. For the garden, it’s looking of nourishment they need to grow.
at seed catalogs and knowing what conditions
those plants need to thrive. ɶ Get organized. Try this marketing plan template.
| a gardener’s guide to making most of of your visual impact
4 | 4a gardener’s guide to making thethe most your visual impact
Benefits: Very portable, can be carried on the bus, to
the bathroom or put in a file for end of year giving.
Reaches people through the mail which is quickly
becoming a unique delivery point! Can be long-lasting
and your story can be absorbed and shared with others
by personal contact.
The right tool for the right job Challenges: Costly to create, print and mail. Takes a
lot of professional staff/consultant time, takes time to
This my husband’s favorite saying and I didn’t really create and uses natural resources (paper, water, energy)
appreciate it until we moved onto our land and tools became
part of my daily experience. The right tool will help you
develop the connections you need with your tribe. Here are EmAil
the typical tools presented with benefits and challenges from Benefits: Mostly free delivery, short, pithy (or at least
my experience. Your evaluation efforts will guide you to what it should be!) and easily links people to your web site.
tools work best for your goals. Great for video, slideshow and Flash-style visual story
telling methods. Lends itself to quick and frequent
connections for your tribe.
Challenges: Easily lost or deleted in someone’s inbox,
doesn’t lend itself to long format stories and leaves out
people who don’t use email as their preferred way of
connection. Loads of competition for inbox space.
“The secret to creativity Benefits: Quick casual connections through tools such
as Facebook pages, tweets to followers on Twitter, or
is knowing how to hide discussion groups on Linked In. Works really well for
your sources.” some people. *see email
Challenges: Takes a committed plan to do well and
therefore staff time or a consultant. *again, see email
5 | a gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
Spring: Preparing the ground
What do your seedlings need to grow? The soil will
support and nurture these tiny seedlings as they develop roots
(connection) and grow into mature plants. Or in our case, into
committed members/donors who will support your work.
Your story is the soil for this garden. From what you have
learned about your people, how does your story feed them?
Where do they get energy and how can you uplift them? Too
often in organizations, we expect people to respond to the
urgency of the mission rather than our supporters own hopes
and dreams. Re-framing your message to meet the needs of
your people will help you both grow.
For your toolbox:
ɶ ASK them, pull together a focus group to help ɶ Here’s a resource by the UK-based Charity Aid
you answer key questions that you have. The Foundation called How to Connect with Donors.
time invested can help develop deep roots in ɶ Or do your own online survey with Survey Monkey.
the soil. After all, don’t you like to have your
ideas and opinions valued?
6 | a gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
Keeping Design costs Down
Summer: Here are some do-it-yourself design tools:
Using resources Wisely photos: I am always amazed how generous
photographers are for non-profits. Establish
Your plants (or plans) are established and relationships with photographers invested in your
growing, now you need to provide consistent cause. They will give you generous usage.
care and feeding so they can provide fruit.
Here is one site that is free: stockxchange.com. For
Summer requires measured effort to get through an inexpensive way of getting good stock photos,
the stressful times of low water and excess heat. check out istockphoto.com.
You have to keep an eye on things, put in regular
design: Look for examples that you like and look
time and be prepared to adjust where needed.
professional. A great online design magazine is
It’s a good time to use resources wisely!
Before and After. Look at magazines like Vanity
Fair, Wired, Fast Company, Fine Gardening,
Martha Stewart, Real Simple. Great layouts.
The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin
Using Print resources Wisely Williams’ is an excellent, succinct resource that
You can keep your costs down and make the outlines all you need to know. Robin’s website is
connection even deeper with a little thought. full of great resources as well.
Check out these 5 tips to reduce your print costs:
c2bdesign.com/santosha fonts & typography: These make all the difference
between the professional and the rookie. Robin
Using less paper means saving money and trees. Williams’ book The MAC is not a Typewriter is a
But hey, you already know that! fun, concise resource for those new to typography
and fonts. It’s not rocket science and knowing the
Wondering about virgin vs recycled paper, here’s
basics will make you stand out. And look: free
one way of looking at it by Conservatree.
7 | a gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
Tools for saying thanks:
ɶ Here are five interesting websites about
thanking donors chock full of ideas
ɶ Got a whole group to thank?
Create a simple video
ɶ Here’s an amazing interactive site
where donors post their thanks
by the Canadian Blood Bank.
Fall: Harvest The harvest is what sustains us. But it takes time and
effort to bring in food, process it and store it for the
“Value the donor You have told your story in a way that moves people to
donate. Because of your previous efforts, you know what
more than the moves them. And you have asked for donations (always
donation.” include that call-to-action, no matter how obvious you
New Futures Circle think it is). The harvest is coming in, now get to work at
making more successes and stories to share with the good
people who support your work.
When you make a great success and you tell that story,
remember to tell it again and again.
8 | a gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
“Creativity can solve
almost any problem.
The creative act, the
defeat of habit by
The harvest is in and it’s time to give thanks
and go even further to celebrate your new
and ongoing connections.
Celebrate your successes and throw a party!
There many great resources on the web for
how creating successful events.
How to party lightly on the
earth? Ask Marika at
and she’ll show you how.
The cycle begins
again. Back to winter and
evaluating what worked
and opportunities for
The New York Public Library has an
awesome digital collection for your
visual needs like this!
9 | a gardener’s guide to making the most of your visual impact
Hope this helps. I confess, I got a
little carried way with the project,
there’s just so much to say and so
many great resources.
Thanks to all the smart people out
there who keep trying new things
and sharing the results! This
publication is done in that same
spirit. Please pass it on.
Let me help you plan your garden,
assist with weeding or help with
the harvest. I know I can save you
time, money and help you increase
your harvest. Claire Bronson
Contact me for creative visual firstname.lastname@example.org
solutions via print, email, web or www.c2bdesign.com
Creative Solutions for