I’m not exactly sure where this would rank on your list of “Things I should be worried about” but I will go out on a limb and guess it’s not very high.
But I would like you to reconsider.
One of the most popular stock image sites out there is istockphoto. I know – I use it all the time. It’s relatively inexpensive and there is a great selection with new shots coming online all the time.
Here’s the problem. Everyone else I know is using it all the time. Good for istock – bad for you. Why?
Consider this, you’ve spent countless hours or funds to craft a beautiful letter from one of your donors. It’s moving, emotional, riveting and you know it’s not only going to knock the socks off your other donors but make them immediately drop $50 in the BRE and send it to you.
Your designer pulls a nice shot of your letter signer off istock – who now becomes the face of this signer.
Your donors, a day after mailing their $50 to you, are flipping through their local newspaper. Here is a massive ad for that new condo that is being built in town. And in that massive ad is a massive picture of… hold on… isn’t that the same picture of the woman that was the letter signer for… Yah.
Stock is great, versitle and cheap. Do you donors feel lied to in a situation like this? Do they start to doubt the authenticity of your letters? Of everything?
I know donors out there who think that letter of yours REALLY did come from who you tell them it came from. They believe you because they trust you.
I make a point of either taking my own images when I can or leave it to the professionals when I think I can manage the budget. At the very least, I try to alter the images in some way to make it unique.
I just want you to remember – your donors trust you. They believe what you tell them. Be truthful to them in every way that you can. “Transparency” is one of THE business concepts of this still very young 21st century.
You might notice a shiny new badge on the right there from Alltop who has listed The Naked Idea in their impressive “who’s who” blog roll because they feel I am kicking some serious ass with this blog. Take a look at their site and maybe you will find one or two new favourite blogs to follow.