avatarsblogEvery second of every day nonprofits around the world are posting status updates, tweets, and messages on social networks attached to avatars with cropped art work and/or unreadable text. Would you ever send out a print or e-mail newsletter, or sign off on a business card with a cropped or visually-defective logo and text so small that it was indecipherable? Absolutely not. However, and unfortunately, the importance of using a visually appealing, perfectly-square avatar consistently on all social networking sites to build a powerful, recognizable online brand has yet to make its way into the communications and fundraising plans of many nonprofits.

Logos, on the other hand, are primarily designed with a horizontal orientation and when uploaded to social networking sites either get cropped to the point of illegibility or shrunk to a size too small to read or make a strong visual impact. This is one of the most obvious mistakes nonprofits (and small businesses) make on the Social Web, and fortunately, one of the easiest to remedy.

That said, a good nonprofit avatar should:

  • Be simple in design and use strong, eye-catching colors that match the overall online branding of your nonprofit.
  • Not have text that is too small to read.
  • Be square.
  • Not have obvious visual defects such as copped art work and blurriness from low resolution.
  • Be used consistently on all social networks to build a synergistic, recognizable brand across the Social Web.
The eleven nonprofits below are good examples to model your avatar design upon. In many cases an avatar can easily be extracted from a nonprofit’s logo with some simple cropping, inceasing of canvas size, and color tweaking, but if you have to hire a graphic designer for a couple of hours of work to get a good avatar designed to effecively represent to your nonprofit on the Social Web, it is an absolute must-do expense:
1. Water.org
2. Survival International
3. Nature Conservancy
4. Museum of Modern Art
5. Kiva
6. Jane Goodall Institute
7. Human Rights Campaign
8. Goodwill Industries
9. Communities in Schools
10. Animals Asia
11. American Heart Association

Related Links:
Free Webinar on June 6: 10 Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make in Social Media
Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits