Here at PhotoShelter, we have the privilege of working with over 2,000 incredible brands that lead by example when it comes to producing and publishing authentic and innovative visual stories.
We’re grateful to work with and learn from innovative creative teams across a variety of industries, but in the giving spirit, we want to take a moment to give special recognition to the nonprofit marketing and development teams that drive support for cause-based altruistic nonprofit organizations.
They tell powerful stories to motivate their generous donors to contribute all year long—but during the holiday season, their focus and efforts are elevated. These creatives know how to make an impact, even with small teams and tight budgets. Their work moves us, and it makes the world a better place.
Beyond Giving Tuesday, we hope you connect with one or many of the organizations listed below.
Read on to learn how 20 wonderful nonprofits and the unsung heroes who power their visual storytelling strategies create impactful content and generate support for their causes.
20 Nonprofits That Inspire Us
- Special Olympics
The team at Special Olympics has a knack for sharing photos and videos that make you feel.
Sydnye White, Special Olympics’ Director of Content and Storytelling, and her team of creative contributors are experts at capturing decisive moments. Whether it’s a moment of quiet connection or a roaring triumph, they portray the resilience of athletes with intellectual disabilities beautifully and honestly.
Using PhotoShelter allows them to collaborate with ease internationally, across time zones and language barriers—so they can document, share, and champion triumphant stories to fuel the #InclusionRevolution!
If you haven’t seen their life-changing work, on November 29 you can see it featured in a new documentary airing on Paramount+ called “As Far As They Run.”
To give back to their 2022 holiday season supporters, Special Olympics is also gifting anyone who donates $65 or more with a unique, gorgeous ornament. 🎁
Thank you, Special Olympics, for inspiring us with your diverse, impactful, inclusive storytelling about athletes with intellectual disabilities.
- The Bowery Mission
The Bowery Mission has been fighting homelessness, hunger, and poverty in New York City since the 1870s, so naturally, their 150-year-old media archive is at the heart of their extraordinary storytelling efforts.
During our November 2022 Inside Look webinar, we spoke to The Bowery Mission’s Director of Brand Marketing and Communications, Brian Ourien, about the organization’s ever-evolving, yet timeless visual storytelling strategy—which is driven by the mission to serve, and often speaks for itself.
To show their gratitude every day, they constantly feature their volunteers in social media content on Twitter and Instagram—giving a face to the everyday people who serve. and to the local community in need.
Watch the celebratory Instagram video narrated by Gayle King below to learn more about the organization’s faith-based past, humble present, and hopeful future.
Thank you to The Bowery Mission for bringing hope to New Yorkers in need for more than 150 years. With the help of New York neighbors like us, we can’t wait to see what you do in the next century! Support The Bowery Mission however you can. 💌
- Water Mission
Whether they’re responding to a humanitarian crisis or a natural disaster, the team at Water Mission changes lives every day by providing communities with safe and easy access to water.
Everyone needs drinking water to survive, but this organization knows how to utilize the power of storytelling to inspire donors to see how others are living without that basic necessity.
Every visual demonstrates the impact a donor can make, and all of their messaging imbues a tone of gratitude. Even the Water Mission Instagram feed is full of joy and authenticity.
We’re grateful to the teams at Water Mission for bringing awareness to the critical need for safe water worldwide and for providing necessary relief to people around the world! 🤲
- The National Aquarium
FACT: This cute little sandy creature will instantly make you stop scrolling.
Between raising rescued sea turtles, two-toed sloths, and Macaroni the puffling, the humans who work at the National Aquarium have a lot of opportunities to turn moments with almost any animal species into riveting content.
Most of the content they share is fun and undeniably cute with an undertone of education, but sometimes they have to shine a serious light on what people can do to reduce harm in bodies of water. It’s with these special creatures’ lives in mind that the National Aquarium team crafts stories that help drive support to restore, save, and protect these beautiful aquatic creatures and their habitats.
Thank you to the National Aquarium for leading conservation efforts, educating your audience and providing a window into our underwater world!
- Food for the Hungry
The team at Food for the Hungry does an incredible job of using imagery to demonstrate donor impact and generate critical support for communities in need.
Whether they’re fundraising to help nations suffering from a crisis or educating global citizens on how to make a difference in remote parts of the world, Food for the Hungry’s content can quite literally save a life.
We applaud Food for the Hungry for working to end poverty and for sharing your organization’s story with us every step of the way!
- Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a UK-based nonprofit that leads sailing trips to help young people rebuild their confidence and independence after cancer.
As pediatric cancer can sometimes be an invisible battle for child patients and their caregivers, engaging supporters and potential donors through firsthand documentary-style content is the Trust’s go-to visual storytelling strategy on social media.
Thank you to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust for helping young people impacted by cancer in the UK find hope and magic before, during, and after recovery! 🎗️
- Landmark Trust
If your Instagram feed is full of home and travel content from brands like Lonely Planet and Apartment Therapy, you need to make sure you’re following Landmark Trust.
This organization rescues historic buildings and gives them new life as holiday rentals and this season they’re giving away £5,000 in holiday homestays across the UK!
Did someone say #destinationgetaway for the holidays?!
Feed your wanderlust by following their social media channels to learn how they restore, preserve, and revive historical properties.
It’s an honor to support Landmark Trust’s work by making its media library accessible to people from all over the world!
- New York Cares
If you’re looking to see purpose-driven marketing in action, look no further than New York Cares. The New York-based volunteer network loves publicly celebrating community relief efforts big and small.
They put their volunteers in the spotlight, giving supporters a behind-the-scenes look at their community service work. This kind of content helps recruit new volunteers—showing anyone that is interested in becoming a volunteer what the experience would be like. They also document the power of vulnerability—sharing intimate perspectives from community members being served.
Highlighting the compassionate, reciprocal relationships between volunteers and the communities they support normalizes helping others as a community care practice.
It’s this message that they deliver through their content consistently, with kindness, and that’s something we wish we could ‘double tap’ ❤️ a million times.
Thank you to New York Cares for inspiring people to make a difference in their community!
If you live in the Greater New York region, click here to become a volunteer through New York Cares.
- The Jed Foundation
The attitude of gratitude is that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you give. (Actually, it’s the chemical ‘Oxytocin’ releasing that feel-good feeling, but I digress.)
You know, that heightened sense of appreciation that washes over you, like mulled spices over cider, as soon as the holiday season commences? 🥰 Yeah, that one.
If you’re suffering from mental health-related issues or symptoms, it can be hard to access and receive support, so to help young folks find and keep perspective all year long, The Jed Foundation, promotes gratitude journaling to help maintain a healthy, grounding practice of reflection.
The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit that was founded in 1998 by two parents impacted by their son’s suicide. They provide mental health education and critical support resources to teens and young adults, schools and universities, and parents and educators, so everyone has the knowledge, language, and understanding to help in times of need.
Most of the organization’s content is centered around ‘building resiliency and life skills, promoting social connectedness, and encouraging help-seeking and help-giving behaviors.’ So, to help spread their resources and message far and wide, their storytelling team partners with popular organizations like MTV and influencers like Billie Eilish to create award-winning content like JED Voices and campaigns like Seize the Awkward.
Through transformative storytelling, they aim to share intimate, vulnerable, and powerful stories of resilience and recovery to help young folks ‘reduce shame, prejudice, and secrecy,’ around how we feel—and ultimately, to not feel alone.
The Jed Foundation reminds us that we were all once lost, and with support, we can find ourselves again.
- Rails-To-Trails Conservancy
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is the first-of-its-kind—and only nationwide nonprofit development and restoration project aimed at restoring trails and railways across America to make divided lands more connected and livable, and inter-city and state transportation more accessible.
Since 1986, a dedicated consortium of trailblazers (literally-no pun in sight!) has been running the country’s largest trails organization—advocating for trail protection, development, and historical preservation, and doing environmental and societal research to showcase the incredible impact that trails have on transforming communities.
Browse the RTC PhotoShelter Library to see the development of this incredible project, and support them if you can!
- Global Heritage Fund
Global Heritage Fund restores historic monuments and breathes new life into their surrounding communities along the way.
From publishing cultural preservation stories that inspire fashion designers to use traditional textiles, to restoring and rescuing endangered historical sites, Global Heritage Fund’s Instagram feed is a fascinating window into how cultural, environmental, and historical preservation efforts can have an incredible ripple effect. To diversify their fundraising tactics, they’ve recently partnered with artists to create custom-made NFTs.
Thank you to Global Heritage Fund for protecting history and culture all over the world!
- James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit for foodies and food lovers who love to give back. Although they have a shiny Rolodex of influential stars in the food world working across their kitchens, catering special dinners, and providing education to young chefs in the making, their main goals are “amplifying new voices, celebrating those leading the way, and supporting those on the path to do so.”
See how the James Beard Foundation translates its mission through visual content in Behind the Scenes with the Storytellers.
In 2020, JBF ‘launched the Black and Indigenous Fund to provide financial resources for food or beverage businesses that are majority-owned by Black or Indigenous individuals.’ Then, in 2021, they shifted their content and communications strategy to start an honest dialogue within the hospitality and service industry where chefs, foodies, and hungry people alike could reimagine sustainable work conditions and approach foodways in a new way together.
Another one of their collaborative initiatives we’ve loved supporting throughout the pandemic is #SupportChinatowns—a nationwide effort that originated in October 2020. The JBF team has since evolved their #LoveAAPI partnership with Chinese American James Beard award-winning cookbook author, Chinatown activist, and JBF Humanitarian of the Year, Grace Young and is asking YOU to get involved!
Thank you to the James Beard Foundation for working to build a more sustainable, diverse, and equitable culinary culture!
- Vet Tix
Vet Tix is a nonprofit organization that provides event tickets to American Military, Honorably Discharged Veterans and family members of troops killed in action. According to their website, they do this work because attending events “reduces stress, strengthens family bonds, builds life-long memories and encourages service members and veterans to stay engaged with local communities and American life.”
Through key partnerships with entertainment brands like LiveNation and generous donations by theaters and performers, Vet Tix is able to give enriching experiences back those who have given everything to this country.
Want to support American servicemembers through Vet Tix?
- Conservancy of Southwest Florida
According to CNN, Hurricane Ian might be Florida’s most costly storm in terms of the extent of property and community devastation it left in its wake. However, thanks to nature-loving localists like the folks who work at The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, we’re able to learn how the hurricane impacted the land, its creatures, and its people.
If you’ve ever visited, vacationed, or received a postcard from someone who’s been to Florida, you know how special the sunshine state is. Supporting the Conservancy of Southwest Florida will help them rebuild the coastlines, natural animal habitats, and community buildings to make this region thrive again.
- Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
GLSEN is one of America’s leading nonprofit organizations working to create safe LGBTQIA-inclusive learning environments for children in K 12 grades. At a time when our civil and human rights are being called into question, especially the rights of children, advocating and creating spaces for living authentically is a radical act of care.
By conducting original research and authoring inclusive, developmental resources for educators and school communities, they create evidence-based frameworks of understanding and solutions “to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.”
The content they share centers the student perspective and provides the youth and their support systems with useful tools for navigating those hard, but necessary conversations.
How does your donation get used? To ‘Protect, Affirm, and Empower LGBTQ+ Students.’
Curious about learning more? Dive into GLSEN’s webinars and workshops, or learn how to use gender-affirming language in their pronoun guide.
- Defenders of Wildlife
Defenders of Wildlife (or @Defenders on social media,) is America’s leading national conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring at-risk species and their habitats in North America.
Unlike other nature and animal conservation organizations, Defenders is focused on the restoration and preservation of native species—animals and plants included, so they work to transform policies by promoting and advocating for innovative solutions.
Because our nation is vast and wide, and so are the species that inhabit it, Defenders used on-brand storytelling delivered with an urgent tone to drive their 2022 Giving Tuesday campaign.
“The news has been heartbreaking. Gray wolves are still running for their lives in the Northern Rockies. North Atlantic right whales are struggling to survive the threat of deadly ship strikes and entanglements. Today, you can answer their call with your support. You can help protect vulnerable animals from going extinct by having your gift matched 3-for-1!”
This Giving Tuesday, make 4x the difference for wolves, bears and more.
Make your Giving Tuesday gift to protect imperiled wildlife, and your gift will go 4x as far!
If you donated, thank you. If you can’t donate today, learn how you can support their national nature preservation efforts on a continuing basis.
- American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU is the nation’s 100-year-old premier nonprofit organization made up of activist law advocates, policy advisors, community organizers, and citizen supporters who come together to protect human rights of all kinds.
A bit about the history of the ACLU from their website states:
“When a roomful of civil liberties activists — led by Roger Baldwin, Crystal Eastman, and Albert DeSilver — formed the ACLU in 1920, the Supreme Court had yet to uphold a single free speech claim…
The ACLU was founded to ensure the promise of the Bill of Rights and to expand its reach to people historically denied its protections. In our first year, we fought the harassment and deportation of immigrants whose activism put them at odds with the authorities. In 1939, we won in the Supreme Court the right for unions to organize. We stood almost alone in 1942 in denouncing our government’s round-up and internment in concentration camps of more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans. And at times in our history when frightened civilians have been willing to give up some of their freedoms and rights in the name of national security, the ACLU has been the bulwark for liberty.”
From free speech LGBTQIA rights, the ACLU team and their nationwide supporters fight to protect and defend our civil rights, so by telling and sharing real stories of the people impacted by their work, they hope to shine a more human light on traditionally polarizing issues.
They do all of this work without a dime from the government, so your donation will help them directly fight for your rights. ✊
- Native Arts and Culture Foundation
November is National Native American Heritage Month, so what better way to educate yourself about and support indigenous communities than by supporting living native artists, right?
The NACF is a US-based nonprofit organization focused on the equitable advancement of cultural knowledge and the power of collaboration through the arts “to strengthen Native communities and promote positive social change with American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples in the United States.”
Naturally, as an arts organization, visual storytelling is key and they make great use of all mediums—images, video, portraits, graphics, and more to share vignettes about the artists and communities they support to draw audiences in.
We’re proud to support indigenous artists by providing the NACF a secure and easy-to-use DAM to store their brand art and artist image archive.
- Make-A-Wish International
If you haven’t heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, your day is probably about to get a lot brighter. 🪄
Make-A-Wish started in 1980 when an Arizona community came together to make a little boy with leukemia’s dream come true. For over 40 years they’ve been granting life-changing wishes for children and families in the U.S. and beyond—through affiliate partners, they’re able to make wishes come true for people in 50 countries and 5 continents across the world.
What’s their collective impact? Their website says: “With the help of our donors and more than 43,000 volunteers around the world, Make-A-Wish has collectively granted more than 520,000 wishes worldwide.”
To drive support, they share the stories of the dreamers who make quiet wishes to the universe hoping that something good comes of what they have to endure as patients. The pure joy captured in Make-A-Wish’s content is the ultimate proof of their purpose. With our help, we can not only make them heard, we can make them happen!
- The Fred Hollows Foundation
To have sight is a gift. Though restorative sight is available today by way of advanced LASIK surgery, the costs can be astronomical for those often struggling with low or no vision.
According to the Fred Hollows Foundation website, “There are 36 million people around the world who are blind and 217 million with moderate to severe visual impairment. Almost 90% of them live in low and middle-income countries.”
To date, FHF has restored sight to 2.5 million people worldwide and they are able to do this by training and empowering local doctors, nurses, and health workers in 25 countries; effectively developing a global network that can provide sustainable care.
On social media, they share content that highlights the patients they’ve impacted, as well as the surgeons and health workers that provide this life-changing work. See this beautiful Instagram video example below, highlighting a doctor who celebrates his birthday by providing free surgery:
Thank you to all nonprofit organizations for all you do for the communities you serve—and for inspiring us to practice giving all year long.
Now, it’s your turn! Who, or what cause, moves you? Give a shout out to the nonprofit organizations you love and tag us @psforbrands to share them with us!