Perhaps no one needs to explain today how important visuality is in communication and online presence. Attention-grabbing is one of the most important aspects that comes into play, but the images and graphics we use can also be important for our own brand and for getting our message across.
Of course, we also know that in a small organisation, graphic design is typically the work for which there is no capacity or resources left. In this article, we recommend 3+1 image editing programs - including free versions for NGOs - that don't require any complex graphic design skills, just some practice and a little creativity!
Perhaps the best known program among NGOs in this country is Canva's image editor. One of the great advantages of Canva is that the free version comes with many useful features and can be used as a team as well as an individual. You can choose from over 1 million free stock photos, videos and graphics, 250,000 presentation and other templates or even Facebook post inspirations. You can upload your own photos, logos, resize and edit images and videos, adapt them to your different communication platforms, or use them from your computer or phone.
The annual subscription fee for CanvaPro varies between 40 and 50 thousand forints, depending on whether you register as an individual or as a team (and the size of the team). Naturally, this comes with more photos, templates, more and more sophisticated image editing tools and more storage space.
Although the subscription to the Pro version is not particularly expensive, one of Canva's biggest advantages is that it offers free CanvaPro subscriptions to teachers, students and registered non-profit organisations, which is worth taking advantage of. As a result of recent developments, AI, for example, is being tested and incorporated into the system.
Details of what is required to qualify for the free Pro version and exactly which organisations are eligible can be found here: https://www.canva.com/canva-for-nonprofits/
Learn all the ins and outs of Canva from Hive Mind's English tutorial videos: https://en.hive-mind.community/blog/121,how-to-create-eye-catching-graphics-with-canva
2. Adobe Express
PhotoShop is the best-known and most popular image editing program in the world, used by everyone from enthusiastic amateurs to true professionals.
Although the program itself is only available in a paid version, Adobe has made an online version of the photo editor available. In addition to the basic features of the free version, the Premium version is also free for NGOs and offers much more storage space (100 GB instead of 2 GB) and extra features (own brand application, 160 million free stock photos, etc.).
The logic here is also very similar to Canva, you can basically work with building blocks. Backgrounds, free stock photos, video graphics, text insertion and templates are available. One of the main advantages of both programs is that if you have posts that are frequently repeated - e.g. a post encouraging a 1% tax donation, a fundraising post, a post promoting a programme - you can create a template for these and use it with minor changes in your communications. In this way, we can unify our image and the look of the organisation, and make our work and that of our staff quicker and easier.
Also true for both programmes is that there is a scheduling function, which allows us to connect our different social media platforms and schedule posts from within the programme. However, it should be added that social media interfaces are generally not very fond of external programs and it is difficult to say whether they will behave properly.
Probably the least known online photo editor in Hungary, it works with over two million free stock photos and, like Canva, offers social media-focused editing options. Predefined and preset social media creative size templates are available, and there are also pre-made templates here to work with quickly and efficiently, or at least to get inspired.
Stencil offers a 7-day free trial period for nonprofits. The basic version is free here too, of course, and the annual subscription starts from around HUF 30,000.
More information: https://getstencil.com/pricing
3+1. PhotoShop Elements and Premiere Elements
PhotoShop Elements and Premium Elements are partly the cuckoo's eggs. They are not online tools, but downloadable applications, but they are great tools to make your graphic design work easier or even take it to the next level. Photoshop Elements is a tool for editing, retouching, optimising and distributing digital images, while Premiere Elements is a tool for editing and distributing digital videos.