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Everything You Need To Know About Getty Images for Nonprofits (+ Alternatives)


Marketing primarily consists of active promotion in an attempt to achieve a goal. This definition holds true for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. The difference, however, is in what that goal is. A company may market their products while an organization may promote the services they offer to beneficiaries. 

When it comes to marketing tactics, the old adage is true, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is why graphic design for nonprofits is so important. A powerful photo that represents your nonprofit, and your mission, is essential to good marketing and brand awareness. Getty, with their large library of high quality photos, is a great option to find that one star of the show. 

Let’s dive into Getty and how their images can be used to achieve your marketing goals.


How to Use Getty Images 

Believe it or not, the Getty Images website has been around since 1995. It established itself as the main source of stock images during the early days of the internet. Getty provides royalty-free images that can be used by any person for any purpose without having to worry about running into a rights battle (more on this later)! The main uses for Getty Images for nonprofits include social media communications, blog article covers, flyers aimed at donors or other key recipients, and for any kind of website images imaginable. 

Pro Tip: Anyone can use Getty Images to find the right image for their service when the personal or professional resources simply are not available. The service is particularly helpful for nonprofits who may not have people on staff to take high-quality images. 

What exactly does royalty-free licensing mean and why is it important? As much as we would like it to, it does not have anything to do with Kings and Queens. Instead, the phrase means that it is free to use in the public domain without any legal ramifications. This stands in direct opposition to "rights-managed" media, in which the creator or owner is paid fees, otherwise known as "royalties," upon the public use of their property. 

how-to-use-getty-images-for-nonprofits-how-to-useEmily is hyped up for some high-quality photos she can use!

Contrary to popular belief, royalty-free images does not inherently mean monetarily free images. While there are free image banks, many services (including Getty Images) require users to purchase photos. It simply means that it can be used for any reason imaginable, once owned, without any worry of running into a legal battle. Let’s get deeper into why Getty may be a useful resource for your organization.


The Pros of Using Getty Images 

Being royalty-free is the first of several benefits. What else do organizations gain by using Getty Images? Well, taking the perfect image is an art that not everyone can master. Understanding the core graphic design principles, finding the perfect image can get pricey and time-consuming. When there is a deadline looming, your team may not have the time or the opportunity to capture just the right image. 

Pro Tip: If you are looking for images to incorporate into existing presentation tools, consider looking into the Prezi free trial. Prezi offers templates, designs, and Prezi presentation examples used by organizations and businesses alike.   

This brings us to our first point, accessibility. One of the biggest draws of using Getty Images while working for a nonprofit is its ease of use and availability. Sometimes the biggest challenge of marketing is finding the right photo for your webpage, blog, flyer, or advertisement. These are the things that will grab a potential contributor’s eye and get them excited or even curious about your cause. A service with an extensive catalog can reduce the time it takes to find the right image to a few short minutes. 

Another great reason to start using Getty Images in your nonprofit is the variety it has to offer. Trying to encourage volunteers for a beach cleanup for your kayak membership organization? There are hundreds of great pics with water scenes, wildlife, and litter that will hit the mark. Regardless of your organization’s mission you can generally find an image to represent it.

Source: Getty Images


Considerations When Using Getty Images 

Getty has maintained its reputation and usefulness for almost thirty years, and with good reason. It is easy to use by the general public and offers images suitable for just about any situation. However, with the good also comes a few areas to look out for. 

Getty’s greatest strengths can also be its biggest weakness. Many of the images provided, while being high quality and beautiful to the general eye, are also lacking a personal touch. Some situations are going to require being more specific in your approach.

When aiming for specificity, the service may not necessarily be the best option. Think of these images as adornments or accents to a flyer or web page post. The images are meant to be used for a wide variety of general purposes. This means that they have to maintain a level of genericism to suit this. It is almost like Getty Images is the "jack-of-all-trades" version of stock photo services. Users will find something suitable for any situation, but you may need to really dig to find something super specific when the photo itself will be the center of attention.

Finally, Getty is not a free stock image site. Depending on what and how many images you choose, the bill may add up.


Alternatives to Getty Images 

Getty Images is often considered the go to option for all stock photo and royalty-free media services. This reputation was developed over years of dominance in their niche. However, there are a number of additional royalty-free photo sources on the internet that offer free stock images for nonprofits. To save you from a google search, try the following alternatives, which are growing and steadily becoming contenders in the world of royalty-free media.

how-to-use-getty-images-for-nonprofits-alternativesMatt has checked out Getty Images, now he is ready for some other options!

Pro Tip: If you are searching Getty and other image banks for inspiration for your nonprofit logo design, consider investigating Canva for nonprofits. Canva offers designs, logos, and other little visuals for nonprofits. To set up an account, fill out a Canva nonprofit application. If you found the perfect Getty image, you can import it into the tool as well.


Pixabay is a community-driven space for photographers to upload their photos, pictures, and videos for free use. While all media is free to use and comes without copyright restrictions, it is different from Getty Images in that attribution to the artist, and potentially a donation is encouraged despite media with signatures or product advertisements being prohibited.

Source: Pixabay


Pexels is another free service that allows the space for users to upload their own photography with a few restrictions. Pexels images cannot be used for political reasons, and it has to be made clear that any person in the photo is not affiliated if used for commercial use.

Source: Pexels


Unsplash is another resource for free royalty-free images with a community-driven aspect. Each photo shows who submitted the photo. This allows for media users to click a link to go through that uploader's larger collection on Unsplash and hire them for personal use.

Source: Unsplash

Negative Space

Negative Space seeks to offer their own shot at the stock photo market. What makes them appealing is their website’s user-friendly format. Each photo is assigned to a specific category with each uploader being shown. A nice addition not seen in every other photo market is being able to sort photos depending on the color palette, making it easier than ever to fit your post’s aesthetic.

Source: Negative Space

Death to Stock

Despite their tough name, Death to Stock takes a unique spin on the nature of stock photos. Stock images are known for being generic and lacking that je ne sais pas quoi. Death to Stock provides free images for general use with a focus on character and quality that makes each one seem like a personal work of art.

Source: Death to Stock


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Communication & Marketing