The Best Free Photo and Graphics Tools for Nonprofits

Creating great content doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. 

If you are on a budget, it may seem like your design options are limited. Some of the most popular stock photography sites like Shutterstock, iStock and the Adobe suite can be extremely costly. Then if you want to edit those photos and are not technically savvy, some of the software can be difficult to navigate. 

When choosing images or videos for your content you want to make sure you have the right to do so. Stock images or illustrations are content that is ready to use by the public. Some stock providers require you to purchase a license to use their content but there are many affordable options too. 

Luckily, we live in 2021, and there are tons of free tools to help you create stunning designs! Whether you’re looking for editing software to help you create that perfect ad or a stellar image for your next blog post, we have plenty of options for you to choose from. Take a look! 

Since Canva’s launch in 2013 with over $3M in funding and backing from former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, it has caught the attention of both novice and experienced designers. 

There is a paid option, but the free version of the web-based software provides a wide selection of powerful features. Even better, there is a paid version of the tool that is entirely free for registered nonprofits! Time-saving, pre-made templates exist for almost anything, including Facebook covers, Instagram posts, or newsletters. Or you can choose your dimensions to build your custom creation. 

The builder is highly user-friendly. Everything is drag and drop, so it will feel right at home if you use PowerPoint. Designs save automatically, so you don’t need to worry about losing your work, and you can always come back later to finish designs. The best part is that you can share files to edit the same project in real-time if you work with a team. 

Popular social media app Buffer recently released Pablo, a graphic design tool specifically for social media. You can choose from pre-uploaded photos and overlay text for images that will supplement your Facebook posts and tweets. Keep an eye on this one!
With the importance of having segmented content for each audience, being able to quickly generate multiple posts is a huge benefit. 


Pixlr is a free alternative to photoshop, offering both a primary and advanced editor to cover all of your editing needs. 

The interface is straightforward to use, even if you have never used a photo editor before.  The software is entirely cloud-based, so you just have to save the link to your bookmarks to access it at any time. 

They are especially great for quick edits to spruce up a blog or social media image and have free templates to use! 


Pexels is an incredible free archive of photos and videos to use for your content creation! We’ve used them in several of our projects and have never been disappointed. Their library has a large selection to choose from and can be great for both video and image-based content. 

When searching for content it’s important to try a few different keywords and phrases to find what you’re looking for. What you make use of to search for an item could be different from someone else's. 

For example, if you wanted a picture of a beach you could search tropical beach, island, sea- and these all could get you images you could use in your content. If it’s something more specific then try to use 2-3 keywords at a time in your search. 


I have used both paid and unpaid image libraries before, and I keep coming back to Unsplash. 

Their archive has such fresh and exciting images for almost every topic! What appeals to us most is the diversity and range of the photos that don’t make them feel generic or staged at all. 

If you take a modern approach to your content strategy, we highly recommend you check out these free resources.  They will help you create professional-looking, consistent designs.  

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By Trust Driven on Sep 3, 2021, 12:00 AM


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