A recent study in England concluded that images, which stereotype homelessness, are far more effective in raising charity funds than depictions of actual people who are homeless. In other words, if you run a charity that addresses homelessness and want to raise money—use a picture of an older man, alone on the streets, bearded, and looking bedraggled.
However, this is an inaccurate portrayal of homelessness. Families just a paycheck away from losing their homes, as well as young veterans traumatized by war, represent an increasing sector of the population who are experiencing homelessness.
Years ago, fresh out of college, I worked for a small homeless agency. This nonprofit had also hired a fundraising consultant to help them raise much needed financial resources; it was the only way this modest agency was going to stay solvent. Read More »