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designing your facebook timeline cover image: guide for non-profits

The great thing about Facebook’s new timeline (and we’re going to call it new even though it went into effect just over two months ago; that’s an eternity in online technologies!) is that you have a huge amount of visual real estate at the top of your Facebook page now.

Facebook calls it a Cover Image. I call it ‘the Story Board.’ For non-profits, it’s the perfect place to tell your story — visually.

Americans are, if anything could really define us, a visual culture. The more that you can say through images at the top of your Facebook page, the greater the chance you’re going to grab a viewer’s attention and connect with that person. If you connect, you’ll gain a supporter (and hopefully a champion, volunteer and donor, too!).

Here are a few examples of non-profit cover images that really make the grade in my book:

Visit Baltimore has very simple and effective messaging here. Their cover image is simply an aerial view of the city, while their text messaging occurs in their profile image.

St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital does two really smart things in this particular cover image: 1) they use an image of a patient to connect their non profit immediately to an individual’s story; 2) they use text messaging to convey longevity. They’ve been around a while. Key in uncertain economic times.

Girl Scouts of the USA decides to go simple. Just text. Girl empowerment. Brilliant.

Sometimes all you need is an amazing image coupled with your logo. This timeline from charity: water is both breathtaking and inspiring.

This is my personal favorite. uses unconventional messaging through a photograph, and wins in my opinion. Why, I DO have an inspiring smile, thank you.

A few things to think about:

  • Your logo does not need to appear in your cover image (although it can!). Your logo DOES need to be resized/redesigned to a square image and uploaded as your profile picture. Your profile picture is what will appear on your fans’ Facebook feeds when you post an update. You want them to see it there — they’ll only see your cover image if they come to your page itself.
  • Your tagline could definitely appear in your Cover Image. It’s part of your story!
  • Think outside the box with your messaging.
  • If you have an event coming up, use your timeline image to convey details and promote!

You want to design your Facebook Timeline Cover Image to be 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. You can use any photo editor to design — or cheat and use Power Point. I’m a big believer in cheating (shortcuts!) when you can and using software you’re comfortable with. If you use power point, just export your slide as an image (JPG, PNG, TIFF) and crop in your favorite photo editor (like iPhoto).

Once you have your cover image designed and cropped, log into your Non-Profit’s Facebook Page. Right under your admin panel, you’ll see a button that says “Change Cover.” Click on that, select your image and you’re off and going.

Need help designing a cover image? Send us an email.

  1. Hi Heather!

    I happened to come across a comment from you on LinkedIn and navigated my way to The Weisse Group site and your blog. I worked with you and Colin Regamey a few years ago through the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and I must say how impressed I am with the work you are doing now. It’s fantastic to see such innovative ideas in education and to see people finding ways to get those ideas out there. Perhaps we can work together again soon. Keep up the great work!

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