This screencast focuses on how nonprofits can use flickr and creative commons licensing to search for powerful visuals to use in their presentations without violating copyright laws.
But first, I'd like to say a few words about crafting good powerpoint presentations. There a huge debate about whether powerpoint is your friend or foe. (See here , here , and here ). I think the issue is not so much with the tool, but with terrible presentation design. The problem is that many people use the text bullet points templates to communicate their information, rather than the power of visuals to tell their organization's story.
So, before we go further, I suggest that you obtain a copy of Andy Goodman's Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes. It is the single best resource for nonprofits staff members (well anyone, really) who want to improve their presentation design and delivery skills.
So, let's get back to the challenge of finding powerful visuals to illustrate a point or a story in your presentation. Where can you find photos that aren't outrageously expensive or under copyright protection? Certainly, if your organization owns a decent digital camera and uses it creatively to document programs, you might already have most of what you need. But not all. You could pay for banal photo stock, but there is another option. Flickr.
Flickr is a web application that allows anyone to share and organize photographs online. It's touted as one of the Web's best examples of social media software. While your nonprofit can also use Flickr to reach new people who may interested in your cause, it can also be a terrific photo resource. And, depending on the license, you are free to use many of them.
To get started using Flickr to share and search for photos, you'll need to register for an account. The good news is that it is free for a basic account (you can upgrade to a professional account later if you find the need to upload more photos than the basic alotment and the upgrade is cheap, $25 per year.)
Flickr is fairly easy to use, the basics can be found here. You'll be uploading, sharing, and searching for photos in no time.
It's great to enhance your presentations with photos found in flickr, but you may be wondering about copyright laws. A nonprofit organized named Creative Commons has made it easy for flickr photographers to share or protect their photos by developing flexible and voluntary "some rights reserved" copyright licenses for creative works. Not all photos in flickr are available under a Creative Commons license and there are different types of licenses that have different types of restrictions. But flickr has an excellent information page that will keep you from breaking any laws and the Creative Commons site offers more detailed information.
My screencast focuses on how to use the search by full text and tag features, search by creative commons licenses, how to give photographer proper attribution, and how to download.
Andy Goodman's N-TEN Webinar
Edward Tufte's PowerPoint Is Evil
Presentation Zen: Tips for Effective Presentations
Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson
How To Use Flickr
Additional Resources in my delicious account
Creative Commons Licenses
See Amy Gahran's advice:
I also started an affinity group (listserv) over at N-TEN called Flickr for Nonprofits. If you're interested in discussing flickr in nonprofits, come on and join!