How IDRF level-up their content creation with Dash

Sannah Khan, Marketing Manager at IDRF

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"It’s saved me a lot of time. I don’t have to be the bottleneck anymore!"

Saving lives, rebuilding communities

Human dignity, self-reliance and social justice: these are the foundational pillars of charity International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF). From their main office in Toronto, Canada, they work with partners in countries across the world and have supported over 840,000 people this year alone. From organising food relief in Yemen to arranging long-term educational support for children with disabilities living in rural Pakistan, their campaigns provide humanitarian aid to those who need it most.

On a mission to create outstanding visual content

For non-profits, having scroll-stopping imagery is key to a successful donation campaign. Without top-quality images and video, people are less likely to donate, meaning less money for those in need.

That’s something Sannah Khan, IDRF’s Marketing Manager, was only too aware of when she joined the organisation.

“Before I joined, we had zero visual presence. That was a problem, because people don’t know who IDRF are unless they see our presence on the ground. We need high-quality photos of our volunteers and the people we’re supporting. That’s the most important part of non-profit marketing – showing the proof of our donors’ dollars.”

The IDRF team set out to change that. They wanted to inspire their network of partners across the world to level-up their visual content game.

“The better the photos we get from our partners on the ground, the better our donation campaigns perform, which means the more money we can send back over to them.”

Sannah hosted branding sessions with IDRF’s partners:

“I showed them really good examples of their own photography and provided them a checklist of things to work on. A few of them left that meeting and did a total 180, and have been providing fantastic photos and footage ever since - I was really happy!”

OneDrive was holding IDRF back

As any marketer or content person will tell you, creating top-quality visual content is just half the battle. For your assets to be used effectively by your organisation, they need to be easily findable.

When Sannah came in, she gave everyone access to her personal OneDrive account. But she quickly became swamped with WeTransfer links and email attachments from photographers she needed to upload to OneDrive, and requests for specific assets from colleagues and partners unable to find content themselves.

“People would be coming to me all the time - do you have photos of this, do you have photos of that -  and I’d have to manually distribute assets to whoever asked for them.”

The experience of using OneDrive slowed down the process, too.

“In OneDrive, you have to download a file to see it – so it was tedious trying to find stuff for people. I was like – there has to be a better solution.”

OneDrive wasn’t suited for IDRF’s new emphasis on creating high-quality visual content - and lots of it. Sannah set out to find a system that did justice to the charity’s new vision. In her words:

“I wanted to have one centralised location that other people could contribute to without me having to do it”.

Being able to find creative assets without necessarily knowing what their exact file name might be, or which folder they might have been put in, was also a big draw. As Sannah explains, “in the marketing team, sometimes we just need a photo of a smiling girl for example, but don’t know the specific file name.”

That’s why Sannah settled on Dash.

“Charlie [Dash’s Customer Success Manager] talked to me and when he heard about our requirements, he recommended Dash and I was like yeah, I can actually afford this!”

A new home for IDRF’s visual content

After Martin, Dash’s product lead, transferred IDRF’s files over, they were ready to get started.

Most of IDRF has a Dash account now and their teams use the product in different ways. Project managers, for instance, look after various projects across IDRF’s regions. They’ll receive photos and videos from their partners on the ground which they’ll go through and upload to their Dash, ready for the rest of the company to use.

That means the marketing team can search across their entire bank of files to find the best content for their campaigns.

Sannah described how that worked for a recent campaign they ran on building wells to give communities access to clean, safe drinking water.

She asked their designer to search their Dash and find the best images to accompany their marketing. Sannah also gets notified when new images are uploaded and often forwards a few to IDRF’s social team for posting.


Organising assets so they’re easy to find

In their Dash, IDRF use a mix of folders with custom and auto-generated attributes to make it as intuitive as possible for their staff members to find their visual content.

For example, their ‘Pakistan’ folder is full of photos and videos of their projects on the ground within that country. Within folders, individual assets might be tagged with custom attributes created by the marketing team – if it’s related to IDRF’s food security projects, for instance.

On top of that, they use Dash’s AI-generated attributes to tag the actual content of their images like ‘festival’, ‘crowd’ or ‘countryside’. Overall, IDRF have used Dash’s organising features to cover the many ways their staff or partners might want to search for (and find) their content.

Dash gives the team their time back

So how has Dash helped Sannah’s working day?

“It’s saved me a lot of time. I don’t have to be the bottleneck anymore. People don’t have to come through me to find photos, they just have direct access to it - it’s ideal both for me and the organisation.”
“I’d definitely recommend Dash. For growing organisations, absolutely. It’s very important for people to free up access to their photos.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

"It’s saved me a lot of time. I don’t have to be the bottleneck anymore!"

Sannah Khan

IDRF's Marketing Manager

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