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Where to find free diverse and inclusive stock images for your charity

20 January 2021

by Media Trust



Writing great copy for your website, email and social media posts is just one aspect of good content marketing. Another important aspect is making your content visually appealing, using photos, graphics or video. Selecting the right visual will really help bring your copy to life and ensure your content stands out on social media.

Are your images representative?  

A key question to ask yourself when choosing visuals is whether they reflect the diversity of your beneficiaries, staff, volunteers and other key stakeholder groups. When people see your content, do they find it relatable? If not, you most likely have a diversity and inclusion problem.  

According to the latest Census data (2011), 13 per cent of people living in the UK belong to Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups but you only need to look at the websites or social media feeds of many charities to see how communities of colour are vastly under-represented in charity marketing and commsSo how can we fix this 

Make diverse and inclusive comms a priority 

At Media Trust, we believe in the power of the media to change lives. Since 1994, we have been working in partnership with the media and creative industry to give charities, under-represented groups and young people a stronger voice because we believe that it’s only when everyone has a voice that we’ll get to a more equal society.  

This year, our programmes are prioritising some of the most pressing issues of our time – namely inequality, disability, youth unemployment, climate change, mental health, economic inclusion and heritage preservationWe’re excited to be enhancing the strategic comms capabilities of small and medium sized charities doing vital work in all of these key areas. But an equally big priority for us is to ensure we’re giving a voice to the most impacted but often most under-represented individuals and communities and supporting the charities that advocate for these often hidden and under-served groups. We also want to train and empower more diverse spokespeopleAt Media Trust, we’re determined to do a better job of prioritising diverse and inclusive communications – if we all commit to this, collectively we believe we can make a real difference.  

Where to find free diverse and inclusive images 

Whilst it’s always best to use your own images, this isn’t always possible given time, budget or other constraints. That’s why we’ve put together this list of stock photo sites where you can find great stock imagesMost are completely free to use but may require that you credit the photographer or illustrator so make sure you read the terms and conditions beforehandSome require payment but, in our experience, getting the absolutely right image is often well worth the investment.  


Humaans is a mix and match illustration library. You can use existing illustrations and then change the position of the head/body/legs, the hairstyle,  the clothing and much more. Humaans allows you to create unique illustrations of people for your comms and marketing – all for free.  

Black Illustrations  

As a web designer, John D Saunders found it challenging to find enough diverse images of Black people to use in his website illustrations. To address this issue, he founded Black Illustrations and, along with a community of designers, they created hundreds of illustrations of black people in various settings for marketeers to use.  

There are a host of illustration packs to choose from such as the Education Illustration Pack, the Disability Illustration Packthe STEM Illustration Pack and more. Some packs are free to use, however most have a cost attached. Prices ranges from $9 to $38 per pack or you can take out a paid subscription for access to all the exciting packs as well as new ones. 


Looking for high-quality, beautiful images of Black and Brown people that don’t look like stock photos? Then look no further than Nappy. 

It’s completely free to use and, by using their photos, you’ll be helping to increase representation and diversity.  

Despora by The Unmistakables  

South Asians make up 5% of the UK population – the largest percentage of the total BAME population in the UK – yet images of them are often narrowly stereotypical 

Diversity and inclusivity consultancy The Unmistakables has launched a free photo collection called ‘Despora, which aims to represent this community as “modern, diverse and breaking down barriers and boundaries”. 

UKBlackTech stock photos 

UKBlackTech is on a mission to make the UK the most ethnically diverse tech ecosystem in the world.” But to make that happen, it’s essential to not only see equity and representation at decisionmaking level in tech but to also ensure that the tech industry, services and tools reflect both their staff and the communities they are trying to serve. To help with this representation, they have a free stock photo image library for anyone to use.  


Canva is a free design tool, with millions of photos, icons, elements and illustrations to help you create engaging content. Charities can apply to get Canva’s pro version for free, which allows you to save money and gives you free access to their premium images.  

Simply search in the Photo or Elements section of the platform using terms such as ‘diversity’, ‘Black women’, ‘disabled’ –  and you’ll find hundreds of suggestions. Once you click on a few that you like, you’ll see ‘Magic recommendations,’ which bundle similar images together for you.  

We all have a role to play in embedding diversity and inclusion. So many charities are already doing this internally when it comes to staff, volunteers and their board members. But often they fall short when it comes to reflecting the diversity of the people they serve in their external communications. By using more diverse and inclusive images and illustrations, we can all play our part in making the sector more representative. 

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