Cover Photo Mistakes Even the Pros Make

If you’re one of those people who have put a lot of time into manicuring your nonprofit’s Facebook page, there’s one detail you might have accidentally overlooked – how does your cover photo look on a phone? 

What is a cover photo? A cover photo is the large banner at the top of your Facebook page. It’s important because it is one of the first things that introduces visitors to your nonprofit organization when they visit your nonprofit’s Facebook page. Cover photos are larger than a profile picture, so it can provide more information about your organization.

Recent research shows that more and more people are using Facebook on their phones. In 2020 so far, 167.4 million people in the United States use Facebook on their phones – and that number has steadily increased over the past five years.

So what gives? Why do you need to care about what your cover photo looks like on a phone compared to a computer? Doesn’t it look the same?

To put it simply, no. It doesn’t look the same.

In true Facebook fashion, it’s not that easy. But – this article will help you learn how to create a sharp looking cover photo for your nonprofit’s page in a jiffy.

How to Do It Wrong

If you haven’t worried about optimizing your nonprofit’s Facebook cover photo to look good on a mobile device screen – don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are plenty of famous people who haven’t thought about it either. Here are a few examples:

Rachel Hollis

Cover photo as seen on an iPhone:

Cover photo as seen on a desktop computer:


Planet Water Foundation

Cover photo as seen on an iPhone:

Cover photo as seen on a desktop computer:


Nonprofit Tech for Good

Cover photo as seen on an iPhone:

Cover photo as seen on a desktop computer: 


It’s safe to say by now, you get the picture. Although you might have great information or inspiration to share in your cover photo, it’s best to make sure you’re sharing it professionally across computers and smartphones.

Think about it – what if one of your potential donors or someone who is seeking your nonprofit’s services is checking out your organization on Facebook? The first thing they’ll see on their screen is confusing to them. Half a quote, part of a logo, three quarters of a website address, your organization’s incomplete name. You want to put your best foot forward at all times, especially on social media, for both your donors and the people you serve.

How to Do It Right

For a professional looking Facebook cover photo, use a large rectangle photo that is a minimum size of 820 pixels by 360 pixels. 

Facebook says your cover photo will be displayed at 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones, and 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on your page on computers. To make sure your cover photo is big enough, use the largest dimensions of both display types, which is 820 pixels by 360 pixels. It’s important to use an image that is at least this size so it doesn’t appear blurry. If the picture is too small, Facebook will stretch it to fit, and that doesn’t work well for a professional looking cover photo. 

To avoid the mistakes illustrated earlier in this article you’ll want to make sure any important information, writing, logos, etc. are centralized in the middle of your cover photo like this:

 The Safe Zone is 640 pixels wide and 312 pixels tall. 

Anything outside of this area will be cut off on either a smartphone/tablet screen, or a computer screen.

The most important thing to remember is to keep any and all valuable information towards the middle of the screen.

Unlocking Your Nonprofit Potential

Cover photo as seen on an iPhone:

Cover photo as seen on a desktop computer: 

By keeping all the writing, logo and that goofy grin towards the middle of the picture, everything is visible on both phone and computer screens.


If all these “safe zone” shenanigans are stressing you out, you can always opt to keep things simple and choose a plain cover photo that looks good on any screen size, like Dave Ramsey does:

Dave Ramsey

Cover photo as seen on an iPhone: 

Cover photo as seen on a desktop computer: 

If you want to truly gauge how professional and sharp your cover photo looks on any screen, simply take a look at your nonprofit’s page on Facebook on your smartphone, and then on your computer. That will give you an authentic view of what your donors and the people you serve see when they visit your page. Remember – look at it as though you’re seeing it through their eyes. What makes sense to someone who doesn’t know much about your organization? Is it readable? Is the text too small? Does it look professional? Is everything important in the middle of the photo so it’s visible on all screens?

When in doubt, take the simple road. A cover photo that is a simple picture without any bells and whistles is infinitely better than one with a partially cut off logo, muddled down with too much information, or an unreadable quote.

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