It all began in Kindergarten. Well, my first son’s Kindergarten. As a parent of young children I was passionate to make a difference for the place where my children would spend most of their days for the next nine years. I was new to the school community and I didn’t know the auction chairs but they were receptive to me and my ideas in raising money for the school. I thought I would go in with a bang. A huge portrait package offer for the live auction. The night of the auction, my offer came up and there were, well…crickets. Looking back I see why. I was new to the parent community, my package was too big for that school and I knew I didn’t want to repeat it.
Undaunted, the auction chairs and I brainstormed. If one big offer was too much, what about a smaller offer with a broader reach? The quote “One person can’t do everything, but everyone can do something” resonated with our theme. By encouraging participation, loyalty, tradition and a valuable offer in a small package we matched our potential for success. Since that first auction, we have done seven more auctions and recently added additional schools. In that time we have raised $41,000 for area schools! When I reflect on that big number it takes my breath away. It is certainly the power of the people.
I knew in doing this project that I would gain publicity, recognition and qualified clients. What I did not know is that I would receive such an outpouring of excitement, loyalty and parents looking forward to the next year’s images. I didn’t expect to be approached on the playground with thrilled parents who had participated every year or had finally participated and had regrets they hadn’t signed up sooner. I didn’t anticipate meeting new amazing clients who were friends of parents that I didn’t know, but I had photographed their children. Or meeting parents in the dentist waiting room who said they had been getting my photos for years through the school project and were finally ready for their own family portrait.
My philosophy with this project is “Go Deep, Not Wide.” By dedicating myself to the success of this project and returning year after year to build upon it’s success, the rewards are richer and more satisfying.
When I saw the numbers add up this year, I realized that this project is not only a huge win for the schools I fundraise for, it is a win for my business, in bringing me loyal, qualified and value-seeking clients. That was when I realized I wanted to share this concept with other photographers. It is a simple concept, but over seven years I’ve refined it with systems, templates and now an easy streamlined way to approach and work with more schools.
I encourage portrait photographers who are looking to make a valuable difference in their community as well as gain clients who value your work to invest in the Portrait Project Charity Kit. It will jump start your entry giving you everything you need, as well as pitfalls to avoid and get you up and running seamlessly! Don’t wait to make a difference! Schools are already planning their charity auctions for next spring! I’ve been booked for two already! Invest now and begin your own path of Giving Back is Good for Business.
If you are my client or a parent that would like a photographer to come to YOUR school to begin a project like this, just go to the Contact page and send me a note. For the success of the fundraiser, it is important to use a professional photographer. In providing high quality portraits, your fundraiser will generate more income and happier parents!
“Laura’s charitable marketing program has everything you need to launch a campaign. Raise money for your charity and make money as a business: win/win!” Lori Nordstrom, professional photographer and PPA certified business consultant