“How were you able to start marketing through a charity?”
This is such a great question and one that I am often asked. Although my involvement with the March of Dimes came from the local director reaching out to me, there are some steps you can take to utilize your photographs in a charitable way to market your studio.
Here are my top tips for marketing through a charity by defining your mission:
- Be passionate. Regardless of the charity you choose, you have to have sincere passion for the cause. What do you love? What touches your heart? Is there a cause that reaches close to home, or that has affected you personally?
- Be proactive. Charities always need photography of their events. I got started with the March of Dimes by using the director’s point-and-shoot to document the event, since the “official” photographer was a no-show!
- Be inventive. Have meetings with the director(s) to ask if there is an event coming up and brainstorm how you can add to the mission of that event. My favorite event every year was the Chef’s Auction. I would photograph 12 to 15 children and create a board that displayed their images, birth weight, and something that made the child special.
- Do your own thing. While working with the March of Dimes, I had two fundraisers that I did on my own to benefit them. A lot of it was trial and error, but the ultimate goal was to create awareness amongst my current clients and then span into the March of Dimes database.
- Logos! I was nervous to include my logo on my mission boards, on the calendar, or on fundraiser invitations. I wanted the focus to be solely on the overall mission. But what I learned quickly was that those viewing the images really wanted to know who captured them!
- Give freely. With anything, good intentions prevail. Going into the March of Dimes, I wanted to bless them with my photographic talents in order to promote their overall goals. My successes came organically from working with them for a few years.
- Stick to it. Working in the marketing field in the beginning stage of my own business, I learned that you have to keep at something for some time to see if it is really working for you. This stands true with charities. I have found there were a lot of attendees that were excited to see what I had come up with that year.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask local printers, national printers and printers you want to work with for a discount. Tell them what you are doing and see how they can help. Many printers are happy to offer a discount to make it cost-effective to get large prints for a charity.
About Katie Whitcomb
Katie Whitcomb has been photographing weddings since 2005 and went full force in 2009 with her husband at her side. Since then, Katie has learned the ups and downs of running her own business while balancing life as a family. She currently lives in South Bend, IN but loves any excuse to travel.