We're down to 120 days left of 2013. The fourth quarter of the year, now just 30 days away, brings with it one opportunity after another for you to get involved in helping to make a difference in the world. Think about it for a second - if every photographer all of us know, got involved with one charitable cause or event in the next 120 days, what an impact we could all have.
So, here's my challenge to you: Send me one sentence about the organization you're committed to work with between now and the end of the year. (Skip@mei500.com) Include the URL for the event or group and the URL for your own site. I'll keep a running list and next week, we'll publish a list with the links to each event or organization and your site. And remember, there's no such thing as anything too small. Everything you do has an impact in helping others.
I’ve written a lot about fund-raisers, charities and simply being involved in your community, but there’s no such thing as writing too much. Jay Conrad Levinson, who’s best known for his expertise in marketing and coining the words “Guerilla Marketing” lists “being involved in your community” near the top of the 100 things guerilla marketers need to do.
Why? Because people like buying products and services from companies they perceive as giving something back. I think it goes a lot deeper. You’re looking for your community to be good to you. So, it’s pretty simple to figure out you need to be good to your community.
What amazes me sometimes is how many people can’t find anything in the community. I’ve even heard photographers say, “There’s really nothing going on around here to be involved with!”
There are so many ways to get involved in your community:
- Check out the local organizations like Kiwanis, Exchange Club, Rotary etc.
- Talk to the president of the local PTA and don’t forget there are usually several, with the elementary, middle, junior and high schools.
- Got a local hospital? They’re always looking for help.
- All of the sports teams from soccer to little league always need help.
- How about talking to the guidance counselors at the high school and finding out about the school paper and yearbook?
- Big Brother, Big Sister, local children’s charities can’t find enough help, ever!
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out where the greatest needs are in your community.
- Animal and pet shelters always need help.
- Retirement and senior citizen homes
- Then there are all the usual national charities supporting the fight against breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes – you name it and there’s an organization out there trying to make the world a better place.
- Food kitchens and efforts to help the homeless abound in most of the larger cities.
- Support for our military have cropped up everywhere, especially photographers helping families with portraits before being deployed and upon their return.
- Looking for something more photo-centric - check out the groups on the SCU Giving Back page.
The list goes on and on with opportunities for you to be involved. Most important of all, your camera doesn’t need to be part of the equation in terms of people getting to know you believe in giving back. In fact, sometimes it’s fun to leave out your photography skills initially, bringing them into play when there’s something to document or a project that you can help create all around imaging.
There’s one last reason why it’s so important to give back…it makes you feel good! Paul Newman said it best,
“I respect generosity in people, and I respect it in companies too. I don’t look at it as philanthropy; I see it as in investment in the community.”
Illustration Credit: © sato - Fotolia.com