Illustration Credit: © Welf Aaron - Fotolia.com
If you find yourself stumped on ideas on how to get more involved, here are a few suggestions:
- Join one of the service organizations in your community. Kiwanis, Exchange Club, Rotary and whoever I've missed, get involved with one of them. This is about you building a relationship with other members of the community and developing awareness for your own ability to be a "mover and a shaker".
- Get to know everybody at the Chamber of Commerce.
- Offer your services to the PTA and school district. There isn't a school system in the country that has all the money they need. When funds start to dry up, the first extra-curricular activities to suffer are the yearbook, photo club and school newsletter. You can be an incredible mentor and inspiration to helping them stay on track.
- Teach an adult education class in photography. Let's raise the bar on "Uncle Harry's" abilities and also teach him to respect the skill set of professional photographers.
- Photograph and participate in any community charity event. Whether you're photographing the event or participating in it directly, this is about being involved.
- Be helpful in your blog. Offer suggestions on how to take better pictures, great locations in the community and awareness for local photo-centric events.
- Got a hospital in your town? Corey Schwartz had a vision and it's one of the best guest posts on community involvement on the SCU site. It was a book project to support Phoenix Children's Hospital and it's sill giving back. Just read the post and you'll understand the potential for your own area.
- Pound the pavement! Get out and introduce yourself to every business within a 2-3 mile radius of your location. You don't have to be selling anything, just make an introduction and be helpful.
- Tie in with a local animal shelter. It's been a few years since Vicki Taufer did her first Dog Days of Summer promotion to raise money, food and awareness for the Peoria Animal Shelter. However, the result was her studio growing to become known as the leading place to go for pet photography.
Here's another aspect to why this is so important. Years ago I heard Jay Conrad Levinson, the father of Guerrilla Marketing, speak. In his top one hundred things guerrilla marketers need to do was be involved in their community. Why? Because people like buying products from companies they perceive as giving back.
So, what are you waiting for?