by Skip Cohen
This is the seventh installment in the Building Blocks series. I've hit on key points on your website, blog and blog topics, partnerships, relationship building, and a long list of peripheral things to do now. Even though post-pandemic normalcy seems like it's right around the corner because of the vaccine, that doesn't mean your business can survive if you're complacent.
So, here's one of the most essential brand-builders to consider RIGHT NOW: Community involvement! And it's so easy for you to stand out as a leader.
The pandemic has everyone hunkered down. Fund-raising events you would have supported in the past are few and far between. Live events aren't happening - but that hasn't changed the need for volunteers and support in your community. From being directly involved with a non-profit you believe in, to helping spread the word about upcoming fundraisers, there's so much you can do.
There are local groups and national programs, and it doesn't matter if they're photo-centric or not. You're looking for things you can do to help, with or without a camera in your hands. For example, here's one that's national and carries with it a huge client responsibility but an even bigger payback when it comes to tugging on your heartstrings - Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.
NILMDTS launches its February recruitment campaign next month, and I'll be sharing more great information about this group in the weeks ahead. I'm a big fan of the support they provide to families when they need help the most. And while some of you may think it's too gut-wrenching or morbid to photograph a dying child, read this post.
"I've never heard a thank you that left me so sad, and yet so proud. I walked out knowing that the images I had taken weren't just pictures - they were someone's memories. They mattered."
Cyd Lapour, NILMDTS Volunteer
My point is about giving back - at any level. NILMDTS is a wonderful organization, but there's no such thing as an effort too small.
From mentoring a photographer just starting out to working with the local high school on a better yearbook, there's something or someone in your community who needs help. Even easier, being involved in your community in some way doesn't have to involve photography, just a little effort and your time.
Use your blog to raise awareness with posts about the need for volunteers and support for various community groups. Share a community calendar about upcoming nonprofit events. Be a leader in giving back!
I'm so surprised by the number of people who do so little and think that a donation to a particular charity once a year is enough. When put on the spot, they'll respond with something about looking for the right charity. You're not buying a car, just getting involved in helping people.
Remember, people like buying products and services from companies they perceive are giving back to the community. You're looking for the community to be good to you - so you better make sure you're being good to your community!
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Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.