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Photography Question 
Janice A. Hartmann
 

Fund-raiser start-up business?


 
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Taken along the Illinois river near Chillicothe.
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I am thinking of starting a fund-raiser photography business and would like some feedback. I was thinking of asking $30 ($20 for me and $10 per family,couple, or single I photograph to go towards the fhund-raiser) for their $30 I would convert all the photos taken of them onto a CD for them to print. I am thinking I'll need a laptop to hold my photos until I get home to convert them - lighting? and a back drop? I was thinking too, if I use a blue backdrop I could photoshop in a photo of their choice as the backdrop? ie:house, garden, favorite vacation spot.

I appriciate any suggestions on this..thanks!


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2/19/2007 8:30:12 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Kind of an interesting idea Janice, but before you get too far ahead of yourself, first, those fees sound awfully low. I think you need to charge much more for your time: Depending on where you live, I'd take it upward towards $100-200 bucks per shot. $10-20 is a "loss-leader" like Sears or walmart to get people into the store. I think you need much more profit in this thing to make it effective for the non-profit and worthwhile for you.

Also, I'm not clear on fund raising for who, exactly? Like local or national non-profits? If so, you're going to need their blessing, in writing, and probably register with the IRS. among other outfits. If you haven't done so yet, I'd talk to a fund raising person at say, United Way and get their input. And you ought to talk to an accountant and see what's required of you in terms of reporting and paperwork, setting up your books etc.

It's not a bad idea at all, quite admirable in fact, but you really ought to work out those pesky financial details before diving into background colors and media.

Take it light ;>)
Mark


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2/19/2007 9:15:19 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Janice;

Mark has, as usual, offered your some good advice on your idea. However, since I spent 26 years working in not-for-profits, I thought I’d add my two cents worth in hopes that it will help.

First and foremost: Many people make the mistake of thinking that because a charitable group relies on donations from the community that their standards are not as high as a for profit group. This type of thinking can be disastrous to your reputation! The governing boards of most non-profits are comprised of people from the community who often have a great deal of money and/or contacts within that community. If you do quality work you may have a good chance of getting other work through referrals from these board members. Therefore, it becomes even more essential that your prices – what you charge as an overall fee prior to giving the charitable group their share – be within the normal price range of your area. Do not under price your work unless you always under price your work. (Which you should not be doing anyway). The product needs to be as good as anything you produce. Of-course you are not going this just to get your name out into the community; however, you must never forget that anything that has your name on it will reflect on you directly.

Second: If you have never worked with a non-profit you need to understand something about how most operate. While every charitable group is pleased when someone offers to help them raise money in an appropriate way, most are quite cautious about associating themselves with any unknown entity that has no track record in the community. They need to know that the person offering help is legitimate; committed to their cause and capable of following through with their part of the deal.

Third: You will need to prove yourself to the non-profit just as you need to prove yourself to a potential client. This means having at least an informal portfolio of images that you can show the people interested in your proposal.

Fourth: Be cautious about which non-profit group you select – just as legitimate groups are cautious about becoming involved with an unknown person, you need to know that not all non-profits are legitimate and that some will, unfortunately, take advantage of your generosity. Mark touched on the idea of contacting the local United Way. This is an excellent suggestion since they can tell you who is legitimate and who would be most likely to appreciate your proposed service. Another source for determining both the legitimacy and stability of a non-profit group is your state’s attorney general’s office. The AG’s office (in most states) maintains a list of not-for-profit groups; their finances and fund raising histories. This is public information and often can be accessed on the Internet.

Finally, I also applaud your idea and hope that all of this will not prove so daunting that you give up on the idea! All of what I have written sounds much more complicated than it truly is. You probably already have some ideas of agencies/groups with whom you’d like to work. I wish you well with your idea and if you have more questions, please come back and let us help.

Irene


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2/20/2007 5:38:22 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Wow Irene!!! You really hit those nails on the heads! Gr8 point #1, non-profit doesn't mean "no-profit". So Janice, ask what you really feel you should charge for the work to earn some money off this endeavor because (and here's point #2) you would get taken advantage of AND quickly burn out on an otherwise solid and generous offering.

Also, something I forgot yesterday, talk to an accountant about how YOU can deduct your services provided to a non-profit because that would have some tax advantages to you too.

M.


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2/20/2007 8:59:55 AM

 
Janice A. Hartmann  
 
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Thanks so much Mark and Irene for your fabulous feedback! Right now this project is in the "idea phase" and that is why I need input. I will continue to pursue the idea and maybe get some feedback from local photographers, and definitely the United Way. I was thinking of our local library, schools, and area St. Jude's Children's Hospital to start with. I have shot three weddings for family members, but never anything "professionally".


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2/21/2007 7:24:18 PM

 
Renee I. Gaw
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/21/2005
 
 
  I Love My Brother
I Love My Brother
I know it's not in focus...But I love when my kidz play nice together. Focused or not, I love their smiles.
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Nikon Coolpix 5700...
 
 
There is great practical and realistic advise here and that is most important. If you chose to go through with the fundraiser, and share the story of your journey with us, it might help more than just the people receiving the funds. I love this idea because it might encourage others fallow, including your local photographers. There is an inspiring article in the Rangefinder Magazine titled "Pay It Forward". http://www.rangefindermag.com/magazine/Nov06/showpage.taf?page=66. I hope it works out for you, good luck.

Renee Gaw


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2/22/2007 12:38:50 AM

 
Janice A. Hartmann   Renee,
Thanks so much for this inspiring article! I am more excited than ever!


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2/22/2007 4:42:55 AM

 
Linda Finstad
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/20/2006
  Hi
I have been asked by a couple of animal charities to do a fund raiser for them - they havent given me any details of how they want it to work,
Has anyone any ideas as to a format that will benifit everyone - I dont work for free, I stopped devaluing myself and my work that way some time ago, but I do want to help.
I would value your feedback

thanks


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2/24/2007 3:45:45 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Linda !
The old adage "the difficult we do right away, the impossible costs more money" applies in these situations, I think.

I think anyone who does this work professionally gets the same hype from non-profits. The way to approach it is the same as any other job. You want to help, but non-profit doesn't mean "NO profit" and they know it. Set a fair price for your services including prints.

If you discount anything, talk to your accountant to see what percentage you can deduct on state and federal taxes as a donation to a charitable organization (that will give you their ID number for your tax returns).

Some of us, me included, have a favorite charity that we always shoot for nothing, usually on an annual basis. For example, I shoot the county Special Olympics for United Way one day a year. I meet a lot of nice people doing the grip and grin work, the contestants are just super people, I get free food. :>))) and once in awhile, I meet a prospective client. It's fun for me and a chance to give something back to the community. That's an all or nothing kinda deal, ya know? And I take a deduction for a full day's commercial work. I'm sure others here have different approaches too.

Whaddya think?
Take it light.
Mark


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2/24/2007 4:19:17 PM

 
Linda Finstad
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/20/2006
  Hi Mark
I do an annual gig at the animal shelter for free - I shoot as many of their adoption animals as possible, for them to use on their web site and try and get 12 really nice shots for their calender, I put all the images on a CD along with a few 8 x 10's
This is my favorite charity,

When you say you shoot the special Olympics - what do you give the organisers and what do they want your pics for?
Are they selling images to the contestants (as a fund raiser)?
or using them in their future ad campaigns?

I did a profit split photo day at a local riding school last year that went very well, and I have some ideas on how it will work even better this year.

Perhaps that is the way to go with the charities that have approached me.

thanks for listening - its so nice to be able to bounce ideas.
I really appreciate this forum

A big thank you to everyone


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2/24/2007 5:00:41 PM

 
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