Intro by Skip Cohen Years ago at a workshop in…
Are You Involved in Your Community?
I’ve written a lot about fund-raisers, charities and 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 coined the expression “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 back, but 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 their community. I’ve actually 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 and Alzheimer’s – 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 has cropped up everywhere, especially photographers helping families with portraits before being deployed and upon their return.
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. Sometimes it’s fun to leave out your photography skills initially, bringing them into play when there’s something to document or a project 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.”