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Building a New Foundation in 2020: Part III: Getting Involved in Your Community

If there is a positive side to the pandemic, it’s that we’re all in the crisis together. You’re not the only one hunkered down over the last few months. You’re also not the only one frustrated, anxious, bored, impatient and missing contact with friends and clients.

That means there’s an opportunity for you to take a leadership position in your community and get more involved. It’s all about being helpful.

Nothing can build your reputation more than being involved in your community, and it’s with or without a camera in your hands. It’s great to have opportunities to show off your artistic talents, but this is about being involved and giving back. And for many of you, social distancing creates a challenge when it comes to a camera in your hands and working directly with clients.

Here’s the bottom line – you’re looking for your community to be good to you, so you’ve got to be good to your community. From a business standpoint, it could be called cause-related marketing; from a personal quality of life, it will make you feel good.

So often I’ve heard photographers complain about there being so little going on in their community. Not everything you do is going to put you in the running for the Nobel Prize. Look for opportunities just to give back. There’s no such thing as a project that’s too small.

Here some examples:

  • Todd White teamed up with the Project Graduation team in his community and provided porch-traits of kids in their prom attire, since prom was postponed, and in some schools canceled.
  • Every school is short on funds. The arts, the yearbook, and the school paper are always the first to suffer. So, offer your services online to help the camera club. Find out who the teacher is who’s responsible for the yearbook or the school paper and offer your services, again online. Teach a class on photography for students or, for that matter, an adult education class. Zoom has made it so easy to have a visual presence, and it’s an opportunity for you to be helpful and remind the community you’re an artist.
  • Develop a community calendar: Use your blog/website to share a community calendar helping spread the word about events and reopening of businesses.
  • Volunteer to be on various committees in the community who need help spreading the concept of what they’re doing. Something as simple as being a part of a phone tree to help get information to people puts you in a position of giving back!

The new normal is all taking place in social media, on the phone, and on the Internet. That’s creating some remarkable opportunities for you to stand out and increase your involvement in the community.

Remember, people like buying products from companies they perceive as giving back!