Thursday, May 9, 2013

Share Your Gift

by Judy

"The purpose of life is to discover your gift, the meaning of life is to give it away."
-author unknown-

I recently donated two framed prints of my work to a silent auction at our local hospital. As I prepared the photos I began thinking of other ways I could give back using my photography. Over the years I had heard of different organizations who use volunteer photographers to help their cause, but I had never really delved into the information until now.

The list of organizations is huge, so I will share just a few of them here.  Some use strictly professional photographers, while others use professional and experienced amateurs for their cause.

 1. Operation Love Reunited. One that is near and dear to my heart, being a military family, and having endured a long deployment. This organization "provides military families with a free photo session prior to deployment, mid deployment, and/or upon returning home. Professional photographers only.

2. Flashes of Hope. This is a non-profit group that "changes the way children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses see themselves through the gift of photography." Flashes of Hope also raises funds for pediatric cancer research. Professional photographers only.

3. Photophilanthropy. This site offers a list of non-profit organizations looking for volunteer photographers. Professional and amateur photographers used, depending upon the organization.

4. Help-Portrait. According to the Help-Portrait website this idea is "more of an international movement, rather than an organization."  You find someone in need. You take their portrait. You print and deliver their portrait to them. Both professional and experienced amateur photographers used.

5. Heart Gallery. This organization brings awareness to children available and waiting for adoption. There are state chapters of this organization, so check if your state uses professional only, or professional and experienced amateur photographers.

6. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  This amazing organization "trains, educates, and mobilizes professional quality photographers to provide beautiful heirloom portraits to families facing the untimely death of an infant."  Both professional and experienced amateur photographers used.

It was very difficult to choose which organizations to choose for this list. There are many, many more out there and researching online will bring you to their websites so you can see if they are a good fit for you.

Of course, in addition to all of the great national and state organizations that utilize photographers for their cause, there are many places in our own communities where we may be able to help. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Church fundraisers. Donate prints/cards/paintings to raise funds.

2. Libraries. Donate prints for display/fundraising.

3. Boys and Girls Clubs. Take portraits for each member/make yearbook or video for each member.

4. Animal Shelters/Local Humane Society. Take portraits for advertising purposes/fundraising for awareness.

5. Retirement Homes/Assisted Living. Take portraits of seniors that they can share with their family members who live far away.

6. Local Musicians and Benefit Concerts. Take portraits for advertising/posters to promote and raise funds.

7. Your child's gymnastic/karate/dance/other sports clubs. Take photos to make a yearbook and video for each member.

8. Give free basic photography lessons at your community center.

 I know I've only touched on all of the great places we can share our gift. I would love to hear where you've used your gift to help others. Please share any additional ideas with us in the comment section below.


Carol said...

This blog is supposed to be about inspiration, and this hits the mark! You are a good person, Miss Judy. I have not really thought about donations before, but I have given prints to individuals when they've touched my life in some way. Thanks for encouraging me to expand my thinking.

AFishGirl said...

So good to wake up and read this, Judy. Which says yes, I wake up, oatmeal, and the tea is at the computer where I hit FOL first. That's how the day starts. Thanks for your big loving heart and this post.

Carol said...

Dear Pam - How nice that we start your day. Thanks for the love

Katie said...

Thank you for all the wonderful organizations you've listed, I'm going to keep this list in my "favorites" folder in my bookmarks so I can always have it handy.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this post. Thank you for listing the organizations that can all use a photographer's help. But thank you especially for the idea that we can all give back in such a simple way in our own communities using our skills and artistic vision. Just taking portraits for those who cannot afford them is one way...Last year I designed and sold a collection of photo postcards called Sparks of Grace and donated the proceeds to a local hospice trying to get off the ground. It taught me a lot and was so rewarding. If we all did one little thing to give back with our photography we could have an enormous impact!

CarolHart said...

Such a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing this list of organizations we can explore as well as your list of other ideas for giving back with our photography. I belong to a gardening association and donate my time and photography taking pictures of their events and the beautiful garden they maintain.

Dotti said...

Such great suggestions! There are so many ways that we can give back to our communities ... and not only with our photography. We all have other skills that are useful, too, if we think about it. Great list, great post, great ideas, Judy. Thank you!

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Kim Stevens said...

Judy what a fabulous post and great ideas on how to give back to our communities. Thank you so much for sharing all these links, I will surely check these out!!

Kim Stevens said...

Oh, and I adore your photo...LoVE!!

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