Episode 156 – How Giving Back Can Help You Grow Your Photography Business

How Giving Back Can Help You Grow Your Photography Business


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Photographers are some of the most generous, caring, and philanthropic people on the planet.

We have huge hearts and we are givers!! 

In fact, one of the core values of my team and of our students here at the Photography Business Institute is to lift as we climb. 

We even reward our students with a lanyard pin when they partner with a charity and raise $1,000 or more!

It teaches our students that we don’t have to wait until we have a big pile of money in our lives to be able to make a difference in the world!

Over the years, together with our audience of photographers, we’ve done a LOT for charities whose missions we love.

We raised over $50,000 for Operation Smile – which helps provide surgeries for facial deformities (like cleft lip and cleft palate).

We have raised over $100,000 (over four years at our event, Go Boutique Live) for Operation Underground Railroad – which rescues children from sex trafficking.

We did all of this with our community of photographers.

It wasn’t just us writing a check, it was all of us coming together!

So today I want to share how YOU can lift as you climb and use your desire to help your community to GROW your photography business. 

Here are some questions you might be asking yourself… 

How do I choose a charity?

I really think the place to start is to find one that aligns with your passion.

Then it’s easier to get excited and stay motivated!

Are you excited and passionate about youth sports?

In my case, I photograph kids, families, and pets, so I gravitate toward charities whose missions serve these groups.

But if you have something that’s happened to someone in your family and you’ve been touched by a certain organization, you can tell your personal story and it means so much more.

What size of charity is the best?

Of course, there are large national charities and even international ones!

Those are great.

But I really recommend starting with smaller, local charities.

For example, my sister-in-law runs one for cochlear implant awareness and raises money to help people who can’t get their cochlear implants repaired.

There are a lot of really excellent charities out there that are making a difference.

For us at Photography Business Institute, we wanted to have more of a global impact and we wanted to work with a charity that had that global footprint, which is why we chose Operation Underground Railroad and Operation Smile. 

How do I raise money for charity AND grow my business?

I know that you don’t have hours to just volunteer all of your time.

Also, when I talk about partnering with charities, I am not going to tell you to photograph their event for free, okay?

That is not what we do. 

One of my favorite ways to partner with a charity is having them promote you for a limited time.

And when people come to you, whether it’s a day or a weekend, or even a month, you are donating your creation fee to that charity. 

So whether it’s $100 or $200, you donate it to the charity you’re partnering with. 

Here’s why that works: You’re getting exposure to new people!!

These are not your clients, they are coming from the charity.

Every year my students in our Peak Performance Coaching program run a promotion we created together called Pooch Playoffs.

It’s really like March Madness and it benefits local charities in their individual markets. 

It’s a bracket just like the NCAA basketball bracket.

People vote and their dogs get advanced just like in the NCAA tournament!

Collectively, our students have raised tens of thousands of dollars for pet charities around the world.

How do I get the word out?

Part of creating partnerships with charities is having open communication upfront.

This isn’t just you out there raising money for the charity and they don’t have any part in it. 

When I’m working with a charity to grow my photography business, I need to have that conversation upfront. 

For me, a right-fit charity has a donor list and they’re willing to help promote my business to their audience.

That’s what helps me get in front of new clients and it’s what allows them to get money generated for their charity.

Now, not every charity can do that.

And that’s okay!

There might be other ways to work with them, and that’s one of the things we coach our students on. 

Just like in sales, we have to find out what they need and how we can create something that helps them, and also helps us.

How do I supercharge my results?! 

This is such a great opportunity to get your local media involved!

Let them know about your partnership!

They are dying for good news to report on.

And we know that when they cover you and the money you raised, it makes you look so amazing in your community, and it creates value for what you’re doing. 

People want to work with businesses who are supporting their local community, and that’s you.

So don’t wait for the media to find you.

You get out there, pick up the phone and tell them what you are doing! 

I hope you can use these ideas to lift as you climb and grow your photography business in the process.

If everybody just did a little bit, think about how much good we could do in the world together!

Download the Episode Transcript Here

How Giving Back Can Help You Grow Your Photography Business
Episode 221 – What #FamilyFirst Really Means

Family first is our credo, our motto, one of the three pieces of our framework at the Photography Business Institute, and the reason I have taken so many risks in my career when I could have had a nice well-paying, safe job that came with golden handcuffs to my desk....