I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and just needed to get my ideas focused (intentional pun).
Recently I’ve been reading Bill Clinton’s book, Giving, as well as another book called The Soul of Money (which I heard about on Kelli’s blog, a young woman who makes constant differences in the world). Both books, on different levels, are about what you can do to give back and transform your own life in the process.
President Obama was here the other night and I went to hear him speak at Arizona State University and giving was his main theme, too. And, I have worked for a large nonprofit for many, many years and for 5 of those years I worked for the fundraising part of it. I know what giving $$ can do and I think it’s important to give to groups one feels strongly about.
Also there is a blog I read everyday called How I Changed the World Today. The writer, Julia, does something every single day to help the world. She doesn’t write about it to brag or to sound important but to hopefully influence others as well as to motivate herself to give in some way everyday.
But face it, much as I would like to give to a lot of groups, I can’t, because I’m not rich. I give to some and would like to give more to them and others. But Bill Clinton (and President Obama) speak of giving your time, your effort, etc.–not just your $$.
So…I’ve been trying to think of ways I can “change the world” through photography and/or blogging, both things I have fun doing.
Here are some I have thought of and I would love to hear if you have some other ideas on this subject:
1. Contribute your artwork to fundraisers. I have done that about 5 times and find it really fun and fairly rewarding when your work sells. The only problem with this is there just aren’t that many around or at least it’s hard to find out about them so it’s just an occasional thing. I’d like to be doing it a lot more.
2. Contribute your photography services to a nonprofit. A lot of them hire professional photographers to shoot their events, their donors, the staff, the recipients of their services, etc., but I would think the smaller ones would rather use free services…especially in these hard economic times when some charities are going under.
3. Sell your photos yourself and donate proceeds to charities. Indicate that is your purpose before you sell as that may further influence buyers to purchase your work. Try to sell ’em on your blog.
4. Blog about your favorite charities, use photos of their facilities (if it’s a zoo or museum or an actual physical place), in the hopes of getting your readers to donate. This I have done several times.
5. Give a gift of photography to someone who needs it. On another photoblog I read, just today the writer, Toni, mentioned that her next door neighbors’ son was unable to have his senior portraits taken because the dad had lost his job and they just couldn’t afford it. So she is shooting the kid’s portraits as a gift. She suggested calling local high schools (the guidance counselors) and offering your free services to kids who can’t afford to pay for their photos. This is a great idea but probably one I wouldn’t do personally at this time as shooting portraits is not my strong suit.
6. Or like Julia, who I mentioned in paragraph 4, blog about doing something everyday, even if it’s a small thing, so you force yourself to do something as well as possibly inspire others.
7. Be a photojournalist. We can’t all work for TIME or even our local paper but we can do it on a smaller, more local level by championing a cause…and putting it on our blog, or in an art show at your school, if you’re a student, maybe your church, a coffeehouse, somewhere…Maybe you could have a box out for people to donate canned goods to your local food bank or shelter when they come to your show. Tell the local paper about your exhibit, get the word out.
8. Make photo gifts and birthday cards for your friends, thereby saving $$ (which you could even then donate) or reaching an agreement with some of your friends (as one group of my friends and I did this year) that we would give monetary gifts to each others’ favorite charities in our honor instead of giving gifts as we normally do–but still get together to celebrate the birthdays, of course.
Here’s another good blog for ideas to change the world as well as an interview with a photojournalist who wants to do just that.
My view of the world from my front porch:
I’m involved in this same discussion on a photography forum where others have contributed more suggestions. Check it out.
Do you have any other ideas?