Adding Value to a charity event is worth the cost

I had a very interesting event on Saturday, a charity event for a local business group. The event wasn’t interesting because it was anything different from a normal fund raising evening. The usual charity auction, tombola, sponsors’ and games to collect money for the charity. It was interesting more in the way I organized the photography.

In previous years they have used local photographers to photograph the couples as they came in to the event and tried to get the punters to purchase prints on the night. Last year this had become a total failure with hardly anyone purchasing prints and therefore no net gain for the charity for having a photographer there. And the photographer in question made a loss.

When I was asked if I would like to cover the event my first instincts were to say no, the effort of setting up a studio type area and the rush of producing prints on the night can be stressful and without back-up help to be selling while you are still shooting can be costly if the desired sales aren’t forthcoming.

Since the charity and the business group both needed publicity shots from the event it was essential that someone capable was employed to cover the event. So I suggested an alternative method of coverage that would both assure I covered my costs yet added value to the event and gave both the charity and business group access to the publicity pictures they required. I charged the organizers to cover the event.

Charity auction
Sponsored auction prizes raise money

Now, on the surface this doesn’t sound either radical or beneficial to either the charity or the organizers but if you consider the guests are the main contributors to the event. They have paid probably top money for their tickets and further have dug deep in their pockets to support the auction and other fund raising. In return for their money they have had food and entertainment in the form of a disco so why not offer them also the free service of a photographer to help them remember the event as something special.

All I did was agree a fee that was all in to include free download of images by the guests as they wanted. The guests now had a chance to relive and laugh at the reportage style images of the night and keep them. How is that going to make a guest sponsor/donor feel? Good obviously.

In the first evening the pictures were posted on line 326 images were downloaded. So showing that there is an appetite for images of an event as a keep sake and reminder of a fun time had by all.

charity guest
A good momento of a fun night is more likely to bring them back next year.

Therefore next year when the call goes out for support for a charity event by this business group there is more likely to be a good take up of tickets.

So if you are organizing a charity event and you are sitting down to work out the cost of ticket prices allowing to cover for venue, food and entertainment add the small cost of a photographer too, it will add little to the per head costs that need to be covered but could add a lot of kudos to both the organizers and the charity if pictures are available to all. Which will contribute to better future support. Sometimes the long game can be more cost effective than the short.


Brian Russell

Copyright Feb 2016