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How Nonprofits Can Work with Photographers to Enhance Their Message

Guest post by Billy Howard

You do great work in your community and spend countless hours thinking about and writing compelling stories documenting the fascinating individuals you help and the amazing volunteers who give of themselves to bring hope to the people you serve. Then you post it with a photo taken with one of your volunteer’s cameras, or, quelle horreur!, their iPhone. 

A story that should grab the short attention span of the average viewer gets no responses and you wonder why. It was well wrought and compelling with a call for action, but goes unheeded because the average viewer spends less than a minute on a page, and many times far less than that. You need an effective way to put the brakes on and make the reader sense there is something worth lingering on, and then soothe them into those painstakingly chosen words you crafted so tirelessly.

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How Nonprofits Can Work with Photographers to Enhance Their Message

Guest post by Billy Howard | (Continued from Part 1)

 

Photographers are like cats: hard to herd, and independent, but usually friendly. Based on my intimate knowledge of the breed, here are some thoughts that might help in your journey:

When you have no budget

You have absolutely no budget. Don’t fib. While you’re a nonprofit, photographers are not, and we all get asked to do pro-bono work . . . a lot. We are trained professionals running small businesses that have overhead, health insurance, rent, expensive equipment, computers and software that constantly needs updating, so there is a limit to our largess. If you have a project where you would feel comfortable asking a lawyer, accountant, advertiser or caterer to offer their services for free, then ask a photographer but if you would feel squeamish asking any other business for free services, come up with a photo budget.

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How Nonprofits Can Work with Photographers to Enhance Their Message

Guest post by Billy Howard | (Continued from Part 2)

 

Budgeting for photography

Most photographers have a day rate to which they then add their expenses, but others will simply give you a project fee based on the scope of work you need done. Give them the details of your assignment and let them work out a budget for you. If it is higher than expected—and if you haven’t worked with a professional photographer before, it probably will be—stop and think about the overall budget and uses for what you are producing. Will it appear in magazines, brochures, and advertisements, direct mail, social media? Determine the budget for all the uses you have in mind, and then look at the photographer’s estimate. Chances are, it will be a fraction of what you are spending to get your message out. If you budget a lot to print and advertise your message, then going cheap on the very thing that will bring people into the page will diminish your efforts. Finally, if you have a set amount you can spend, let the photographer know that. They can either reject the job or maybe recommend a photographer with less experience and a lower rate, like one of their assistants.

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