A keen way to raise funds for you group and give people a lasting memento at the same time is to hold a portrait photography fundraiser. To get your portrait fundraiser started, contact a professional photography company and let them know what you want to do. Most of them will then arrange for a photographer to come to a location you choose on a selected day. (More info about copyrights.)
Then it’s up to you to make sure that the proper publicity and so forth happens, so that when the photographer shows up there are plenty of people to take pictures of. Following that, the photographer takes his cut out of what you’ve collected, you distribute the pictures to those who purchased them, and what’s left over after all that’s done is the money you’ve raised.
Of course, that’s the easy version. The devil is in the details.
Planning a portrait photography fundraiser:
Get the money up front. Don’t wait until the day the photographer shows up to try and collect money. Get people to commit to purchasing a fundraising package (offer two or three different options) ahead of time. If you wait until the day of, and try to have them choose which picture they want and what size, you’ll end the day frustrated, tired, and most likely broke. The best way to go about collecting the money in advance is to designate the members of your group to sign people up for the fundraiser and collect the money at the same time.
Be sure to give out receipts that include the dollar amount and info about the package they’ve paid for. Keep copies and/or good records of who paid for what. A second way to earn money at the portrait fundraiser can be to advertise to the general public, and just give a location where they can come and order their portraits and pay in advance.
Give yourself plenty of time. Don’t schedule the photographer any sooner than 4-6 weeks after you begin publicizing the event and collecting commitments. In fact, if you can start earlier, up to 3 months in advance, it might be even better. Remember, the more time you allow yourself to sign people up for the event, the more money you can earn for your group. If you’re concerned about people forgetting what they’ve signed up for, be sure to get their contact information including e-mail address when they sign up, and a week or two before the actual portrait photography event give them a reminder call.
Don’t forget the add-ons. In sales, something you sell to someone after they’ve already bought something from you is called an add-on. A good example of this is the candy shelves at the checkout stand in grocery stores: you’ve already decided to buy groceries, so now they want to sell you something extra on the way out. With a portrait fundraiser, there are also lots of ways you can have “add-ons” at your event: keychains, buttons, even coffee mugs can be big sellers if you offer to have the portrait on them for an extra fee.
Pick a spacious location. To be on the safe side, pick an indoor location, like a school gym. That way you have plenty of room for people to wait and be comfortable. Be sure to coordinate your event with other events that might take place around the same place in the same location. It would also be a good idea to invite the photographer to come out and approve the space. You don’t want any surprises on the day of the event.
Good communication is key. Keep in contact with the photographer, the party that’s responsible for booking the space and others who will be involved with the set-up and running of the event up until the day of the event. Make reminder phone calls and mention the event in every newsletter or e-mail that goes out to your community or group members.
Two final tips: plan for an area and possibly a small table for the photographer to put his equipment and bags and consider picking Saturday morning to schedule your photographer – most people are free on Saturday.