Ashley Collins launched her SuperDiva single into the streets of Glasgow in what was one of the wettest days of the year in Scotland. Argyle Street and Buchanan Street before we moved into the St Enoch Centre and finishing under the Central Station Bridge to seek some shelter from the elements. Still well worth the effort as quite a few souls did download the track there and then to their mobiles.
Charity begins at home?
Now let me say right from the outset that the comments made are not aimed at any individual, group or entity and are not directed at "you". Having mentioned in my last Blog Post charitable events a few people have spoken to me about the issue and most had the same opinion. Too much, too often and little gained by either parties involved, charity and contributors. So please don't fire back at me saying "my event is that that or the next thing" - this is general comments about the real surge in numbers of events for "charity"
Now my introduction to Charity nights was some years ago when a model wanted to raise funds for a good cause in a venue in Glasgow city centre- sorry I need to be a bit vague in an effort not to indentify anyone involved. All going well until she asked a personality to host the event. Said personality wanted £600 stating that is what they charged for "charity nights". Venue hearing that said that will be £500 to host the night - if they are being paid we want paid! Cutting it short; the event never took place. Other hosts were asked - all wanted paid! Let me make it quite clear, they do not work for nothing and now often site "too many charity event and they have to cover their expenses etc". A lot will pick a "charity" in which they work for "free", after that it costs money.
You see the thing is we can all work for free, and do an awful lot of it judging by what is out there on offer. Now who benefits from these events? Well I have done a couple where after the event the organisers were pictured handing over a nice cheque to the charities involved and produced a full breakdown of their accounts to show where every penny went. A lot of benefit, a lot of the time, goes to the orgainsers by way of marketing their name, product or service with little being given to those who contribute. Even contributors benefits are watered down with, in my own sphere or work, half a dozen or more photographers invited to participate. All vie for the image and all produce the finished article at roughly the same time. Result - over saturation and little recognition to a wider audience.
Personally speaking that is what every event should end with. A presentation of money to the charity followed by a published accounting of how the money was raised and spent. It lets everyone see who is charging and who is giving of their time and effort for "free". Now a few have done that and I am glad to say that one has contributed both in money and time. Every charitable event should run the same way in that regard - a full accounting of funds at the end of the fund raising.
When we give of our time, experience, expertise, knowledge and creativity it comes at a price. Time literally does equal money. Travel to a venue costs money. Parking your car very often costs quite a bit on money. Editing pictures takes time and equipment. Equipment does need to be replaced, serviced etc. Do you the organiser have full insurance cover if my equipment is damaged or someone fall over one of my lamps for example? Let me guess - that will be a "no" then! That sort of cover costs quite a bit of money - do you have it or consider it for your event? (see above)
Is your event a marketing exercise to publicise you, your product or service? A lot of big companies or "names" do exactly that and get the participants to "pay" their way to enter or take part. Easy money for them - hard work for the rest of us.
Now if you want me to work for "free" ask me, as I readily help a number of people and generally those who have helped me over the years. I owe a lot to people who have helped me, and continue to do so, and would not hesitate to assist them in their endeavours. Hopefully we truly all benefit for each other. I now have a team around me I trust implicitly as they do me. Together we produce great results that are easily seen by anyone who wants to look at them.
Should you want me to work for charity then I would ask you to consider the following: Am I the only photographer? Will you produce a full account at the end of the fund raising? Will you confirm that nobody or venue is being paid to participate (I include expenses in this)? Do the charity know and consent to your event?
If you answerd "No" to any of those questions then that is my answer to you.
Does any benefit from the event pass to you or a service you provide? If it does then charity does begin at home
Good luck to all and no this Blog article was not aimed at "you"!