Top strategy for charities

What if I told you there was a way to get your business in front of potentially thousands of eyeballs from your ideal target audience. All for the cost of a few hours work. It’s one simple concept that very few photographers take advantage of.

This will impact your bottom line

Ottawa happens to be home to many charitable organizations who are on tight budgets, and always on the lookout for giveaways to create more donor dollars.  I’m not talking about donating your time to shoot for a charity event, but rather putting a silent auction package together that gets your name in front of a very lucrative target market and will likely not cost you a thing. In fact, in most cases, it can make you money. Similar to the gift card industry, offering up certificates for your photography services as a silent auction item associated with a dollar value can, and will, deliver to your bottom line. Here’s why:

Many are not ever redeemed. Giving away your services for free is hard swallow sometimes, but as Jenn Reichenbacher of Merchant Warehouse reveals, many times they won’t ever be utilized. Thousands of dollars goes unredeemed annually. About 40% either lose or forget about the item they purchased at a silent auction and most people chalk up their donation as going to a good cause.

They encourage repeat business. It’s also important to remember that when customers make purchases using gift cards (or in this case, silent auction gift items), they don’t always spend the entire amount. That means that they will likely return to make more purchases in the future. Gift Card Granny points out that “55% of gift card recipients require more than one shopping experience to spend the balance.”

Customers tend to spend more than the face value. By the time the monetary value of the silent auction item has been used in full, a client most likely will spend more. That means more money for you! “65% of gift card holders spend an extra 38% beyond the value of the card.

There are the top three things to keep in mind when putting a silent auction strategy in place:

  1. The Target Market
    Target the right audience with your brand. There are a myriad of charities who attract high-profile, net-worth clients at galas, golf tournaments and dinners. Reach out to the ones that make sense for your business. Ones you have a connection with, or whose causes you really believe in. Make sure it is well suited for your audience by asking qualifying questions about who their donors are.
  2. The Offer
    Tailor the offer to meet the needs of the audience and your marketing strategy. If your goal is to sell your images, perhaps the silent auction item is a private gallery showing with $500 towards the purchase of an art collection. Or perhaps you are looking to market your corporate photography business by offering the cost of a 3 hour session. Even if packaged as a product offer – make sure the dollar value is the main redemption mechanism.
  3. The Promotion
    Here’s where it can get interesting. Be sure to schedule some social media promotion around your silent auction item mentioning the charity you are donating to in the post using the ‘@’ sign. By mentioning the charitable organization, you are reaching potentially thousands of donors and supporters beyond your own social network; the charity is gaining additional exposure about the event; and your brand is being associated with a good cause.

There are several lists we are compiling for Ottawa photographers to reference and ‘charitable events’ is currently in the works. We are looking to our community help us build on these lists. If there a charitable golf tournament or event that you recommend? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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About the Author
Deanna White is owner and publicist for storylinePR, exclusive PR firm & marketing agent to Ottawa’s most talented fine art photographers. “Because we know instead of marketing your work, you’d much rather be creating it.” www.storylinepr.ca

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