In this series on giving, we’ve been looking at different ways photographers can make a positive difference in their communities.  Whether you are a business owner or a hobbyist, there are so many charitable opportunities for to donate your artistry and skills.  An additional avenue for giving back with your talents is to work with a non- profit organization.  Many charities are in need of photographers who are willing to volunteer their time.   A great thing about these agencies is not only do they bring awareness to their particular cause, they also serve as a bridge connecting those with a specific need to those who can provide a service.  Maybe one of the following causes will tug at you and perhaps even prompt you to contact them to see how you can help.

Heart Gallery

A Family for Every Child is dedicated to finding loving, permanent families for every waiting foster child.  One of the ways they do that is through the Heart Gallery, a portrait exhibit displayed to raise awareness of the needs of foster children.   Professional photographers volunteer to take compelling portraits, and these beautifully framed and matted portraits are displayed along with the children’s biographies in various venues.

HeARTs Speak

HeARTs Speak is an organization which promotes animal adoption and finds that professional photographs greatly improves animal adoptability.  Through the services of professional photographers volunteering their time, HeARTs Speaks hopes to increase the number of animals adopted and reduce the numbers that are euthanized.

Help Project

The idea behind Help-Portrait is simple: 1. Find someone in need 2. Take their portrait 3. Print their portrait and 4. Deliver their portrait. The Help-Portrait Event takes place worldwide the second weekend of every December.

Operation:  Love Reunited (OpLove)

Operation: Love ReUnited (OpLove) brings photographers to military families and persons who are experiencing deployment in war zones.  Volunteer photographers donate their time and services to military persons as a morale boost.  If deploying or deployed, photographers send a 4×6 album of images overseas to the service member reminding them of the support they have back home.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS)

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) introduces remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the gift of professional portraiture.  Their belief is that these images serve as an important step in the family’s healing process by honoring their child’s legacy.

Shoots for a Cure

The work of Shoots for a Cure serves two main purposes – celebrating life and supporting the cause.  Any individual that has been diagnosed with cancer or completed treatment within the past 12 months qualifies for a Shoots for a Cure Session.  Sessions are available to document the fight before treatment, during treatment or to celebrate the victory when treatment is completed.

Tiny Sparrow

Tiny Sparrow is dedicated to providing lasting memories through the beautiful art of photography to families with children who face life threatening illnesses.  With the help of photographers nationwide, they are able to give their clients a beautiful album that carries the love, joy and everlasting memory of each individual family.

How is ClickinMoms giving back?

While it’s our shared passion for photography that binds us, it is the generous spirit of the CM members that strengthens our community and creates a powerful atmosphere of encouragement and support.   Artistic development and professional growth happen within our forum because of the way CMs work together to inspire and challenge.   Giving back is really just an essential part of the fibers that make up CM, and if you’ve spent any time on the forum, you’ve likely recognized that this giving spirit very often extends well beyond our discussion boards.  Here are 3 simple opportunities ClickinMoms are participating in to collectively impact the world around us.

Charity Gift Pack from the CM Store

The Charity Gift Pack is digital bundle full of fabulous tools, educational materials, and visual inspiration!  100% of all money raised by the sale of our Gift Packs will be donated to the Fisher House Foundation, a public-private nonprofit partnership that donates “comfort homes,” on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers.  The program provides free accommodations to family members so that they can stay close to a military loved one who is being hospitalized during an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.  To date, ClickinMoms has donated over $11,000 to Fisher House from the sale of the Charity Gift Pack.  Amazing!

“I am a Photographer” CM Member Project and Anti-Sexual Violence Charity Benefit

CM members are joining together in an effort to empower and uplift women by shooting a picture of ourselves holding a sign that completes the sentence “I am a __.”  Acknowledging the many different facets of our jobs, we want to encourage and validate the complex roles women play.  For every image CM members submit, CM will donate $1 to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual  assault organization.  One in six women is a victim of sexual assault; help us to raise as much as we can to help stop this horrific violence.   The deadline is quickly approaching, but it’s not too late to join in on this project.  Submissions are due by December 24, 2011 (extended!) January 3, 2012.  You can join CM for a free week’s trial using the code FREETRIAL1211 to try us out and submit your “I am a ___” image at the same time.  The free trial code is good through December 31st.

Image courtesy of Sarah Wilkerson

Pay It Forward Forum

ClickinMoms are notorious for sharing and offering their help.  The Pay It Forward Section of the board is full of great templates, actions, and other freebies contributed by generous CMs. The Summer Lovin’ 2011 Pay It Forward event was wildly popular, and though CM did not officially host a Holiday PIF event, CMs are definitely taking it upon themselves to initiate PIFs on their own. Daily the board is busy with new offers of photo sessions, photography books, website proofing, pricing reviews, and other fabulous proposals. Whether you share something in the PIF forum informally throughout the year or participate in an annual PIF event, the opportunities here allow you to give some of what you have directly to another CM.

Have you found a way to make a difference in your community and/or the lives around you?  We would love to hear about it – please share with us in the comments!