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Thread: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

  1. #1
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    Default Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    My recent thread asking for volunteer photographers on behalf of a friend drew flak from CSers (http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=219822). Looking through all the comments posted, I thought some information on how Charities/NPOs function might help some photographers, who wants to volunteer their services, know a little more about how these societies function.

    [ Definition ]

    It would be appropriate to first define the difference between a charity and a NPO. Jargons aside, most public perceive charity to be the likes of Children Cancer Foundations, AWWA and Kidney Dialysis Foundation. And NPOs related to issues such as environment, arts and civic issues. We don't want to get into lengthy discourses over technical definitions so this suffice for now.

    [ Charity or NPO, A Personal Choice ]

    Every individual have their own cause/issue that tugs at their heart. It could be helping out at CCF and AWWA, or fighting for arts education or civic rights for the public. It really is a matter of personal choice which society, charity or NPO, a person chooses to help.

    [ The Ground Situation ]

    Some of the bigger NPOs/Charities have the budget and is able to spare some cash as transport allowances for their volunteers. In fact, that is the ideal situation as the volunteer's effort should not be taken for granted and even a token transport allowance would be good. Smaller Charities/NPOs who struggle to find funds for their programs have the unenviable task of choosing whether to give out allowances to volunteers or to redirect those funds into their programs. Needless to say, the NPOs will usually be relegated to back-of-mind if the cause they're pursuing doesn't tug as much at heart-strings. But that is all fine as long as a win-win situation can happen. The opportunity to volunteer also presents an opportunity for the volunteer to build up his/her portfolio. In this case of photography, the opportunity to be sent by Mercy Relief to cover a diaster would more likely garner attention than taking pictures at an event.

    [ Chicken and Eggs ]

    Photographs are necessary to the charity/NPOs. It shows the face of a society and give public a glimpse of what goes behind the scene. Therefore the small charity/NPOs would really appreciate nice pictures that they can put up on their website. Hence they need the skills offered by more technically savvy photographers. It is all part of the small little things that help these societies grow. I agree these days it's not easy to tell who's honourable or not. We can only really find out when we start helping them out. For photographers who're not making money from their jobs, it's understandable that they'll shy away from volunteering their services. It's not a "I'm wrong, you're right" kind of decision. The charity/NPOs are looking for hope in those who'll help.

    [ For Those Who Wants to Help ]

    Enough said, here're some resources to help you know more if you're interested to help out.

    NVPC (They've information on most charities and NPOs. Also provides a portal for volunteers to "donate" their services).
    http://www.nvpc.org.sg/

    NCSS (They're the administrator of Community Chest. There're a lot of NPOs and charities affliated with them. Information on tax-exempted societies can be found here).
    http://www.ncss.org.sg/ncss/index.asp

    NAC (If helping to promote arts is the cause you want to pursue).
    http://www.nac.gov.sg/

    IRAS (To know the legal definition of "Charities" and "IPCs", please search for "IPC" under "Ask IRAS").
    http://www.iras.gov.sg/ESVPortal/Home/index.asp

    You can usually find specific information to the society you want to help out at the websites above. Failing which, always google.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    well, doesn't anyone in the entire committee have a camera? if need free, just get that person to shoot lor..

  3. #3

    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    Thread moved to a more suitable sub-forum.

    Mod

  4. #4
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    Quote Originally Posted by jeryltan
    well, doesn't anyone in the entire committee have a camera? if need free, just get that person to shoot lor..
    #1, if the entire committee can settle with simple snap shots, will not resort to outsider.
    #2, thou photography is important to them, and each of them member are mostly multi tasking on that day, why don't let the member handle other works?
    #3, what is the meaning of volunteering?
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    sometimes it is the way the "Free" services are requested that draws the flak
    Personally I don't mind shooting for a worthy cause
    but if the org spends big bucks for the event paying for the services of others
    then why not the photographer (or at least some allowance to cover cost)

  6. #6

    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    Quote Originally Posted by ortega
    sometimes it is the way the "Free" services are requested that draws the flak
    Personally I don't mind shooting for a worthy cause
    but if the org spends big bucks for the event paying for the services of others
    then why not the photographer
    (or at least some allowance to cover cost)
    And why photography must come last after all the budget has been used up ?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    I have recently helped the SPCA shoot thier fun-run event as i have been helping them for quite awhile now. This was somthing I didnt mind doing since the money raised will be used to help animals and they only spent around $180 as they had plenty of other sponsors.

    I believe that helpping such NPO or charities is really a matter of personal choice. If the photogrpaher so chooses that he or she wants to chrage then let the organsation decide. I'm pretty sure that they will be able to find a photographer within thier comitee/membership that wil be willing ot do it for free. IMHO If they expect some standard then they should set adise a nominal sum for the photographer to cover transport /provide meals etc.
    Furry Photos - Photography for the Modern Pet

  8. #8

    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    #1 if the committee cannot settle for simple snap shots, don't you think they need to pay for a "proper" photographer? "free" photographers may not be any better than what their own committee member can provide..

    #2 then they just need to have better manpower allocation.. why can't they just recruit another volunteer as a permanent photographer?

    #3 do you think a "professional" photographer who makes some living out of photography, volunteer free services? and like what other pple have mentioned, is the venue provided free, were the food (if any..) catered free.. basically, did the committee have to fork out any cash at all to host the event? if yes, then why not pay a photographer even if it's very minimal? it's the mentality of organisers that's the root of the problem.. pple think photographers are a dime a dozen, and if pple like yourself who are pretty good in photography continue providing "free" services, this mentality will just stick..

    at the end of the day, personally i also don't mind volunteering "free" services, as long i have nothing better to do on that day, and i can shoot whatever i please.. but don't ask for "free" services, and tell me what they expect.. personally, i think the "free" time is better spent with my family, unless i am very convinced that the event is meant for a good cause..

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights
    #1, if the entire committee can settle with simple snap shots, will not resort to outsider.
    #2, thou photography is important to them, and each of them member are mostly multi tasking on that day, why don't let the member handle other works?
    #3, what is the meaning of volunteering?
    Last edited by jeryltan; 13th September 2006 at 01:37 PM.

  9. #9
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    Quote Originally Posted by jeryltan
    #1 if the committee cannot settle for simple snap shots, don't you think they need to pay for a "proper" photographer? "free" photographers may not be any better than what their own committee member can provide..

    #2 then they just need to have better manpower allocation.. why can't they just recruit another volunteer as a permanent photographer?

    #3 do you think a "professional" photographer who makes some living out of photography, volunteer free services? and like what other pple have mentioned, is the venue provided free, were the food (if any..) catered free.. basically, did the committee have to fork out any cash at all to host the event? if yes, then why not pay a photographer even if it's very minimal? it's the mentality of organisers that's the root of the problem..

    at the end of the day, personally i also don't mind volunteering "free" services, as long i have nothing better to do on that day, and i can shoot whatever i please.. but don't ask for "free" services, and tell me what they expect.. but personally, i think the "free" time is better spent with my family, unless i am very convinced that the event is meant for a good cause..
    the definition of volunteering

    Does all the Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) always come here or go around to ask for FREE photography services? Btw, anyone can ask for free things, able to get it or not, that is another isuss.

    If you check out NVPC or in touch with some organisations, you will know some of them do have photographers volunteering in a more permanent basis.

    Many professional photographers like me, occasionally do volunteering works for community serivce, it maybe is free or low rate. some will contact us every now and than, but is up to us to decide to commit it or not.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    i wasn't referring to all.. i was referring to those who ask..

    well, like you said, it's up to individual.. personally, i wouldn't unless for some special reason.. i find the "free" time spent with my family more fruitful, even though i don't make a living out of photography.. i think one day away from my family, is worth more than $0..

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights
    the definition of volunteering

    Does all the Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) always come here or go around to ask for FREE photography services? Btw, anyone can ask for free things, able to get it or not, that is another isuss.

    If you check out NVPC or in touch with some organisations, you will know some of them do have photographers volunteering in a more permanent basis.

    Many professional photographers like me, occasionally do volunteering works for community serivce, it maybe is free or low rate. some will contact us every now and than, but is up to us to decide to commit it or not.
    Last edited by jeryltan; 13th September 2006 at 02:33 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Volunteering as a Photographer for Charities/Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

    People reaching out for help will try all means, not only in CS. And they have to keep on trying because that's their job.

    The whole issue with organising a event for charity/NPO is technical and tiring. But to explain the minimum, firstly they'll try their best to get suppliers to sponsors free services or goods. Only when they exhausted this means will they consider quotations. Of course, this is by no means the only way to work and the job don't usually go to the cheapest supplier.

    Its really up to anyone's personal choice to decide if they go with a society's cause and wants to help out. Of course, choosing not to help is definitely alright. For some of us, our causes lies with our family. Whether one decides to help or not will not deter the administrator's actions of going around to ask for help.

    And for those who like to volunteer, it is best to manage their volunteering efforts least one experiences burn outs. Perhaps you like to make it a point to only volunteer your services once a month. So you can work out a schedule with the society of your choice. Want to take a long break after some tiring volunteering stints, just let the society know. At the end of the day, also consider whether your volunteering is affecting your family life. It's really your own choice.

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