Photography seems to be a part of every event I work. The photographer might be professional or amateur, paid or volunteer.
The photography itself takes many approaches:
- Photobooths with guest props
- Flip Books
- Portrait Photography
- Similar but different — changing the traditional photo donations found in the silent auction
A recent gala had a venue that spread guests between two floors and a balcony. To ensure all knew that a photographer was available to take photos on the upper floor, this reminder card was handed to guests at registration. Programs were already on the tables, so this was a simple exchange at check-in.
Some of my clients have no need to give guests much of anything at registration. All catalogs, programs, bid cards, and other auction-related material is already waiting for the guest at his chair.
For these nonprofits, handing a simple reminder card like this packs more punch. The card is likely to be noticed and read, because it’s the sole item handed to the guest at check-in.
Alternatively, if your nonprofit gives many materials to each guest at registration, you might be better off skipping this type of a card. It could get lost in the shuffle.
Over the years I’ve heard a couple of ideas when it comes to straight up portrait photography like this:
- One of my Development Directors asked the photographer to leave his printer at home. Instead of giving guests their photos at the gala, the photographer gave the photos to the Development Director. The Development Director sent the photo to each guest himself, along with a nice thank you note. “It’s another touch point for my donors,” he explained.
- On the sly side was the photographer who intentionally left his printer at home because he liked to do a little Photoshop on the guests himself before sharing their photos. He explained his rationale to me: “They get their photo in the mail, and they look better than ever. When they need a photographer for their own event, it gets me business!”
In short, photography at gala auctions is a form of entertainment. It can take many forms and can have some motives unto itself.
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