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Maker & Storyteller

Maker & Storyteller

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Although I’ve signed up for countless Melyssa Griffin, Lewis Howes, and other creative entrepreneur webinars (tbh, I only have the attention span to sit through 1 out of 10 of them [I heart you Jasmine Star please don’t take me off your email list!]), my business still isn’t at the 7 figure level yet (and no surprise why, haha, I need a webinar accountability partner, ya know what I’m saying?). But, despite the numbers, I used my story and resources to raise $27,000 for my favorite philanthropy, Compassion International.

Thank you card and image from the Compassion Individual charity.
As a photographer and storyteller, I’ve had the fortune of accruing many stamps in my passport from around the world. The most meaningful trip was traveling to Uganda to visit Margaret, my sponsored child through Compassion International, an organization that focuses on getting children out of spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty.

Maggie was 3 years old when I met her in 2013. She was bashful, but energetic. Her little frame and incredible eyelashes hard to forget. We didn’t speak the same language, but with bright eyes and pointed fingers (Chicken! Brother! Bouncy house!), I knew her heart.

 

 

Images from Compassion International of children that the sustainable and instragammable friends giving party benefited.

When Maggie lost her home in 2016 due to a fire, Compassion executed immediate response systems to provide shelter and safety for her and her family.  

A different kind of fire ignited inside of me when I heard this news. I was both heartbroken and relieved. These emotions drove me to hallelujah-hands-emoji for this organization that did an incredible job caring for Margaret. I had already maxed out what I was able to give financially for the year (they put a cap on direct financial gifts so that the recipients don’t becoming financially dependent on sponsors. I heart this level of integrity and wisdom in a non-profit), but wanted to do more.

So, I did what I knew how to do best: I created something beautiful; I threw an Instagrammable party.

Claire and Praise with white balloons at sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

social media at Friendsgiving Friendaversary social media at Friendsgiving Friendaversary

Three friends posing for a photo amidst the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Virtual reality participant and party guest. Behind the scenes shot of the photo set-up at the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Guests mingling and conversing at the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

Praise and a friend playing ukulele in front of the guests at the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Guests pose for photos at the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

Giant balloon installations.

Bathtubs filled with ping pong balls.

A Boomerang booth.

A gratitude table.

Interactive icebreakers.

Surprise ukulele performances.

A virtual reality experience.

And simply sharing my story, Maggie’s story.

 

Virtual Reality at Friendsgiving Friendaversary Personalized, hand-written letters at sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Wall of personalized name letters at sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Detail shot of personalized name cards at sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

These highlighted our event’s value of people.

Of relationships carrying us far.

It inspired our guests to start friendships with children 9,300 miles away.

Claire amidst the crowd of guests sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

Four of our guests were moved to sponsor children in Uganda that night. And, here’s my math on it. Mind you I’m an artist, not a mathematician, so these are approximations: Sponsor a child at $38 a month = $456 annually x 15 years [I’ll be sponsoring Maggie  until she is 18 years old]  = $6,840 x four people sponsoring = $27,360. That’s was more $ than my first year in business!) On top of that, many other of our friends donated directly to the organization itself.

 

Takeaways & Tips

Being philanthropic is beyond money. Be unashamed to bring your gifts to life to make a difference. If you’re a painter, donate one of your pieces to an auction. If you’re a writer, write about why you care about this cause. If you’re a performer, put together a small performance and have a requested donation. If you’re a service provider, consider implementing a give back model into your proposals. For example, if your client donates $100 to a non-profit, you will give them $200 off their wedding package (shoutouts to @sandrachilep a fellow wedding photographer in Philadelphia for this model! She says 49 out of 50 people take her up on this offer). Giving back is truly one of the greatest gifts, and I find that we often gain so much more than we could ever give.

Claire and Praise hold a box of Compartes chocolate.

 

Although I’ve signed up for countless Melyssa Griffin, Lewis Howes, and other creative entrepreneur webinars (tbh, I only have the attention span to sit through 1 out of 10 of them [I heart you Jasmine Star please don’t take me off your email list!]), my business still isn’t at the 7 figure level yet (and no surprise why, haha, I need a webinar accountability partner, ya know what I’m saying?). But, despite the numbers, I used my story and resources to raise $27,000 for my favorite philanthropy, Compassion International.

Thank you card and image from the Compassion Individual charity.
As a photographer and storyteller, I’ve had the fortune of accruing many stamps in my passport from around the world. The most meaningful trip was traveling to Uganda to visit Margaret, my sponsored child through Compassion International, an organization that focuses on getting children out of spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty.

Maggie was 3 years old when I met her in 2013. She was bashful, but energetic. Her little frame and incredible eyelashes hard to forget. We didn’t speak the same language, but with bright eyes and pointed fingers (Chicken! Brother! Bouncy house!), I knew her heart.

 

 

Images from Compassion International of children that the sustainable and instragammable friends giving party benefited.

When Maggie lost her home in 2016 due to a fire, Compassion executed immediate response systems to provide shelter and safety for her and her family.  

A different kind of fire ignited inside of me when I heard this news. I was both heartbroken and relieved. These emotions drove me to hallelujah-hands-emoji for this organization that did an incredible job caring for Margaret. I had already maxed out what I was able to give financially for the year (they put a cap on direct financial gifts so that the recipients don’t becoming financially dependent on sponsors. I heart this level of integrity and wisdom in a non-profit), but wanted to do more.

So, I did what I knew how to do best: I created something beautiful; I threw an Instagrammable party.

Claire and Praise with white balloons at sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

social media at Friendsgiving Friendaversary social media at Friendsgiving Friendaversary

Three friends posing for a photo amidst the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Virtual reality participant and party guest. Behind the scenes shot of the photo set-up at the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Guests mingling and conversing at the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

Praise and a friend playing ukulele in front of the guests at the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Guests pose for photos at the sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

Giant balloon installations.

Bathtubs filled with ping pong balls.

A Boomerang booth.

A gratitude table.

Interactive icebreakers.

Surprise ukulele performances.

A virtual reality experience.

And simply sharing my story, Maggie’s story.

 

Virtual Reality at Friendsgiving Friendaversary Personalized, hand-written letters at sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Wall of personalized name letters at sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party. Detail shot of personalized name cards at sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

These highlighted our event’s value of people.

Of relationships carrying us far.

It inspired our guests to start friendships with children 9,300 miles away.

Claire amidst the crowd of guests sustainable and instragammable friendsgiving party.

Four of our guests were moved to sponsor children in Uganda that night. And, here’s my math on it. Mind you I’m an artist, not a mathematician, so these are approximations: Sponsor a child at $38 a month = $456 annually x 15 years [I’ll be sponsoring Maggie  until she is 18 years old]  = $6,840 x four people sponsoring = $27,360. That’s was more $ than my first year in business!) On top of that, many other of our friends donated directly to the organization itself.

 

Takeaways & Tips

Being philanthropic is beyond money. Be unashamed to bring your gifts to life to make a difference. If you’re a painter, donate one of your pieces to an auction. If you’re a writer, write about why you care about this cause. If you’re a performer, put together a small performance and have a requested donation. If you’re a service provider, consider implementing a give back model into your proposals. For example, if your client donates $100 to a non-profit, you will give them $200 off their wedding package (shoutouts to @sandrachilep a fellow wedding photographer in Philadelphia for this model! She says 49 out of 50 people take her up on this offer). Giving back is truly one of the greatest gifts, and I find that we often gain so much more than we could ever give.

Claire and Praise hold a box of Compartes chocolate.

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