It’s almost that time of year again!  Time to make resolutions, goals, and promise to finally start working out more and eating better (again).  It’s a great idea to revisit the Planning for Profit series from last year to make some business goals and create some marketing plans.  There is even a free download to plan your income and expense calculations! 

One of my favorite events each year is my Food for Fido event in which I raise funds and food donations for one of the local shelters.  It is held on one Saturday in the summer and is promoted through the shelter and through my e-newsletter, marketing partners, and local press outlets.  It’s a fun event that allows me to raise lots of visibility for my business, we raise lots of great donations for the shelter, and it is still a profitable day for my bottom line.

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Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind if you are considering planning a charitable mini-session day…..

  1. Plan for bad weather.   If you have a back up plan the weather will be great!  If you are counting on good weather without a plan…good luck!  While I did hold this event in a park the first year, I did have a back up weekend for the following weekend.  The tough part about that is that not everyone is going to be available for the following weekend and I have to block off a weekend day in which I would normally take another paying session.  This past year I did it at my home, set up in my garage.  It was SUPER easy for me as I could run upstairs and download cards immediately to my work machine, I could keep the schedule even if it rained, and I had a working bathroom available at all times.  Bonus.
  2. Offer something different then your normal sessions.  These types of events often attract a different client then your typical full custom sessions.  That’s ok, but make sure that you are offering a different experience then your regular sessions….otherwise who would want to pay full price.  My event sessions are on a seamless background and are for the dog only.
  3. Get some press!  This is a great opportunity to create some PR opportunities!  You are working with a great cause so spread the word.  Local papers are often happy to cover these types of events.  Click here to read a previous post about leveraging press releases to get press for your business.
  4. Make a streamlined workflow.  The biggest obstacle standing in your way of having a profitable event is managing your workflow.  Ensure that you aren’t spending lots of time on administrative tasks or back and forth with the clients.  Time is money.
  5. Create special collections or sell certain items that are only available at the event.   That will attract your current clients as well as new clients to the event.  Just make sure that your collections have a very low cost of goods sold, maybe around 15%, since your sales average will be lower for these types of sessions.
  6. Offer an incentive, such as a free gift, if they pre-order a package.   That will encourage people to order now instead of getting home and forgetting to look at their images and place an order later.
  7. Have some help!  It’s so valuable to have an extra body at the event.  That person can great clients that arrive early, help them sign their release forms, and pretty much just help you make the day run smoothly!

Head over to The Daily Dog Tag to see a recap of the 2013 Food for Fido event!  It’s a fun day and a great opportunity to give back to your community.