Introducing our new Profits for Projects concept. We are so excited!
But first, let me ask you this. When you buy a greetings card do you ever flip it over to check if its sale benefits anyone else besides the producer or manufacturer? Christmas, especially, is when you find lots of products claiming that your purchase supports a charity. We look for the telltale sign, choose that one, and pat ourselves on the back that we just made a donation to a good cause.
Okay, now hold that thought, I’ll be right back.
Filling the piggy bank
It was just over a year ago when we decided to try and monetise some of the output from the many thousands of images we capture in a year. We knew it wouldn’t make us a fortune. Indeed, some might say the hours expended to produce a collection of cards or a calendar, far exceed the income generated – because time is money.
But making an income was never our driver. Which is just as well, as we knew the margins were small. We were having some fun, while travel was on hold. We would just keep adding the coppers to the jar and hopefully, they would buy us lunch at the airport again one day.
Yet it wasn’t enough to simply let the pennies mount up with no real thought as to how or when we might spend them. And we have been asking ourselves the same question a lot lately. Can we make those pennies have a greater impact, somehow?
Profits of Projects
As it happens the answer was obvious.
You see, our pennies are pretty worthless, within the grand scale of monthly bills, camera equipment, travel (when we eventually can). But if our pennies join with other pennies, they can quickly accumulate to benefit something really worthwhile. Something important.
And that is where the idea for Profits for Projects came about.
The concept is really very simple. We donate some (or all) of our product sales profits towards projects that can make use of those pennies. Instead of leaving them to languish in our metaphorical jar, we give them to a cause where that penny feels like a hundred dollars to someone else. It’s surprising what difference a small amount can make when you have nothing.
This year we plan to support two very different projects – one in the UK – and the other in our beloved African continent. You can read about them on the Profits of Projects page, but for now, we want to explain a little more about our ‘why’.
Why Wild Shots Outreach?
If you are all caught up on our Profits for Projects page then you will know more about what WSO do.
Imagine if you lived by a country park, teaming with wildlife, yet you could never imagine being able to go there yourself. No money, no transport, it feels like it could be on the moon. So near yet so out of reach. That is exactly what happens over and over in disadvantaged communities on the edge of one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world. Kruger National Park.
The WSO programme works to provide opportunities for young students and school leavers to experience it first hand, through the use of photography. Funding cameras for schools and groups, they get to go in the park. To learn about the wildlife – and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges our declining animal populations face.
It’s hard to imagine how they don’t already know everything there is to know, isn’t it?
Over three years ago I was a volunteer at a place called Daktari – a bush school and wildlife orphanage, also on the edge of Kruger. Each week a small group of high school children joined the camp. Sharing an intensive five days learning about all manner of topics – conservation and wildlife included.
When asked what they wanted to do when they leave school, the responses were quite telling. Yet, by giving them a short trip to a safari lodge, encouraging them to ask staff about their work, to learn about the effects of poaching? In one day the transformation was tangible. To teach them to believe they can be something they thought was beyond them. To have a boy say ‘one day I want to cook you dinner at a safari lodge’ – well it near made my heart burst.
That is just one reason why we have chosen Wild Shots Outreach as one of our Profits for Projects. Having seen first hand the difference it makes to youngsters being able to access the places they might only imagine. Small cash contributions to the programme can create big changes in young people. The programme lasts several weeks. Enabling them to experience their wild places, to hold a camera in their hand, to structure images that tell stories. It builds confidence and, as founder Kendrick says, they are our conservationists of the future.
We are proud to be able to help the programme in whatever way.
How can you help?
Firstly, when you buy a Smith Wild Photo greetings card or calendar, we donate 100% of our gross profits from that sale to the Profits for Projects pot. We are also delighted to be beginning to get our products in local retail outlets too, so please do support them. They can sell more than we can – and that’s definitely a win-win for them and for our projects.
Secondly, when you are thinking about gifts this year why not consider a piece of art or framed print. When you buy a Smith Wild Photo print or fine wall art piece – the donation is currently 25% of the gross profit.
We know it sounds crazy. It is very different to the 1p or 2p donation from the box of charity cards, because charities have staff and overheads. Us? Well I guess you might liken it to social enterprise. We simply want to use our small sales to help make a bigger difference.
Meanwhile, we are still in discussion regarding our UK cause. So keep a lookout on our Facebook page for an update.
Marie – Smith Wild Photo 15/08/2021
To learn more head to our Profits for Projects page