Help-Portrait is all about spreading the word, growing the initiative and making it happen all over the world, so I thought will capture a few tips here for anybody who wants to host a H-P event.
So, How do you bring together a 30+ motley crew of Photographers, Makeup Artists, Hairdressers, Volunteers with NO PAY, make them show up at countless meetings, pitch in money and resources, have them show up at your location at 8:00 AM on probably the busiest portrait Saturday of the year, have them work their a**es off ALL DAY for you, then WORK MORE editing and proofing the photographs and finally turn them in? Piece of cake. :-)
1.- Engage people. Nobody does nothing alone. You need allies. Start selling the dream to everybody you find in your way and focus on the end result, tell stories about how the outcome of your work can change lives. This will also flex your persuasion muscles and get you ready for when the time comes to sell the idea to sponsors, etc.
2.- Empower people. Remember when I told you you need allies? Well, this is it. Identify key, committed people in your recruits. Assign them specific goals and let them do their thing. The biggest asset that you are gaining when working with other people is that they can make decisions on their own and take initiative. Let it happen and encourage it. Here is another tip: Don't know who to assign which job? ASK. People will be more enthusiast about what they do if it is something that they want to do, let it be their idea.
3.- Delegate. Your function as a leader is to be at the helm. Don't worry, you will have plenty of stuff to do just with that, and you WILL be pitching in a lot. Pay attention to the next two points.
4.- Prioritize. This is absolutely critical to maintain focus. Make it clear that you are not dismissing ideas, you are just indicating what has to happen first and where are the resources going. In this sense (maybe we should have a whole post about this) and for a Help-Portrait event here are some key priorities in order of importance: Find a venue, Find an Audience, Recruit Professional Photographers with Equipment, Recruit Hairdressers/Makeup Artists, Find sponsors for Printing, food, office supplies, etc., plan the logistics of the event and the delivery of the product. As you can see, this is an attempt of putting everything in order starting with the biggest issue first. One way of doing this is to ask yourself at every step, What would absolutely ruin my event?
5.- Celebrate. Who doesn't like a party? Every time you have a breakthrough, announce it and celebrate. Same with people doing a good job. This helps to reinforce the type of work you need and also instills the notion that you are making progress.
6.- Communicate the hell out of everything. Tell everybody over and over again what's the goal, where are you going, what's the priority at hand and don't forget to drive the process home. If everybody knows what you are supposed to do, anybody can fill in a job temporarily if needed and decisions made at "the edge" become better decision, more in-tune with the goal and the process in mind.
7.- Repeat. No, seriously, Engage-Empower-Delegate-Prioritize-Celebrate- Communicate.