It’s cold, windy, and snowing here in Wyoming. The last thing most people want to do with their Saturday morning is layer up and go outside. Tack on driving over ice-covered roads and unseen potholes and that is the perfect excuse to stay home and snuggle under a blanket. Over the past few months, however, I’ve found that the reason for these lazy weekends is not the cold. The true cause is not having a commitment or goal that requires you to break out the thick, wool socks and hit the road. My personal solution to this dilemma has been volunteer work. Particularly for the local animal shelter here in Green River, Wyoming.
The benefits of helping the local animal shelter have been far greater than I was expecting. My girlfriend and I initially went into the shelter to drop off some old puppy items and we talked ourselves into signing up for volunteer work. After a couple of weekends of walking dogs we offered our photography services as we noticed their pet finder photos were lacking. Since then we’ve walked and photographed one or two pups every Saturday, and it has drastically improved he community around our business and how we feel about our weekends!
How photographing shelter dogs has helped build community around our business:
- I’ve engaged others through social media by posting photos of the dogs I walk every week
- We’ve developed relationships with other dog owners walking on the trails
- We’ve developed friendships with the animal shelter employees
- Our company has also started a relationship with Wingo Outdoors who were kind enough to send us leashes and collars to help walk the dogs
So through the simple act of walking one or two dogs a week and taking their photos we are able to not only help these pups get adopted but I’ve also greatly developed my skills as a photographer. And along the way we’ve introduced many many people to our business! That’s not to say you should only do good things for others when it also benefits yourself. That was not the goal going into this volunteer opportunity. However, I do think if you can find something that you are passionate about and try to improve that ‘something’ you will immerse yourself in a new community and ultimately improve yourself as well.
Have you ever photographed shelter animals or used another source of volunteering to build your business? If so, leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear your experiences and discuss how it helped others and how it helped you build your skills and your community.
Thank you guys for ready my blog! I will continue to create content around cultivating community and improving your business as I go through this learning process.