What is “Sponsoring A Camera”? {a personal post from co-founder Karin Doolin}

Creating a non profit organization is an interesting experience.  Most people who start one have zero experience in the non profit world, they are just simply a person with a passion in their heart to do something.  It’s likely that some people have visions of individuals who run a non profit organization as wealthy entrepreneurs trying to offset some money or do something charitable with all the wealth they’ve accumulated.  In some cases, people might even think of those running non profits as someone skimming off the top and making a living from people’s donations.  More likely than not, most founders of non profits are just like we are – volunteering our time, efforts, and even our own money for our organization’s success.  We personally spend just as much time and effort on our non profit business as we do our for profit.  The for profit is designed to fulfill our bank account – the other fills our hearts.

When the idea of The Big Picture Project became a reality, we were headed into uncharted territory.  Similar to the people we’d be helping, the only thing we had was HOPE.

The thing we wanted most when creating the intricacies of our method was to be able to give people the experience of what it’s really like to travel and meet vulnerable individuals in impoverished conditions.  Being aware of the fact that most people will never travel to a third world country and get to know it’s people, we wanted to be able to share the perspective that an experience like this gives you.  How it opens your world view and changes your heart.  We wanted our friends to be able to experience the things we had come to know, but we knew that wasn’t feasible.  If we couldn’t bring our friends to these life changing experiences and different cultures, we wanted to bring the experiences and cultures to them.

The other thing we considered while building The Big Picture Project was that we didn’t want to try to solicit monetary donations as our source of proceeds.  Donations are fantastic, but we wanted a more unique way to get involved.  Our first, and most obvious way to raise funds was through the sales of photographs taken by the individuals we would teach.  This was what the entire foundation of BPP was created upon.  Teach photography > sell their artwork > use the funds to create positive changes in their community.  While that model is good and a wonderful purpose, there was a key factor still missing – the story.  To fully understand The Big Picture, you need the story, the experience, the fundamental entity that connects us as humans.  Without the story behind the people, we would never be able to truly honor the purpose of their efforts.

This is where we created the Sponsor A Camera program.  Beyond a mere donation, outside of purchasing an interesting piece of artwork – the Sponsor A Camera program provides the experience.  The experience of actively getting to know a person you would never normally have the opportunity to know.  To understand who they are, and what their daily life entails by observing a ‘behind the scenes’ look at their lives.  By participating, our sponsors would validate the these individuals’ existence and support the idea that their story matters.  It was very important to us to give anyone willing to give to the cause an experience that would be as close as possible to actually getting on that plane, stepping off into a completely new world, shaking the hands, giving and receiving the hugs, holding the dirty kids who want nothing more than your time, witnessing the hardships and the hope, and feeling your heart forever change.

We’ve had a few people question what sponsoring a camera means.  We incurred some puzzled looks, and people who really don’t get it.  Life is complicated, and people are often bombarded with information every minute of the day so we understand why sometimes more of an explanation is needed.  But the reason for the Sponsor A Camera program is quite simple – to open your heart in ways you never knew possible and let the love just pour in.  If you’d like to experience what that’s like, we’d love to have you join us!!