Hello and welcome to birdy’s blog!
My name is Melissa Pearson. I am a teacher, lawyer, wife, and mother. People who know me are aware that I am also a serial volunteer. Something people may not know about me is that I recently became a momtrepreneur!
A few months ago, my friend Shannon Hutchison and I started birdy photography co. Shannon is a teacher and a very talented photographer. She is passionate about community building. Shannon is working on a number of community projects intended to help people move beyond biases to a place of love.
Our friend Fallon Squire is the newest addition to birdy. Fallon is a Montessori Mumma and Montessori Kindergarten teacher. Fallon and her husband are always creating incredible Montessori materials and furniture for her students and classroom. Fallon lends her artistic talents to birdy by designing gorgeous set-ups and props for our themed mini photo sessions. Her creations add a whimsical touch to family portraits.
A number of people have expressed curiosity about why birdy photography co. started. birdy photograph co. started because of the other f-word. If you haven’t already heard it, the other f-word frequently comes up for families with school-aged kids.
What is the other f-word?
The other f-word I am referring to is FUNDRAISING!
While I love volunteering by giving my time and any expertise that people may deem me to have, volunteering by asking people for money – AKA fundraising – is a whole other story. Until recently, I had no idea why the word fundraising has the word fun in it. When I used to hear the other f-word, only frustration came to mind – not fun.
The following is a list of my six frustrations with traditional fundraisers:
1. Extremely time consuming to organize, facilitate, and participate in;
2. Purchasing something out of guilt and not because I want it;
3. Having no room in my freezer for a giant box of [insert frozen food];
4. Inflated margins on goods that I could just add to my online grocery order;
5. Expensive shipping fees, or wondering why individual shipping fees are charged to each family, when all orders are going to the same place; and
6. Low rates of returns, especially considering the copious amount of volunteer hours it takes to coordinate a fundraiser.
Preschool Fundraising Committee… CHAIR?!
This past school year, I was assigned to the Fundraising Committee at my daughter’s community preschool. This was despite listing my preferences as: 1) Playdough Committee, 2) Library Committee, and 3) Laundry Committee. I don’t recall putting Fundraising Committee anywhere on my preference list – let alone the role of Chair of the Fundraising Committee!
Becoming the Fundraising Committee Chair was actually a blessing in disguise. With most things I do, there is a particular way I want them done - efficiently and successfully. In what felt like a winning streak of uncontested elections, the Fundraising Committee always seemed to accept my efficient fundraiser proposals! (Everyone on the committee had at least one preschooler and usually additional babies, toddlers, and/or children. Needless to say, this doesn’t leave much time for fundraising.)
To find the most efficient fundraisers, I embarked on extensive fundraising research. I reviewed fundraisers that had previously been done by the preschool. I calculated the profit margins for a number of new fundraising options and I tested out the ease of different online fundraisers. It became a game for me. I realized I had finally found the FUN in fundraising!
My disdain for traditional fundraisers proved to be an asset. This is because it meant I only picked fundraisers with a high rate of return that did not require a lot of time. I love community building, so I ran fundraisers that worked well in conjunction with preschool events. I also ran fundraisers that could be done online or remotely, as we were (still are?) in the midst of a pandemic.
After all of my research, I came up with an event that solved all six of my frustrations with traditional fundraisers. My absolute favourite fundraising event:
1. Involved very little time;
2. Provided families with a useful and timeless product they actually wanted;
3. Took up zero space in my freezer;
4. Was reasonably priced and offered different price-points;
5. Shipped for free; and
6. Yielded high returns.
In short, birdy photography co. started because of the other f word – FUNDRAISING!
Stay tuned for our next blog post, where I will explain how my absolute favourite fundraising event turned into birdy photography co.
In the meantime, learn more about our upcoming fall mini photo sessions and email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive our latest updates!