We receive donation requests fairly regularly. They may come from local organizations who are interested in fund raising or from larger organizations that are wanting to put our images to some type of use. For example, one of the local state park’s friends groups wanted to create some interpretive signs for a viewing area. Thay called and asked if they could use some images for their signs. In similar fashion, the Oregon Aquarium in Newport wanted to use one of my images for the cover of their adoption brochure. In both cases we responded in the affirmative.
At some point, however, one hope to get paid for the use of their images. After all, the images have value and we are hoping to make a living doing this. So when should one insist on payment. I know of one photographer who had an image of a Red Knot used by a non-profit in an effort to create public awareness of the plight of these birds and received payment of, if memory serves correct, one hundred dollars for the use. As of yet, we have not been so fortunate. But, it is important to remember that some of these organizations do have money for the purpose of purchasing images.
When we are faced with a request and have to make a decision we do it based largely upon our own personal beliefs and values. We also factor in the publicity factor (we always insist on credit being given) and the possibility that the exposure will generate sales at a later date. Ultimately, in the cases above, we believe in the mission of the organizations we were supporting and would allow use of our images even if there was no benefit to us.
It is my belief that a photographs emotive capability makes it a powerful tool for social change. As such, I feel that it is my responsibility to donate my images when the cause is one I believe in.