I’ve been practicing building community in different ways over many years. I have combined my marketing and outreach skills to create audiences for these events and raised lots of money for friends in need. I thought I’d share some of what I learned here. I’m always open to feedback – if you see a way to improve this article, please let me know in the comments section below. Thanks!

Once upon a time there was a guy named Carlton. He traveled to festivals hither and yon to capture their essences in photos. He got very good at his craft and was great at coming to events and sharing what he’d seen. At local festivals like Beloved, Northwest String Summit, 4 Peaks, the Oregon Country Fair and more – he’d be seen roaming around with heavy cameras always looking for just the right moment. He also liked to show off the equipment he used and would explain to those listening why this lens or that technique was worth doing. He probably taught a lot of people about photography over the years. Over the last couple of years Carlton’s heath has been impaired and so a GoFundMe was started. When I learned about that I thought about doing a music concert + silent auction for him to both raise funds and also point people toward the GoFundMe.

This was not my first rodeo. I have instigated similar events in previous years. They are always a lot of fun and are a great way to gather people together. They act as a community reunion and often have surprise outcomes that can be expected but are often fun and valuable for those who participate.

So, someone knows someone at the awesome Alberta Abbey on 1st and Alberta Northeast and that smoothed the rest of the ride. The perfect person stepped forward to organize the silent auction. I set up a Google Form like my endorsement form which took in people’s offerings: silent auction items, volunteer help, and musicians and bands offering to play for the evening. In the end, my sound guy volunteer asked if we could hire a friend of his to run sound – we did and he was great and also played in one of the trios! The Alberta Abbey provided food and drink for sale and we also had a cake/cupcake magician come and sell her wares. The night had many twists and turns for me, the MC, but overall everything went very smoothly and those who were meant to come and be a part of it were.

We managed to raise about $3,200 between the door and the silent auction and the GoFundMe got a lot of attention as well through a lot of strategic Facebook posting in various groups that are the circles of Carlton’s life.

I’ll probably update this post as I think of more things to say.