January 25, 2011 · Success Stories

6Qs with Lauren “Lemon” Randolph of Phoot Camp Benefit


"Aim high, but be humble…I appreciated every single donation that came in as if that was the last I was going to receive." –Lauren Lemon

Phoot Camp, an invite-only weekend-long creative retreat and photography workshop hosted by Laura Brunow Miner, started a benefit fundraiser on IndieGoGo for Phoot Camper and award-winning photographer Lauren "Lemon" Randolph when she lost $7,000 worth of equipment. Their fundraising campaign, which ends in a month, is a testament that most succesful campaigns are team-driven. Learn how Lauren and 27 other of the Phoot Camp members shared their time and talents to make Phoot Camp Benefit a picture-perfect success!

Q1. Tell us about your project…. your inspiration and goals! 

Lauren LemonLaura approached me with the idea of a fundraiser after I had literally all of my camera equipment stolen from my apartment while my sister and I were at home sleeping. I'm a full-time freelance photographer, and I've always been the person who carries my camera around everywhere. Almost immediately after I realized I had been robbed, I posted my devastating news to Twitter, and right away had friends and people wanting to reach out and help. I was going to need to replace my equipment anyway, so any little bit I could get would help, but we set our goal at $7000 which was just about the total amount of gear and everything stolen.

Q2. What's your funding campaign all about? Who should care and why?
What started out as friends and family wanting to help me get my stolen camera equipment back, quickly grew to an online community wanting to help out an artist while collecting art. Thanks to the help of the talented photographers and creatives of Phoot Camp we were able to offer original signed prints as our thanks for donating. People were able to donate money towards replacing my camera equipment, but were also able to collect artwork in return. People close to me know how passionate I am about my photography and wanted to help, and each of the members of Phoot Camp wanted to spread my story and the benefit around to their networks so I could get back to shooting pictures as soon as possible.


3. How are you reaching, engaging and involving others? Your DIWO tactics, please!
With the help of 28 individuals of Phoot Camp, all with active online networks, everyone reached out to their blogs, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter to spread the word of the benefit. It wasn't just one person pushing a campaign, it was basically a whole community of photographers and photo enthusiasts.


4. You're rocking the fundraising on IndieGoGo? Congrats! What's working? What's not working? 

Thank you! I'm completely amazed by the success myself, but I believe people appreciated the tiers of gifts we were offering. With so many images being circulated and seen over the internet, to receive a physical print feels like it has great value again. People could request a print from one of their favorite Phoot Camp photographers, or just receive one at random. Donating to the benefit gave people an opportunity to maybe collect some signed artwork that they had only been able to see online. I've also been sending handwritten postcards to people who only made a minimum donation of $10, but people are excited to get something personal in the mail – something they can hang and display. 

Photo by Lauren Randolph

Photo by Lauren Randolph

Photos by Lauren Randolph

5. Any surprises or especially fun moments during your campaign that you'd like to share? 

The whole campaign has felt like a surprise! I truly didn't know what to expect when we started, and I was happy to offer anything I could as my thanks to people who donated. For our biggest gift, I was offering a photoshoot to anyone who donated $1000 or more. I couldn't even believe it when I got the notification of a donation from someone who just wanted to help out – someone who had also recently been the victim of theft, and wanted to turn our two wrongs into a right. After such a disheartening burglary experience, my faith in people was quickly being restored by the kindness and generosity of so many family, friends, and even strangers. 

6. Any tips / advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs, creators and project leaders like yourself?

I'd say aim high, but be humble. We set a high goal to replace all of my camera equipment, but I didn't have any expectations, so I appreciated every single donation that came in as if that was the last I was going to receive. Spread the word around to as many places as you can, and the more people you can get excited about why you're raising money, and wanting to help, the better.


Fund Phoot Camp Benefit on IndieGoGo


Get the latest scoop from Lauren Randolph and Phoot Camp:

Lauren's Website | Lauren's Blog | Phoot Camp's Website | Phoot Camp on Twitter