Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Zeal for the cause is key to success, according to professional photographer Lisa Jaster. Creating artistic social entrepreneurial opportunities that are win-win is a skill she possesses. Ms. Jaster is innovative at thinking outside the proverbial box partnering with nonprofit organizations. Social entrepreneurial efforts motivate clients to remember her. She serves as a role-model for other artists seeking a unique connection with the community.

Social entrepreneurship thrives when the business owner is genuine and willing to take some risk. Lisa states that it is important to speak with several people at the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to learn their perspective. Evolve an idea and discuss it with the agency’s decision maker. Sometimes the Development (fundraising) or Executive Director will hesitate but let them know that you have a passion for their mission statement. Start the collaboration on a small scale and grow it during subsequent years. Be willing to adjust the plan because it is a mixture of marketing and altruism. Usually, clients only need a small incentive to donate to a charity.

During 2011 Lisa teamed with two nonprofits to aid their mission and continued her own special project. First, she raised funds for Pet Haven of Minnesota by taking photos of animals for their calendar. She also sold their merchandise in her studio during the St. Paul Art Crawls, Spring and Fall. Second, she offered a free portrait session and 50% off 25 Holiday Cards ($120 value) when clients would bring a bag of nonperishable food items to their photo shoot. This effort resulted in 168 pounds of donations for Second Harvest Heartland while adding to her client base.

Ms. Jaster originated a third effort, which other artists could easily replicate. The Fostering Art Program focuses on emerging youth artists. Ms. Jaster provides space for a young artist (under the age of 13) to post their artwork during the St. Paul Art Crawl. Kids to learn how to promote themselves. The child must have parental approval, price their creations, be present in the studio during the Art Crawl to explain their work to patrons, and contribute to refreshments. Lisa has sponsored youth since 2010 and will be working with a sibling team this spring.

Ms. Jaster grew up in a small Minnesota town west of the Twin Cities. She attended St. Cloud State University and Willmar Community College before moving to the Twin Cities. She worked for twelve years at a photography studio before testing another career. Lisa realized that photography was her passion so she procured studio space. She enjoys both the technical aspects as well as the client interaction. Recently, she traveled internationally to record a wedding. Her work liberates the bliss of the subject. She especially enjoys capturing animals on film.

Lisa Jaster Studio is open by appointment and during St. Paul Art Crawls in the Northwestern Building located at 275 East 4th Street, Suite 110, Saint Paul, MN 55101. Visit or call 612-860-2193 for information. Ms. Jaster won the “Ima Best Social Entrepreneur” award for 2011 Art Crawls. Read the review posted on October 24th, 2011. Included in this article are photos of her work.

Parlay passion into purpose.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

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