I get asked to donate my artwork fairly often. And this topic has been broached with me before in the art marketing class that I have conducted. So I thought it might be helpful to offer some insight into donations. First, you won’t be able to do them all- and please don’t feel bad about it. I get letters and emails requesting my work, sometimes several in one month. If I donated to all of them, I’d be out of paintings. And a girl’s gotta eat, so I have to have something left to sell. Next, you should decide who you’d like to help. Some charities hold the same art auction every year, so if it’s one that you would like to help on a continual basis, you can go ahead and plan on that and mark your calendar for it in the upcoming year(s). Or, you may like to alternate who you help and plan on donating to a different charity next go round just to even out the playing field a bit.
When deciding on who you would like to donate to, there are a few things to take into consideration. What does your donation do for this charity, organization, etc.? What will you be supporting? Does this follow your personal beliefs? What type of venue will hold the event? Who are the other participating artists? Would you be honored to have your work seen in such an event and amongst the other artists’ work? What kind of publicity will you gain from this experience? Will your donation conflict with another obligation, be it an exhibit, juried show, etc.?
I know this is a lot to consider and may even sound selfish, but the truth is, there’s much more to consider when donating your art than just simply writing a check to support a cause. This is about more than just money because it also involves time and labor- lots of it. You’re an artist, you know that it wasn’t easy to create this piece you’re about to give away. It took time, supplies, energy, creativity, willpower, and probably involved a personal sacrifice ranging anywhere from sleep to your family. So yes, you should consider what you get out of this. And if you decide that you can’t part with your work for whatever reason, but would truly like to help, simply write a check for this organization, charity, etc. You’ll directly help them without feeling guilty. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with just stating the truth- “I’d love to help, but I have [fill in other obligation here] and won’t be able to. But please add me to your mailing list, I’d love to donate next year.”
Thoughts? Questions? Let me know, either here or at www.AmyGuidry.com!