Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Art of Donations... Where to Draw the Line?

Like many artists, I frequently am asked to donate to a variety of causes - usually in the form of charity auctions to support wildlife groups, art groups, schools and more. Most of the time the causes are fairly local, and always worthy. At some point, however, I have to draw the line. I will almost always contribute to a show where a % goes back to the artist, as at least these shows are acknowledging the fact that local artists aren't typically on the high end of the income scale and could stand to at least recoup the costs of supplies. Some may argue that the mere fact that your name is getting out there and being promoted thru their event is worth its weight in gold (or canvas, as the case may be), but after 10, 15, 20 or so requests, you can only use so much good (and sometimes mediocre) advertising. I have my 2 or 3 pet charities, of course. The ones to which I always like donating, and sometimes attending, and sometimes buying. And I always feel good about donating to them. I won't, however, donate anymore to requests that I get at shows. It's too hard to verify the charity while I'm there, and the reality is I'm at shows to sell my work. It's especially hard to receive those requests if you are at a show that isn't going well too.

As I was thinking this over for the new year, a NEW thought came to me. This may be the year that I approach the charities that I especially want to support. The thought came to me as I was volunteering my time at a local grade school, watching students participate in a running program. As I'm watching them make their laps, and get their cards punched, and seeing all these smiling, determined faces I realized it would make such a great painting! And as I was thinking on the design of the painting I realized that what I really wanted to do was donate the painting to raise money for this running program. It is completely not the type of event I would usually donate to, as there is no official donation program for this event. But I knew this is where my "painting to be" needed to go. And how fun for a program to get unexpected, unasked money with which they can grow in ways they may not have realized.

So... tired of those many requests? How about seeking out your own way to donate instead? It may bring you closer to the charity, your community, and will feel great. Happy giving!


thewillowsnest said...

yep good idea.. it does get overwhelming.. I donated to a couple of animal refuge places and now I get sent 5 every day asking for donations! We just have to be realistic... picking a couple and trying to just stick with them is a good idea!

Pam said...

I think this is a great idea! I also think being proactive about choosing where you want your time, or money, or energy, or paintings to go, makes it easier when you have to say "no"-- After all, we all have to say no to good causes. Resources are finite.

Jennifer Lommers said...

Thanks for the comments! Agreed and agreed!

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