Why You Should Always Donate Your Art for Fundraising

Last year we were asked more than a dozen times to donate artwork for a good cause. Are the number of “asks” getting greater every year?

I’ve been involved with various art fundraisers since the early 90′s and learned that when smartly executed, good money can be raised by auctioning quality art. The thing is, art auctions have become so successfully popular that artists are being bombarded with requests to donate.

What will you say this year when you are asked to donate your art for a good cause?

My short answer—yes. Why. . . because it’s a good cause, but mostly because it’s good business. In this post, learn how donating your art to fundraising auctions provides great marketing opportunities.

I’m of the position that artist’s should always donate.

If donating an original painting is not possible for you (because you have be working with a small inventory) consider donating editions such as a giclée or a valuable Artist’s Proof from your limited edition.

I hear some artists don’t like that art auctions may attract new collectors looking for deals. Let’s explore that . . . I’m thinking that’s not such a bad thing. Building “collectors” of your art has to start somewhere. When I was in my 30′s, my friends shopped for their first art pieces at art fundraisers. We had great taste in art, but we were young professionals on a limited budget. Today, these friends (now established at their six figure jobs) are avid collectors of high priced, quality art. Hook young collectors and they’ll follow you their whole art-buying life.

I have also attended auctions where the art sold over the suggested market price. This is always great for the artist and can create a real buzz around your work!

Publicity is hard to come by. Take advantage of every opportunity to exhibit and talk about your art.

I’m not suggesting that you donate to every event. I am recommending that you make donating to art auctions part of your marketing plan.

Donate art wisely by following these simple steps:

1. Do your research about each cause and where the money is going.

2. Budget to donate to 2-3 events a year.

3. Rotate between arts groups, causes, non-profits and geographic regions—spread your art around for maximum exposure.

Tip: Donate your best work. Some artists choose to donate artwork they can’t sell, “something laying around collecting dust”. Don’t make this mistake.You WILL benefit from exhibiting your best work, because it will attract the most attention. And size matters—bigger is better, provided the size doesn’t push the price too high.

7 Smart Business Tips for Donating Your Art

1/ Ask who will be the likely attendees? Choose a piece that suits and that can be priced according to the demographic.

2/ Make sure your name is added to the promotional material as a sponsor (if possible), including a link to your website.

3/ Be sure to attend the event, ask if you can volunteer.

4/ Set a minimum price for your artwork. This will keep your dealer and your other collectors happy.

5/ Publicize your involvement on your blog, Facebook page and website.

6/ Ask your publisher and framer to help you out with your artwork costs

7/ Invite someone you know would like to buy your art, but can’t afford your gallery prices—bring your buyer!

If you are involved in planning an art auction you might like to read my post 4 Profitable Fundrasing Ideas Using Art. The ideas shared in this post are built from events I have been involved with that have proved profitable.

What will say next time you are asked to donate your art??

Share with our readers your option about donating your art for fundraising, by commenting below!


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