Fundraising: the win,win,win strategy

Posted on by inaka

As artists, we are constantly being asked to donate items for worthy causes. The big question is how to have the organization, the patron and the artist all benefit. We hope this will start a dialogue about how to achieve that.

The Challenge for an Organization: How to Raise Money
A Solution:
-have artists donate works to your benefit or event

The Downside for an Artist: This is not a local problem or even a regional problem. It is a problem for all artists nationwide and around the world.
1. The artists are giving away work.
2. Sometimes the work comes back. Sometimes even very successful artists’ work in benefits does not sell.
3. Artists are constantly being asked to donate their works to be auctioned at fundraising events. Many artists are happy and willing to give to many causes, but the number of times they are asked is just too many.
4. Sometimes the event does not make any money. Why? One explanation is that the cost in providing food, drink and entertainment for the event was more than the art auction took in. Then why didn’t the organizers ask the people providing the food, drink and entertainment to donate their work. A gasp followed by the comment “but these companies are professionals!”
5. Sometimes art works that were donated but did not generate any bids were taken home by volunteers working at the fundraiser for all their hard work instead of being returned to the artists.

Another Solution:
1. The organization finds local patrons to commission pieces that are put up for auction at a well-publicized event.
2. Each has a minimum price. If there is not a minimum reserve bid of at least 50 percent of the value of the piece, the artist is better off selling the painting on their own and donating the money to the organization.
3. If and when a piece sells at auction, the artist simply makes a duplicate for the patron (if desired). For example:
-the patron would pay the artist $500 for a piece
-at auction, the piece sells for $1500
-the patron gives the artist another $500 to duplicate the piece (if desired)

The Advantages for the Patron:
1. The patron has spent $1000 on an original art piece to his/her liking, gets the benefit of donating the piece to the action, and gets a tax receipt for $1500.
2. If the piece does not sell, the patron gets the original. In this case, the patron has spent $500 for an original art piece.

The Advantages for the Organization:
1. purchasers receive a tangible item for their donation; and the charity receives the funds
2. the artists are happy and willing to do it all again

The Advantages for the Artist:
1. art auctions seem like a win/win strategy.
2. it is good karma and reflects well on you. You are being asked to donate to a worthy cause. As an artist you have the  ability to give something that has value and can raise money.
3. it is exposure and can result in getting your work into a collection that opens other doors
4. puts your name on that organization’s radar.
5. it can be fun.

The Keys to Success:
1. educating affluent local citizens about the tradition of finely crafted handmade creations, pointing out originality and quality of execution
2. concept of patronage
3. publicizing the auction
4. artists must be able to deliver

As an artist,
1. DO NOT DONATE if you cannot donate something from your best quality.
2. DO NOT DONATE work you cannot sell.
3. DO NOT DONATE work that is challenging or controversial.
4. DO NOT DONATE older pieces unless you are well-known enough for them to have value.
5. DO NOT DONATE if you do not believe in the cause.
6. DO NOT DONATE a work you have overvalued.
7. DO NOT DONATE work that has value greater than can be expected to be reached in the auction.
8. DO NOT DONATE if there is not a minimum reserve bid of 50 percent of the value of the piece. Works do not necessarily sell for their true dollar value because the audience is expecting to get something for less than it would typically cost (this goes for all items, not just artwork). So, if there is less than a 50% reserve bid, you are better off selling the painting on your own and donating the money.
9. DO NOT list the benefits you have donated to on your bio. It looks like padding.

An artist must have a certain disposition and stamina. INAKA is a business combined with art. We are able to meet deadlines and give accurate estimates to help make your wishes a reality.

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