Donate your art prudently

They’re coming after you again!

You open the email and darned if it doesn’t look familiar. Once again, you’re asked to donate your art for a worthy cause.

Of course you’d like to help out. You’d love to save the world! But you delivered your art to that  environmental group’s auction just last month. And you’ve promised a piece to that hospital raffle next month.

How much art can one artist give?

Leya Evelyn
Leya Evelyn, Why Do We Have Elephants, No. 1.
30 x 30 inches. ©The Artist

Really. How much should you give? There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on your income, your inclinations, your community relations, your productivity, and much more. Only you can decide what the appropriate level of giving is for your current situation. And you should decide. Before you get another request.

You can’t give to every cause. You need to set parameters for your giving. For example, you might promise to donate art only to this organization or to that cause. Or you might decide to give $x worth of art per year. Or you could opt to donate only reproductions of your art. What feels right to you?

As someone who has been charged with raising a lot of money in the past, I beg of you not to get angry when you’re asked to donate. The person doing the requesting is only doing his or her job. And it’s well within your boundaries to say “No”. Don’t be afraid to exercise that option often. Remember that many people are not aware that the current U.S. tax laws do not favor gifts from artists. While certain members of Congress have been trying to change this for years, artists can still only deduct the cost of the materials when they donate their art. Only collectors who donate art can deduct full market value on their taxes. Make sure people who ask you to donate are aware of what they are asking.

Which brings me to this thought. I believe that–until U.S. tax laws change–all art organizations should be encouraged to give 50% of the sale of donated art back to the artist. Alternatively, the artists could set a wholesale or minimum price they want to receive and give the remainder of the fetched price to the organization. This can be voluntary, of course, with some artists wanting the entire amount to go to the organization. But art organizations are there to support art in the community and that means supporting the artists.

See similar articles: Give Back, Give of Yourself to Other Artists

KNOW THIS———-~> You will continue to be asked to donate your art to worthy causes.

THINK ABOUT THIS—~> You can’t donate to every cause.

DO THIS————~> Donate your art prudently. Set your parameters, write them out, memorize them, and stick to them. You are commended for your desire to help those in need, but you must also look out for yourself.

We want to hear your stories about donating art. Tell us about them on the Art Biz Blog (and look for one more thing to think about before donating your art). You can also listen to the podcast while you’re there.

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