Guest blogger: Fiona Purdy
There is one sure thing that will happen to every artist who sells their work. You will be constantly approached by organizations asking for a donation for their good cause.
There are four ways to deal with donation requests.
1. You can donate.
2. You can ignore the request.
3. You can decline the request.
4. You can offer another solution, and explain why you are offering it.
Instead of getting annoyed by another begging letter, email or phone call for my work, promising me big exposure that never eventuates, I opt for #4.
To be fair, most fundraisers are unaware of what it means for artists who donate their artwork.
I believe it is our responsibility to gently & diplomatically educate them. If enough of us do this, maybe sometime in the future we won’t be bombarded as much – and maybe the charity will make a lot more money.
Here is a reply that I sent recently to an organization requesting I donate a painting or a portrait gift certificate.
Thank you for contacting me regarding your event. The “X” Zoo is a wonderful place.
When a patron purchases a piece of artwork at a fundraising event, they can claim the entire purchase price as a charitable deduction.
However, when an artist donates a piece of artwork, they cannot claim the retail price of it as charitable contribution. An artist can only claim the cost of the materials, which normally is a fraction of the price of the finished artwork.
A piece of art is different than say a vacation, or a spa visit, or donation of that kind. Artwork has an intrinsic value, especially portraits, a deeper value than say a golf package.
After donating many paintings (or portraits), I’ve come to realize that many of the people that attend these events expect to get a “deal,” to be able to purchase artwork at less than market value. This devalues my artwork and it is extremely unfair to my clients who have paid full price for my work.
I would never do this to my clients. It is unacceptable to me.
In light of this I no longer donate my artwork outright to any charity.
I do want to help you in your fundraising efforts however, and there is a way that we can still do this.
You can purchase one of my paintings at full price, and then offer it in the auction, where you will be able to price it at more than the cost to you. You could also get the attendees to understand that the event is a fund raising venture and they should get behind the Zoo by bidding big to raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile cause.
Please let me know if you would like to pursue this avenue.
So the next time you are approached to donate your artwork, please feel free to use this letter and modify as you wish!!
Fiona Purdy makes vibrant, contemporary animal paintings and portraits that portray her passion and deep love for her subjects. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.