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Old April 5th, 2012, 04:56 PM   #101
Unkl Ian
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Default Re: Tools for Creativity

Milon Townsend on Donations

Milon Townsend is an artist, successful in his chosen field, so his thoughts might be of interest.

From his book Making & Marketing Better Artwork,
Blue Moon Press 2001:

"Chapter 6. Donations

Artists often get 'over-asked' to donate work to various charitable

organizations and causes. You will find it helpful to have a plan for handling
these requests, so that you do not have to evaluate the relative merits of each
request on a case-by-case basis.

If you gave to everyone that asked, you'd have little time left to carry on with

and would become unable to support the things that are actually important to
you. There are many valid reasons for giving - you will have to decide which
reasons are the most compelling for you.

-Belief in the cause/organization

This is the BEST reason. It may lead you to give pieces, time, or money. You

might give on an initiative basis, without being asked. You will RECEIVE the
most from this type of giving, since you are investing the fruits of your labors
directly in the areas of life that mean the most to you.


Many causes soliciting donations tell you how much 'exposure' you'll receive by

having your piece in their auction or having your name listed in their program.
If exposure is a significant factor in your decision, realistically evaluate the
type of exposure that the event will generate.


-Fringe Benefits

There are other possible benefits to you when donating your work. Actively
pursue and confirm the ones that have value to you.

You should honestly admit to yourself the reasons that you are donating artwork
to each cause that you support. If your offering is due to a strong belief in
the cause itself, you ought not object if perks are curtailed in order to retain
more of the proceeds for the cause itself. If the fringe benefits are the point ...[snip]"

"-Minimum bids

You will feel irritated or even frustrated if one of your valuable pieces is

sold for a tiny fraction of its value at a benefit auction.
Require a minimum bid for the sale of your piece to take place. This is usually
the wholesale value of the piece. If the group cannot obtain wholesale value of
the piece at auction, and you really want to support them anyway, you'd be
better off just selling the piece yourself and giving them the money.You do not
want to have your work perceived as not retaining value. This is one risk you
take in offering it for auction. If it does not sell at a good price, that may
negatively affect the perception of value. On the other hand, if more than one
person desires your piece, and the price rises above the norm, that will
increase the perceived value of your work.

-Other ways of giving

There are other means than giving artwork for you to support a cause in which

you believe.
* Send actual money.
* Volunteer your time to help put on the event.
* Volunteer to teach on behalf of the cause.
* Be a mentor to other artists or members of the group.
* Support your local arts group.
* If you are well known, lend your name to the enterprise.

-Develop the ability to say no.

You will receive more requests for donations than you are able to fulfill. Learn

to politely, but clearly, refuse. If you are already involved in supporting
something else, mention that fact. It will silence most applicants for your
favors. Do not feel in any way bad or guilty for turning down a request.

-Give pro-actively.

Choose the organizations or causes that you believe in, and give generously in

whatever way works best for you. you will find that what you give out comes

The book, is very well written, and covers what is involved in running a
successful business as an artist. Starting with promotional literature, pricing,
wholesale/retail, dealing with galleries, shipping and packaging, photographing
your work, and running a studio.
Available from

Hopefully this will prompt some thought and discussion.

Unkl Ian

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