Why are Artists Always Asked to Donate to Causes?

          Once while visiting a friend’s home, I was invited to see his art collection. He was so proud of the fact that he had one painting of my every style through the years. Of course, I was happy to see the works, but I soon realized that none of the paintings had been purchased from me or from a gallery that represented me.

          They were all works my friend had bought at silent auctions during fundraiser events for worthy causes.

          Ok, who is at fault here? Not my friend. The fault lies strictly with me: The Classic Enabler Artist. 

          Yes, my love language is Gifts, and it’s a warm feeling to give. Considering funding for nonprofits is historically low, many selfless people put in hours of volunteer labor because they are passionate about what this funding will do.

          In my hometown of Ponchatoula where I still live, this is especially true. We pride ourselves on the fact that we all give without having to be asked, never expecting anything in return. And yes, it’s certainly an admirable trait for a small city, and we are all proud of it.

          Nevertheless, why are Artists asked to donate paintings?

          Because all Artists are insecure? Yep…we all want our work to be seen and accepted and are thrilled when it sells no matter who gets the money.

          Because all Artists can use the exposure? Yep…but when was the last time your doctor performed surgery for free because you convinced him it would be good exposure for him?

          Because all Artists are not money-smart? Not necessarily true. Many Artists accept their work as “work” and business and keep accurate financial records. But even if you as an Artist are trying to sell your paintings as a sideline, why would anyone buy your work at full price when they can get it at the next fundraiser for a fraction of the cost?

          So, the answer is to stop supporting causes? NO! Always give to causes! There are, however, alternative ways to give that do not include finished work. Try donating a

  • basket of art supplies
  • gift card for an art lesson
  • discount on their next painting purchase
  • membership to your local museum or art guild
  • subscription to an art magazine

         And for those of you out there spearheading the silent auctions who really want a painting for the centerpiece of your fundraiser? Get someone to donate the purchase price, buy the work from the Artist and sell it for more! Everybody wins!