Donating Art to Charities the Right Way


A large debate in the art world revolves around the ethics of donating art to charities. Some argue that it’s not worth it because artists lose money, or that it can hurt the artist economy. However, the problem diminishes if the art is donated correctly. To learn more about the ethics of correctly donating art, see the following tips.


Decide Which Charities to Help

To begin with, donate to the right charities. That may seem like a stingy thing to say, but it has its merits. There are hundreds of thousands of charities in America alone, and you can’t donate to every single one. Consider these questions when you’re deciding on which charity to help:


  • Are you familiar with their cause?
  • Do you support their cause?
  • Do they already receive lots of donations?
  • Will your artwork really benefit them?
  • Will this donation help your image?
  • What are the financial benefits for you?


The answers to these questions should help you determine if the charity you’re considering is something that makes sense in terms of the role it plays in your life.


Though donating to charity should be a wonderful opportunity to give from the heart, you need to make sure it’ll benefit you and your career. That way, you can gain more recognition and continue to help charities without going broke.


Know the Proper Reserve Values


Just as you need to know the proper reserve values at an art expo, you also need to know and understand the reserve values when you donate art to charity. Generally, the person running the charity art auction will designate the value. If that’s not the case, remember that the value of your artwork at a charity auction is generally lower than the fair market value. This makes it easier to sell the art quickly and get the money to your charity.


However, avoid art auctions that request a reserve value far below your piece’s worth. Likewise, beware of listing the art too low. Selling the piece at a price that’s too low will hurt both the artist and the artist economy. If a work doesn’t sell at a charity auction, it’s better to re-list it at the next auction than to lower the price.


Define Your Donation Limits


Though some wildly successful artists are able to donate as much artwork as they please, others need to be wary of the number of donations they make. In order to keep your head above water, set your limit on the number of donations you make per year. The average artist donates two to three pieces a year. Also, never donate if it will hurt you financially.


Use Art Auctions

Many artists have taken to donating their art as a solo act. Successful artists, like Scott Jacobs, do this all the time (see the feature article from Park West Gallery for more details). However, this isn’t always good for your career if you’re a budding artist.


Instead, donate your artwork in cooperation with an art auction in which the proceeds go to charity. These events happen all the time, and you’ll be sure to find a cause you support hosting a charity auction you can join with little to no hassle. This boosts your image without hurting your financial stability.


Combine Lesser-Known Artists with Reputable Artists


One of the biggest perks of donating to art auctions is that you’ll be able to auction your lesser-known artwork alongside more reputable artists. As you search for a charity auction you support, check the list of donors for names you recognize. Big art names at auctions always come with press, gallery attention, and high-end buyers, which all artists need.


Though many will still rave about the downside of donating art (like this article featured in The New York Times), they can’t disagree that it has its benefits when done correctly. New, struggling artists can find recognition through charity art auction.

Related posts

Types of Skin Art

Henry Young

Tips for Lighting Your Art Works

Henry Young