Fall seems to be ripe with opportunities for you to donate your work, whether that’s your original artwork or your product, such as a pattern or book. We all receive letters from charitable organizations, including guilds, asking for donations. While it’s wonderful to support so many worthwhile organizations, you cannot support them all. You may not have enough stock nor time to create more. And, if you respond to all the requests, your business could take a serious financial hit. On the plus side, you may get some media coverage and gain a collector of your work. When considering such requests, here are some suggestions/guidelines:
1. Choose a few charities that you care about and give to them. I’m partial to the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative. Many quilters have given to Fiberart for a Cause. Kathy Thompson with Quilters Dream Batting has started a project for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The Quilts of Valor is another popular project. It will be easy to find a charity that touches your heart.
2. If you are an artist who is asked for a donation, consider asking the organization to share in the proceeds if your piece is auctioned. Ask that a reserve (or minimum) price be set for your work. This is particularly true if you are donating a one-of-a-kind piece of a great value. The organization still receives a fair return, and you should be able to recoup the costs of your materials. If you donate a great deal of artwork that sells for lower prices, this could “devalue” your artwork to your regular audience.
3. Remember that you are only permitted to write off on your taxes the costs of your materials. You are not permitted to write off the value of your art and your time. Perhaps you’ll find a better option is to make a monetary donation that you can deduct fully.
4. Consider offering prints or giclees of your work in lieu of the original artwork. Check our blog for the post on giclees or refer to Issue 112 of The Professional Quilter for the full article.
5. Consider who receives your donation. I regularly receive requests from guilds across the country to donate something for their annual show or shop hop. Since our audience is limited to professionals, I have no way of knowing if a professional will win the prize. If I choose to make a donation, I do it as a gift certificate and include information about IAPQ. Hopefully a professional will take me up on the gift.
6. Sending a gift certificate, as I do, is an option for many, particularly with the requests for guild shows. Pattern designers can send a pattern – either new or one that is no longer being produced – or a gift certificate with a catalog. Longarm quilters, already so generous with their time, can offer to quilt a top for someone who is making a charitable donation.
What are you guidelines or suggestions for donations?
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