Donating Art to Charitable Organizations

Donating Art to Charitable Organizations

Most all artists I know have been approached by a local charitable organization to donate a painting to an auction fundraising event. The organization is trained to tell you the following: a. You will get lots of exposure for your art career, and b. The donation is tax deductible. Neither of these is actually true. It is not likely that you will get much or any exposure from the event. Remember people are there to support the charity, not to support you or your efforts. As an artist only the materials used to create art are tax deductible, which you will deduct from your business taxes anyway, so there is no gain for you there. If you donate a $500 painting it will likely sell for $75-100, which will de-value your work and not provide much in the way of resources for the organization.

While donating a painting to an auction is not a good approach, there are many ways that artists can use their art to assist the charitable organizations of their choosing. Here are just a few:

  • I worked with an organization to provide charity specific artwork which was placed on Christmas cards. The cards were sold as a fundraising activity and over three years of doing that the organization raised tens of thousands of dollars to support their cause. With just a little extra effort on my part, the dollars raised were significant for the organization.
  • Work with your art organization, or simply a group of your art friends to organize a sale specifically to benefit a charitable organization of your choosing. Designate a certain percentage of the sales (hopefully more than 50%) to be given to the chosen organization. Publicize the sale as benefitting the organization and work with the charity to help organize and publicize the event.
  • Hold a special open studio event designating a certain percentage of the sale to a specific charity. Again, work with them to assure they publicize the sale to their supporters as a fundraising event.
  • Donate a percentage of your art sales for an entire year (or more) to a needy organization in your community.

All of these opportunities will provide significant, needed funds for charitable organizations in your community. I'm sure there are lots more ideas that you have used to raise funds as well. Please share them in the comments so that the rest of us can benefit from your experiences.

If you'd like to learn to find your voice and share it with others, check out my list of upcoming workshops: (You can view a list of 2018 workshops HERE)

As always, thanks so much for your support! 


P.S. If you cannot attend a live event, or prefer to learn online in the comfort of your home or studio, Abstract Painting Academy is my online workshop:

Abstract Painting Academy is the next best thing to a live workshop. You can learn more about the program by Clicking HERE.