It is that time of year again. My mail box is full of requests from a variety of great non-profits (and some not so great) to give them art so they can sell them at auction to raise money. I expect the phone calls will start soon. Rarely do these auctions end up selling the art at full retail value. So, it ends up that benefactors of these non-profits get the art at a great deal. While I receive nothing but a thank you for my donation. Okay. Sometimes I get to attend the event. But a lot of times I'm asked to pay for the opportunity to sit and watch my piece be auctioned. But our tax laws are written so I do not get to deduct the price of my donation from my taxes--only the cost of goods in that piece, which, if I have done my accounting properly, has already been written off as a business expense. On the other hand, if a patron decides he/she no longer wishes to keep a piece of art, he/she can donate it to a non-profit and deduct the full retail amount. Not exactly fair.
I never minded art shows asking for donations. In fact, I've garnered clients from some of these auctions. Almost another marketing expense for exposure in a market. And I haven't totally decided what to do about these requests. I've had several customers acquire the auction piece and in those years have chosen not to purchase directly from me. So, I'm realizing that this "donation" is actually cutting into my sales. If it keeps me in good stead with the show, then maybe it is worth the price. Although maybe I should just offer them some money. "I don't make donations of my work to shows but I'd be happy to make a small monetary contribution"?
As for other causes, I've decided on a new approach. Should someone inquire about a donation I will politely tell them that I'd be happy to donate a piece if they will agree to purchase a piece of at least equal value. We'll see how that goes. I'll keep you posted. And, of course, I still reserve the right to say no outright to causes I don't care about or don't feel like supporting.
Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's day!!!!