Wednesday, April 8, 2009

OPINION: Donating to Art auctions - love 'em? hate 'em? depends on the cause?

This is in response to a question submitted by Marc Awodey and posted on April 6, 2009. Further responses will be posted as they are received.

by Stuart Chenkin

As a fundraiser for a non-profit ( ) I believe that artists, or anyone, who donate items or services to our benefit auction are doing a service for those less fortunate than them. True, many artists are "starving" and the donation isn't going to make them any richer financially. However, they will benefit knowing that they are helping someone improve their life. This does not include art institutions as I cannot comment on their intentions. I can, however, comment on the "percentage of auction sale" for the artist (donor). We are asked that when soliciting donations and will not accept any donations with that caveat, or "on consignment." Why? Most people who attend benefit auctions will spend a specific amount of money. Suppose someone makes $5,000 his or her limit. They bid $5,000 on a painting of which the artist gets $2,500 and the charity $2,500. Now, if the attendee bid a total of $5,000 on, say, ten items and/or services, the charity gets the full $5,000. And in these turbulent financial times $5,000 is a lot better than $2,500. Incidentally, artists are not the only people who ask for a split of the funds, and we turn those "donors" down also.