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[Ed] There are many reasons why artists create: To express themselves, to bring joy to others, to help make sense of their experiences, to heal themselves and others, for the sheer joy of creating, and so on. I was talking recently with a fellow artist, a painter, who also uses her art to help raise funds for several charitable and conservation organizations. I’ve wanted to do this but had no clue how to begin. I asked what she would recommend as some first steps to take to be able to contribute to organizations of one’s choice. Here’s are some brief and, I found, helpful, steps to take:

“As far as helping with various organizations, my best suggestion is that you write to the one(s) that you would like to help and include pictures of your work. Sometimes they are looking for new artists to  represent a specific project.  I have found that the best and easiest way to help out is to donate a piece (or part of the  proceeds from a piece) to the organization.

An example: I wanted to help the San Francisco Zoo, so I painted a piece that I then had made into posters. Then I turned the posters over to the Zoo to sell and keep all the profits. Then I told them that when I sold the original painting, that I would donate 1/2 of the sale price to them.

Be careful about donating your work though as far as tax write-offs go. You can’t claim anything except for the materials that you use (in my case, paint, canvas, brushes and frame).  This seems so unfair, but it’s a law that they really stand by.

Many times, if I donate a piece to a fundraising auction, I make arrangements early on to keep the minimum bid. For example they set the minimum bid for a piece at $500.00. This they give to me at the end of the auction and anything they receive over that they keep. I just keep enough to cover my expenses and a tiny bit of time and they usually make a large profit (hopefully!)

It’s probably good to start with smaller local organizations and work your way up.  Use the smaller organizations as part of your “resume” for the larger ones. Always keep publicity clippings etc. to send along also.
Good luck.”
Laura Regan