Art and Creativity for Charity — The Value (or not?) of Creating for Altruistic Purposes

in #creativitylast year

My wife and I recently went to a conference and retreat of a non-profit organization we are part of.

In connection with that, there was a two-day meeting of the Board of Directors of the non-profit and — after some discussion — we decided it would be a nice touch/gesture if I were to paint some (small, I grant you) examples of my handpainted stones as "giveaways" to everyone attending the board meeting.

A group shot of some of the stones made for this occasion

Promotional Tool — or Waste of Valuable Time?

One of the questions/issues artists and creatives often face is that of whether or not things offered "pro-bono" actually have value," beyond merely being a gesture that is appreciated, and that makes us feel good about doing the "right thing."

In this case, I spent quite a few hours on the creative process... with no real expectation of a "return" — aside from the creation of goodwill and "getting my name out there."

Does that have value?

Time will tell, I suppose... I did manage to create a special information insert, which pointed people to my art web site, and to my fundraising Patreon account.

Donation as a memento for conference attendees

Additional "Free" Creativity...

Of course, the "doing stuff for free" didn't stop there.

My wife was in charge of setting up a quiet space for the conference, which was to be used as a "Reflection Sanctuary" for people to have a moment of quiet during an otherwise very busy and packed events schedule.

We decided that I create an additional 40 (small) pieces to be put in a basket the Sanctuary, with a discreet sign saying the stones were free for the taking — as a remembrance of the event — but that a suggested donation of $5-10 would be appreciated, to be left on the "honors system."

In the end, every single one of those stones was distributed to attendees, and there was $169.00 in the basket at the end of the event.

Again, disregarding the money for a moment... there was "good will" and "name recognition" created, but whether any actually long term benefits will result remains to be seen.

A bit of a concession to "commercial cute," but people really loved them!*

Artists... and Silent Auctions at Events

Last, but not least, I decided to donate an item — a matching set of "Chakra Stones." to the event's charity silent auction.

Again, created some goodwill... and I was happy to see that the item actually got bids very close to the actual retail value of the item. That was certainly a plus.

Artists often get asked to donate items to charitable events... the ultimate question of whether this actually represents a promotional opportunity... or is it simply *"a donation."

In the end, my contribution amounted to about $700.00 in saleable merchandise, and we walked away with an unspecified amount of "goodwill and name recognition," as well as $169.00 to help cover our cost of going.

Worth it? Or not?

Only time will tell... and I am choosing to view the experience as "doing good," as well as just a small piece of a greater promotional and awareness campaign for my work.

Thanks for reading!

2019.10.22 AS-TXT-022


First... I LOVE ROCKS!

I also paint them. In much the same fashion as you. I also gift them...cause, they are rocks... and rocks are awesome.

Anywho... I also run a nonprofit, and we do fundraisers, and sometimes we ask for 'art' donations (we live in a VERY art-driven community) to be auctioned or raffled. And while we do 'pimp' the artists pretty hardcore during the auctions, it's still likely it's 'just a donation'.

Yes, because of where I live, there are several 'bites' and artists DO end up getting more work from the event. But honestly, most of the time, the event is for the organization and that's where the focus lies.

I don't think it's really the fault of anyone. Just how it turns out.

So, yes, recognition is a thing and can help your business grow, especially if you 'show up' at a lot of different places... but mostly, when dealing with non-profits, it's a donation of good will.😍

I'd say, "Keep painting rocks!" if that's what makes your heart sing, and eventually, it could 'pay off'. 🥰

You've been chosen to be featured in @creativecoin's 🔥DAILY BURN🔥 post!


Those are some awesome painted rocks. :) I also appreciate your goals and the positive energy you're putting into it. I hope things go well for you in your efforts!

PS I used to paint and sell rocks by the side of the road when I was a lil kid, but none of them were anything near as cool as what yours look like! Great artwork! :)

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I wishing to do an activity like this with my daughter and just place them in the park for people to find. I'm just trying to work out what the best markers are for the job. Nice job and great effort!

Hello @alchemystones, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!