For some reason whenever charity committees get together there is always someone (let’s call her Jenny Brightspark) who displays their pure money raising genius to everyone by brightly suggesting “Lets have a charity art raffle / auction / lucky door prize”  (*delete as appropriate). “Go to it!” says the rest of the committee approvingly,  excited at the prospect of free art from a (semi) famous artist being sold for thousands of dollars and thus filling their coffers extra super fast..much faster than selling tickets door to door in the local middle class affluent money suburb.

…after all (they think) its a win for them (they get wads of money) and a win for the artist (all that lovely free publicity!).

Shortly after, YOU recieve a gushing email “I absolutely LURVVVE your art…I’m the organiser for a HUGE charity event raising money to rescue starving hamsters in Peru…Its going to be MASSIVE and FANTASTIC…you simply must take part. Please would you donate a painting (but preferably two) for the raffle. Oh, and as it’s a charity event please ship them at your own expense.  Yours Sincerely, Jenny Brightspark.”

“Wow!”, you say to yourself, “Someone loves my artwork…and they are inviting me to participate in AN EVENT… think of all the publicity…think of all the starving hamsters I can help…” (the real subtext of your thoughts actually being the thought of all the art you MIGHT sell if you just donate a couple of paintings and everyone suddenly discovers the genius that you are).

In the early part of your career when any invitation for anything seems like a massive honour, actually jumping on board and sending off your artworks (never to be seen again) seems like a brilliant and lucrative idea to be capitalized on some way down the track. BUT WAIT…

Is it actually a good idea? Or is it a complete and utter waste your time,  ultimately doing little or no good for those poor starving Peruvian Hamsters.


  • Unless you are a very very very famous artist (so famous that you are known to all, and therefore probably dead) no one will take any notice of your artwork as it is raffled, auctioned, or lucky door prized (other than the nice old dears who are buying a ticket or putting in a bid because your donated painting  will look good next to their blue Sofa).
  • The artwork you donate will probably not be your best work, because of course you save those for the gallery, thereby also minimising your chances of your artwork taking the charity world by storm.
  • Most people will just talk, eat, drink, fart and basically ignore your painting even as it is being held aloft during the part of proceedings allocated for holding things up in the air so everyone can see them.
  • Most people are looking for a bargain, even at charity auctions, so unless the audience is in fact very rich and very drunk, there’s a high likelihood that your artwork if auctioned will sell for an embarrassingly low price potentially damaging your price reputation.

..So, what can you do to prevent this happening?

Fortunately, should you decide to  help extricate the hamsters from dire straits by stumping up your own paintings there are things you can do to make the best of the situation.


  • Ask for details about pre-event publicity. Make sure you are mentioned and included.
  • Actually attend – This is a networking opportunity. Work the room baby! Work it! Work it! Work it! Because your artwork is one of the stars of the show (it’s your job to make sure everyone knows that) you have a license to introduce yourself to everybody, and make sure everyone looks at your artwork.
  • Have your mini art portfolio on hand at all times…along with your business card…show everybody.
  • Make sure that your business card and a flier gets placed in any charity goodie bags that are being given out.
  • When its time for a raffle or lucky door prize, stand on the stage with your painting, and personally hand it over to the winner.
  • Make sure that the press get a photo of you with the winner of the painting (you may have to arrange this earlier so that the press are poised and ready). If you can’t get the press to be there get someone to take a photo and then send it to the press yourself along with a press release.
  • If there is someone famous at the event, get them to stand next to you next to the painting, and then be photographed together.
  • When chatting with people, take down the names and email addresses of anyone who shows an interest in your art. Don’t be shy about asking. In my experience very few people refuse to give their details if they are at all interested. Add them to your mailing list.
  • Follow up with a ‘nice to meet you email’ after the event for everyone you got the details for. Thank the organisers too.

So by following the above tips you’ve made a heap of new contacts, made some new friends, not to mention assisting with relocation of starving rodents. The small furry animals of the world raise tiny paws to salute your generous donation.