Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sponsoring other pages with free art, what is the balance?

Artists get asked every week to help other pages, organizations with free art for exchange of  free advertising, and tax write offs.  Nice idea for the people seeking the sponsorship and for the artist that benefits from the free advertisement. But what is the actual balance, who benefits?

As far as a tax write off, there is no benefit for the artist, they cannot write off the sale value of the work, only the materials. So, spending ten hours to give away a free painting in exchange for a post on a fan page, may not be in balance. Artists need to make money for their efforts.  I have given away so much to gain exposure so that I could build a fan base. Yet, in retrospect is this the best way to gain exposure by giving gifts to others so that that they can reap the praise of the free prize? I have yet to ever get any more orders from this type of exposure. I was asked again today to be a prize sponsor for a dog page on Facebook for free exposure. I have to think about the time and effort verses what my $100.00 in advertising on FB will get.
Unfortunately, for the pages that want free prizes - the sponsors value is not in balance with  the free advertisement. For, really this is not free. It takes six or more hours to paint a 8x10 portrait. I can post
to thousands upon thousands for free without giving away a painting. Each time I post a painting on my page that is free advertising.

Also, the artist has to think, will this build a long standing relationship, or is this just a grab a prize and run? For 2011, I have to be careful where I give.  My focus is on helping local rescues and building a stronger fan base on my page, not someone else's page. I'd much rather give away a prize - painting - for continued viewership right here on my own fan page.
Pam's Watercolor Pet Portraits

It is hard to say no, but as a business owner, I have to think about what is best for the business, and sometimes,  charity begins at home.  I have given away more paintings than I can count, and I will continue to do so, but I have to think about who I'm helping and why.  Building a strong fan base can't be out of balance, there must be some equal return for the prize.


  1. As a small non profit org, I have to comment to this. I am always asking for donations since it seems the bigger organizations get the grants.

    Like you...but more so....I travel all over the Mid South using my deaf dogs to promote Fire Safety and Dog Bite Prevention. I pay for everything out of my pocket. When my dogs work with hospice kids 60 miles away, the travel expense comes out of my pocket.
    When I wonder why I do everything with no financial gain, I remember why I started this org in the first place. Not everything we do has a price tag......God gives us a gift and we use it.
    To offer the smaller organizations your work or donations, you might find, will be appreciated more.
    We are on FB and have a website

  2. I am a small person trying to make a living on painting - I spent all of my money earned to purchase paint and canvas - and gave a way many paintings to people asking and to promote my art - Each painting takes at least 6 hrs to produce and I work full time to pay the bills, and paint every night for this is my dream job, it pays for supplies - there has been no financial gain. after 12 months of painting - paying for ads, giving of my time and % to rescue, I have 500.00 to show for my over 1,000 hrs of work. So, you see asking new artists to give is asking to paint for free. Work is hard - making a living as an artist is even harder. We cannot make any money if we give away all of our time effort and supplies for free.
    I do share my God given talent, and have given away more than I can count to rescues but to earn a living I can't say YES to everyone. It is not sound business to give away your talent - and money every day. I have to earn money too, to continue my journey and to pay bills. I'm sure they appreciate me painting for hours on end for free- but that doesn't put food on my table or make my paintings worth more money or my sales increase.


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