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Charity auctions?

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  • Charity auctions?

    Well. The wife and i were talking today at work about how to get our name out locally. Craft shows, flea markets, ect. But what about a charity benefit auctions?
    We normally have several benefit sales here for many different causes, so why not donate a carving, or two, to the cause. So long as my name is mentioned as the carver that is.

    Have any of you done this when you started just to get your name out there as a carver?
    Did it work for you or did it hinder you?
    What did you donate, big or small?
    And did you stay to see if it sold for what you thought it would?

    I've been asked when i'm going to start selling my carvings and if i'm going to do craft shows. I know i'm going to sell some time, just not yet. Stock is my main problem at this time but i'm working on it. I just thought an auction might be a good way to let a bunch of people see what i do and they can get what they want when i start selling, which will be next year at the soonest.

    Michael Gray

  • #2
    Re: Charity auctions?

    I've donated carvings to charities for auction, and it can be a great way to have your work seen. Don't be too excited or dissapointed with the price though, they can vary during auctions. I didn't attend the auctions, so didn't see how it was performed. Size of the piece depends on what you carve, and should be relative to the sale: duck is good for Ducks Unlimited, or an animal for World Wildlife Fund. Put as much time into the piece than you can afford to, or want to donate to the cause ..... time is money/per hour.

    Did it hinder or work for me? ..... hard to tell, certainly worked for the charity and the buyer. A local charity, and local buyers, and most folks around here know my work already. But some buyer got a good deal on one of my half models and the charity made some easy money. I sold a piece the following week based on the auction, client saw the model and wanted one.

    Flea markets and farmers market can be a great place to sell, if you produce small easily carved items, for that sort of venue. Small price, small carving, small time to carve. If you carve larger "pieces of art", don't expect to see for a reasonable price at a flea market. Folks come to get a bargin. Craft shows, same sort of thing, though you can get better prices there sometimes. All are good exposure. A lot depends on what you carve, how well and what you expect from the results.

    Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.


    • #3
      Re: Charity auctions?

      Michael, Charity auctions can be a good way to go. There are several things that must be considered, and the most important is the charity, and the folks that will be participating in the auction. I have seen many local charity auctions that are set up for local hardship cases as well as local organizations. These generally do not create much publicity beyond a smaller circle of interested parties. Well known organizations with a good cause that have annual charity auctions that are attached to a black tie event are the way to go..Fifeteen years ago I started making a donation of a Noahs Ark with animals to the the Childrens Hospitals annual black tie event and auction. That Ark sold for 3 times more than I would have sold it for. That sale generated 5 commissions within 72 hours. The same was true for the next 4 years...The experience lead me to change my pricing structure too.Good Luck, Tom H


      • #4
        Re: Charity auctions?

        I've donated a number of carvings over the years to various organizations. I'll note the two that paid off the most.

        The Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore contacted me about 6 years ago and ask if I would carve a few saddles to be sold in their gift shop. As thanks for the opportunity I donated a carving of Will as a young cowboy on the Dog Iron Ranch outside of Oolagah, OK. It got a large writeup in the papers and was put on display in the main hall of the Memorial for a year. It's still featured in one of the main display cases. A fella from California saw it and drove all the way up here to see what else I had. He has become one of my main collectors and, over the years, has purchased close to 15 pieces from me. Last year they again called but this time they ask if I would set up our Chuck Wagon at the Ranch to cook and pass out biscuits and coffee to all the living relatives of Will. There was over two hundred of them and it was a real hoot! I didn't sell any carvings, didn't even display any, but, like I said, it was a major HOOT!

        Again, a number of years back, I was approached by a member of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and ask if I would donate a piece for auction at the annual Rodeo Society Ball held at the Museum in OKC. I did a busted up bronc rider. We attended and were honored at the ball and met some really great and famous people. Again, I picked up a couple of new collectors but the biggest payoff was having one of my pieces exhibited at the Museum. Me! In the Cowboy Hall of Fame! Doesn't get much better than that!


        • #5
          Re: Charity auctions?

          All good advice so far.
          I've never sold any of my carvings, but I'm an Auctioneer and do a lot of charity Auctions, including 3 Ducks Unlimited events every year, The Red Cross, Habitat For Humanity, Chambers of Commerce, Wine and Art Festivals, Big Saltwater Fishing Tournaments, School organizations and many more including Auctions to help families in tragic situations.
          There are all kinds of Charity Auctions. Many of them have lots of bidders but little money in their all adds up, though.
          If the Charity is something you really believe in, it doesn't really matter what the piece brings, it's the giving that counts. And giving really is better than receiving, no matter what our minds and experience tell us.
          If the price matters to you, to set a value on your work, then go with Auctions that draw deep-pocketed groups (Ducks Unlimited is one of those and isn't black tie). Most black tie benefits fit this group, and there are lots of them, lots of good causes to support.
          If getting your name out there is the primary goal, donate a piece to every good cause and don't worry about what they bring, it's for a good cause.
          If you like carving small quick items and love flea markets, then give them a try. You can certainly bring your nicer pieces and price them accordingly, but don't let the bargain hunters hurt your feelings.
          I have a Son who is a professional artist and has SOLD over 5,000 original pieces at the age of 28! His theory is that to become famous and have your work valued, you must be prolific. He sells on the street, on ebay, and in galleries. He'll paint 20+ paintings in a day sometimes and sell 20 on the street the next day, some for several hundred each. One gallery owner bought a whole series off the street, around 14 paintings at $200 each. He came back a week later, said he'd sold them all and commissioned him to do several more "sets" for his gallery.
          He works hard and he's committed to his art. He also often puts original pieces on ebay with a $.99 opening bid. Sometimes they get them for that, sometimes they bring hundreds, but his goal is getting his name out there, and it's working! He has regular repeat customers, from several countries. It requires he live in New Orleans and New York, but he loves that--he's young and single and has the world in his hand! if you want to look. His twin brother is a fashion photographer in NYC and his site is and has had his work in Vogue, Elle, and all those magazines including a 2-page spread in the center od Vogue and 4 other magazines in one month! WARNING: THERE MAY BE SOME NUDITY ON THESE LINKS, so don't go there if that would bother you. There may not be, too...I haven't looked in a while. They are both successful, following their dreams, pursuing their art. I'm very proud of all 5 of my kids, all artists!
          Get your work out there every way you can if you want people to seek out your art!
          Good Luck! "Luck's a combination of Preparation, Hard Work and Timing" my Grandpa told me!


          • #6
            Re: Charity auctions?

            All good advice and it gives me alot to chew on.
            We have the food for the hungry charity auction coming up and i thought that might be a good start. Lots of people come and give freely. It's one i give to and help out with regularly myself. And being this close to Christmas i thought my santa ornaments would go well.
            Money isn't my main concern, though it's nice and i would hope that they sell well, my main reasoning for this is to help out the charitys and get my name & products out there.
            Thanks for the advice.

            Michael Gray


            • #7
              Re: Charity auctions?

              I also have donated carvings for different organizations and benefit auctions and it does get your name out. Here in Caney,Ks, I have donated to the Can Kan Library building fund auction. Can Kan stands for Caney Kansas Library where they are raising funds to build a new Library. Have a benefactor who matchs what they raise on different auctions or what ever way they raise money. Got a couple of commissioned Bark carvings from word of mouth plus business cards attached to the back of the carvings.
              It does help and a lot of good advice given. However, It can get to being asked to carve for every organization in your town.
              My local church ladies still ask and I keep doing for them. Hard to say no to those ladies, Nice and delickable pies as a thank you gift from them. No not one but several and all my favorite.
              Ok I must say my favorite kind of pie is hot or cold. HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE. Same with cookies.