I’ve Got Donor Fatigue Dot Com

(Printed awhile back, I wanted to give this subject a rest, however friends have asked me to post this rant so here it is. Since writing this my total requests for the year have been 17 up from 5 in April. Next I will share a letter I wrote back to an organization after they asked me to donate a teapot.)

Recently, my artists friends and I have been barraged by the metric tons for requests for art/ craft for their various upcoming fundraisers.

This column is in similar timing with the Elora Centre for the Arts upcoming art auction and let me say right now, this fit I am in has nothing to do with
them.

I am not sure where it came from, that Sports Teams, Soccer Tournaments, Aids Groups out of Guelph, Austism Centres and similar, thought that sleuthing out artists located on Studio Tour Brochures is unique, out of the box, never-been-done-before – request for donations.

Basically, most of the artists I know, live about four feet below the poverty line and barraging us for donations is basically asking the poorest for money and hand-outs.

How can this be? I make about twelve cents an hour on a good day. I am one of the more fortunate that still (we tend to get divorced more – our artist type) is married to someone who makes a decent wage. But hey, no job is forever, and in this day and age, nothing is secure.

These groups need to know that artists talk to each other. Today my potter friend and I were talking about how we could defer our mortgage for a month, or have that tooth pulled out instead of filled because we are strapped. We even thought that if these requests from groups were actually in person, that we’d finally get a leg up on the conversation and be able to say ‘hey see this: until I can replace my tooth, you aren’t getting squat’.

This week alone, I have had five requests: three local (will remain nameless), a very out-of-town request and an AIDS organization out of Guelph.

Desperate to figure out how on earth I got pegged, looking for some personal note on the bottom of the letter that said “hey Staci Love my MUG! Doing this shin dig: wondering if you can donate”.

But there was nothing.

Just a fabulous list of corporate sponsors – (lucky them) and request for product or money. ????

On a Global scale, I donate when I can to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Council of Canadians (water preservation, upcoming article on this) and Unicef. In fact, I am probably going to run a fun SLF fundraiser out of my shop in the summer, if I can possibly pull five minutes out of running my own fundraisers for KIPPelora and helping with Elora Lions.

But here is the thing: with my fundraisers, you, the public, actually get something back. With Lions, you get an amazing Fireworks show (May 28th), perhaps an Elora licence plate for $5 (we still have them available) or a really cool Santa Claus Parade.

With KIPPelora, you have likely enjoyed a CD Release Party with Kevin Breit, bunwiches in my backyard, soup and bread at Desert Rose, or some KIPPmerch that you can give as a gift or keep for yourself like cuffs, hats , bags etc. Down at Bissell Park we are going to have a Patrons Wall in the KIPPzone. Everyone who has donated over $100 will be on it.

These other organizations actually try to pitch me that it is important for my business to have a presence at these silent auctions. Really? You think? I have been to them, and personally, I am looking at the value, where the bidding started, where its going, how cheaply I may be able to pick something up and how much time is left to bid. And with the 200 items up for grabs there is not a lot of time to inventory the generous businesses. Seriously.

And while we are at it, how about when you are in the lineup at Zehrs, or the Post Office, you get asked in front of 25 people if you’d like to donate to some national charity? How about ask me if I would like to give $2 to the local Scouts chapter, or for that matter Lions, KIPP or my local food bank?

Using the humiliation factor is not going to sway me to donate any time soon, let alone give me that warm and fuzzy feeling you sometimes get for giving back.

Some of you may read this and think ‘yikes, she’s talking to me’. Why yes the firetruck, I am talking to you: if you come to my shop, and if you support my fundraisers then seriously, you can ask me for a donation anytime. Anything short of that, save the stamp.

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