When I chose to donate a percentage of my art sales to a global cause, the thoughts of it being a risky venture to commit to this kind of offer definitely crossed my mind and delayed my decision.
With so many unknowns, for example, the impact to my business financial outlay and sustainability, it would seem like business suicide to say the least.
So what influenced my decision?
I’m not interested in waiting to “make it” in life and then give back. So I wish to contribute something back now, to help address those problems that would be impossible to solve on my own or in my lifetime.
Another important reason is that you, as my existing or future owner of my art, will have a chance to not only support my work, but the work of countless brilliant individuals, both near and far, who are selflessly engaged in improving our chances at a better world for us and every other species on this planet.
Is 20% too much to give away?
Giving away 20% of each print sale might seem like a lot, and it is, but for me it goes back to the question of why I even started working as a photographer in the visual arts. It was, and still is, about doing something meaningful in my life and doing the best I can towards self-actualization.
I setup my business in the best way possible to try to take on the least amount of overhead at every stage of my artistic process. By least I don’t mean cheap, but being frugal.
With every project I conceive, I maintain a strong understanding of the project’s vision and intent. This helps me figure out alternate solutions throughout the creative and production processes. At the very least, I try to figure out where the priorities lie before taking on major business decisions that affect its budget, logistics and scheduling.
Above all, it’s a real privilege to work on creative ideas just so I can share them through my work, and establish a connection and dialogue with you about these underlying ideas.
For this privilege I don’t think 20% is too much to give away.
Who will be the beneficiaries of my contributions?
There are countless organizations today doing charitable work that I wish I could give them all what I can.
However to start somewhere, I’ve decided that at the end of each month the money will go to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, where 75% of income is spent on programs that are focused on environmental issues and raising awareness regarding climate change.
This is in keeping with the kind of subject matter that my photography is focused on, and enables me to highlight a different need or cause each month that might inspire others who want to be instrumental in helping out and doing their part.
Regardless of who the beneficiaries are, I will be upfront and transparent with you in every case.
Will I be donating this forever?
If you can predict that you and I could live forever in the same manner that we are doing today, then I would say yes.
Otherwise I will say that as long as I am able to create my work sustainably, I will be able to give and be 100% transparent about my contributions.
My decision wasn’t based on any whim. I’ve taken many risks in my life, most often calculated ones, while some on the back of chance, and live without regret to any of my choices.
It’s easy to get caught up in your own thoughts of self worth. So I’ve reached out to other professionals, friends and family to keep me grounded in their perspective and feedback.
What I will give back is a trickle compared to the vast amounts provided by those more successful and generous than I could ever aspire to be.
All I can hope for is that if something good can come from all this, then I would welcome the opportunity to work towards something meaningful and have you be a part of this journey.