The Connection between The Arts and Charity
Giving to improve the greater good is therapeutic. This is especially true for artists whose very nature revolves around making the world a more beautiful place for others. We know that participating in arts-related activities boosts self-esteem in children and also improves their empathetic outlook on the world. Those lessons are not lost later in life. Artists of all types are some of the most generous philanthropists, whether they are donating to a worthy cause or using their medium to raise awareness. The connection between The Arts and charity is vital for the visibility and financial success in the area of need.
Why do Artists Give?
While personal reasons vary, there are some things research tells us about the “why” of generosity, for artists and others. A piece from The Guardian’s Francesca Tamma and Michael Sanders outlines the three basic reasons people decide to donate to charity:
They value the social good that results from the donation.
They have an urge that is altruistic in nature to add to the value of the charity.
They want outside recognition from peers.
What’s more is that giving appears to be contagious. Humans have a basic desire to emulate the people they connect with and admire. Seeing others give impacts what you want to give. It’s why charity fundraisers that involve patrons of the arts are so popular. Those people see value in other people – whether they show it by purchasing a painting that took blood, sweat and tears to complete or by writing a check to assist with a need that would improve quality of life if met.
What Modern-Day Giving Entails
Artists are in good company with their giving, too. Organizations like Raising for Effective Giving encourage people to make an actual commitment when it comes to giving that is consistent. REG connects charity giving and members of professional industries like poker and finance by asking for a pledge of 2 percent of their earnings. Those earnings are invested back into global charities that strive to alleviate world poverty, animal welfare, negative climate change, and more. Instead of asking over and over again for financial gifts, REG sets it up so members are automatically donating from their income.
There are also many opportunities for contemporary giving that require no commitment, and very little effort, on the part of the giver. Mobile apps like Charity Mile and Give 2 Charity reward users for things they are already doing – like walking or simply going through a normal routine – by donating to a number of vetted charities. Other require a little more work, like Donate a Photo that asks for smartphone users to submit a photo per day in exchange for $1 USD donated to the charity they choose. Any artist with a smartphone can be a charity hero just by using it.
The connection between the arts and charitable giving is a long established and important one. Without a boost from artists, charities would have a much harder time getting the attention and revenue they need to accomplish great things. Artists set the example for everyone else through awareness efforts and actual financial donations.