Build Donations Into Cost of Charity Items or Sell at Cost And Ask for Donations?
April 6, 2009 6:15 AM   Subscribe

You're selling prints for charity. Do you sell them for cost + buyer determined donation or do you build a donation amount into the price? I'm looking to maximize the amount we're donating.

I've been asked to shoot a benefit concert for a professor at my school who died in a car wreck Saturday night with her 2 year old daughter.

The person who asked me to shoot this is someone I've worked with before, and it was his idea to sell prints to help raise money. I've also already told him that he isn't paying me and if he tries that money is going to the family. Which I'm tell you so nobody thinks I'm trying to make some money off of a bad situation.

Anyway, I can't decide if it would be better to have set prices for the prints or if we should charge people cost and ask for donations on top of that.

I've asked on a photography forum that I visit and the only responses I've gotten were to add a dollar or two to the cost (which I think is way too low) or to see if the school has the ability print them and if they'd be willing to do it for free (something that I'm checking on). Normally I'd wait around and try to get some more responses there but the guy wants to have the show Thursday or Friday and I'd like to have as many of the loose ends tied up as possible.

Which method do you think would get us the most in donations? Do you think people would be willing to donate more if we have a donation amount built into the price of prints?
posted by theichibun to Human Relations (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think a set price is best. That way people aren't put into the position of determining how much they want to donate to the family. If they know "all proceeds" will be going to the family then they'll feel good about paying what you ask for the prints.
posted by headnsouth at 6:32 AM on April 6, 2009

Keep this as simple as possible. Charge event pricing (for one suggestion, see below) while making it clear that all proceeds go to "'x' Memorial Fund".
4x6 = $3-5
5x7 = $5-10
8x10= $10-20, etc.

Have a separate bucket/container/paypal widget, etc. on hand or virtually for donations beyond that. is great for hosting and ordering (for your customers; it's not a lab); is fantastic for low-cost, high quality prints ( gets good reviews as well).
posted by availablelight at 6:32 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

erm ... I seem to remember some studies showing that if you let people choose their own "donation value" it will be generally result in more money being raised than if there is a "specified donation amount" ... but I just googled and couldn't find a reference.
posted by jannw at 6:48 AM on April 6, 2009

The advantage of "cost + donation" for the buyer is that any amount over the cost is tax-deductible.

Probably the best way to do it is via charity auction. That bids the price up to the maximum that people are willing to pay, and they get the tax deduction.
posted by musofire at 6:51 AM on April 6, 2009

I would set a minimum price which includes both cost and a reasonable donation, but make clear that donations above that minimum price are accepted and encouraged. If there's a form they have to fill out, then have a range of donations. People will tend to anchor toward the middle of the range, so factor that in in setting the range.
posted by raf at 7:11 AM on April 6, 2009

I like having a minimum price along with a way for people to give more. I think this especially because it's a school setting, and you'll probably have students who want to contribute but a steep price might discourage that.
posted by KAS at 7:25 AM on April 6, 2009

« Older Baby Einstein   |   How can I stop fainting around blood? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.