by Rena Klingenberg.
Your handmade jewelry business can help make the world a better place.
There’s an infinite list of charitable causes you can get involved in – disease research, environmental protection, children’s issues, feeding the hungry, education, clean drinking water, rebuilding after disasters – and these are just a few!
So where should you invest your efforts – and what can you actually do to help?
Here are the main types of assistance charities need, and some ways your jewelry business might help:
- Donate a percentage of your overall jewelry business profits to an organization.
- Do a jewelry show where a percentage of the proceeds go to a charity.
- Donate jewelry items to an auction that’s raising money for a charity.
- Donate a jewelry prize for a raffle drawing, where the raffle proceeds go to the charity.
- Be one of the sponsors for a charitable event.
- This usually means doing some sort of volunteer work for the charity, such as:
- Participate in the charity’s events (help dish up food at a fundraiser picnic, or distribute water bottles to riders at a bike-a-thon).
- Participate in the actual work the charity does (help build a house, teach someone to read, or clean up a section of beach).
- Collect money or goods (gather donations or head up a food drive).
3. Goods and Services
- Donate beads and jewelry supplies to a charity that can use them.
- Teach jewelry-making activities at a nursing home, or for hospitalized kids, or as a therapy activity.
- Donate jewelry items to a shelter that helps people find jobs and look professional.
- Create “special cause” jewelry that’s relevant to a charity, and whose sales support the cause.
How to Get Started?
It’s easiest to start with a local charity, or with your community’s chapter of a national charity.
When you help charities at the local level, your efforts will make a difference in your own community.
Also, in a local charity it’s easy to get your foot in the door and meet with the people who make the decisions there.
These folks are usually glad to sit down with you to brainstorm ways your jewelry business can work with them to help their charity.
Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of working with charities at your local level, you might want to step up to the national level of charities.
What Should You Look for
When Choosing a Charity to Work with?
- Good communication from your contact person at the charity.
- A cause that’s meaningful to you.
- A charity that aligns well with your values and with your jewelry business.
- People you like working with (the charity staff as well as other volunteers).
- The opportunity to give the kinds of help you enjoy giving.
- Will the charity use their social media, blog, or newsletter to help promote your efforts on their behalf?
Be Sure to Investigate a Charity
Before Donating or Signing Up
Unfortunately, not all charities are good ones.
Some are badly operated, don’t manage their funds well, do a poor job of helping their cause – or are scams.
So before you decide to meet with a charity to discuss how you might work with them, do some investigative work first.
Do online searches for the charity’s name – and also for the charity’s name plus words like “scam” and “fraud”.
Also check out the charity’s name on Charity Navigator, an organization that rates U.S.-based charities.
More About Jewelry Businesses
Working with Charities:
- How to Set Up Fundraiser Jewelry Shows
- Charitable Donations of Jewelry
- Awareness Jewelry: Tips for Designing and Marketing Jewels of Hope
- An Unexpected Blessing at a Holiday Craft Show
- How Your Jewelry Can Help Your Kids’ School.
Your Thoughts and Experiences?
I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences on adding a charitable element to your jewelry business.
Cyndi L says:
After spending a week-long working vacation in a Guatemalan orphanage where my son was volunteering (for two years instead of two months, as it turned out!), we became very impressed with the local hospital, staffed by Doctors without Borders. I created some “special cause” jewelry where all the purchase price went to a medical missionary couple we learned about. Thank you for reminding me…maybe it’s time to do this again!
My son’s lovely girlfriend is very passionate about animal rescue. She attends events and has a blog where one of the things she does is sell animal-themed products to raise money for rescue organizations. I designed a reversible cat necklace for her to sell, called “Little Pink Cat”. On one side is a lovely bright pink faux-leather cat with a beautiful jewelled collar. The reverse side is a slightly-fuzzy tan colored-cat (the back side of the faux-leather), and it’s the little kitty Little Pink Cat rescued. 🙂
I just did a jewelry spring open house, and 10% of the prceeds went to the animal shelter here. It was the bigest open house I ever had. I had 3 ladies drive 3hours to come and I sold over $800. I was so happy to send the shellter 10%.
Lin Parkin says:
I make medical alert and awareness jewelry and have been very happy to donate 10% of my proceeds to The TMJ Association. I send a check a couple times a year. I’m also a real animal lover and have chosen Dakota Rescue, a rescue group in the Houston, Texas area. We are just getting started and trying to figure out a way to let more people know, that we will donate 15% of all our pet identification jewelry. I’m working on pet related earrings and charms. It’s just a small way I can help out , it makes me feel better, and I hope I can do some good.
I know I like to buy items from companies that give something to charity.
I have a Native- inspired jewelry business and donate 10% of my profit to helping those on the reservations. They not only get a check but also get extra beading supplies that I know I will not use.
Paul Mattson says:
Our neighbors have an animal rescue and one of the little puppy dogs actually adopted us 🙂 She is a little Shitzu and has become a star on our facebook page and we now do shows with her …
She changed our life when we most needed it!
I believe it is important to always give back. I donate 10% of everything I make (calculated before expenses = the total sales made that day or weekend) to Feeding America.org. I also have a donation jar in my tent, and a small sign letting people know 10% of everything goes to Feeding America, and the donation jar – whatever is in it at the end of each day goes right along with it!!
Sometimes, people will give to the jar, even if they didn’t buy anything! Sure gives your heart a lift!!