Fundraising News: Why I Give - Laura Lian

Laura Lian is an artist who sells a lot of her work at charity fundraising events. One of her most famous pieces, a portrait of John Lennon, was auctioned last year at Christie's.

Which charities do you support and how?

I support Cancer Research UK, The National Trust and The Prince's Trust to name a few. If I sell my art through the conventional route using galleries, the distribution cost is around 50 per cent of the total.

I prefer to give my art to charities and pay them that percentage.

Approximately how much time or money do you give per year? I receive a large number of private commissions apart from charitable work, so time is a problem. However, I raised £5,000 for CRUK last month. Together with a fellow artist, Barry Novis, I've raised around £130,000 for various causes over the past couple of years. We like to work closely with the charities we support and a large number of them have come back to us several times. CRUK has requested work from us three times now.

What do you bring to the charities you help? Our art can attract very high bids. One idea that Barry and I have is to organise a celebrity art show in central London. Everybody who purchases a ticket will receive a free limited-edition print that would normally retail for £500. The event will also include an auction and raffle. The majority of the proceeds from ticket sales would go to the charity.

What is a good way for a charity to approach you? Email, or call me on 01373 465322.

What is the most annoying thing about being approached by charities?

I am never annoyed by charities. Most of them have very worthwhile causes and I want to help when I can. However, one thing I do find annoying is when charities have a 100 per cent donation policy. It seems so short-sighted. What difference does it make if the charity raises £10,000 from 50 per cent of my art sales, or through individual donations?

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