Yes, but the risk is that buyers might try to negotiate to their financial advantage for lower-priced pieces. For example, I once had a client who asked for a cheap chair as a thank you for their donation of some old furniture, and the chair was $600, but when I sent them my estimate, I found that the chair had a built-in discount of just over 50% (a small amount that they didn’t realize until they saw how much the item was discounted to). When they saw that I had the chair priced at $650 less than their actual cost of building the chair themselves (it was only $120 and the work was done by another client), they said, “Well, since it’s for me to work, then it’s your business too – if you don’t want it anyway, fine.” So the seller took a loss, but I got a profit, because I helped them complete their contribution.
In some cases, clients are willing to do a little more, but the risk is high. For example, when someone gives you $1000 for an item for $5000, you have to get close to $600 to make any money: if it’s really worth $1500, you’ll have to sell it again for even more to break even.
In other words, it may be cheaper to make a one-off gift, or to get some more experienced clients to do the work for you than it is to get a buyer to give you a lot of money for nothing. And it’s just as important, if not more important, to not sell things to someone who doesn’t want to keep them. If you can convince them that they’ll make a great contribution, they may not mind selling them again. Or if you can convince them that they will, they’ll be happy to make the final arrangements and complete the service for you anyway.
In the end, the difference in price and the money you get paid is often only the difference between a one-time gift and an ongoing donation. I’ve never actually made a one-time gift with a high profit margin, but most of the time, I’ve made a one-time donation with a low profit margin (it’s only a few cents on the dollar) but a large profit margin (the items sold for my clients ended up being worth hundreds of thousands a piece!).
Which one makes a bigger difference, a one-time gift or a one-time donation? What’s the difference between a one-time
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