Craftivism and Donation

The other week I mentioned writing about the 3 –tions* of 1 –ism, the donation, beautification and notification. I’ve been thinking about donation a lot lately, as I’ve been a baby-hat-making-factory-of-one lately, as you can see in the photo below.

Therefore, I’m going to tackle the first -tion, donation. Initially, this was what craftivism was to me. Making and giving to others in need. Over time, what craftivism is has expanded, becoming more of an umbrella term. But, at the beginning, there was donation.


This is the quietest, most anonymous form of craftivism, as it’s something that you can do by making something at home and then dropping off what you made at a local hospital or charity or popping in the mail to one. Unlike the others actions, this one is quiet on purpose. There is no need to attach your name to it or your style even, it is a powerful act nonetheless, making for others.

One of the most important aspects of this action is not in the making itself, but in the planning to make. It’s to be mindful that you’re donating 1) where there is a need and 2) you’re donating what they’re asking for or at least something suitable for that need. I.e., what good is knitting something for the homeless if the item is made of yarn in a color that shows dirt easily or a design that’s likely to catch on things and stretch out? Or crocheting regular-sized infant hats for a charity that works with preemies? Or sewing mats for dogs out of a fabric that is handwash only?

Sometimes when charities request donations they will give guidelines on 1) exactly what they need, 2) how they need it to be labeled, and 3) what they need it to be made of. Sometimes they don’t, which may mean that before you donate, you call the organization and ask 1) if they’re taking donations and 2) what exactly form they need to be delivered in/mailed.

Crafters are a helpful lot and the minute any disaster happens, an inevitable effort starts up to help them. Most of the time, these efforts are done well and mindful of what the community needs and it goes off without a hitch. However, sometimes people are so interested in helping others that they start initiatives for causes that already have too many quilts, blankets, hats, etc. This can be quickly amended by asking first.

The efforts out there that people are making to fill gaps where needed is amazing! Chances are great that there is a charity somewhere that can benefit from what you like to make. It just may take a web search on where this charity is and how it can be reached and even a little retooling of what you make (adjustments to size, materials, etc.)

Ever make something that looks funny when you put it on? And you don’t have the heart to throw it out? This is not an excuse to give it to charity. With the exception of perhaps mats for dogs, the items that you donated may very well be cherished by their owners and something of value and pride. Therein, make sure that the work you put into the item is the same amount of work that you would put into making a garment for a loved one.

1. Donate what’s need to where it’s needed.

2. If your charity of choice doesn’t take what you’ve made/want to make, get to Googling, there’s always someone in need of your talents!

3. Donation does not equal cast offs. Just because you’re donating to a cause where your donation may be anonymous does not mean that quality should suffer.

*ETA: Spring 2015: I’ve switched from “-tions” to “tenets!”

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2 Responses to Craftivism and Donation

  1. Rebecca April 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    Wise and helpful words – making to address an actual need and gifting the best work that you can do, are the foundation of effective donation. I enjoyed reading your ‘ions’.

    • Betsy April 23, 2013 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Rebecca! It’s hard sometimes to frog something you’re going to give away, I’ve found. But, that’s also the exact moment when I get the opportunity to become even more mindful of what I’m doing!

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