Giveaways: The Good, The Bad & The Simply Amazing

giveaways-the good the bad and the simply amazing

by Jessika Hepburn, editor

I am learning that giveaways are a touchy subject. Some people love them and some people absolutely hate them. Lots of the most influential (and in my books, ethical) blogs feel that you shouldn’t really do them at all. Unless you have a ton of followers and can guarantee that the artists receive enough exposure for the expense of giving. I suggest visiting this post from Poppytalk (thank you Charlotte’s Fancy and Smidgebox Designs for the heads up!) and read the comments to get a good idea at the diversity of opinions.

When I took over OMHG we had been doing giveaways since the beginning. I didn’t give it much thought and never sought out businesses to offer giveaways. Every month I have more requests then I could possibly publish. Over the last six months I have noticed that our giveaways don’t actually attract more traffic-we have been growing steadily without any giveaway related spikes from 500 visitors a day to 1000+. The artists who approach me for giveaways have been overwhelming thankful and full of praise, but I have wondered about the ethics of giving things away. Does the artist get enough in return? Does offering giveaways take away from our content and lessen our community here?

I have some answers and more questions. I hope you will all help in making decisions for OMHG but today I want to share a bit about how a couple of our giveaways have been doing some serious giving.

its about giving

Last week I delivered our big Oh My! Handmade Holidays gift basket to Liz from Friends for Refugees and Yehya, the father of the Palestinian refugee family they have sponsored. Without the giving of FFR Yehya and his extended family would still be living in a refugee camp in Syria. Worth over $950 the basket will be raffled or auctioned off to help raise the money needed to continue to support the family while they learn English and get settled into their new home, they also have a new baby on the way which presents unexpected challenges. I was inspired to give my time to help them market and promote the event locally as well as volunteer in the future. In this instance the giving continues and will positively effect an entire family and our community. One of the FFR founders, Jen Powely shared a little bit about the work of Friends for Refugees:

“Friends for Refugees, now a loose group of about 11 individuals, came together in the late summer of 2009 to help assist with an effort to bring a group of five related Palestinian Iraqi refugee families to Halifax. This effort came about through the efforts of the Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS). Friends for Refugees not only assisted the effort but actually sponsored one of the families and has taken the responsibility to raise the $26,000 needed to support the family of four during their first year in Canada. In addition to the financial support, the group is expected to provide settlement assistance by orienting the family to their new home and teaching them how to survive in this society.”

If you are interested in learning more about Yehya, his family, and Friends for Refugees I suggest reading this article-but if you are anything like me keep tissues close by, you’ll need them.

Our second basket was shipped off to Atlanta where it will be going directly to a family of seven living in one room in the ghetto. Rebecca, the creator of the charity Blueprint 58 says this about their work and how winning our giveaway will help bring a little beauty to a family in need:

“Our ministry is a part of Vision Atlanta (Camp Grace) but we actually run a mentoring program called Blueprint 58. Our ministry helps inner city kids living in one of the most violent and poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Atlanta. We actually have bought a house in the neighborhood and will be moving in when we finish renovating. Our mentoring program is partnered with the local elementary school and we are launching the program with 10-15 3rd grade students. Right now we are getting to know the neighborhood and working on developing a more personal and well-rounded feel for their needs. There are already several families in the neighborhood that we work with closely, and April’s family is one of these families. She has 2 third graders (one son was held back due to grades) who will be part of the pilot mentoring program this year. The family spends a lot of time moving from place to place, they’ve been evicted several times and don’t necessarily have any thing “nice” or permanent in their lives. I’d love to use this basket as a chance to introduce them to the idea of handmade things. The time and attention and love that goes into their creation will mean a lot to this family, I think. And it will hopefully also open their eyes to a more permanent and sustainable way of life that goes a long with having cherished handmade gifts.”

On a personal level our giveaway connected me with Isa from Noisette Marketing who I will be working with as a freelance designer.

And totally unrelated to our holiday giveaway, one of our readers transformed her business and was given hope for the future during a really difficult personal transition because of her winning our giveaway. I hope to share more of her story in the future here on OMHG and help support her to grow her business.

I don’t think anything that can have such positive outcomes can be all bad-I have been so deeply moved by these three stories and OMHG’s contribution to making our world that much more beautiful with the work that we do. In fact without a giveaway from Zee Studios there would be no OMHG at all! I do agree there are issues with giveaways though and not all have such happy endings. I would never want to offer something here that would be negative for our site, our readers or the artists we exist to support.

So what do you think-are giveaways a positive or a negative or a bit of both? What would a great giveaway look like?  Are they only good for the blog? Are they taking advantage of the artist? Are there better ways to engage new businesses and get the word out? Personally I think there needs to be a balance and a clear set of expectations. Artists need to know what it is they are looking for from a giveaway and the blogger needs to be sure they can meet those expectations and be honest when they cant. Both sides need to ask questions and make sure they are comfortable with what is being offered. I know when we do a giveaway here I promote it all over the place so that the giver gets as much exposure to our network as possible. I think giveaways should be a partnership and a relationship between equals that benefits both parties.  I think giveaways should do far more then generate traffic-they should generate community.

Have you had a positive or negative experience with giveaways? Please share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll join you-let’s talk about giving (and receiving)!

photo credit:

1. Give Good print via dazeychick

2. top right via The Coast


  1. Molly says:

    I see this in shades of gray. I think the ethics of a giveaway depend on the expectations of and the relationship between the blogger and the business/artist giving away an item.

    I have done a small handful of giveaways on Charlotte’s Fancy, but I would never ask an artist/business to donate something. What I’ve given away has either come out of my pocket or has been offered to me – based on a relationship that I’ve built with that person. And I suspect that’s a very common situation – where small business owners offer their goods to bloggers who have become friends or bloggers they admire. I suspect this is why OMHG gets so many offers. And in this situation, I think it’s ok to accept the giveaway.

    I think it would be even better if the blogger offered to pay for the giveaway – to me, that’s an ideal way to support the handmade community. But I also know that bloggers don’t necessarily have the resources to do that.

    I also think it’s important to be honest about your stats with the person who offers to do a giveaway. I have two blogs: Charlotte’s Fancy is much more established and has many more readers. It’s been around a lot longer. Pushing Papers is pretty new and has a very low readership right now. When people have approached me about a paper related giveaway (which would be more appropriate for the newer, lesser read blog), I have said, “I really don’t have that many readers on that blog – how about Charlotte’s Fancy instead?” Because how embarrassing would it be for both of us if the blog post generated only a couple of comments? That makes us both look bad.

    In other words, it’s important to be honest and it’s important to manage expectations. Both the blogger and the business have to be on the same page about the giveaway.

    As a consumer, I appreciate giveaways and enter them occasionally, and I’ve won some – including a fabulous one from Inkspot Workshop from OMHG. I try to spread the love by being thankful (including actually saying thank you!) and by shining a spotlight on the donating business on my own blogs. It’s the least I can do.

    Thanks for this blog post. It’s a conversation that we need to keep having.

  2. Stephanie Douglas says:

    Jessika – Phenomenal post! Loved the stories you included and how the giveaways impacted each of the recipients as well as the ripple those giveaways have generated. With the giveaways and now your story on them you have not only raised awareness of the experience of two families but also the people who are their in the community to help them.
    You connected beauty with support for others, marketing of independent businesses with connecting them not only to possible sales but also to creatig community. I think you answered a lot of your own questions with the end of the post. In the end, dialouge and balance wil help to maintain an ethical approach to giveaways and what they do/shoud do and what they mean/should mean.
    Thank you again – great writing and great thought-provoking questions.

  3. Jessika says:

    Thanks for your comments!
    @Molly it is such a fine line to balance isn’t it! Giving can be so amazing but can easily turn around and be unhealthy for everyone involved.
    I wish I could offer compensation not just to giveaway participants but to our contributors! I think the gift of their time each month is equal to or greater then a giveaway. I’m working on it! Right now I don’t even get paid for my time really-but the time I am giving here is SO fulfilling.
    @Mayi Let’s not feel guilty (although I totally get why you would feel that way) I have felt that too, especially when I read posts like the one from Poppytalk. Let’s work to create giveaways/contests/new ways of relating that really make everyone feel great! And you are SO generous with the love & happiness you share-it’s like a giveaway every day.
    @Stephanie-thanks mom, I learned everything I know about questioning & ethics from you-glad to see you joining in!

  4. Joy Charde says:

    What a great post! Trying to find the balance in between seems to be what is hard to find for me (in everything).

    I love giving stuff away from sponsors etc., but sometimes I feel like I’ve put myself in a situation that becomes really awkward…

    Anyway, I agree with the ladies, it’s definitely a great topic and one to be revisited again!

    Keep up the awesome work, Jessika! Hugs!

  5. this is a really lovely post, jessika! i will apologize in advance for a bit of a ramble 😉
    i think that the thing is, there are some giveaways that are so wonderful and beneficial, as with the ones you mentioned in this post, and with so many others! i love that sense of community, of reaching out to help those who need, or just of sharing something you love!
    i definitely think that giveaways have a place in the blogosphere just as a bit of fun. there are many artists or companies who research the right sites, and offer to sponsor a giveaway there {as with OMHG}, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. I agree with Molly, it’s always important to be honest about traffic, but not just traffic, perhaps the type of people who read the site. Do they read for the content, the love of the community, to support artists?
    Or, are the readers just there to win something? There are sites out there who strictly do giveaways. By that i mean they solicit artists and makers, asking for donations, and then in turn host a giveaway on their site, which gets many many readers. The problem here is, in most cases with these sites, the readers are in it for a win, and nothing else. Typically, they have no intention of supporting the artist, and if they don’t win, they likely wouldn’t head over to buy anything either.
    I am hoping not to sound negative here, but rather give another viewpoint, if people are wondering what the debate is about.
    To be honest, I think that what you do here on OMHG is so wonderful, and there are so many other blogs and sites that host giveaways that DO benefit the artist a lot, and I think that is amazing, and a great way to give back to the community. Also, I like what you mention about the balance of content. If it’s all giveaways, all the time, one might wonder what’s behind it all. A balanced blog with specially selected and beautifully promoted giveaways, is simply that, beautiful.

    Thanks for the post, and raising some awareness. It is so important to spread our knowledge of this community, and support one another in our endeavor here. Cheers!

  6. Jessika says:

    @Joy-yes, in all things balance above all…even imbalance! I struggle with this every day: )
    Lesley I LOVE your novel and thank you for your kind words about OMHG! I am SO excited about these comments and the time you are taking to share your thoughts. I really love what you wrote about being honest about the type of readers/why they come and I have been thinking a lot about blog traffic/stats. Does more really mean better? I am thinking no. It is not the quantity but the quality-just like with the giveaways. I think that is the heart of anything truly authentic-when something is done out of a love for art/community/supporting children/business the heart of it will shine through. If it is done from a want to solicit free stuff or get people to the site so you can get the numbers to get more free stuff the site will always be heartless. I think that is where educating yourself as an artist/business comes in so that you can recognize what is essentially a scam when you see it. Also where these kind of conversations/posts are important too-as consumers we need to be educated about the true cost of giving something away and accepting “free” stuff too! I am reading and re-reading the CraftyPod posts on Free/Sustainability ( thanks for introducing me Molly!)
    and really finding the conversation amazing.
    So what I am taking away from this so far is that giveaways can be wonderful if both parties feel good about the outcome.

    The sweetest/most ironic thing is that shortly after posting this I got the loveliest email from someone who had approached me for a giveaway and who was really happy about how it benefited her.
    It’s all about reciprocity!

  7. Sister Diane says:

    Wow, this is so timely. I’m so glad Molly tweeted our links together today, so I was led here.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about giveaways lately, too. I do love being able to pass a craft book or product along to my readers, but so often 90% of the drawing entries are people I’ve never heard from before and never hear from again. I love the community and conversation of blogging, so this whole thing doesn’t really ring true anymore.

    But I’m so inspired by the form of meaningful giveaway you’re sharing here! What a lovely way to let craft be a force for positive change in the world. you absolutely rock.

    • Jessika says:

      @Diane I am feeling so grateful to Molly today! She is a superstar connection maker-you totally nailed it for me our craft/our lives can be such positive forces for change if we approach it creatively and with integrity. I really feel that is the true value of a handmade economy-small business has the ability to connect and build community where big business cant. I am sure there are so many more creative ways to offer giveaways-I am really smitten with rikrak’s handmade olympics and am full of ideas for the future!

  8. What a wonderfully candid discussion about giveaways! I have hosted a few giveaways on my polka dot blog, and I’ve had the same questions about whether the process was actually worth it for the sponsor.

    In fact, in a recent giveaway on my blog, the sponsor didn’t dictate that the giveaway was open to U.S. residents only, and the winner ended up being from Australia! It cost the sponsor a bundle to ship the prize to the winner!

    I suppose sponsors must weigh all of the factors to determine whether a giveaway will truly boost business. You never know what that added exposure could do for your business, though!

    By the way, love your blog. Keep up the great work!

    • Jessika says:

      Julie, the cuteness of your polka dot blog is painful! I am happy to hear you are loving OMHG:)
      What I am taking away from this is that it is important to be totally up front with people approaching you for giveaway. Sharing not only your statistics & how often they can expect their post to be seen but who your readers are and essentially “price” it accordingly. So if a giveaway is only going to get 20 comments you shouldn’t really accept a giveaway prize worth $60 and if you do then maybe there should be more associated with the giveaway like ad space for a month-a special newsletter to readers-etc…I think it will be different for every site and each relationship between blogger/giver. I am going to have to write a whole other post now…

  9. well said Jessika~ as artists we want our work to impact people ~ that is what your work here has done on a very practical level. Impacting them in their very lives. It is not only an aesthetic or tangible gift with monetary value ~ when done right, with the spirit of truly giving, it connects us.

    • Jessika says:

      ooh I love this! “It is not only an aesthetic or tangible gift with monetary value ~ when done right, with the spirit of truly giving, it connects us.” such a beautiful way of looking at it-that it isn’t so much about the item being given-or even the giveaway generating sales-although that is also a great thing, if done with intention we can make strong relationships/connections via giveaways (and so many other ways!).

  10. When I started my etsy shop I did it with a plan of taking every opportunity to promote that came to me (big or Small) for the first 2 years.
    It was a lot of fun and really got my name out there. Not only did it bring exposure but helped me build my SEO.
    Now I am a little bit more picky about the blogs and offer an item that would be equal to the cost of a ad on the blog.

  11. I think of giveaways as a form of advertorial – a way for readers to discover artists/shops they might not have heard of otherwise. Personally, I’m a link-clicker, so if I see something that intrigues me, chances are I’ll go visit the sponsor site regardless of whether I actually enter the giveaway.

    I host giveaways on a regular basis from only handmade businesses. I’ve never once contacted someone to give away an item. Many artists are looking for an opportunity to get their names out there. I don’t get samples or compensation, and I work very hard and spend quite a bit of time promoting that artist/shop.

    I absolutely do NOT think that giveaways a) cheapen the artist’s work or b) lessen the content of my blog. In my opinion, it’s just a fun little extra for the readers. I’ve paid close attention to the participation and I can honestly say that most of the giveaway entries come from regular, returning readers and subscribers.

    Lesley {smidgebox} said it perfectly – it’s about balance.

    Naturally, giveaways are conducted in a range of ways out on the Web, but plenty of us are doing ethical, fair giveaways that provide free (minus the cost of the giveaway item) exposure for an independent artist.

    Sorry for the ramble! But that being said, I really enjoyed reading about your work with Friends for Refugees – that’s amazing! 🙂

    • Jessika says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Erika! I agree that if done well the host of the giveaway puts a fair bit of time into the promotion of the event. I think a giveaway should always have a feature/interview component & show off a range of the products/work offered by the giver. That way they can link to it on their press pages and have something that lasts on the site. I’m a link-clicker too! I can count the number of giveaways I have entered on one hand but I love to visit the sites on a giveaway. I also always check in with businesses after giveaways to find out how they felt about it and I am putting together a little survey to use in the future to track peoples responses.

  12. Eve Geisler says:

    I have done giveaways on blogs and refused others. Taking a good look at the blog ahead of time and making sure their readership fits your item is the most important thing. I think Beccijo’s idea of offering a giveaway equivilant to the cost of an ad is a good guideline to follow.

  13. I love everything about this post and what you are doing! I’ll admit I even got a little misty eyed.

    I don’t mind giveaways but I think some people do go way overboard – if a blog is all giveaways I stop reading and stay away, it’s clear to me that the author isn’t really generous but rather greedy. There is a balance – and I think giveaway MUST be aligned with your passions, pursuit, and purpose.

    That said I have won 2 giveaways: 1 was plastic baking ware – because of that giveaway I had tools my daughter could safely use in the kitchen and ever since she’s been baking with me – and LOVES it.

    The second thing I won was the book “The Art of Nonconformity”. I’ve been wanting to read this forever. I still haven’t read it because my husband stole it – his passion is so reignited he’s almost too much to bear…but that’s ok, because some of our life goals rest very strongly on his passion and pursuit of it…

    So in those cases I would say giveaways are good. (Same with The Bloggess’ insane Christmas miracle giveaway). I think, if it’s possible, that things end up where they need to be…

    • Jessika says:

      Oh thanks Tricia-I got pretty weepy myself a few times there, the article on the refugee family was just too much for me.
      I love the thought that the things end up where they need to be-I am a real believer in synchronicity and I have seen so many examples of this lately. I need to get my hands on the art of non-conformity-would love to hear your thoughts when you wrangle it from your husband!

  14. jan says:

    Thank you for inviting me to comment here.

    I think Lesley says it right. And I too apologize for my upcoming rambling. I don’t want to sound negative either – I just have seen so much degradation with respect to giveaways and artists selling out on blogs unknowingly that we need to say something.

    We do have a responsibility here to support the community and to keep it meaningful and real. There is a bit of push online in the opposite direction unfortunately, where things are getting too entrepreneurial creating a false sense of community.

    There are some blogs that mean well and have giveaways such that your are talking about here. But then the giveaway has a different meaning and the people contributing to it shouldn’t really think of it as an advertising tool but more of a charity participation of sorts. Which is admirable.

    But then there are other types that have giveaways for the sake of creating traffic to their site which eventually will create more advertising dollars for themselves (as their readership grows due to the giveaways). If readers know that the site has giveaways on Wednesdays, then they will visit there on Wednesdays to enter the giveaway – bringing traffic the site wouldn’t normally have. And then the traffic will grow as the word gets out and so on and so on. So who is really benefiting? If the blog has a smaller readership then the person benefiting I would think would most definitely be the site/blog.

    I have giveaways once in a while. I have never solicited them though. They have always been approached by the artist or company. But I also feel I have gained the readership to warrant some benefit to the artist/book involved. I have done them as a favour to the artist or because I want to support that person or because I want to support an author (be it a book). But it has never been to solicit readership. It is rarely that I do them, and usually it surrounds a special occasion (Christmas, Valentines, etc).

    Just like anything out there, I think, it’s buyer beware. If an artist is giving away their work in replace of buying advertising. They have to decide if it’s worth their while. Maybe they should look into the blog’s stats – and not just self-reporting stats that some blogs will publish, but third party reporting. Eg – google analytics, technorati, alexa, etc.

    I’m happy to see you’re thinking about this and asking your readers too as well.

    • Jessika says:

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment here Jan! I value your opinion greatly!
      All of this discussion has been really thought-provoking and is something that has no easy answer. I do completely understand your concerns about giveaways and have seen many sites that don’t seem to have much substance beyond giving things away. I do feel that those sites can be easily avoided though-and that is where business/consumer education is so important. I am not 100% in agreement about basing the success of giveaways on traffic because I know some really large giveaway sites with massive stats that don’t create community. It’s all in the balance! I am planning on a post about how to research giveaways/advertising and important questions to ask. Thank you for all the resources available on poppytalk to help spark these thoughts: )

  15. Melissa says:

    Wow, I have to confess after reading this I feel a bit naive! I’ve done two giveaways on one of the two blogs I write but they were paid for out of my pocket. And yes, there was a definite attempt on my part to increase my traffic, which is why I paid for them. I would feel very uncomfortable doing a give away without having the readership to make it worthwhile for the contributor.

    I am all for supporting and promoting other artists but I think there are much more beneficial ways to do that (interviews, features on their work etc).

    And I think it’s important to disclose the reason you are doing the giveaway (you were approached, it was donated, you loved it so you bought a second one to give away, etc)

  16. Sarah says:

    I personally like a balance or writing and giveaways. A lot of blogs that I used to read regularly are only doing giveaways now and I rarely go back to them anymore because it is no longer personal.
    My own new blog will be hosting it’s first giveaway tomorrow. I decided to do a giveaway because I know so many artists who are trying to get their business started and just want an opportunity to get their lovely art into the hands of more people. Even if they don’t really sell anything through the giveaway they are happy to be recognized for their talent and be seen by more people.
    I think that if the giveaway helps the artist, and is in line with the mission and purpose of the blog than it is beneficial. A lot of blogs are making the shift now from personal “journals” to marketing agents. It is often an uncomfortable and sad transition for long time readers. Some will go elsewhere, others will be drawn in.

    • Jessika says:

      Thank you Sarah-I totally agree the shift from blogging as a way of connecting people to just another marketing tool is definitely a growing trend. Luckily there are authentic, honest & creative bloggers showing up on the scene too + sites like scoutiegirl, poppytalk, designsponge, decor8 + so many more (I am in love with craftypod & rikrakstudio right now) that are consistently keeping things real & teaching us newbies how it should be done. There’s that balance again! I think like Jan/Poppytalk has talked about so eloquently, we have a responsibility to the handmade community to build something healthy/supportive. Talking about this is a part of that and I am loving the dialog here!

  17. Jessika – I would say only when it was someone who was just starting out blogging or when they don’t even have a blog yet “but when they do, they will promote you”

    I think the asking to do a review bothers me more when they are not going to give it away after. I think somewhere the “word got out” how easy it is to get free stuff from handmade sellers.

    • Jessika says:

      Yes! I get those all the time via my Etsy shop and answering them makes me want to cry-I have lost money on every sale I have ever made through Etsy simply because I put so much love and time into each piece. I dye all the wool that I pay premium prices for since it is locally sourced by hand-not cheap! When people with a new site/no traffic ask me to send them a product to review I am so baffled. There needs to be an understanding of how much time & effort we put into handmade-I am not sure where this odd sense of entitlement comes from but it is really unhealthy. Us makers of handmade sure aren’t rolling in the $!

  18. jan says:

    Jessika – certainly they can be avoided – but not all new people coming into the scene may know that – and see something that looks successful and then buy into it.

    And maybe some sites don’t care about community, but for those that don’t, we need to take responsibility.

    Let me add I’m not against building readership, if that’s what you want to do and are forthcoming about it.

    And buying something to giveaway is really a great thing! I have done that before – where I have given away gift certificates to Poppytalk Handmade – so the reader then selects the item from our market and then I buy it from the artist. It’s supporting handmade, and it helps or bring readers to our market.

    It’s just when it’s done where the artist thinks it’s a favor to them, and things get misconstrued.

    Just like when a new person appears online without any background in marketing or blogging, etc .and starts offering courses in branding, blogging and marketing (and charges for it). There’s many of those as well. We have a responsibility to say something.

    • Jessika says:

      I really love the idea of buying things to give away-I have noticed that RikRak blog does that too for her sponsors which is such a lovely thing & directly supports the artist. Like I mentioned in an earlier comment it would be amazing to get OMHG to the point where I could pay our contributors & purchase their items & services to give away. I think here we have a different dynamic as a number of our giveaways are offered by our contributors and in many ways we are building this community together. Often our contributors do offer giveaways to generate traffic and some people who have approached me to do giveaways are now contributors because of our connecting. I personally would never offer to do a giveaway without planning to support that business/artist in the future with features/guest interviews & including them in round ups. I usually run the giveaway because I am excited to meet a new artist via their contacting me and I think their work fits our site & readership-I want to connect. I am learning that there are so many other fun ways to do that and you will be seeing me put them into action this year!
      I am well aware that not all websites that run giveaways are as obsessed with ethics/questioning/learning from other sites as I am and it is up to us to offer resources so that our contributors & the artists we support can make decisions that will benefit them in the long run.
      The appearing online with no marketing experience & charging for classes is a pet peeve of mine and calls for it’s very own post!

  19. margaret says:

    I would have to agree with Melissa, “disclose the reason you are doing the giveaway (you were approached, it was donated, you loved it so you bought a second one to give away, etc)” I think buying the item from the artist would be best, but if you can come to an agreement or the artist is just starting up and wants the exposure- that’s fine. But be upfront as the blog so the new artist doesn’t get their hopes up.

    I have been contacted a few times from people wanting to “review” or host a giveaway on their blogs and it seems as though they’re just out there hunting down handmade products for themselves. I’ve agreed to a few of them but I did my research first. I always ask for them to pay for shipping and a small fee depending on the product/ my time it takes to make it.

    I’m pretty small time, I just love to create things with my hands and it helps to center me. I can’t use all the things I make so I love if they can find new homes. I host a few giveaways on my own blog, but they’re all my creations that I’m willing to give to someone else to spread some cheer. Giving makes me almost as happy as crafty things.

  20. Cara Cesarik says:

    I’m relatively new to blogging – I’ve been thinking of doing giveaways of our fabric or sending some samples to bloggers I admire. Since our handmade goody is unfinished (fabric) and the end-user creates something (really awesome) with it, this feels a little different to me than if I was selling a finished product. I’m not sure why, but it does. I love the idea of connecting giveaways to fundraising/charity. I love what is happening online with the Australian raffles to raise money for flood victims. I think that is awesome.

  21. Diane says:

    It’s ultimately up to the artist to decide if a giveaway on a blog will benefit them enough to make it worthwhile. The artist needs to look closely at the blog asking for a donation and decide if its a good fit for their products. If it looks like a good match, it could be a good opportunity. It’s their decision if they want to try it out. Marketing is expensive and giveaways/donations are often one of the cheapest forms of advertising.

    On the flip side, bloggers shouldn’t expect to be given donations but can seek out artists that fit well with their content and make the offer available. ie, “I will do a review (not contingent on a giveaway) and if you also want to donate for a giveaway, that would be much appreciated.” Making a review dependent on a donation is where it gets unethical. It’s like buying an ad in a newspaper so they will write an article about your business—which is totally wrong, but still happens unfortunately.

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