With the current tragedy in Haiti on our minds, many people in the Etsy community are searching for ways to help. It's called craftivism. There are MANY things we can do as artists to bring hope and aid to people in need of help and to shed light on social issues.
One idea is to designate proceeds of your Etsy sales to charitable organizations. In times of immediate need, for example in the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake, you can offer a percentage of your sales to the cause of relief. If you decide to do this be VERY clear about how much money will be subtracted from your sales, where that money is going and when your charitable promotion will end. In my store for example, I am putting 25% of my sales towards the American Red Cross in support of Haiti Relief and Development until Jan 31, 2010. You can promote this in your shop title, shop announcement and in these Etsy forums. Keep buyers during that time period updated about the total you end up sending out, so they can see their impact as well.
A second idea is to create a product that spreads awareness and builds morale. My great friend yabettasupadont has used her skills as a jewelry artist to create a variety of products highlighting her desire to rebuild the culture of her native New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Many of her designs promote iconic images of the city's homes, street signs, sayings, and traditions. "Spread it like butta..."she says. Sometimes spreading love for the people in need of it is a greater source of strength than money.
It is also possible to create an entire shop on Etsy, simply for charity. There are shops that support breast cancer research, public education and battered women full time, all the time. This is a great idea for a shop run by mulitple people working towards a common goal. Rosie O'Donnell actually runs a charitible shop on Etsy, with all of her profits going to an arts education organization. Etsy has guidelines on how to legally operate these types of shops here, under Charitable Listings and Shops.
$13,000 to aid Haiti through auctions and admin donations.
How can you use your skills to create change and aid relief to Haiti or any cause you feel strongly about?