AAR Aid 2009: We’d Like Your Thoughts

Should we go ahead?  That’s the question we’re asking today.

To give new readers a bit of background, in 2005 and again in 2007 AAR held online auctions to benefit Katrina victims and residents of New Orleans.  Thanks to the generosity of authors, editors, and others in the publishing industry and to readers who bid and bought signed ARCs, books, and critiques, we raised approximately $18,000.  The money was donated to the American Red Cross in 2005 and to Hands On New Orleans, an organization facilitating volunteerism in the city, in 2007.

It’s always been in the plans to hold another auction in 2009.

But then the economy fizzled.  And there seems to be more bad news every day.  Which  means, of course, that while need is greater, so, too, might be the hurdles.

To put it all on the table:  eBay fees are high and the hours required to produce a successful auction are many.  But we will gladly go ahead if we feel that the publishing industry—an industry just as affected as many others—and buyers will support it.

So, that’s the bottom line.

  • If you are a reader, would you buy?
  • If you’re an author or editor, would you donate?
  • Do you have any ideas for other ways that AAR and its readers can contribute to help those in need?
  • Would you be supportive of a spring auction instead of one in the fall?

Though beneficiaries are still up in the air, this time out our focus would most likely not be on disaster relief—or natural disaster, anyway.  Food banks and causes benefiting women are currently being considered, but we would love thoughts and ideas for more.  Rest assured that we will take care to thoroughly research any charity we select in order to make certain as much of our donation as possible reaches the people who actually need it.

We know that every author, editor, and reader wants to do the right thing. So do we.  But the realities of life are…well, more real these days and that’s something we think should be acknowledged and considered before pushing ahead.

Quite honestly, we’re looking for realistic feedback.  Please post your thoughts in the comments or, if you’d prefer to not share publicly, email sandy @ likesbooks.com (no spaces).

-Sandy AAR

15 thoughts on “AAR Aid 2009: We’d Like Your Thoughts

  1. Here is my honest feedback from one member of the AAR community. I applaud AAR’s consideration of those less fortunate and your efforts to solicit donations for a specified charity/cause. And I agree that need now is greater than ever. That said, in all honesty, I probably would not participate. I have always found that charity auctions are usually out of my price range although I am not certain if that is the case with AAR’s auction. And as a retired person who is seeing my pension cut, my health care costs increasing, and my investments tanked, my charity giving has been cut back. I give to a number of charities once a year in the names of my family and close friends, and I support local public television and our locally affiliated NPR radio station. That is about all I can handle. I am inundated with requests for donations regularly and while the causes are worthwhile, I cannot give to everyone and so I have made my choices already. I would guess there are many who have been effected by the current economic conditions and are in the same position as myself. Reality is sometimes a tough pill to swallow.

  2. As an editor who donates, I’m feeling a little benefitted out. I think I was asked to donate to something like five auctions in the past year, and I noticed that overall donations/what people would bid on various items has dramatically decreased as the year has gone on. I think we’re at a point where the economy has hit everyone, that they feel as though they could just as well be the benefit of an auction themselves.

  3. With probable unemployment looming, I’m not in a position to give away any money at the moment. I usually contribute to a number of causes per year but 2009 will likely be the year of “Charity Begins At Home”.

  4. Sadly, I have to echo the prevailing sentiment here. I am not in a position to spend like I have in the past, so I would not participate either.

  5. Grad student = no money. What I do have, however, is some time that I donate. I think in these difficult economic times (don’t I sound pompous) what people forget is that they can give of their time and not their money and it means as much or even more. Wouldn’t it be great to talk about ways to give back to the community that do not take a donation of money, but instead of time, understanding, and compassion? For example, I work for a Suicide Prevention Hotline and we are run by volunteers. We don’t want money, just time. There are domestic violence shelters who are run the same way (no money, just time). There is also Rape Crisis advocacy, food pantries who can only operate with volunteers, habitat for humanity. I think instead of focusing on the ways we are no longer viable helpers because our finances are complicated it would be much better to focus on how we can help in other ways.

    Now, I don’t know how that fits in to your auction, but that’s my personal two cents on the economic crisis in terms of service. I think too many people feel we need to give money when our time is just as important.

  6. I would not be able to participate — our income has been lowered and like a few other posters have mentioned our bills have gotten higher.

  7. I would not be able to participate, but perhaps we could have a “virtual” charity auction where we survey people and ask them to record, in broad categories, what types of charities they’re giving to, in cash or kind, in what amount or, if volunteering, how much time. I think its very inspiring to know that even in these difficult times, our e-community is, as I suspect, generous, compassionate and altruistic–and that can inspire others.

  8. Auctions have always been out of my price range, so this year is no different. *g* That said, perhaps there would be an incentive if the proceeds went to a charity/fund that would benefit the romance community. This past January saw three different auctions whose proceeds were to benefit romance writers and readers in need, and I think it would be wise to have a permanent charity/fund for US. Perhaps you could hook up with the RWA and other major online romance communities (Dear Author, Romance Bandits, Romance in Color, etc) and work to set up some sort of “Romance Relief Fund.” Because honestly, in this economy, though most of us feel compassionate and want to help others in need, there’s nothing wrong wanting to feel a bit selfish: what about my needs? That way, we can “kill” two birds with one stone: a relief fund the romance community can draw from and an auction that those who get involved with it feel they can also benefit from.

  9. I am fortunate that I can still afford to bid in a charity auction, however I understand completely the desire to pick and choose ones charitable causes with care in this economy.

    My feeling would be that you would have less bidders and consequently much less in return for all your efforts.

    I will support you either way!

  10. With the economy the way it is, most people are not in a postion to give a lot. You may have better luck just setting up a web page where you would accept ANY amount of donations. There are so many people that need help in our country. Anything you could do would be great! It would be a shame not to do anything.

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