Monday, June 6, 2011

Raffle Winner Bellen!

Bellen's Family
This is Bellen Drake's family portrait, she was one of 2 winners from my Japan charity raffle.  I had a lot of fun doing this.  I would like to thank everyone who participated and helped promote the raffle.  I was amazed we raised so much money!  I hope you like your family portrait Bellen :)

I got quite a few emails about how I did the raffle.  I actually got in some trouble with Paypal for doing it.  I would not recommend doing what I did... It's sad there's really no alternative.  If you're raising funds through Paypal, they require you to be a certified non-profit or you formally represent the organization you're raising funds for.  I was neither, I just wanted to do something and I couldn't think of any other way.  They also strictly prohibit raffles and lotteries... but hey I'm a monkey wrench.  I thought they would let me slide for charity sake, but I was wrong.

Paypal contacted me 2 days after the raffle was over and suspended my account.  They asked me to prove that I was either a non-profit (401C) or a representative of the non-profit.  The alternative was to refund all the money!  I had already wired the money to the Japan Red Cross so a refund is out of the question.  All I could do was email them my wire transfer paperwork and hope they'll accept it.  In the end they restored my account, but gave me a stern warning against doing something like this. 
*warning heard guys!*

A few other artists and friends were not so lucky.  Paypal suspended their account right in the middle of their charity fundraisers.  It was a big nightmare for them!  I'm so sorry I sent them down that path.  If only there was a way to donate directly to a charity via Paypal and have Paypal notify me that someone has donated on my behalf.  Am I making sense???  There's no way to do that now.  I think a lot of good can be done that way... it's almost like a micro-loan situation.  We're more likely to make donations through a friend's request than marathon drives and TV commercials.  Being able to raise funds as an individual gives it a personal touch, it's grassroots and I feel it can really pull a community together.  With that being said I'm not a professional fundraiser and I don't do this a lot. 

Paypal is a wonderful way to do business online.  The only other option is Google Checkout, but they're still relatively new.  I know their policy is just to protect the consumer against scammers and frauds. I think the market is big enough we need a few more alternatives to Paypal.  

If I ever do this again I'll probably sell E-cards (along with the chance to win a set of crayons :P).  It'll have to be a "sales" type exchange instead of "gift".  That just means Paypal takes 3%, but in the scheme of things 3% isn't bad.

Now back to Bellen's crayons!  This is Bellen, she's a photographer in Seattle.  She requested that I carve her with a camera.  I modeled her camera after the Canon 1D & 5D series. 

Charles the father.  I tried to capture his wonderful mustache/goatee thing.  I also really like his shirt.

Eben the son.  He's a soccer player!  I think I've had a lot of practice with soccer players by now :P

Delphi the daughter.  She has a cat that she loves.  This was my first time putting an animal into the mix.  It was a good challenge, I'll do doing more combos like this.


SewTara said...

Oh that's all so silly! Try to do something good and you get in trouble for it!

Oh well, at least you're not in trouble anymore and the money got to where it was supposed to go.

Love your work by the way! :)

Alex Sunday said...

yay! so glad to see the winning family in crayon form!

surely paypal had so many people holding raffles for the tsunami that they're now looking into ways of supporting this type of thing? but i do think your e-card idea is a clever way to get around it anyway.

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors said...

oh my goodness, I want to see your hands! you are so steady. That cat is amazing, such detail on MICRONS of wax.
ps I am sorry for your troubles. When Animal Talk Rescue was broken into, the news became viral and donations started coming in from all over the world. Even though they had charity status already, they froze the account as well, because there was such a huge influx of money.. what a mess!

Diem Chau said...

Thanks Tara!

Thanks Alex. I really hope Paypal is looking into it. The only option I thought of a "donate on behalf" feature... just like the "gift". When you "donate on behalf" of Ms.X to a charity the money goes directly to the charity, but Ms.X also gets a notification that money has been given. That seems easy enough. I thought of having people make donations then forward me their confirmation email as an entry ticket... but that's one more step and sometimes there's sensitive info in those emails.

Thanks Mimi! I can't believe Animal Talk Rescue got hassled too :/ But in their defense I could still do business during the "freeze" period. I can take money and make payments/withdraws as usual, but I just can't cancel my account. They just don't want people to up and leave after taking in so much money. Their review was pretty fast, it took less than a week. It was nerve racking though... I was confident they wouldn't ban me, but who knows?! Paypal now connects all accounts to SSN's... basically if you only get one account per lifetime. I'm using Paypal less now, but it's still necessary!

emanuela said...

Bellissimi! ^__^

anabelucraft said...

Un trabajo asombroso con resultados fantásticos!!Me encantan

Wendy said...

The family is wonderful!

Here's an idea for next time - you can create a widget for fundraising and I believe it keeps you out of the $ part of it!

Ester Durães said...


I've featured you here:

Diem Chau said...

Thanks everyone!

Thanks for the link Wendy, I'll check it out! I've been trying to think of good fundraising solutions.

Thank you Ester!

JZino said...

Your work is amazing! I'm sorry to hear paypal gave you a hassle. You're not the first person I've heard of having issues though.
On the lighter side,
I have featured your work here:

Tina said...


I stumbled upon your website and loved the intricate crayon work. I linked you on my website so my students could take a look at your wonderful work. I hope you don't mind.

Take care :)

Diem Chau said...

Thank you JZino!

Thanks Tina :) I hope your students enjoy it as well.

Anonymous said...


I am an encaustic artist who works with crayons and I just wanted to say I love your work. I featured you in a blog called Amazing Crayon Artists. Thank You for the inspiration.

Diem Chau said...

Thank you Ramon! Good luck with your projects :)

Peony and Thistle said...

Fantastic! I LOVE all the detail you've managed to include in this.

Anonymous said...

Re: paypal. The same thing happened with regretsy this month. There was a big commotion about it!

Anonymous said...

awesome crayons, and i love the pencil elephant! there are quite a few charity fundraising sites online now. a couple to get you started, for next time :)