Authors, musicians and other artists have long given away their works for charity. Five years ago, Minneapolis-area author Neil Gaiman donated a signed advance copy of his book Stardust to Wisconsin author Patrick Rothfuss who was organizing a benefit for Heifer International.
Rothfuss writes on his blog:
So we had this book. This beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book. And I was having a hard time deciding how best to use it. I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, maybe a couple thousand, but that didn’t seem right somehow.
So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.
But then something strange happened. At the end of the fundraiser the person who won the book gave it back to us. Their one stipulation is that we auction it off next year, so it will bring in more money for Heifer.
So they did. And again, the winner donated it back. It’s happened every year since.