The Royal College of Art in London holds, literally and figuratively, one of the more creative fundraisers I've come across. It's called the RCS Secret Show. They get artists to contribute postcards that they sign on the back, each of which get sold for a flat 40 pounds. People can register as buyers. The postcards are available to view in-person or online for a week before the buying day and, per the title of the show, the name of the artist for a given postcard is kept secret until the buyer has it in hand and literally turns the card over. Contributing artists span the spectrum from a few world-famous artists to unknown students and, as you can imagine, the work of some famous names can command quite a premium. This year they had about 2,700 postcards from a little over a thousand artists. The most famous 'names' this year included Gerhard Richter, Tracey Emin, Paul Smith and Manolo Blahnik.
It's first come, first served unless you're one of the 50 lucky lottery winners (out of 9000 total raffle entries) who get to enter first. So the diehards end up camping outside the RCA for up to a few days beforehand. I showed up at around 7:30 am (very ambitious for me on a Saturday!) and the queue was very long by then. Alas, after 3 and a half hours of waiting, I was just getting to the building entrance where I faced another 40 minute wait, which posed a dilemma: I'd queued so long in the cold but yet I also had to leave to make it to a football (soccer) commitment. In the event, I couldn't let my teammates down and so, grudginly, left the line. I came back around 2:30 pm and, not surprisingly, most of the artwork was gone. I was one of the last people to buy and bought a couple works that were left. I'm not sure they do it for me yet but I was glad to support a good cause as the proceeds go to fund the RCA and its students.