Volunteers are an important resource to the orchestra community. The League thanks them for supporting orchestras everywhere. See below, and in the left hand menu, for all the resources the League has to offer.
- Volunteer Project of the Month: Deck the Hall
- New Webinar! Fundraising Fundamentals: An Introduction to Grassroots Fundraising
- Governance Board Game Goes Viral!
- Gold Book Project of the Month
- Volunteer Council
- Resources and Programs
- Other Non-League Resources
One of the San Francisco Symphony’s marquee events is Deck the Hall, a holiday tradition every December since 1980. It includes a concert, silent auction, youth-oriented activities, and the unveiling of fir trees decorated by non-profits and placed throughout the lobbies at Davies Symphony Hall. Proceeds benefit SFS’s education and community programs as well as Deck the Hall Community Day, which is presented free of charge for 2,000 underserved children.
Deck the Hall engages volunteers from SFS’s Junior Committee, which includes many young professional mothers. They help secure tree sponsors and auction items, plan children’s activities, collaborate on fundraising, and help with outreach to service organizations and their own social circles. Volunteers and staff work together to produce both events, including dressing up as holiday characters. Cheryl Runneboom, immediate past president of the Junior Committee, describes it as “a great way for Committee members to get involved at the Symphony, but also to have an impact on the community.”
The Junior Committee has been a significant source of SFS volunteer leadership; members join looking for family-friendly activities and become inspired to work in other capacities. Deck the Hall also offers volunteer opportunities to nearby corporations, many of which are technology companies seeking to give back to the community.
For young attendees, Deck the Hall may be their first chance to experience a live performance, furthering SFS’s commitment to making music accessible to children of all backgrounds. Deck the Hall engages volunteers in a substantial project, and identifies leaders for future projects.
League of American Orchestras’ Volunteer Council members, Margarita Contreni and Elaine Cousins, conduct this latest installment of the Volunteer Council’s webinar series. In this webinar they will focus on the fundamentals of fundraising, and the elements required to succeed in fundraising for your home orchestra.
From Seattle and Spokane, WA to Columbia, SC, symphony volunteers are rolling the dice and racking up points, all while learning about governance ... most importantly, some are also winning chocolate prizes! Developed by the Volunteer Council for the 2014 League of American Orchestras' National Conference in Seattle, the board game, titled Charting a Path for Leadership Season by Season, was an unexpected hit with the delegates.
As most of us know, the subject of governance will often cause one's eyelids to become heavy - but is it really that dull? The concept behind this game is to make learning and discussion about good governance fun – and have we mentioned competitive? The idea is so simple - traverse a game board accumulating positive points for a job well done in a particular aspect of governance, or negative points for, well, bad governance.
A sampling of landing spaces included:
- Establish a consent agenda for board meetings (5 points)
- Fail to arrange for tax filings (Lose two turns)
- Complete your nominating slate for 2015-16 early (5 points)
- Lose a turn! No reason, just life!
At Conference, delegates played in groups of eight – there were 12 tables in all. At each table, winners by point tally earned delicious Symphony chocolate bars. The overall high point winner received a fabulous box of chocolates from famed Seattle chocolatier – Fran's. Our very smart delegates helped game developers (and Volunteer Council members) Elaine Cousins and Linda Weisbruch work out the "kinks" on this, the game's maiden voyage. Following Conference, Elaine and Linda have continued to receive great feedback about how to make the game even better – and have had several requests to share the game.
Interested in playing the Good Governance game in your neck of the woods? The board graphics, score sheets, and handouts are now available for download right here:
Check out these happy hands vying to win at the very first game played in Seattle
In its fourth year, The Run for Music has grown into a very successful fundraiser for the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and its youth music education programs.
In partnership with the local running club, Gulf Coast Runners, this professionally managed 10k race is staged from Artis-Naples’ campus in beautiful Pelican Bay. As the race starts on a crisp Saturday morning, 1,000 runners/walkers are treated to the national anthem played by an enthusiastic collection of Naples Philharmonic musicians. Then, all along the 6.1 mile course, race participants hear motivating music played by casually dressed Phil musicians, situated along the center median of Pelican Bay Boulevard.
This event is successful for several reasons:
- Running is at an all-time high in the USA, and is enjoyed by all ages.
- This event puts the orchestra musicians “up close and personal” with the public … no tuxedos allowed!
- Sponsors are given great exposure to a sizable audience through logo’d race tee shirts, race day banners, orchestra and running club websites, and local media coverage.
- Race participants pay an entry or registration fee of $20-$35, depending upon when they sign-up for the race; 500 runners X $30 equals $15,000!
- The race is an opportunity to partner with another organization in the community. Aligning with a local running club is recommended. Teaming up with a local high school running program is another option.
For more information on this Gold Book Award winning project, please visit 10K Run for Music on the Gold Book site. For other project ideas visit Gold Book and search for projects of interest to you. Gold Book is a resource for successful projects dating back to 2005, and facilitates easy networking and information sharing organizations.
The Volunteer Council and the League of American Orchestras provide leadership skills and assistance to orchestra volunteers through ongoing education and communication.
The Council works as your link to the League, by informing the League of critical volunteer issues and delivering the most pertinent learning and leadership development to your volunteer association.
The Volunteer Council is celebrating 50 years of serving America's orchestras! See the video for some of the highlights of the past 50 years.
The League recognizes and thanks the Volunteer Council and Sustainers for their longtime support of the Annual Fund, Campaign, and National Conference, and in particular for their countless hours providing assistance to volunteers in the field.
- Webinars and other online resources
- GoldBook Online
This is your online source for successful volunteer audience development/community engagement, communication/technology, education, leadership/organizational structure, membership, fund-raising, and service projects.
(Gold Book Preparation Form; Preparation Form to Print)
- Advocacy for Volunteers
An Advocacy Guide for Volunteers from the League’s Advocacy and Government department
- Join a discussion
Stay connected via e-mail discussion groups, courtesy of the League
- League Membership for Orchestra Volunteers
Join the League today!
- Volunteer Bylaws
- Volunteer Notes
The newsletter for Orchestra Volunteers
- Membership Skill Builder
Learn how to recruit, retain and engage members of your volunteer organization.
- Fundraising Skill Builder
Teach your volunteers to be effective fundraisers.
- Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers
The Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers (AMSOV) is a networking and support organization for volunteer leaders of major symphony orchestras with top tier budgets in the United States and Canada