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Engaging Your Board in Fundraising - A Staff's Guide

Board participation in fundraising is a perennial challenge for many, if not most, nonprofit organizations. This webinar approaches the issue by asking - what is keeping the staff from being more successful in engaging the board in fundraising? We'll explore barriers and misperceptions that can impede staff success in working with board members, discuss how to set up conditions so that board members are self-motivated to fundraise and friend-raise, and discuss how staff can create fundraising opportunities so that board members can easily "plug in."

As a result of this webinar participants will:

  • Understand the barriers that can keep staff from being more successful at engaging board members in fundraising;
  • Gain a better understanding of board member needs and perspectives when it comes to fundraising;
  • Learn 5 steps for engaging board members in fundraising and how this relates to the type of information, support, training, and opportunities you offer to your board members.

Kathy Hedge, Kathy Hedge Nonprofit Consulting

This on-demand webinar is offered free to members via the League's BoardSource partnership. Register now for the webinar!

This webinar is based on the BoardSource ebook, Engaging Your Board in Fundraising - click here to download as a benefit of your League membership, at no cost.

 

Volunteer Notes Spring 2014


Volunteer Notes
The Newsletter for Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

Spring 2014

Notes from Laura Hyde, Volunteer Council President

“Volunteer not so you can build your resume, but so you can build yourself.”
~ Anonymous

The 69th League of American Orchestras National Conference in Seattle is the place to be June 4-6, 2014. Everyone has critical questions to be asked, and the Conference is offering countless solutions to these questions.

As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to participate in a very worthwhile and informative track created just for the volunteer constituency. A full schedule of networking and interactive sessions will give volunteers the chance to share and grow at Conference, and attending a performance of the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall is sure to be wonderful. Please take the time to peruse the Conference information below, along with the League’s
Conference website, and plan to join us in Seattle. I promise you will go home motivated and inspired.

National Volunteer Week is April 6-12, 2014. This week celebrates people doing extraordinary things through service. Thank you symphony volunteers for your extraordinary service.

Though my term as President does not end until June 30th, this will be the last issue of Volunteer Notes before then. It has indeed been an honor to serve as president of the Volunteer Council this year. I have had the privilege to serve with a group who possess vision and a call to action. The dedication exhibited by the Volunteer Council and the League staff assures the future of symphony music. My special thanks to Samara Ungar, Polly Kahn, and Jesse Rosen for their support and guidance this past year.

Laura Hyde
Volunteer Council President
Women’s Symphony League of Tyler (TX)


Boost Your I.Q.* – Join Us at Conference!

You’ve got projects? We’ve got ideas …

At this year’s League of American Orchestras National Conference in Seattle, you’ll discover a world of sharing – the successes, the challenges, the solutions. Every year, the best and brightest volunteer organizations across North America gather together for three days of collaboration on what’s worked, what’s wowed, and what’s next.

Plan to be take part in this dynamic symphony volunteer assembly – you will definitely take home a whole host of plans for future successes. Here’s a brief snapshot of what awaits you:

Conference offerings will include nine Gold Book Award of Excellence presentations in two interactive sessions, plus the ever popular Roundtable expo-style session. This year, 15 projects will be offered (see article below). In addition, the League’s Volunteer Council will host two tables highlighting League online resources and services for volunteers.

To further entice you, here is the lineup of some exciting programming offered this year:

  • Showhouse Panel: There’s more to a showhouse than you might think and even more ways to tailor a showhouse event. Four orchestras have defined the showhouse in very different ways to raise money for their orchestras, engage volunteers, and introduce their orchestras to their communities. You will take away some winning fundraising and community-building strategies for your volunteer organization whether or not there is a showhouse in your future. The panel includes four 2014 Gold Book Award winning projects submitted from Dayton (OH), Richmond (VA), Milwaukee (WI), and Oklahoma City (OK). (Wednesday, June 5 at 9:30am)

  • Networking Lunch: The Peoria Symphony Orchestra Guild will enthrall you with their 2014 Classic Award-winning Puppet Troupe. Video, Q&A, and much more about this one-of-a-kind education project founded in 1969 await you. This session will be open to all Conference delegates; cost per person is $40. (Thursday, June 5 at 12:45pm)

  • Chart a Path for Leadership Season by Season: Put on your game face as you compete with tablemates to win points and prizes – all with the throw of the dice. This session is designed to provide a fun, interactive way to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of good governance. Take home some great tips on creating an infrastructure that will help your organization run smoothly. (Friday, June 6 at 8:00am)

  • Grassroots Fundraising – Partnerships Between Volunteers and Development: Explore ways to create and sustain productive partnerships. Whether in a large or small orchestra, healthy, professional relationships between these two groups can create a symbiotic relationship that is a win-win for all involved. This session is an all-delegate Elective which will be moderated by Stacy Wilson Margolis, vice president of development, League of American Orchestras. She will be joined by delegates from the Madison Symphony Orchestra, The Charlotte Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. (Friday, June 6 at 11:15am)

Remember – the 2014 League of American Orchestras Conference dates are Wednesday June 4 through Friday, June 6 in Seattle. Registration is now open on the League’s Conference site (early-bird registration closes on April 25th). We’ll see you there!

*I.Q. – IDEA Quotient!


 

League of American Orchestra’s 2014 National Conference Family Plan

In recognition of the important role played by volunteers and board members in serving America’s orchestras, the League would like to offer the following special group rate:

$1,200 flat rate registration fee for three or more volunteer and/or board member delegates from a single orchestra.

To secure this rate you must register your group of three or more by the April 25th early registration deadline, by calling member services at 212 262 5161. This offer is only valid for the 2014 National Conference, June 4-6, in Seattle.

 


A Record Breaking Number of Roundtables in Seattle!

Seventeen Roundtable sessions will be offered to the 2014 Conference attendees. The subjects are varied and sure to provide a new idea for your organization or a face-lift to an existing project.

  • Learn how knowledgeable guest speakers can present a short seminar to your volunteer officers on fundraising or strategic planning…for free.
  • Add a new twist to your Young Artist Competition.
  • Learn about several successful fundraisers that were specifically targeted to attract younger volunteers!
  • Rebranding your volunteer organization? Learn how one volunteer organization accomplished this project.
  • Conduct a growing symphony by partnering with a local nursery, and raising money with every new flower/sculpture purchased.Halloween Haunt and the Symphony… provide a memorable experience for 8,000 children.

Roundtables are a quick and efficient opportunity to learn from seventeen projects across the country in fundraising, community engagement, education, and membership! This year’s Roundtable projects/presenters include:

  1. Afternoon in the Gold Room – Metropolitan League San Francisco Symphony
  2. Bloom in Tune – Spokane Symphony Associates
  3. Board Job Descriptions – East Texas Symphony Orchestra
  4. Bordeaux on the Bayou – Houston Symphony League
  5. Children’s Halloween Concerts – Symphony League of Austin
  6. Concert Chats – Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild
  7. Donate to Celebrate – Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild
  8. Music Makers, a school concert – Plano Symphony Orchestra
  9. Rebranding Initiative – Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra
  10. Red Haute Valentine Party and Children’s Style ShowSymphony League of Austin
  11. Singing Creates Symphony Support – Orchestra of Southern Utah
  12. Spring Fashion Show - Eugene Symphony Guild
  13. Symphony of Wines – Waco Symphony Council
  14. Volunteer Council Services and Membership – Volunteer Council members
  15. Volunteer Ushers – Seattle Symphony Volunteers
  16. Webinars offered by Volunteer Council and other on-line LAO resources
  17. Youth Orchestra Competition- Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild

10 Ways to Raise More Money at Events

Fundraising for the symphony is one of the main goals of many volunteer associations. Adding to the ideas or thinking “outside the box” is something volunteers are always interested in doing. Below are a few ideas you may want to use if your organization is planning an event in the future.

  1. On the enclosure/RSVP card with the invitation, always include the line “Sorry, I am unable to attend but enclosed is my donation of ______________.”
  2. Before the event, keep those emails going… Emails are a great way to encourage people to send in their reservations and/or put a table together, to notify if the event is almost sold out, and to let all know once again what to look forward to in the way of entertainment. It is important that the invitees know the association is looking forward to seeing them at the event. Publicize, publicize, publicize!
  3. Do a little something special to set the Underwriting Tables apart from the regular tables. This makes donors feel special, gives them status, and encourages underwriting for the next year, as patrons will remember their table was outstanding.
  4. Greet guests at the door with a beverage before the check-in table. Have a photographer taking pictures of guests as they enter.
  5. If raffle tickets are sold at the event, put a sticker on the lapel to show the person has purchased a ticket. During the event, have a few volunteers, carrying baskets with helium balloons tied to them for easy spotting, walk around to tables looking for guests without a sticker to solicit a ticket purchase and give them a sticker if they do.
  6. If you have a live auction chair or reservation chair, here is an “out of the box” suggestion. Put your conductor’s voice on your voicemail stating “This is Conductor ____________of the ___________________Symphony. Mrs. _____________ is not available to take your call. At the sound of the tone, please leave your name and number.” This would bring added interest to the event.
  7. Email information about auction items before event to build up interest. Have auction rules included in the program book.
  8. Announce time left before silent auction ends-15 minutes, 5 minutes. Encourage last minute bidding.
  9. Mystery boxes for sale at the event all wrapped alike –for example 75 boxes at $75 each. All boxes contain gift certificates to a store and one contains a gift valued at $5,000 (any amount) donated by the store. The store needs to underwrite the boxes.
  10. Go into an event with as many expenses underwritten as possible. At the beginning, committee members need to work on finding underwriters for invitations, valet parking, centerpieces and anything related to the event that is an expense. Give these underwriters publicity in your newsletter, at meetings, and at the event.

No matter the size of the organization, the rules for fundraising are the same.


Lessons from Candy Crush

The game Candy Crush Saga has taken the world by storm. By the end of 2013, more than half a billion people had installed Candy Crush Saga and was the most downloaded app of the year in 2013, according to Apple. Have you been able to resist the urge to try out this incredibly popular game? Or were you, like your Volunteer Notes editor, curious to find out first hand what all the buzz was about and found yourself addicted to it? I was so fascinated by the appeal of this game, that I started wondering what lessons there were to be derived from it for the programs of my symphony guild. Here is what I found:

Lesson 1) Colorful and fun.
The game builds on something colorful, familiar, engaging, and fun -- candy. We may not want to use candy in all our events, but why not use color and fun themes in all of our programs to invite and engage?

Lesson 2) Something new each round of the game. Boredom never sets in because there is always something new. While we like the “tried and true”, we should think about something new to refresh our repeated programs -- the promise of a new twist for people to look forward to and to inject an element of surprise can be very appealing.

Lesson 3) Challenging and rewarding. Give people a challenge to rise up and reward them for their success. This is perhaps more for our volunteers than our audiences, but very important to success. Perhaps with a little more thought, you can think of ways to make this work for fundraising events or education projects.

Lesson 4) Share with friends. Candy Crush recognizes our desire to share what we are doing with friends and socialize. So embedded in this solitary computer game is the notion of sharing. We need to always encourage our audience to share their experiences with us and within their circle of friends. Encourage people to host a table of friends at events, write about their experience at an event on Facebook or other social media, and invite new people via an online invitation.

Lesson 5) Online community for help. Many websites and blogs offer help to the weary Candy Crush player who needs help getting to the next level. How often do you reach out to others via the internet for help getting to the next level of raising money? One such resource is the League’s online discussion group League 360. Post a question and get a helpful response or offer tips from your own experience that will help others. Join the discussion at League 360!


Join! Comment! Win!

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, the Volunteer Council wants to hear about your favorite volunteer moments...

Join the conversation on League360 and post your favorite symphony volunteer stories and moments bewteen April 6-12 to qualify for a complimentary ticket to the Volunteer Hosted Luncheon at this year's Conference.

To be eligible for this prize, you must not only join League360, but post bewteen April 6 and 12. You must also be a registered Conference attendee as of April 25 to be eligible to redeem this prize.

Join the conversation and participate in our online discussion group specifically for orchestra volunteers on League360. This is a great way for you to be in touch, share ideas, and ask questions of your colleagues from across the country. If you already have a username and password to access The Hub, then you can use this same login to access League360.

Once you are logged in click on “Groups,” then search for "Volunteers," select that group and then click on "Join Group." The more people who join and participate in this group the more valuable it becomes! Encourage everyone in your volunteer association to take advantage of this powerful resource. Beginning discussions include education concerts and fund-raising ideas. You can start a new discussion or add to an existing one.

For any questions regarding
League360 contact Jim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , he can help you set-up or reset your username and password. Please include your name, title (if appropriate), the name of your orchestra, and the name of your volunteer association in your email.


Offer from The Berliner Philharmoniker

The Berliner Philharmoniker invites all League members to explore their online concert venue, the Digital Concert Hall, for free.

In this virtual concert venue, all concerts are broadcast live and later become available in a video archive. By now, the Digital Concert Hall includes 250 complete concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker, their chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle, visiting conductors and soloists as well as more than 180 interviews with the Who’s Who of classical music, classical music documentaries and education films.

To explore the Digital Concert Hall for free for 48 Hours, just enter FREELEAGUE at
http://bph.de/vic00. This offer is valid until July 1, 2014.

They are also offering a 20% discount on Digital Concert Hall tickets for all League members. To receive your discount, just enter 20PCTLEAGUE at
http://bph.de/vic00 at any time.

Should you need any additional information or support, do not hesitate to contact the Berliner Philharmoniker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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Orchestra Update

News updates relevant to the orchestra field, produced quarterly by the League.

December 2013

 
December 2013
There's No Place Like Home

When The Philadelphia Orchestra's New York City performance was abruptly cancelled, the orchestra quickly rebounded with a free "pop-up concert" at their own venue. View the home-town action here.
Tweet This: New Trends in Classical Music

Other than a broad category encompassing popular music, classical music is the musical genre most watched or listened to on TV, radio, or the Internet, according to the NEA's 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. One in three adults (a whopping 80.4 million) use handheld or mobile devices to download, watch, or listen to music performances. Read more about trends in arts participation.
Tuning in to Tax Reform

Orchestras are weighing in as Congress continues to debate – well, nearly everything. Negotiations over budget priorities and comprehensive tax reform leave federal policy areas like NEA funding and incentives for charitable giving hanging in the balance. Find out how to join orchestras raising their voice in support the public value of the nonprofit arts.
Ingredients for Successful Labor Negotiations

League President and CEO Jesse Rosen recently spoke with George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, about achieving successful labor negotiations. Read more in the Fall 2013 issue of Symphony, available online.
Alive and Kicking – Music Alive Composer Residencies

Nearly $1 million has been awarded to composers Sleeping Giant Collective, Stella Sung, Gabriela Lena Frank, Narong Prangcharoen (pictured), and Trimpin as participants in Music Alive composer residencies with partner orchestras in Albany, Dayton, Detroit, Santa Ana, and Seattle beginning this season. Read more.
Did you know... Orchestras provide nearly 36,000 performances annually, with almost 1 in 3 events offered free of charge. Read more Quick Orchestra Facts.
 
 
 

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February 2014

 
February 2014
Open Cello Surgery

Phoenix Symphony musician Laurie Stearns Selby literally dissects a cello in this video of fifth graders taking part in Mind Over Music. This Phoenix Symphony program helps teachers integrate music into STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) concepts. For more on the importance of multi-disciplinary arts education, see Arts Education for America's Students, A Shared Endeavor, just released by the League, in partnership with twelve national arts and education organizations.
Incubators of Innovation

The orchestra field can be inspired by the vision, experimentation, and creativity of musician-led ensembles and innovative performers, says League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. Read more about why orchestras need entrepreneurial musicians. Photo Credit: Carrie Schneider
Youth Orchestra Partners to "Save the Music" in Public Schools

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory's collaboration to restore music education in the Chula Vista Elementary School District is receiving one of two new prestigious VH1 Save The Music Foundation grants this semester, followed by four more in 2014-15. SDYS is also one of 23 orchestras strengthening communities with support from 2013-14 Getty Grants awarded by the League of American Orchestras.
Powerful New Works Reflect the Toll of War

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and Louisiana Philharmonic are among those exploring complex themes of conflict as they connect with veterans and the public in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read coverage on this topic and more in the Winter issue of Symphony magazine.
On the Leading Edge

The League of American Orchestras is developing future orchestra leaders with the launch of the new Emerging Leaders Program. Seven orchestra administrators between the ages of 25-35 are participating in an intensive, two-year program combining on-the-job learning with strong mentoring and peer network-building opportunities. Learn more about the participants.
Did you know... Community engagement activity in America's orchestras is growing fast, with nearly three times as many events as a decade ago. Read more Quick Orchestra Facts.
 
 
 

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Resources for Educators

Resources for Educators

Marvin Makes Music
Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin loves to play the piano and compose his own songs. But performing music over and over that's composed by some old guys name Ludwig and Wolfgang just gives him knots in his stomach. When his father tells Marvin he has an audition with the most prestigious music school, how can Marvin overcome his nerves and get swept away by the music?

This classroom guide offers great ideas for teaching Marvin Makes Music to your students!

Buy now

 

Recommended Children's Music Books

   

Visit the Children's Literature Network for more books about classical music.

Volunteer Notes Winter 2014


Volunteer Notes
The Newsletter for Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

Winter 2014

Notes from Laura Hyde, Volunteer Council President


The Volunteer Council met in Seattle, November 8-11, where the Seattle Symphony will host the League of American Orchestras 2014 National Conference: Critical Questions, Countless Solutions. The Council is already planning a volunteer track with award winning volunteer project presentations and incredible networking opportunities. I know each of you will want to budget now to attend the Conference, June 4-6.

Another great opportunity available to delegates, in conjunction with Conference, is a week-long Alaska cruise on Holland America’s ms Westerdam, departing Seattle on June 7 (see additional information below). Make your plans now!

This year’s Strategic Conversation conference calls were attended by nine presidents/president-elects from across the United States. These six one-hour sessions covered topics such as membership, fundraising, and leadership. It also gave participants the opportunity to connect with other volunteer leaders facing similar challenges and questions, and share new ideas and perspectives. These conversations will be held again next fall and I hope many president-elects will consider being a part of this valuable experience.

Thank you again for your support of last year’s Volunteer Council 50th Anniversary appeal. This tremendous effort exceeded all expectations and put a spotlight on the extraordinary commitment of orchestra volunteers to each other, their home orchestras and the League. It has been wonderful to see the basic tenets of leadership, service, connection, and commitment that form the foundation of robust volunteerism in the orchestral field.

In 2014, the Volunteer Council leadership will again be reaching out, to ask you to please consider contributing to a group gift supporting orchestra governance. So many orchestra board members develop from the ranks of their organization’s volunteers. This year’s Volunteer Council appeal will recognize the great value of volunteer development to the field, and will also give an opportunity to honor the legacy of outgoing League Board Chair Lowell Noteboom. Please consider joining your fellow Volunteer Council members by supporting the League and paying tribute to Lowell. To make a gift, please contact Samara Ungar at 646 822 4083 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the online donation page.

I would also like to invite you to participate in a special opportunity to share your unique volunteer-staff collaborative fundraising efforts described in the article which follows.

The Volunteer Council looks forward to meeting each of you at Conference, and hearing how you work to fulfill the mission and tackle the challenges facing your orchestra. We are available to support your volunteer association in any way we can. There is a saying by Michael Jordan, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it to happen, others make it happen.” You, the volunteer, make it happen. Thank you for promoting and supporting the mission of symphony orchestras.

Laura Hyde
Volunteer Council President
Women’s Symphony League of Tyler (TX)

 



Call for Collaborative Fundraising Projects

Do you have a successful project that benefited from the collaboration of volunteers and your development staff? Please share it with us!

This year, the Volunteer Council is focusing on fundraising and the collaboration between volunteers and development staff. We would like to hear about successful fundraising collaborations to be part of a potential session that is open to all delegates at the Conference in June, an article in Volunteer Notes, or a Project of the Month in the League’s online newsfeed, The Hub. We invite you to complete this questionnaire and submit to Samara Ungar at the League (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) by February 15. If you have any questions, please contact Elaine Cousins, Volunteer Council member, by sending email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
 



Why Attend Conference? An Interview with Mike Minor, President of the Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

VOLUNTEER NOTES: Mike, you attended your first League of American Orchestras Conference last year. Why would you recommend it to others?

MIKE MINOR: The Volunteer Council activities at Conference present a unique opportunity for you to meet volunteers supporting orchestras of all sizes. At the Conference you will have the opportunity to attend enlightening seminars, network, and share ideas with volunteers from other orchestras, and return to your orchestra with valuable information to support your volunteer organization. Whether you are in search of an innovative idea for a new fundraising project, need information on how to engage the next generation of volunteers, or simply want to share your experiences with volunteers from other orchestras, Conference is a great opportunity for you.

VN: What was a highlight of the Conference for you?

MM: A highlight of the Conference was the presentation of the Gold Book Awards of Excellence. These awards are given each year for outstanding projects submitted to the League of American Orchestras' Gold Book Online. Members from the organizations for each of the award-winning projects were on hand to discuss their projects and share their best practices with you.

VN: Any last words you’d like to share with our readers?

MM: Start making your plans now to attend the League of American Orchestras Conference in Seattle, June 4-6, 2014. Attending a conference is also a great way to build enthusiasm among your volunteer organization membership. I am hopeful to see you and other members of your volunteer organization for the Volunteer Council's sessions, seminars, and events next June.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Conference registration will open at the end of February. Watch for special group pricing for attendees from a single orchestra. In addition to the Awards of Excellence presentations, there will be project presentations in RoundTable format, concerts, dinners with other attendees, and a wide variety of engaging sessions on topics of interest to all.


 

League of American Orchestra’s 2014 National Conference Family Plan

In recognition of the important role played by volunteers and board members in serving America’s orchestras, the League would like to offer the following special group rate:

$1,200 flat rate registration fee for three or more volunteer and/or board member delegates from a single orchestra.

To secure this rate you must register your group of three or more by the April 25th early registration deadline, by calling member services at 212 262 5161. This offer is only valid for the 2014 National Conference, June 4-6, in Seattle.

 



2014 Gold Book Awards of Excellence Winners: Great Ideas for Your Volunteer Association

Innovation, volunteer involvement, return on investment and impact are the primary criteria the Volunteer Council utilizes to evaluate volunteer projects submitted each year to the League’s volunteer project website, goldbookonline.org. The Council had a record number of outstanding award winners this year. Thirteen projects from ten states will be recognized as winners of the Gold Book Awards of Excellence and presented at Conference this June.

The 2014 winning organizations and their projects are:

  • Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association (OH): Designers’ Showhouse and Gardens, a fundraiser that capitalized on the history of a historic home and gardens, and on the estate’s link to the orchestra’s performing arts center to draw record crowds and revenues.
  • Houston Symphony League (TX): Maestro’s Wine Dinner and Collector’s Auction, a fundraiser that provided a salute to the orchestra’s maestro and his passion for food, wine, and music.
  • Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild (AL): Silver Tea, a fundraising project that showcased talented young musicians at a beautiful traditional tea in a historic 18th century home.
  • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Association (IN): Music is Magic Symphony Ball, a fundraiser whose magic show astounded the crowd, and whose live auction generated magical profits.
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Affiliates at Large (CA): Music Appreciation Classes, a community engagement project that sparked interest in classical music and in concert attendance.
  • Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra League (WI): Holiday House, a “mini” showhouse fundraiser centered around the holidays.
  • Oklahoma City Orchestra League (OK): The Trio in the Abbey Showhouse, an annual fundraiser that this year tripled the number of houses featured, yet kept the same number of volunteers.
  • Richmond Symphony Orchestra League (VA): Symphony Designer House, a perennial favorite fundraiser that added new twists and was its most successful ball ever.
  • Symphony Guild of Charlotte (NC): Engaging Membership Meetings, a membership project developed to spark volunteer participation and leadership development.
  • Symphony Guild of Charlotte (NC): Virtual Office, a leadership/organization structure project that slashed expenses, and used the cost savings for educational projects.
  • Symphony League of Kansas City (MO): Fountains of Music Symphony Ball, a fundraiser that drew from the city’s 200+ fountains for its theme and drew a flood of in-kind donations and sponsorships.
  • Women’s Symphony League of Tyler (TX): Board Retreat, a leadership/organizational structure project that tapped a prominent national consultant to facilitate training and discussion.
  • Women’s Symphony League of Tyler (TX): Sips for Scholarship, a unique fundraiser that parlayed simple donations of dimes and quarters into two youth music scholarships.

In addition, a special Gold Book Classics Award will be presented to the Peoria Symphony Guild for its Puppet Troupe. Over the past 45 years, Guild volunteers have presented staged puppet productions to more than 618,000 school children in more than 60 schools in Peoria, IL, and surrounding areas. The Puppet Troupe will be featured at our Networking Lunch at Conference.

You won’t want to miss learning about these award-winning projects. Join us at Conference and take home great ideas to share with your volunteer association!

To search the Gold Book Online for all projects submitted since 2006, go to goldbookonline.org. You are sure to find projects that you will want to adopt or adapt.
 



Top Ten List for Volunteer Associations
By Henry Fogel


Having worked with affiliate volunteer associations for almost 50 years, beginning with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra’s Women’s Association in the mid 1960s, I have seen a lot, and perhaps that qualifies me to emulate David Letterman and come up with my own top ten list of thoughts for truly effective volunteer organizations. The difference is that my list is not done tongue in cheek.

1) Your volunteer association is a part of a larger organizational structure. Even if your group is a separate 501c3, it is almost certainly registered as a support organization. What this means is that governing decisions are appropriately the responsibility of the board of trustees of the orchestra. Certainly the leadership of volunteer groups should be a part of that governing process, with ex officio membership on both the board and executive committee of the orchestra (ex officio does not mean non-voting). However, when volunteer groups attempt to direct spending priorities, beyond participating in discussions in the orchestra’s boardroom, the governance process itself is weakened. When an orchestra’s board has determined to cut a particular program, even a much-loved educational program, a volunteer association’s attempt to reverse it by essentially saying “you may only use our funds to support that program” is, in fact, a usurpation of the governance role.

2) I have had many experiences, while visiting orchestras, where I learned that the volunteer group and the orchestra management or board were not in alignment on the subject of mission and roles. It is critical for there to be an institution-wide consensus on the mission of the volunteer organization(s) and their relationship with the orchestral institution and its mission.

3) Take advantage of the good national models available through the Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras and through the League itself, for exploring the issue of mission and organizational relationships, as well as for a good overview of successful projects done throughout the country.

4) Assess projects and programs, and assess them honestly. If the principal purpose of a particular project was revenue, did it meet its goal? Was the goal a rational one? If the principal goal was not revenue, what was it? If it was “friend-raising,” did it really raise new friends, or merely entertain old ones? Projects that require a considerable amount of human resource and result in a net income of $5,000 may not be worth the investment of human resource. You might think it is stating the obvious that the important number is the net revenue, not the gross, but I have over the years seen organizations congratulate themselves over a high gross total while glossing over the fact that the actual net was minimal.

5) Always, always, always keep an open mind in re-assessing old projects and considering new ones. “We’ve always done that or “we’ve always done it that way” are rarely constructive approaches to self-examination.”

6) This one is really hard, but important. Do not continue individual volunteers in roles that they are clearly not performing well. I understand the human value of being kind and supportive, particularly to someone who is volunteering her or his time, and I understand the difficulty of asking a volunteer to step down from a role. However, I also understand the damage done to everyone, including the organization, by a job done badly over and over again.

7) Maintain healthy, constructive communication between the volunteer organization and the orchestra’s management and board. If there are issues of concern, they should be raised early, and in a constructive way, before they build into serious frustration. I frequently encounter an “us-and-them” mentality – often fostered by both management and volunteers. But it is never healthy. Cooperation, communication, and coordination are three very valuable C’s.

8) Then there is the other all-important C-word: Credit. No one can deny the importance of appropriate credit and expressions of gratitude for good volunteer work. After all, the management staff has been monetarily compensated for its work. Credit and gratitude are the units of compensation for volunteers, and it is incumbent on the management and board to always remember this. But it is also important for volunteers to be willing to share credit on projects that involve more than one volunteer group (or even those that involve volunteers and staff).

9) Acknowledge the importance of benchmarking and measuring results. Before a project is undertaken, establish realistic goals and outcomes. Use metrics from like organizations across the country in setting these goals. And, when it is over, assess the effectiveness of the project. If the project did not come close to achieving its goals, an honest assessment of why it didn’t will likely lead to success next time.

10) Have fun. Create an atmosphere where fun is valued. The work accomplished by volunteers in American non-profits, including symphony orchestras, is truly astonishing. It is fair to say that our orchestras would not be what they are without the dedication, passion, and hard work of volunteers. That being said, there is no reason why the work cannot be fun. I have seen far too many situations involving volunteer groups where the operative descriptive words would be “tension,” “drama,” “negative energy,” etc. People choosing to work for a cause in which they believe without monetary compensation seem to me to deserve to be able to find genuine pleasure in the experience.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Henry Fogel, dean and professor of the arts, Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts, is a much sought-after consultant to orchestras around the country. He was president of the League of American Orchestras (2003-2008) and president of the Chicago Symphony Association for 18 years beginning in 1985. We are very pleased that he was able to take time to share some of his orchestral wisdom with us.
 



Explore Alaska with Holland America Line: a special offer for League of American Orchestra members

If you are planning to attend the League Conference in Seattle, Holland America Line and the Seattle Symphony invite you to extend your visit and embark on a round trip cruise to Alaska, June 7–14, 2014, following Conference. Special group fares have been arranged and opportunities to meet other League members and their guests are being planned.

Holland America Line, a Seattle Symphony corporate sponsor, is offering the League of American Orchestras’ members the following:

  • Special group pricing on a variety of rooms. Many include ocean views and verandahs. Make a deposit early for the best selection of rooms.
  • Package includes 7 nights in a Stateroom or Suite, delightful dining options, and onboard amenities on the ms Westerdam, one of Holland America’s newest mid-sized ships.
  • Watch the sun set over the Olympic Mountains while cruising the beautiful Puget Sound, after a 4:00pm departure from Seattle on June 7.
  • Invitation to a League cocktail party while at sea on Sunday, June 8
  • Dine with League group members by selecting the early dining option at 5:45 in the Main Dining Room.
  • Itinerary includes cruising scenic Glacier Bay National Park and visiting Alaskan ports at Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, BC (passport required).

For reservations call 1 877 SAIL HAL (1 877 724 5425) and ask for the League of American Orchestras group pricing (Group Code: TQJ, Voyage W450)

For questions e-mail Group Contact, Linda Stevens, board member, Seattle Symphony at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



To learn more, visit Holland America Line Alaskan Cruise June 7-14

Please note that there are a limited number of rooms allocated for the League group, so book early to get your choice of staterooms or suites. The group room allocations will be released March 7, 2014, and revert to published pricing at that time. The deposit will vary by room size, but is required within 48 hours of booking. Final payment is due March 24, 2014. Gratuity (approximately $12/day/guest) and tax additional.


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What we're reading

We like a good book. We bet you do, too. Here are some of the recent reads League staff members couldn't put down.



Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations
Joanne Lipman, Melanie Kupchynsky

If you're lucky, somewhere in your past is that one person who changed your life forever. The one who pushed you to dream bigger and to reach higher, and who set you straight on what matters in life. Perhaps it was a coach, or a professor...

Buy now


Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven
John Eliot Gardiner

Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most unfathomable composers in the history of music. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who (when we can discern his personality at all) seems so ordinary, so opaque—and occasionally so intemperate?

Buy now



Yours for the Asking: An Indispensable Guide to Fundraising and Management

Reynold Levy

Most of us, when placed in a position to ask for a contribution—even for a very worthy cause—are uncomfortable doing so. But Americans give habitually to organizations and causes they care about...

Buy now
     


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Haruki Murakami

Devin Segal, membership and development coordinator, says: "It's a great story about a seemingly average guy in Tokyo whose cat goes missing, which sparks a very surreal chain of events and he has to figure out the meaning of all of it."

Buy now
   

Getty Grants, Round 2 (2013-2014)

The League has awarded Getty Education and Community Investment Grants to 23 orchestras across the United States starting or expanding program work within their communities. The orchestras, encompassing a full range of budget sizes, will receive individual grants for a variety of community-based programs taking place during the 2013-14 season.

A prerequisite for qualifying orchestras was the existence of partnerships with local community or social service organizations. This year’s grants will fund both new and established innovative programs including: long-term in-school partnerships and afterschool programs; life-long learning opportunities; health and wellness initiatives in hospitals; and programs for the underserved and underprivileged, including adults and adolescents in the criminal justice system and the special needs population. Read more here.

Learn more about the innovative programs that were recipients of the second round of the Getty Education and Community Investment Grants!

Questions can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 646 822 4033.

The Getty Education and Community Investment Grants are made possible by a generous grant from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

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