CONNECTING: Message from Our
21st century has brought us a “new reality” and many
challenges—has your volunteer organization made the leap
challenges top the list of new realities that volunteers are now facing.
We’ve seen a drop off in attendance and income from some of our best
fundraisers, sponsorships are down, and many orchestras have had to cut budgets
and staff. We are all under pressure to make do with less, and this presents us
with opportunities for creativity.
Volunteer Council President Jane Van Dyk
challenging times, volunteers are needed more than ever, and our
work in support of our orchestras is more valuable—and valued—than
ever before. Staff are looking to their volunteers to help out in ways not
anticipated four or five years ago.
The best way for us to
deal with these issues is to make connections with other volunteers across the
country and find out how they are coping creatively with these challenges. You
can connect with colleagues and get ideas and advice in many ways via your
membership in the League of American Orchestras. The Volunteer
Council is the League’s outreach arm, whose mission is to put resources
into the hands of volunteer associations.
You can find all kinds of
answers to your “how can we?” questions by just going to your
computer or telephone. Some specific examples: Are you looking for a new
fundraiser that will take less work and bring in more money? Browse the Gold Book
Online (goldbookonline.org), where you can find a
compendium of award-winning projects from all different size orchestras, not to
mention projects to attract and retain new members, whether they be millennials,
men, seniors, young professionals, or digital generation-types. Look for our new
special feature – Project of the Month.
new features in Volunteer Notes highlighting successful projects from
across the country, and articles about leadership development and
trends in volunteerism.
Go to the League’s
website, click on
“Volunteers” as your interest area, and browse through an extensive
list of resources, contacts, ideas. You can also request a telephone consultation
with a mentor or an experienced volunteer.
Perhaps the best way to
get connected and stay current with the field is to go to the League’s
National Conference, meet face to face with other volunteers, and
enjoy many opportunities to network. Plan now to set aside money in your budget
to help send volunteers to the Conference in Atlanta,
Georgia, next June.
Take a few minutes, get
connected, join the volunteer list serve, start a conversation with peers, and
share your good ideas.
Best wishes for a
productive and successful year.
Jane Van Dyk
Jane Van Dyk
who lives in Billings, Montana, has served on the Volunteer Council for six
years. She has supported classical music in Billings by volunteering with the
Billings Symphony Orchestra, holding the positions of president of the board of
directors and chairman of the endowed scholarship committee.
As an amateur musician,
she plays French horn in a community band, sings in her church choir, enjoys
playing the piano, and has “developed a recent craving for opera.”
She has even made guest appearances with the Yellowstone Chamber
Her job as a college administrator at Rocky Mountain
College keeps her busy in addition to her work on the Volunteer Council.
volunteering, Jane enjoys outdoor activities—hiking, cross-country skiing,
running, and more. She and her husband, Tom, retreat to their lakeside cabin, and
are often visited by their sons. Tom and Jane recently welcomed a second grandson
into their family.
Her multi-faceted and busy life has prepared Jane well for her
role as Volunteer Council president.
Volunteer Notes Editor
REACHING OUT: Field Communications
Field Communications sounds like something out of the U.S. Army Field Manual, you
might be right! However, for the Volunteer Council, it is the umbrella committee
whose mission is to reach out and stay in touch with orchestra volunteers in a
myriad of ways. These methods include:
Grace Seitz, Co-chair, Field Communications
- Developing the Volunteer
Council’s information brochure
- Maintaining our presence
on the Web through the Gold Book Online and its Project of the
- Addressing and promoting
Arts Advocacy issues
- Touch-Base Calls and
e-mails to organization presidents
- Maintaining the optional
E-mail Discussion group
- Producing the Web-based
- General marketing of all
of the above
Some consider these
activities to be the most important that the Volunteer Council does outside of
the planning for the National Conference. And rightly so, since reaching out and
making our presence known and available to orchestra volunteers is our top
priority. This committee always works together with the League of American
Orchestras’ marketing department to identify ways to promote our products,
programs, and services in a coordinated and timely fashion.
To that end I encourage
all of you to go to http://www.americanorchestras.org/interest_areas/volunteers.html<
/a> and goldbookonline.org and begin to find out what the
Volunteer Council can do for you.
SEEKING: Membership Recruitment
Membership Recruitment Committee is responsible for identifying and recruiting
new members for the Volunteer Council. We look for leaders from
symphony Volunteer Associations whose orchestras are members of the League of
American Orchestras. Our search encompasses Conference attendees, recommendations
from former Council members, volunteer leaders we meet through our Touch Base
Calls, and recommendations from orchestra executive directors.
The goal is to have a
broad representation of volunteer leaders from orchestras of all sizes and all
parts of the country. If you know an outstanding volunteer leader whom you would
like to nominate, information and nomination forms are available on the League
website. There is a form for the
nominator to fill out and a form for the nominee. These forms as well as letters
of recommendation and references are submitted to the Volunteer Council
membership to be voted on. The new members are welcomed to Council membership at
the October meeting. The term of office is two years and members are eligible to
serve three terms.
start of a new school year provides the opportunity to emphasize the importance
of music education to our school boards and legislators.
Studies citing the
positive connection between music education and improved learning, attentive
listening, enhanced creativity, and greater self-esteem among America’s
school children are abundant. Because music education is an indispensable part of
life-long learning, we must engage in advocacy on behalf of in-school music education in our communities. One
need not look far to find articles that advocate for more music education in
Have you checked the
League of American Orchestras website lately? Click on Advocacy and
Government to find a plethora of information. Follow the links found on the left
side of the page for music education advocacy tools including
benefits of arts education, tips for launching music education advocacy efforts,
and much more.
As you plan your approach
to advocating for increased in-school music education, consider the following
example. One of the objectives of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is to
create understanding among members of the state board of education that the arts
are an integral component of a complete education for every child. The
orchestra’s vice president of education will create a sequence of short,
powerful statements defining and outlining the positive connections between arts
education and student learning. In addition to being delivered at the monthly
board of education meetings, these statements will also be communicated on fine
arts radio broadcasts and in letters to the editor of the local newspaper. If
your orchestra does not already engage in local advocacy, these are all vital
ways to form important relationships and communicate how your orchestra is a
valuable member of the community.
For more information on
how volunteers can be effective advocates, don’t forget to check out the Advocacy for Volunteers part of
the League website!
Arts Advocacy Chair
we be of assistance? If your volunteer organization has questions, please
contact us for help in securing the answers. If you have situations in which you
would like guidance, we have Volunteer Council Sustainers (former Council
members) who will be happy to assist you with problem solving.
If your organization is
struggling with attracting new members, drawing up bylaws, creating job
descriptions, or any other needs, our Sustainers are here, ready and waiting to
help you. To establish connection with a mentor, please contact Mary Lou Turner
goal of Volunteer Notes is to inform you, our readers, of the opportunities you
have to learn from the Council and the League and to read of volunteer projects
and trends. We encourage you to forward this newsletter to your board and
committee chairs. and we welcome questions, comments and feedback. Please contact
Sandra Weingerten, Volunteer Notes
Volunteer Notes Editor