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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