Volunteer Notes, Spring 2015

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Volunteer Notes Spring Issue 2015
Mission - The Volunteer Council in partnership with the League of American Orchestras strives to lead, advocate, encourage, support and serve our member orchestras and their volunteers.
In this issue:

Notes from Margarita Contreni, Volunteer Council President
Dear colleagues,
I would like to invite you to recommend an outstanding volunteer leader from your orchestra association to serve on the League of American Orchestras' Volunteer Council. 
Representing orchestras of all sizes and from cities across the country, the Volunteer Council includes recognized leaders who monitor critical volunteer issues for the League and who provide educational programming, networking, and leadership development opportunities for all volunteers through the following services:
  • Volunteer-specific sessions at the League’s National Conference each year.
  • Gold Book, a free and searchable database of tried-and-tested volunteer projects.
  • Webinars, complimentary online training for volunteers on fundraising, strategic planning, leadership, recruitment, and social media (to be released in spring of 2015).
  • Volunteer Notes, a quarterly newsletter with information tailored for volunteers.
  • Strategic Conversations, an annual conference call series with seasoned facilitators for volunteer association presidents and president-elects.
  • Mentoring program, complimentary one-on-one support and guidance by a former Volunteer Council member.
  • More information on the Volunteer Council can be found in the Volunteer Council brochure.
Council members serve a three-year, renewable, term and attend two meetings and the League’s National Conference each year. For additional information on membership criteria and responsibilities or to make a recommendation, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .   
“Without the many volunteers who add such richness and depth to the symphony family, we could never do half of what we would like to do,” said Nicholas Palmer, the music director of my orchestra, the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra. ‘Richness’ and ‘depth’ certainly reflect the talent, experience, and impact of the League of American Orchestras' Volunteer Council on the national symphonic volunteer scene. Volunteer Council members and the orchestras whose volunteer organizations they represent are listed below. Thank you!
  Volunteer Council Members, League of American Orchestras, Seattle, June 2014
Front Row (left to right): Helen Shaffer, Houston Symphony; Laura Hyde, East Texas Symphony Orchestra; Margarita Contreni, Layfayette Symphony Orchestra; Linda Weisbruch, Charlotte Symphony.
Second Row (left to right): Camille Williams, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; Judy Christl, Milwaukee Symphony, Becky Odland, Minnesota Orchestra; Jane Schwartz, Symphony Orchestra Augusta; Iris Harvie, Cleveland Orchestra; Elaine Cousins, Illinois Symphony Orchestra.                                          
Back Row (left to right): Nancy Greenbach, San Francisco Symphony; Debbie McKinney, Oklahoma City Philharmonic; Beth Wise, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra; Mike Minor, Kansas City Symphony; Samara Ungar, League of American Orchestras; Marylou Turner, Kansas City Symphony; Linda Stevens, Seattle Symphony; Terry Ann White, Amarillo Symphony; Tiffany Ammerman, Marshall Symphony.                                                                       
Missing: Jane Van Dyk, Billings Symphony; Tresa Radermacher, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra; Laura Street, Amarillo Symphony.

League of American Orchestras' National Conference, May 27-29, 2015
You don’t want to miss the League of American Orchestras' 2015 National Conference in Cleveland! During the conference there will be many exciting projects presented, offering a roadmap of information for you to take back to your volunteer group and help them increase membership, find leaders within your membership, engage the community, and raise money joyfully! 
Here is a quick look at what's on the volunteer-track agenda for the three days of Conference:
A Dine-Around starts the week*. Volunteers will gather together for dinner at a well-known Cleveland restaurant, attend a cooking demonstration, dine on farm-to-table cuisine and meet volunteers throughout the country.
*Please note that the Dine-Around is on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, the night prior to the start of the conference. 
Day one of Conference includes seven Gold Book Awards of Excellence presentations in two interactive sessions. Panel members from Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Houston will present Celebrating Milestones, offering unique and fantastic ideas to help you plan your next milestone celebration. The afternoon will provide an opportunity to attend Roundtable expo-style sessions. This year, twelve Roundtables will be presented, including two hosted by the Volunteer Council where we will share an exciting new webinar and other services provided to assist your volunteer organization. See Roundtables, 2015 Cleveland Conference article, below, for additional information on this year’s Roundtables.
Day two will offer three more Gold Book Awards of Excellence presentations. Looking for new ideas to raise money and train leaders for next year? These dynamic presentations will include information on developing a training program for onboarding new members and implementing a fundraiser that requires very few volunteers while increasing profits.  Next, Scouting and Symphony: A Partnership, a highly participatory workshop will prepare you to conduct an engaging and fun Girl Scout musician award program in your community.
On day three play a board game, allowing you to compete and win prizes while learning about new ideas to increase membership and to develop and mentor leaders for your organization now and for years to come! The game will segue into the Volunteer Networking Luncheon featuring speaker, Susan Howlett.  Ms. Howlett is well known for strengthening non-profits and simplifying everything, thereby making it achievable. Conference attendees have found that one time with Susan was like walking out of the woods into a clearing. Susan will be talking about how to recruit volunteers and successfully develop them into leaders for your organization. 
Remember – the 2015 League of American Orchestras' Conference dates are Wednesday, May 27 through Friday, May 29, 2015.  Registration is now open on the League’s Conference website (early-bird registration closes on Friday, April 17).  The Conference will be held at the newly renovated Cleveland Convention Center, with The Westin Cleveland Downtown and the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center serving as the Conference hotels.
We look forward to seeing you there! 
Airfare discount - United Airlines is pleased to offer special discounts on flights to Cleveland for the League of American Orchestras' National Conference.
You may book online at www.united.com and enter code ZUGE410936 in the offer code box when searching for your flights.  If booking through a travel professional or United Meetings at 800 426 1122, please give them the following information:      
Agreement Code: 410936                                                                                                               
Z Code: ZUGE
Outside the United States, please call your local United Airlines Reservation Office.

Roundtables, 2015 Cleveland Conference
There will be twelve fantastic Roundtables offered in Cleveland this year!  During the expo-style Roundtable session, Conference attendees can choose to view Roundtable presentations that may provide a new idea for their organization or a face-lift to an existing project. 
This year’s Roundtables will address the following and more…
  • Have a fairly new young artist music competition and are interested in longevity? See how a successful competition continues to thrive and evolve.
  • Looking for ways to utilize your past presidents and award scholarships to your local talented musicians? Learn from a group that has been doing this successfully for 14 years.
  • Does it seem as if your organization is competing with so many entertainment opportunities for your city? We know a group that is ready to share how to be creative and successful with a mini-fundraiser while introducing its orchestra and guild in an informal and entertaining way.
  • Find out how a struggling organization masterminded a quick and creative way to raise funds by holding a non-event.
Roundtables are a quick and efficient opportunity to learn about successful fundraising, community engagement, education, and membership projects from across the country! This year’s Roundtable projects/presenters are:
  1. Houston Symphony Ima Hogg Competition – Houston Symphony League;
  2. (HSO) Guild’s Past Presidents’ Fund Committee – Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild;
  3. Kansas City Symphony Alliance Designer Showhouse and Massive Wine Raffle – Kansas City Symphony Alliance;
  4. Martini Monday Musicales & Winey Wednesdays – Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild;
  5. Symphonic Turquoise Bracelet  - Oklahoma City Orchestras League, Inc.;
  6. Volunteer Council Services and Membership – Volunteer Council Members;
  7. Table Art 2014 Featuring Designer Michael Aram - Omaha Symphony Guild;
  8. No-Cost Fundraising (and Fun-raising) Program – Plano Symphony Orchestra Guild;
  9. Webinars offered by Volunteer Council and other online League of American Orchestras resources;
  10. SVL’s 12th Annual Game Day “SPRING” for the Symphony - Silicon Valley League of the San Francisco  Symphony;
  11. A Ride on a Magic Carpet - Southwest Florida Symphony Society; and
  12. We Just Made 10 - A Decade of Musical Memories – Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild.

League of American Orchestras Launches Orchestra Governance Center                          
Seven Orchestras Receive 2014-15 Governance Center Grants
The League has launched an Orchestra Governance Center, offering a comprehensive range of support, strategies, and programs designed to strengthen governance practice in orchestras. Newly developed regional seminars for board chairs, orchestra CEOs, and development staff, such as those recently presented in Cleveland and New York City, are a cornerstone of the Center’s activities. Additional seminars will be announced soon.
As part of the Governance Center, seven orchestra boards of directors – Albany Symphony (NY); Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale (MT); Jackson Symphony Association (TN); Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra Society (HI); Music in the Mountains (CA); Symphony of Northwest Arkansas; and Wichita Symphony Orchestra (KS) – will receive 2014-15 Orchestra Governance Center Grants. The grants help boards analyze strengths and weaknesses, roles and responsibilities, and priorities for board development.
Orchestra Governance Center resources include regional seminars for board members and CEOs; orchestra board chair peer groups focusing on top-level governance and strategic challenges; peer exchange and learning sessions at the League’s Conference; web-based assessment tools; free eBooks from BoardSource; and free webinars for trustees and orchestra staff. Further Governance Center materials include a Diversity and Inclusion Resource Center, a Public Value Communications Toolkit, an Orchestra Story Bank, and Online Discussion Groups.
Click here for more on The Governance Center.

Helen Shaffer, former Volunteer Council President, Honored
Out of the blue, Helen Shaffer, former League of American Orchestras’ Volunteer Council President, received a phone call asking her to be a “Houston Treasure” for the 2015 Houston  Social Book. The Social Book is an inventory of social events which occur during the year in Houston. Organizations purchase a copy for $320, to check and compare dates, so as not to duplicate several benefits on the same night. Each year, twelve local individuals and/or couples in the fields of philanthropy, volunteerism, medicine, arts, business, sports, politics and media are chosen to be “Houston Treasures.”  An individual photograph of each “Treasure” serves as a divider for each month and biographical information is found following the photograph. "Receiving this honor was not only humbling, but quite a surprise," Helen said. 
Helen was delighted to accept the invitation to attend the announcement party which was held at the Royal Sonesta on December 7, 2014. Although the invitations were limited, approximately 250 were in attendance to hear the announcement and introduction of the 2015 “Treasures.”  Each honoree was presented with a variety of gifts provided by grateful vendors throughout the city. Helen, in the company of her husband, Jim, also attended the roll out of the Social Book on January 22, 2015, at the Hilton Americas, where caterers from throughout Houston provided a spectacular array of food. Representatives were present from every type of business providing services for special activities that occur throughout the city. In these ways, Houston’s business community lavishly honored the community’s volunteers.
Although Helen was surprised, it came as no surprise to us why Helen was selected for this elite group. Her resume includes: board member of the League of American Orchestras and past president of its Volunteer Council, executive committee of the Houston Symphony, executive member of the Houston Public Media Foundation, trustee of the Houston Grand Opera, advisor for the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras, as well as past president of the Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers.
Helenpic1.jpgHelen is pictured here at a Social Book event with her husband, Jim, who as she says, “makes it all possible."
In addition to being a Houston Treasure, Helen will receive "The Volunteer Award" on April 10, 2015 at the Annual Conference of the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras in San Antonio, TX. She is being recognized for her outstanding service, support, and promotion of the interests and growth of symphony orchestras, and as a person who served above and beyond her volunteer role.
The Volunteer Council salutes and congratulates Helen on her well-deserved awards!

Volunteer Council 2015 Campaign
Dear Volunteers,
The Volunteer Council thanks you for the wonderful contribution you make to your orchestra through your dedicated work. This commitment helps keep orchestral music vibrant and thriving in your community.
We are thankful for the wide-ranging support we have received through the Volunteer Council fundraising campaigns. These donations allow the League of American Orchestras to continue their work in research; advocacy; and education programs, such as the Essentials of Orchestra Management, Emerging Leaders Program, and Governance Center programming, for the field.
This year the Council has set a goal to raise $40,000. We hope you will join us and make a gift to this wonderful campaign.  We are a little over half way to this goal! To make a gift, please visit the online donation page or mail a check to Natalie Kimball, manager of the annual fund, League of American Orchestras, 33 West 60th Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10023.
Many important activities happen at the League's National Conference and throughout the year. This would not be possible without the generosity of its donors. The League exists solely to support all of us – volunteers, staff, musicians, conductors, composers, and board members – and it provides us with the necessary resources to be most effective together.
Thank you for working to forge a strong, sustainable future for our orchestras and for your consideration of this request.
With great appreciation,                                                                                                                                          
Laura Hyde, immediate past president, and Margarita Contreni, president, Volunteer Council