Business Volunteers for the Arts
Nonprofit arts organizations throughout the country provide many opportunities for people of all ages to experience the arts. From local theater groups, choral societies, art galleries, and museums, nonprofit arts organizations help shape the culture of the communities in which they are located. Unfortunately, sometimes these organizations simply do not have the staff, the expertise, or the budget to adequately manage their business needs. Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) assesses the capacity and needs of nonprofit arts organizations and then carefully matches a business volunteer’s skills with those needs to help nonprofit arts organizations improve their business practices, to provide rewarding opportunities for business professionals who wish to contribute to their community and become involved directly with the arts, and to increase business leadership on behalf of the arts.
The BVA program currently serves 14 cities, with a combined population of 50,353,990. Between 2003 and 2007, between 461 and 500 BVAs per year have been involved in the program nationally, donating 64,443.24 hours to the arts. At the hourly consulting rate of $160 p/h, donated services add up to $10,310,920 for the period of 2003-2007, with 400 - 500 arts organizations served per year.
During the current economic downturn, arts agencies are relying more and more on the consultant/volunteer to help their organizations keep moving forward. BVA managers are reporting both an increase in volunteers and an increase in requests for volunteers. Eileen Cunniffe at the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia reports, “In our BVA program, we ended FY2008 with 47 new BVA volunteers; this year we are on track to end with at least 62 (perhaps more, we are still recruiting for a June class), for a 32% increase.
“Interestingly, in the most recent BVA class (March 2009), 5 of 21 (24%) new volunteers were between jobs and saw BVA as a good way to do meaningful work, give back to the community and/or network while they look for their next jobs. Our BVA volunteers pay $250 to participate in the training, so people between jobs are paying for this on their own.”
The Arts & Business Council of Miami has seen an increase in requests for BVA volunteers to do bookkeeping, fundraising, grant writing, marketing etc. – positions that used to be paid but are now volunteer positions or not done at all.
These BVA programs help create mutually beneficial relationships between the arts and the private sector. If you are interested in the arts and want to contribute your valuable skills and time, there are plenty of short term and project volunteer opportunities at an arts organization in your area. To find a BVA program opportunity through one of the Arts & Business Council Chapters and Program Partners, click here.
Youth performance at the Serving the Arts Luncheon 2008 presented by the Arts & Business Council of Miami. Photos by Rui www.redav.com.blog comments powered by Disqus