Business Volunteers for the Arts Working in the Nonprofit Sector (from Arts Watch)
We’ve all heard the bad news. According to The Conference Board, corporate giving is expected to be down 41 percent in 2009, with arts giving taking the brunt of the cuts. Many companies are cutting back their arts support or cutting their programs completely. Americans for the Arts estimates that 10,000 nonprofits will close their doors this year as a result of the economic situation.
However, it is not all bad news. Led by President Obama’s call to service and a desire at companies to give back to their communities and engage employees, volunteerism has gained momentum. 45 percent of companies surveyed by The Conference Board are increasing volunteer resources in 2009—the biggest increase of any program area. Volunteering is beneficial to companies because it aids in recruitment, retention, and engagement—all key areas for businesses trying to navigate through a treacherous economic landscape. Arts organizations also benefit from the addition of skills and resources that they would not otherwise be able to afford.
A volunteer management consulting service like Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA), a program of Americans for the Arts, can greatly increase the mutual success of both the volunteer and nonprofit experience. BVA assesses capacity and needs of a nonprofit and then carefully matches a business volunteer’s skills with these needs. This program can be hosted by a local arts agency, united arts funds, Business Committees for the Arts, or Arts & Business Councils.
BVA has proven results. Between 2003 and 2007, more than 7,200 BVAs have been involved in the program nationwide. During those years, 64,443 hours have been donated to the arts. At the hourly consulting rate of $160 per hour, donated services add up to $10,310,920. At a time when each dollar is carefully accounted for, 10 million dollars of donated time adds up to a lot of value.
Even when corporations can’t provide sponsorship or grants, they can still retain their relationship with the arts in a way that is good for everyone.
Have you ever worked with business volunteers? How were they able to help you or your organization?