5 Ways the Arts Can Enhance Your Volunteer Program

Guest post by Jordan Shue

Enhance Your Volunteer Program with the Arts
Teams performing at the corporate singing challenge, CincySings, in Cincinnati. Photo by Matt Steffan, courtesy of ArtsWave.

The arts have a tremendous ability to change individuals in positive ways. Now, imagine if that power was applied to entire teams of volunteers — specifically groups of volunteers from for-profit organizations.

Not only does using the arts to partner with for-profit companies mean improving the economy of a local community and increasing the quality of life for its residents, it means giving a company the chance to challenge employees to be their best and feel more connected to its purpose and mission. It also allows you to leverage proposals for corporate support by providing opportunities for mutually beneficial exchanges. You don’t have to be an arts organization to use the arts; simply adding creative elements to volunteer projects or working with a local arts group is a great way to start.

If you’re looking to create arts-based projects for your organization’s volunteers, here are five easy and effective programs you can implement:

  1. Skills-Based Volunteering: If you yourself are an arts-based nonprofit organization, volunteers may have niche strengths your organization needs — such as marketing and finance skills. This can greatly increase your organization’s operating capacity.
  2. Arts-Based Training: Recruit local artists and engage their practice to teach innovation, interpersonal skills, public speaking, and more during half-day trainings with departments or teams.
  3. Corporate Arts Challenge: Encourage corporate volunteers to show their creative side and build teamwork with a friendly singing or arts-based competition. While events like this can be expensive to hold, they can also be a powerful fundraising tool for your organization.
  4. Corporate Art Shows: Provide a space for corporate volunteers to showcase their artistic talents to co-workers while embracing creativity in the workplace. This is a fantastic way to invite the community to showcase the company’s creativity while simultaneously producing a branding opportunity for the company and sponsorship opportunity for your organization.
  5. Team Volunteering: Gather a team of enthusiastic volunteers for an arts activity that beautifies and strengthens the community, such as painting a mural or assisting in installing a public art sculpture.

Want to learn more? Americans for the Arts — the nation’s largest organization devoted to ensuring all Americans have access to the transformative power of the arts — recently released three workbooks in a series dedicated to helping nonprofits start employee volunteer and engagement programs.

Check them out if you’re interested in starting an arts skills-based volunteering, arts-based training, or corporate arts challenge program.

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About the author:
As the Private Sector Initiatives Program Manager at Americans for the Arts, Jordan works to advance private sector support for local arts agencies through a number of programs and field education opportunities, as well as through the pARTnership Movement, a campaign to reach business leaders with the message that the arts can build their competitive advantage.

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