I’m celebrating my birthday today with a dozen fabulous volunteers devoting a long day to ArtsWave’s grantmaking process – one of several full days hearing from arts organizations that receive our Sustaining Impact grants each year. As challenging and rewarding as it is to raise millions for arts support, it’s also challenging and rewarding to ensure that our arts investments are on track for the community!

Grantmaking panels, representing our stakeholders, are just one of the ways that ArtsWave uses volunteers each year. Another important ArtsWave volunteer initiative is our well-regarded board training and placement program, BOARDway Bound.

For 10+ years, ArtsWave has ushered 300 business and civic leaders through a six-session intensive course in issues of arts administration, governance and sustainability. It culminates in “speed dating” – literally a chance to meet dozens of arts organizations who are actively recruiting for talented, diverse board members. Each BOARDway Bound candidate is then “matched” with the organization that seems to be a mutual best fit. The program culminates with the opportunity for candidates to sit on an arts board.It’s not a stretch to say that there are arts organizations in the region with boards that are comprised entirely with BOARDway Bound graduates.

Board leadership offers the opportunity to volunteer, with long-lasting impact. Here are a few volunteerism statistics, courtesy of American Charities:

  • Company-sponsored volunteer projects and projects that encourage employees to team with their peers are the most common components of a company’s volunteer strategies. (71.43%). (Source: America's Charities 2015 Snapshot)

  • 92% of surveyed corporate human resources executives agree that contributing business skills and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to improve employees’ leadership and broader professional skill sets. (Source: Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey)

  • In an analysis of over 30,000 individual volunteer activities, skills-based volunteerism outperformed traditional volunteerism by 7-125% in all but one tracked benefit categories. (Source: True Impact Volunteerism ROI Tracker)

We are currently recruiting for the Class of 2017 – kicking off in September. We need you – strong supporters and leaders – to throw your hat in the mix. Read the full details here, get the application, and share with your friends and networks.

Strong volunteers help make Cincinnati’s arts organizations strong – and strong volunteer programs like BOARDway Bound help deepen the roots of our residents in the region. It’s a win-win.