BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS FOR THE ARTS® UP CLOSE: DANCE HOUSTON
Houston Arts Alliance
Each year, National Volunteer Week gives organizations the opportunity to recognize the positive impact that volunteers have had on their programs and communities. National Volunteer Week is not only about reflection and recognition; it is also about encouraging more individuals to share their time and talents through volunteerism. HAA has benefited from the loyal commitment of many volunteers and understands the significant impact direct volunteering can have on the sustainability of any organization. Through the Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) program, HAA provides skills-based volunteers to assist arts and culture organizations in completing high-level projects.
This week we are highlighting the tremendous efforts of our volunteers and the services that organizations realize through BVA. Dance Houston worked with HAA to identify and prioritize its business needs and was matched with arts administration consultant Terri Golas.
HAA: How did you learn of and become involved in HAA’s Business Volunteers for the Arts® program?
TG: I was a BVA when the program was first launched in Houston in the mid-80s. I enjoyed it so much that I decided I wanted to eventually work on the business side of the arts fulltime. I was thrilled when HAA reintroduced the program in 2009, and signed up as soon as they called for volunteers.
HAA: What’s your role with Dance Houston as a BVA volunteer? How do you participate in the organization and what kind of support do you provide?
TG: Last year, Dance Houston asked HAA for help to develop a strategic plan. Via the BVA program they matched me with Dance Houston, and we worked together for six months to do research, gather input from their board, artists and community, and ultimately produce a five-year strategic plan.
HAA: How do you feel your role as a BVA volunteer has impacted Dance Houston?
TG: I believe Dance Houston received the mission clarity and five-year action plan they needed to meet the challenges and achieve their goals for the future. And I enjoyed getting to know them and helping shape their future. As we worked together, I gained a deep appreciation for the work they do and the role they play in the Houston community. I'm now a big fan.
HAA: What can organizations and volunteers gain from participating in the BVA program?
TG: So many things! BVA is a great way for a business professional to get involved with an arts organization in a meaningful way and to help an organization achieve the business success necessary to fulfill its mission. For an organization, BVA provides opportunities to partner with business professionals who can contribute knowledge, skills and resources they might not otherwise be able to afford or obtain on their own. For me, BVA was a way to "try out" arts administration before making the leap from a corporate career to fulltime arts management. And I've gotten to work with and know some wonderful organizations in the process.
HAA: Describe a “win” you experienced with Dance Houston, and how you think the involvement of a BVA volunteer helped lead to this “win.”
TG: The best way I can answer that question is to quote Dance Houston Executive Artistic Director, Andrea Cody: "While masterfully directing a six-month strategic planning process, Terri inspired greatness throughout our organization's leadership. She united board members and artists to contribute ideas that she incorporated into an exciting and workable plan for Dance Houston's future. In doing so, she showed us how we can tap into our own potential as leaders. We are stronger than ever, thanks to Terri."
Stay tuned in for Part II where Executive Artistic Director, Andrea Cody shares more about the impact that Terri Golas and the BVA program have had on Dance Houston’s future.
For more information on how to become or request a skills-based volunteer through HAA’s Business Volunteers for the Arts program, visit us at houstonartsalliance.com.