In my decade in Harford, Connecticut, I had the privilege of working with some outstanding CEOs and community leaders who chaired our united arts campaign – which was much smaller than ArtsWave’s. I was often asked to research and report on what was different about Cincinnati’s campaign.
Likewise, in my many years as a member of, and now Chair of, the Private Sector Council of Americans for the Arts, I also have become acquainted with other business leaders who have held the role in various regions across the country – and there’s been some “Cincy Envy” among them as well. Certainly, these leaders in other cities have all taken the job seriously. But in my two years in Cincinnati, I also think it’s fair to say that our campaign chairs do more than act as a symbolic figurehead, do more than “lead” the effort. They join the team.
The strength of the Cincinnati region’s arts campaign lies in its volunteers. From the Chair on down through the hundreds of workplace campaign coordinators, this is one big team effort. 2015 promises to be no different. After last year’s momentous $12,013,051 result, we know we have our work cut out for us.
Tomorrow, 2015 Campaign Chair Tom Williams will announce the goal of this year’s combined arts appeal. Like the dozens of incredible leaders before him that have joined “Team ArtsWave,” Tom is investing his time and energy because he knows that supporting the arts is both good for business and good for the community he loves. Inside this issue of The Ripple Effect, you can read more about Tom and both the traditional and new ways he is approaching the challenge.
One thing is for sure: We know we need a great team to hit it out of the park -- and that’s where you come in.
We need you on the team, too. We need your businesses, your employees, your networks, your enthusiasm, your positive reviews of the arts in the region. We need you to invite a friend or colleague to join you in participating. Imagine if we all took responsibility for recruiting one new donor or one new fan! All of these things will help drive this ArtsWave forward.
With you on the team, we can make this year’s ArtsWave campaign the biggest ever.
Here’s one simple request to help us kick off the campaign: Tell five friends why you think the arts are important to our community. Write one or two words that sum it up for you on a post-it note and place it in your palm. Then do your very own Arts”Wave”, snap a photo or take a video, and post on social media using #Give2ArtsWave. Tag five friends and ask them to do it too. We are going to capture all these uniquely Cincinnati Arts”Wave”s and share them.
How does ArtsWave connect with potential donors who do not have a campaign at their workplace? For more than 35 years, a special group of volunteers, the Residential Division, have helped get the word out to their neighbors and friends with a letter campaign. In 2015, ArtsWave had 75 district and community chairs representing neighborhoods and communities throughout the region: Fairfield to Florence, Sharonville to Harrison, West Chester to Lawrenceburg. These individuals sign and stuff letters asking current ArtsWave donors to renew, but they also help us spread the word to members of their community who may not be as familiar with the organization. They serve a critical grassroots function for our organization.
In addition to helping to send 5,000 letters, the volunteers also get together with staff members of local arts organizations for our annual Phoneathon to thank our longtime donors and ask them to renew their pledge. ArtsWave also hosts a social event for the group each year. In November, they enjoyed the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s One City, One Symphony concert together.
Many of the volunteers find this to be a fun way to give back to their community and meet other likeminded individuals from all over Greater Cincinnati. Several have been committed to the cause for many years. In 2015, two volunteers will celebrate their 30th anniversary with ArtsWave – Fran Lowenstein and Joan Osterbrock. We are so grateful for their extraordinary “hands-on” support for so many years.
If you’re interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity, please contact Maddie Grant at Maddie.Grant@theartswave.org.
What are your “networks?” Many people immediately think of their workplace or their friends on social networking sites. Are you part of a Book Club? An amateur sports team or choir? Do you have family who live in town and enjoy the arts? Our ArtsWave Ambassadors are finding ways to share their personal passion for the arts and support ArtsWave’s community campaign.
To reach more individual donors outside of the traditional workplace campaigns, ArtsWave is leveraging an online giving platform and activating an amazing new group of volunteers. ArtsWave Ambassadors can create their own micro-campaign online in just a few minutes and ask their personal social network to help them reach their goal. Gifts to these micro-campaigns feed into the overall campaign goal.
Last year, a few volunteers tested the tool and ArtsWave sent out a small request towards the end of the campaign. In thinking about how to improve results this year, Campaign Cabinet member Libby Korosec reached out to the members of the ArtsWave Young Professionals committee for their perspective on giving online.
“Almost everyone in the room had made a gift online in the past year,” notes Libby. “Most said they had responded to requests that came from a close friend or family member, or to organizations with which they had a special connection.” The committee also talked about the importance of offering appealing benefits to donors, and connecting their gift to someone who is personally impacted by the organization.
ArtsWave has created an Ambassador Toolkit with step-by-step instructions, tips on how to run a personal micro-campaign, and sample communications. To further encourage giving, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./US Bank Foundation is offering a $100,000 challenge grant to match new and increased gifts from community members. Are you game?
It's easy to become an Ambassador! Contact Maddie Grant at Maddie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2015 ArtsWave Community Campaign officially kicks off January 28, but a key group of volunteers has been hard at work for many months behind the scenes. The Campaign Cabinet includes more than thirty volunteers from across the community led by the Campaign Chair. Selected almost a year in advance, the Campaign Chair works for months with the ArtsWave staff to recruit volunteers, connect with major donors and key workplace campaigns, and identify new potential resources for the campaign.
Being the chair means more than simply making phone calls and signing letters. The chair must be a keen observer of the moment--seeking to understand the economic and cultural forces that are shaping the region at that time--and rally support for the arts across business sectors and communities. This year, ArtsWave is honored to have Tom Williams, President & CEO, North American Properties, as the 2015 ArtsWave Community Campaign Chair.
Tom has led North American Properties since 1986 and has grown the Company from a local owner / developer to a multi-regional real estate operating company that as acquired, developed, and managed more than $4 billion of retail, multifamily, mixed-use and office properties across the United States. Since 2006, Tom has also served as the Vice Chairman and Treasurer for the Cincinnati Reds and his family has a long history with Major League Baseball.
With strong ties to Cincinnati, Tom serves in numerous civic leadership roles, including the Board of Directors for Cincinnati Business Committee, Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), Cincinnati Equity Fund, Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, and REDI Cincinnati. Tom also serves on the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Art Museum.
In the months leading up to the campaign’s launch, Tom has brought together a Campaign Cabinet of veteran volunteers and new-to-the-cause business and community leaders. In particular, Tom has reached out to leaders of mid-size and family-owned businesses in the area. He believes strongly that maintaining a robust campaign will require an expanded base of support. Tom has encouraged the staff and the Cabinet to think of new ways to connect with local businesses and with donors outside of traditional workplace campaigns.
“Our corporate community has long understood the value of supporting the arts, and their strong workplace giving efforts fueled this campaign’s growth for many years,” said Williams. “Now, we need more local businesses and more community members to join us and make an investment in the region for our collective future.”
Look for the official announcement of the 2015 campaign goal on January 28 and follow the campaign on Twitter: #Give2ArtsWave.
As more and more people find themselves changing locations for work or family reasons, it’s not unusual for newcomers to communities to wonder how to get connected. It takes a while to put down the proverbial “roots” at the same time you are navigating a new environment. This has been my personal experience, living in two countries outside the U.S. and four states within it before settling in Cincinnati. With each move, I’ve remembered my mother’s frequent advice to me as a child: “Grow where you are planted.”
One way to grow where you are planted, and find yourself more “at home” in your community, is by volunteering. There’s something about giving of yourself and your time or talent that syncs you to your surroundings. That’s certainly true in Cincinnati, which is one of the most inherently and wonderfully philanthropic cities I have ever known. Here, more and more companies are encouraging employee volunteerism not only as a way of “giving back” but also as a way of “embedding in” – that is, making employees feel stronger bonds with this community. That feeling is crucial to business talent retention and by extension, a thriving regional economy.
ArtsWave has done some research around the relationship between arts participation and civic engagement. It turns out, there is a strong correlation between people who participate in the arts and people who are engaged in community activities like volunteering. What insights do we draw from this fact? Very simply put: The arts can powerfully reinforce business strategies to keep top employees and their families. The arts can help people here grow, connect and thrive.
This issue of The Ripple Effect looks at volunteering in Cincinnati in three distinct ways: inside our arts organizations, as part of our region’s unique Welcomers Network, and within the upcoming ArtsWave Community Campaign. As we count down to the kick-off of this year’s ArtsWave Campaign, we acknowledge the hundreds of businesses and thousands of employees that will donate their time as well as dollars to support 100 arts organizations throughout the region. We promise them an authentic, enriching experience in return for their investment. If you are among them, thank you. If you would like to explore how ArtsWave and the arts can be part of your company’s employee retention and growth strategies, please call me anytime.
Tell us YOUR stories of volunteering in the arts at #ArtsRipple.