In 2012, 35,076 volunteers worked nearly six million hours at 386 nonprofit arts organizations in LA County. This report explores the role of volunteers in arts nonprofits. Nearly 74 percent of organizations with volunteers reported having more volunteers than paid staff. In addition to those volunteers, 5,185 board members gave their time to arts nonprofits in LA County that year. This report measures the size of the volunteer workforce in LA County arts nonprofits, while it also explores the complexity of volunteers’ varied motivations, exploring different ways to understand the value of volunteering, and examining the special role of artist volunteers in arts nonprofits.
The Arts Commission invited arts nonprofits to convene for an Arts Volunteer Forum to discuss the report’s key findings as well as the challenges they face and promising practices in volunteer management. Debbie Brutchey, Executive Director of LA Works, offered a keynote address that put arts volunteering in the broader context for volunteer management across the country. She gave an introduction to the service enterprise model, sharing a five-step volunteer management cycle that provides concrete, practical advice to arts administrators who manage volunteers.