April Network Forum: Community Engagement and Performance Opportunities

Special thanks to Abria Smith, Associate Director for Community Engagement in the Office of Community and Government Relations at Berklee, for sharing your insights at this month’s Forum.

Community Engagement: Gaining Local Support for Your Program

Key Relationships within the Community:

  1. City offices
  2. Other community nonprofits
  3. Neighborhood associations

Fostering these key relationships can offer a variety of benefits, such as:

  1. Gain support for your organization and its mission
  2. Grow your local network
  3. Learn about joint funding opportunities and collaborations
  4. Contribute to the culture of the neighborhood (can help with fundraising)
  5. Help legitimize your programming

 

Performance Opportunities:

Leveraging Your Brand

The goal is to be approached by others for performance opportunities. So how can you make it known in your community that your students are available, reliable, and professional?

Start by creating an authentic brand. At Berklee, the strength and reputability of our brand opens recognition makes it easier for Berklee to find opportunities. As a member of the City Music Network, your program can leverage its affiliation with Berklee when establishing your brand within your community. (For more information regarding the City Music Network Branding Toolkit, contact Jean Connaughton.)

You can introduce your program to the local community by hosting a public event, like an annual showcase, showing people first-hand how talented your students are. You can even connect it to a charitable cause!

Paid vs. Free Performances

Paid gigs are great, but free performances can also benefit your program. When approached about a volunteer or free performance opportunity consider how the relationship serves your organization, mission, or cause. If the organization is a non-profit, are they paying for everything else, other musicians or special guests?

Recruiting Top Talent for an Event
When engaging celebrities, artists, and local talent to support your program, a little research can help you leverage your appeal.

  1. What other organizations they support and does it align with what you do?
  2. Would partnering with another nonprofit for a particular event make the ask more relevant?
  3. Share what you do, acknowledge their value and don’t be afraid to ask them to donate their time
  4. Consider asking for them to speak instead of perform — they might be more willing to donate time for that
  5. Foster an ongoing relationship instead of a one-time ask

About the Network Forum

Each month, members from around the Berklee City Music Network® gather to discuss topics and best practices helping you to leverage City Music resources in support of your local program. To inquire about participating in next month’s Network Forum, email citymusic@berklee.edu.

March Network Forum: Engaging Local Alumni and Building a Volunteer Network

Special thanks to Vanessa Bouvry from Berklee Alumni Affairs for leading discussions about engaging local alumni.

Engaging Local Alumni: What You Need to Know

Berklee has 6 major cities with large concentrations of Berklee Alumni:

  1. Boston, MA
  2. New York City, NY
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Los Angeles, CA
  6. San Francisco, CA

In each of these cities, there is a Berklee representative responsible for the region and a group of Alumni Volunteers. Regions outside of these 6 major cities may have Alumni Ambassadors.

Interested in contacting a Berklee alum to share an opportunity or information about your organization? Contact berklealumni@berklee.edu.

Engage alumni by providing win-win opportunities in which they can network with each other and elevate your organization and their career, all while giving back. Some suggested opportunities include:

  1. Hosting events
  2. Participating on panels
  3. Being paired with youth as a mentor
  4. Coaching
  5. Engineering
  6. Supporting music in schools
  7. Supporting music in the community

If you already work with an alum, ask them to reach out to their personal network to engage more people in support of your organization.

Building a Volunteer Network: Get Personal

Building your organization’s volunteer network should be a two-way process—your volunteers are helping to support your mission and organizational goals, and you should be just as in-tune with their needs.

  1. Give them roles that are appropriate for their qualifications and goals. Don’t give them a job they don’t want.
  2. Acknowledge their contributions! Send a personal thank you letter, a special note on their birthday, etc.
  3. Be available. Make sure your volunteers know they can reach you by email, phone, or text.

About the Network Forum

Each month, members from around the Berklee City Music Network® gather to discuss topics and best practices helping you to leverage City Music resources in support of your local program. To inquire about participating in next month’s Network Forum, email citymusic@berklee.edu.