The Los Angeles County Arts Commission released the third report in a series exploring workers in arts nonprofits in the region. A significant finding in this release – Volunteers in Nonprofit Arts Organizations in LA County – shows how many people give their time to support the arts across the County. A total of 35,076 volunteers gave nearly six million hours of labor, and 5,185 volunteer board members also gave their time. The full report can be found here.
This investigation looked at 463 nonprofit arts organizations in LA County and found that 83 percent of them utilized volunteers in 2012. Both the number of volunteers working for those organizations and the average number of hours worked per volunteer grew by one-third from 2007.
Nearly three-quarters of arts nonprofits have more volunteers working for them than paid staff. Arts nonprofits with smaller budgets are more dependent on volunteers than they are on paid staff, but large nonprofits still have many volunteers working for them. The largest share of volunteers can be found in multidisciplinary organizations, while the second largest number is in theatres.
The report also provides recommendations for nonprofit arts organizations looking to improve their volunteer management practices.
“The huge number of people who give their time to these organizations is a statement about the importance the people who live in LA County place on the arts,” states Laura Zucker, Executive Director, LA County Arts Commission. “Volunteers are a critical part of what makes the arts such a vibrant part of our communities.”
The arts and culture sector is a major contributor to both the economy and quality of life in LA County. Research by the LA County Arts Commission is beginning to measure this investment. The first reports in the series looked at salaries and benefits. Future reports will look at funding for arts nonprofits.
This study utilized data collected by the Cultural Data Project (CDP). The CDP is a web-based data system utilized by arts and culture grantmakers across California and the US. The LA County Arts Commission has supported the CDP since 2009.
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County, encompassing 88 municipalities, and provides leadership in cultural services. In addition to its role as an arts funder, the Arts Commission implements the regional initiative dedicated to restoring arts education to 81 school districts, programs and operates the Ford Theatres, funds the largest arts internship program in the country and manages the County’s civic art policy. The Arts Commission also produces free community programs, including the Emmy® Award-winning LA County Holiday Celebration for public television. www.lacountyarts.org.