*Collected Award-winning Booklets, Web-based Resources, Newsletters

OVI members share their personal knowledge and experience. In addition, there is a wealth of information available on line from all manner of organizations and companies, both nonprofit and for profit.  This collection is by no means exhaustive and it’s a work in progress.  Inclusion here does not imply endorsement by Opera Volunteers International but is for information purposes.


OVI members share their expertise in these pamphlet-length essays.  Click on the title to get a pdf.

Recruiting and Training the New Generation of Opera Volunteers

  • This honest and thorough look at the challenges and rewards of managing your volunteer opera support group is written by long time volunteer advocate and activist, Don Dagenais. Don’s understanding of volunteering for opera stems from a broad base of experience ranging from serving as president of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City to giving preview lectures.

How to Form an Opera Guild

  • In this comprehensive booklet on the subject, you’ll learn why, when and how to formalize a volunteer opera support group. The booklet’s author is Don Dagenais, a longtime opera activist who has written about and consulted on opera volunteer matters. He has served as president of OVI and Lyric Opera of Kansas City and its guild.

An Opera Boutique

  • Written by Patte Comstock, whose experience in retailing has helped make Houston Opera’s  boutique an important revenue source for the Guild, the booklet is packed with practical advice. Patte shares her expertise in this series of articles that can help improve the look – and the bottom line – of your volunteer-run shop.

Good Ideas

  • ‘Good Ideas’ features a collection of award-winning Projects of Special Merit from support groups across North America.  Contained are opera education projects for children and adults, all manner of unique fundraisers, events to energize volunteers and more..  Click on the title to get a pdf.



Guidestar is a 501(c)(3) public charity that collects, organizes, and presents about every single IRS-registered nonprofit organization. The Guidestar blog offers numerous free articles with emphasis on fundraising and philanthropy.

The Midwest Center is a service and outreach unit of the Department of Public Affairs in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. It has a national reputation as a preeminent source of research and information on nonprofit governance and effectiveness. Follow the links in this web page to access some of MCNL’s nonprofit board resources.

Non-profit consultant Joan Garry publishes regular blog posts and podcasts about many topics about all aspects of not-for-profit management and practices for volunteer leaders as well as professionals.


  • Energize, Inc.  Energize, Inc. publishes a free blog as well as fee-based books, articles and newsletters about volunteer management. Energize, Inc. offers a range of consulting and speaking services.


  • Volunteer Canada  Volunteer Canada is the national voice for volunteerism in Canada.  They have been committed to increasing and supporting volunteerism and civic participation since 1977.  Their 2013 Volunteer Recognition study surveyed preferences around volunteer recognition and identified links between motivation and recognition practices.  Also on Volunteer Canada’s website is the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement, a set of comprehensive guidelines including recruitment, risk management, training and more.


  • VolunteerHub  This website for a company selling fee-based volunteer management software includes a blog with free articles about many aspects of volunteer management such as recruitment, recognition and fundraising.




  • MailChimp is the email marketing service used by many nonprofits, including OVI.  MailChimp Style Guide was created for users of this email marketing platform, but it can give valuable advice to anyone looking to improve online communication.
  • MailChimp  Email Marketing Essentials: Writing Effective Emails  Kate Kiefer Lee, a writer and editor at MailChimp, gives an online class in the specialized craft of writing emails that get attention and accomplish the desired action. This brief workshop is offered as a free class through Skillshare, an online learning community with emphasis on freelance artisans.
  • Abstract Edge: Digital Marketing for Do-Gooders
    The how and why of attention-getting headlines for Facebook posts from a digital consulting firm.



  • Managing Meetings ” The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services published this basic guide to meetings that covers agendas, time management, facilitation, and more with many references.

“Robert’s Rules of Order – Simplified”

This ‘cheat sheet’ gives the basics of “Robert’s Rules of Order” in two pages. It was devised by Cornell University.

  • BoardSource  BoardSource is a fee-based membership organization that outlines practices intended to increase the effectiveness of nonprofit boards. Their website includes a free blog.  Their annual signature study, Leading with Intent, conducted biennially for the past 20 years, provides important information about current board composition, practices and performance, and charts important trends and changes in board leadership.  The report is free to download.  Recommended Governance Practices is free to download as a pdf.  This report includes BoardSource recommendations on the expectations for board member conduct to issues of oversight and reporting.



Opera Volunteers International newsletters are published four times each year.  Member Groups are encouraged to submit their news articles to their regional coordinators for submission to the newsletter or to the newsletter editor directly (email

The purpose of our newsletter is to provide our members the opportunity to:

    1. SHARE – information, initiatives and successes of our opera groups.
    2. TEACH – publish How To articles valuable to our members
    3. RECOGNIZE – achievements by our groups and individuals
    4. INFORM – about information and trends that affect opera support groups
    5. INSPIRE – raise the bar and give you the power and desire to be the best volunteer groups possible.

       Fall 2021 Newsletter – Part 1    Fall 2021 Newsletter – Part 2

Spring 2021 Newsletter

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Spring 2020 Newsletter

Winter 2020 Newsletter

Newsletters from 2005-2019