*Collected Booklets by OVI Authors, Web-based Resources, Newsletter Archive

OVI members share their personal knowledge and experience. In addition, there is a wealth of information available print and 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.



  • MailChimp 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.


The Volunteer Recruitment (and Membership Development) Book
Susan Ellis,  Energize, Inc. 2002  Crammed with innumerable recruitment ideas and recommendations! Starts with designing assignments attractive to new volunteers and continues by addressing organizational image, where to look for volunteers, why people volunteer or do not, how to select the right recruitment technique, what “diversity” means to an organization, and the impact of trends in volunteering today. Includes a full chapter on membership development for all-volunteer organizations and an appendix on how to use the Internet for volunteer recruitment.

Volunteers: How to Get Them, How to Keep Them
Helen Little,  Panacea Press, 1999  An essential guide for volunteer leaders and staff of professional, trade and charitable organizations. Outlines 12 basic needs of volunteers in membership associations and clearly explains how to meet those needs. Rich with examples and useful tools, this book is a quick read that you will reference again and again.

Membership Recruitment
Tony Rossell,  Marketing General Incorporated, 2021  An effective membership recruitment program is the road to growth, financial health, and mission success for an association. The author shows how you can grow your membership year after year. You will find the book filled with his practical guidance based on Rossell’s thirty years of consulting with hundreds of membership groups and a decade of benchmarking research with thousands of associations.

365 Ideas for Recruiting, Retaining, Motivating, and Rewarding Your Volunteers
Sunny Fader,   Atlantic Publishing Group, 2017 (Revised 2nd Edition)  This revised new edition is packed with even more ways to recognize your volunteers. This book provides you with real life, proven examples that you can use to boost productivity, plus fundraising activities.

What We Learned About Supervising Volunteers
Jarene Frances Lee with Julia Catagnus, Energize, Inc,  1999  Packed with the advice, wisdom, and experience of over 85 real-life, on-the-job supervisors of volunteers, this guide offers a crystal-clear analysis of what works and what doesn’t in supervision. It also includes comments from volunteers about what they need from those who supervise them, as well as excerpts from classic articles and books by experts in the field and a self-assessment survey covering the attitudes and actions necessary to be an effective supervisor.

Effective Strategies for Volunteer Recognition
Joanne Kaattari, Vicki Trottier, Community Literacy of Ontario, 2012  Volunteers are the heart and soul of many not-for-profit and charitable organizations. Organizations are often able to accomplish significant achievements thanks to the work of volunteers who give so generously of their time and skills. While they don’t do it for recognition, it is still important to take the time to acknowledge what they do and to say thank you. The book includes practical ideas for thanking your volunteers.

Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership
Joan Garry, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2021  This practical guide helps develop the specialized skills and mindset needed to successfully lead and manage a stable and impactful world-class organization. New chapters bring the core responsibilities of board service to life, offer practical advice on how small nonprofits can have an outsized impact, discuss effective crisis management approaches, and deliver even more stories and lessons drawn from the Joan Garry’s work with thousands of nonprofit leaders. Throughout the book, the author shares new insights on topics such as managing crises, graceful exits, organizational transitions, and more.



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: