If you’re new to Austin’s philanthropy scene, joining a young professional organization (YPOs) can be a great way to break in.
Nonprofit YPOs combine social and networking opportunities with financial and volunteer opportunities to support the cause you care about. And some of Austin’s most vibrant YPOs are those that support our arts organizations. Over the years, we’ve seen these arts YPOs come and go (Bring back Austin Opera’s Bravo Club! Where are the YPOs to support dance?), mostly because they rely on the energy and participation of their members as much as they rely on support from the arts nonprofit’s board and staff. If you’re passionate enough about a local arts nonprofit and you have enough friends to join you, we recommend that you contact the executive director and tell him or her you’d like a meeting!
What we like about these organizations is that they create an affinity for the arts among young professionals. While most arts organizations don’t track the age of their donors, they do track the average age of their audience members, which skews toward empty-nesters and retirees. And they know that the prime audience for cultivating donors is … their prime audience: their patrons. While there aren’t studies that directly correlate audience to donors, audience members are a rich source of support.
For YPO members, the perks are great. The best arts young professional organization engage you in the work of the organization. You might find yourself fundraising or organizing a fundraising event, giving feedback on programming, or volunteering on a special project that serves one of the organization’s niche audiences. As for insider perks, you might go behind the scenes, get ticket discounts, attend pre-performance receptions just for your group, meet the artists and more.
The time to join is now. Most arts seasons officially kick-off in September and October, so if you’re considering joining this year, click below and bring a friend.
Austin Symphony BATS – Annual membership is $125 for a single person and $220 per couple, but gets you premiere seating to four shows, behind-the-scenes access and interactions with the conductor and performers.
The Contemporary’s Austin Contemporaries – For $500 a year, you can have exclusive-level access to visual artists’ work, studios and galleries. In August, for example, The Contemporary’s executive director Louis Grachos led members on a sunset tour of the sculpture park.
KLRU Next – The programming on public television is the last bastion of high-brow television we have in America. There’s drama, for sure, but there’s also history, science, music, food culture and local programming that highlights local issues (see ). When you join Austin NEXT for $240 a year, you can get access and discounts to KLRU events, including Austin City Limits tapings, happy hours and exclusive NEXT events.
The Creative Fund – Not necessarily for just young professionals, but an active group with a low-cost membership that supports emerging Austin artists and performers. Since most of the cost of producing a performance is in venue rental, The Creative Fund helps cover those costs. As such, Creative Fund members who join at the $50 a month level can get two complimentary tickets to any show the Creative Fund supports. There’s also a $25 a month membership level.
Note to other Austin nonprofit arts organizations: We need to see you, dance, visual arts, theater and film! I see an opportunity!