Each year, the Volunteer Council presents the most outstanding volunteer projects with Gold Book Online Awards. Winning projects are selected based upon scope, goals, and over all results of these excellent projects. On this website you will find 4 kinds of project recognition.

Awards of Excellence (beginning in 2008) replace Gold and Silver status, and represent the very best projects of the year. Awards of Excellence are noted by a heading and a teal background

Awards prior to 2008 included Gold, Silver, and Innovation Awards.

Gold Awards are noted by a heading and a gold background.

Silver Awards are noted by a heading and a silver background.

Innovation Awards are noted by a heading and purple background.

Gold Book Online Categories

Awards are given in the following categories. Please review these descriptions so you can be sure that your project is being judged in the appropriate group.

Audience Development projects should have the potential to generate an increase in season or single ticket sale and/or attract non-concert going members of the community

Community Engagement projects increase knowledge of the orchestra within the community. They have a greater value when there is a partnership within the symphony family and/or with other organizations within the community

Added as a new category in 2007, projects in this category highlight uses of communication and technology to promote and enhance volunteer activities. Communication/Technology projects should demonstrate effective use of contemporary technology to bring some aspect of the orchestra to a specific population.

The Gold Book Online’s most popular category highlights creative and successful elements of fund-raising projects. Fund-raising projects are considered especially successful when there is a high ratio of profit to expense (i.e. a 60% profit and 40% expense).

Leadership/Organizational Structure
Added as a new category in 2007, projects in this category highlight attempts at building leadership and developing organizational structure by identifying, developing and encouraging leadership. Leadership/Organizational Structure projects should present models for successfully engaging or training your organization and its membership.

Membership projects are designed to recruit, retain, recognize, and train orchestra volunteers. Membership projects should show an increase in membership numbers or an ability to retain current membership.

Any projects that focus on providing support or assistance to the orchestra, orchestra staff, or musicians are service projects. Service projects should showcase the unique ways you serve your orchestra and the community.

Outstanding projects chosen for their ability to highlight successful audience development/community engagement, communication/technology, education, leadership/organizational structure, membership, fundraising, and service projects organized by volunteers throughout the United States and Canada. At Conference these projects are presented simultaneously in an "expo" type format.

In addition to gold awards, silver awards (2007 and prior) and awards of excellence, the Volunteer Council awards the following two awards of distinction, named for inspirational volunteers:

The Audrey Baird Audience Development Award is given to the most creative and successful audience development, and/or ticket-sales projects. Audrey Baird is a past president of the Volunteer Council and the 1996 recipient of the Gold Baton Award, the League of American Orchestras' highest honor. She is a long-time volunteer, organizer, fundraiser, and leader in audience development.

The Sally Parker Education Award is given for the most creative and successful education projects. Named to honor Sally Parker, the founding president of the League's Volunteer Council and second president of the Nashville Symphony Guild, this award was established by the Nashville Symphony Guild and administered by the League's Volunteer Council.

Guidelines for Judging

In order to carefully process and review projects for inclusion in the Gold Book Online, completed forms must be submitted electronically at by September 2.. In the event that you are unable to submit electronically, special arrangements may be made by contacting Samara Ungar at 646 822 4083,

  • Submitting a project to Gold Book Online is an opportunity for you to help build the largest source of orchestra volunteer projects on the internet.

  • An "old" project for you may be the start of something new for volunteers at another orchestra. Please highlight any new aspects of a project that contributed to its success.

  • Each October, project submissions are read and judged by the Volunteer Council. The most successful projects are selected to receive awards.

  • The online submission form allows the Project Selection Committee to read your submission and determine if we would like additional information. You will be contacted if the committee is looking for further information on your project.

  • If you are looking to include original materials with your project, you can do so by sending them to League of American Orchestras, 33 W. 60th St., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10023 Attention: Samara Ungar, or via email to

We are interested in hearing about all of your volunteer projects and activities held between July 1 and June 30.

  • new events or projects

  • annual events or projects

  • signature events or original projects.


  • Be concise but complete when filling in the online form at

  • Answer each question. All questions are required, including financial information.

  • Only thoroughly completed activity forms will be considered for inclusion in Gold Book Online.

Awards are given on the basis of the content and clarity of the descriptions, the goals of the activity, how they were achieved, and the overall success of the project.

Thank you for submitting your project for the Gold Book Online and good luck!