Project Contact:
Linda Hatchel     lindahatchel@yahoo.com or 254 776 7393

Volunteer Organization Name:
Waco Symphony Council

Orchestra Name:
Waco Symphony Orchestra

City:
Waco

State/Province:
Texas

Meeting group size of the orchestra:
Group 6

Number of active members in the volunteer organization?
201-500

Name of the project:
Celebrity Conductor Contest

Project Description:
The Celebrity Conductor Contest pits four community leaders against each other for the opportunity to conduct "Sleigh Ride" during the Holiday Pops Concert. Candidates make personal appearances, send letters to friends and family, and send email blasts asking for votes, each vote costing $20. The candidate with the most votes wins.

The primary goal of the Celebrity Conductor Contest is fundraising. This project requires low volunteer manpower, yet generates community enthusiasm and brings in good revenue. The previous two Celebrity Conductor Contests have been quite successful. We wanted to continue this project in an expanded format.

The need for this project was determined when we began our biennial Showhouse project and needed a less intensive project for non-showhouse years. The Celebrity Conductor Contest was the perfect project.

The success of the contest is measured in amount of money raised and by positive comments given from the community. We were quite successful again this year.

New information was gained as we attended non-symphony functions and, to our surprise, we found some lack of understanding of the impact of the symphony on the community life and economy. This gave us the opportunity to not only sell votes but to become symphony ambassadors as well. We will use this information of the need for community education as we establish future projects.

The biggest obstacle we faced was that the fourth Celebrity Conductor had to withdraw from the contest in August which was too late to find another candidate. At that point, we expanded the personal appearance component more into the community. Candidates carried signs and wore campaign buttons. A large poster on an easel always announced them.

A new twist for the project was the ability of voters to go online to vote. Through the Waco Symphony Council and the Waco Symphony Association websites, voting could be done using credit cards. This voting method was highly successful.

Another new, unexpected twist on the project was moving out more into the community events that were not symphony related. Because of having only three candidates, we changed focus and found to our delight that we opened up many other avenues in which to promote the Holiday Pops Concert and the symphony in general.

This project will definitely be repeated. Because of working through the obstacles, we learned a great deal about the value of the contest in addition to fundraising.

Role and number of volunteers involved:
Fundraising Vice President
To assist when needed
Project Chairman
Organized the event
Prepared appearance schedule
Set place and time for publicity photos
Prepared campaign books containing goals,
posters, schedule, ballots and other
information
Fundraising Treasurer
Responsible for deposits and bills
4 candidates
Originally four were selected by a committee
Each council member
Responsible for "selling votes"
Belle & Brass
Each Belle and Brass was responsible for selling
a minimum of five votes
2. 5 on-site volunteers
The candidates, project chair, and Fundraising Vice
President.

3. Staff involvement included Symphony office staff who handled ballots either mailed to the office or those submitted online. The Symphony conductor taught the candidates basic conducting techniques during a seminar.

Planning Start Date:
N/A

Project Dates:
N/A

Gross revenue from all sources:
$14,258.20

Total expenses for this project:
$1,611.60

Net Revenue (Expense):
$12,646.06

The total value of all in-kind contributions of donated products and services.
Conductor's Batons donated $60 Seminar from Symphony Conductor Priceless