If You Want to Donate to Charity…

...but you can't afford it? Here's another

Volume CX, No. 12December, 2010

Anne Nadig

It’s the season of giving. Good will is a common thread valued in all belief systems, regardless of the way in which you celebrate the holiday season.

In this economic crisis it’s no surprise that charitable contributions are plummeting to an all-time low.

In an industry that is often unpredictable, and where work is frequently scarce, giving financially is sometimes unrealistic.

As a musician however, I would argue that you have a gift far more valuable than money.

As a graduate intern new to the culture of the music industry, it has become clear that musicians create and experience wholeness in their work.

It is a calling taken seriously, and a powerful means of expression.

The passion that I have witnessed has moved me, and it’s for this reason that I suggest with such a unique gift comes an inimitable opportunity for serving others.

Music has healing power, is good for the mind, expresses emotions adequately when words can’t, and simply lifts the spirits of its listeners.

Using your musical gifts through volunteering is special because you can reach the recipient in a unique way.

Equally wonderful, is that there is scientific evidence to back up the old adage that you will get more than you gave.

The recipient of service isn’t the only benefitting party.

There is convincing research that shows a positive relationship between volunteer activity and good health.

In fact, there are a multitude of studies confirming that serving others is conducive to good mental health.

A study on possible health effects of volunteering showed that the more respondents volunteered, the less likely they were to be depressed.

Volunteering is associated with increased confidence and self-esteem, lower depression levels, and a more defined sense of purpose, especially in later life.

Research indicates that people who volunteer regularly actually live longer.

In addition to good mental and physical health, volunteering can play a direct role in improving occupational opportunities.

Indeed, volunteering connects you with other people, and provides a means of networking while making a positive difference for someone in need.

Not only that, when hiring freezes desist volunteers are often considered for positions, as companies are more inclined to hire workers who are already familiar with the organization.

Below is a list of nonprofit organizations in New York City that are currently in need of musicians to volunteer their time:

Actors Fund and the Lillian Booth Actors Home
(212) 221-7300
The Actors Fund is dedicated to helping all professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry – not just actors – by providing programs and services for those in need, crises, or transition. Call the office directly for volunteering opportunities.

The Lillian Booth Actors Home is an assisted living and skilled nursing care facility for retirees of the performing arts and their families. The home is currently seeking musicians for performances.

Salvation Army
(212) 337-7324
The Salvation Army is dedicated to helping anyone in need without discrimination. Immediate need for music instructors for after school programs, as well as musicians willing to volunteer at the kettles this holiday season.

Musicians On Call
(212) 741-2709
Musicians On Call provides live and recorded music to patients in healthcare facilities. The organization uses music as a piece of the healing process for patients, their families, and caregivers.

Hospital Audiences, Inc.
(212) 575-7660
Hospital Audiences provides cultural access through music, dance, theatre, and the visual arts to people with mental and physical disabilities, the elderly, seriously ill children in social service facilities, and children in grades K-12.

Sing For Hope
(212) 966-5955
Sing For Hope mobilizes professional artists in volunteer service programs that benefit schools, hospitals, and communities.

(212) 710-9220
ReServe connects retired NYC professionals (55 years and older) with compensated service opportunities.

Celebrating the season of giving through volunteering is a wonderful way to care for yourself while serving others. Though the holidays are a joyous time for many, it can be a solemn time of grieving and sadness for others. If you are experiencing difficulty in coping with unhappiness or are in need of assistance, please call the MAP office at (212) 397-4802 or e-mail

The office of the Musicians’ Assistance Program os your one-stop shop for musicians’ health. We offer counseling – both one-on-one and in groups – as well as information on all kinds of social services, including health insurance, food stamps and more. All services are free to Local 802 members. Contact us at (212) 245-4802, ext. 180 or