Drew McManus, Editor-in-Chief

Arts Consulting

“I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired.”

Those were the first words out of an executive’s mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house. I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight.

So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals “aggressively embracing career change” but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why. In short, it doesn’t matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can’t keep your own clients out of the ground, and I’m fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I’ve done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

Technology

In addition to my consulting business, I’m also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I’m just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower.

With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, founded an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.

Connect With Drew

Drew McManus, editor-in-chief

Article Archive

Easy Meeting Scheduling With Doodle

If I can put on my grumpy Gen-X arts admin hat for a moment, I have to say that the older I get, the less I enjoy trying new apps. Instead, finding something that works and sticking with it holds a lot of value. Having said that, when I do run across something new that makes me want to switch, it’s really exciting. Case in point, I started using Doodle to schedule…

Get Ready For Google Signals and Cross Device Reporting

Throughout 2018, Google has been releasing all sorts of new and enhanced features inside Analytics and one of the most recent promises to be one of the most exciting: cross device tracking and reporting. Here’s Google’s description: Cross Device reporting in Analytics takes into account people who visit your website multiple times from different devices. Now, instead of seeing metrics in Analytics that show two separate sessions (e.g., one on desktop and…

How To Go About Creating A Harassment Reporting Process That Protects Employees

The Washington Post published an article on 7/26/18 that reports allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against several leaders throughout the nonprofit performing arts sector. In a follow-up article, the Post published the following comment from the CEO at one of the organizations where one of the subjects from the article works. “There was no blind eye turned,” [Cleveland Orchestra executive director André Gremillet] said. “No allegations were made; no one came…

Persuasion (Conversion) Made Easy

There’s a terrific article from Lyndon Cerejo in the 7/17/2018 edition of Smashing Magazine that examines a very keep it simple approach to persuading website visitors to conversion. Cerejo reviews what he calls the stages of a persuasion funnel: attention, interest, desire, and action …along with how each stage is influenced by: cognitive (thinking), and affective (feeling). All those combinations of elements influence what he calls persuasive design and the related sages…

Get Ready To Begin Paying For Google Maps Integration

On July 17, 2018 Google’s new pricing structure kicks in for the use of Maps, Routes, and Places. You’ll be required to create an account and a billing profile. These changes are all part of the new Google Maps Platform. Good news is the program will help streamline a lot of existing hurdles to use Maps, Routes, and Places but the bad includes required account and billing profile. And when they say…

Time To Think About Compensation Resources

Within the parameters of nonprofit performing arts, compensation can be a sticky subject, especially when it comes to those at the top of the pay scale. Fortunately, transparency goes a long way and you have multiple resources for researching current trends. An article I posted here at ArtsHacker in 2016 is every bit as relevant now as it was then: Looking For Some Nonprofit Compensation Resources? If you’re looking for something more…

Red Pill/Blue Pill: Effective Data Driven Decision Making

On Saturday, June 2, 2018, me and my fellow ArtsHacker, Ceci Dadisman, enjoyed an opportunity to present a session titled Red Pill/Blue Pill: Effective Data Driven Decision Making to the 37th Annual Association of Arts Administration Educators Conference. We had a great deal of fun and the session was well received. Since we’re all about the share here at ArtsHacker, we wanted to make the Google Slides available to all. As has…

WordPress 4.9.6: A GDPR Compliance Release

If you’re a WordPress user, you might have noticed the recent 4.9.6 update release. This is an important update in that it enables you to help make your site compliant with the European Union’s (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations thanks to the following changes. A New Privacy Policy Setting Admin Panel Ideally, you already have a Privacy Policy page up and running at your website. If you do, this part is super…

Orchestra & Opera Workplace Satisfaction: Spring 2018

At the end of 2016, we published a pair of articles that surveyed arts managers about how and why they changed jobs. Since then, I’ve been tracking workplace satisfaction levels at orchestras and operas by way of glassdoor.com reviews. The Spring 2018 update was published at my orchestra management blog but I wanted to see if any ArtsHacker readers would be interested in compiling similar data for other arts sectors (theater, dance,…

Is Google Reading Your Data Correctly? Find Out with This Handy Tool

In order to really maximize your content in Google search results, you should be taking advantage of structured data. Back in December, 2015 we learned how to use Google’s terrific Data Highlighter tool to manually match your content up with their structured data formats. That tool is still available, but the best way is still integrated structured data tags right into your specialized content. However, figuring out if that task has been…

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Stability and Security

While open source publishing platforms (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.) are loaded with positives, one of the growing challenges is making sure the combination of themes and plugins function as designed without conflicts following updates. If you think you can avoid the problem by simply ignoring updates, think again. They often include critical security updates that protect your site from hackers looking to exploit potential vulnerabilities. More often, updates include improvements and new…

Are You Ready For GDPR Compliance?

On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations related to personal data collection will go into effect.  A quick google search will produce a wide range of sources capable of providing an overview but in a nutshell, it means that if your organization processes personal data of EU citizens, you must comply with required consent measures. If your organization collects and stores user EU citizen…

Legacy Cost Hero

Become Your Organization’s Legacy Cost Hero

Nonprofits are always looking for ways to control costs and stretch budgets, but it never ceases to amaze at how many groups overlook some of the juiciest low hanging fruit: Total Cost of Ownership for web-based platforms. Specifically, actual out of pocket costs across multiple years to properly maintain your website, CRM, Ticketing service, email marketing account, e-commerce platform, etc. is something most groups don’t know, but would be shocked if they…

An Arts Managers Checklist For Dealing With The Loss Of Net Neutrality After April 23rd

An Arts Manager’s Checklist For Dealing With The Loss Of Net Neutrality After April 23rd

Recent last-ditch efforts to block the repeal of net neutrality in the Senate have failed (be sure to hold your senators responsible if they voted against protecting net neutrality) so barring any unexpected developments, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered net neutrality to end on April 23, 2018. Here’s what you should do to prepare. Contents1) Don’t Panic2) Be Proactive3) If You Use Providers: Start Communicating4) If You Self-Manage: Get Busy 1)…

Free Resource Getting Started With Google Analytics

Free Resource: Getting Started With Google Analytics

Recently, fellow ArtsHacker, Ceci Dadisman, and I enjoyed giving a presentation to attendees of the Southeastern Theatre Conference 2018 Convention on how to use Google Analytics (GA) to make data-driven improvements to website content and layouts. The session was geared toward professionals just getting into GA. Content focused on using out-of-the-box GA features and simple to implement settings changes to provide access to must-have data. Simply put, if GA seems new and a…

LinkedIn Kills Off Share Counters

LinkedIn Kills Off Share Counters

If you’ve been wondering why all of your LinkedIn share counters don’t seem to work, don’t worry, it isn’t you, it’s LinkedIn. The company posted an innocuous announcement about killing of the feature and buried it their developer blog. In addition to the counter function being removed, they blitzed all the existing underlying data which means all of your existing share counters will be set back to zero (assuming they aren’t there…

Action Alert Net Neutrality

Action Alert: Operation #OneMoreVote – Encourage Your Representatives To Overturn The FCC’s Decision To End Net Neutrality

Today is a key date for Congress to nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality protections. The Congressional Review Act affords Congress the ability to overturn federal regulations, such as the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality. The process begins with the Senate where the vote is expected to be a tie. If so, Vice President Mike Pence is expected to cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of maintaining the…

Google Grants

If You Use Google Ad Grants, You’ll Want To know About These Changes

There’s a terrific article by Jason King in the 1/23/2018 edition of the Nonprofit Technology Conference blog that examines how recent changes to Google Ad Grant’s terms and conditions put some users at risk of temporary account suspension. A whole raft of new rules came into effect on the January 1st of 2018, many of which carry the risk of temporary suspension of your account. Here are some of the new policies: If…

Looking For 2018 Artist Grants and Opportunities

Looking For 2018 Artist Grants and Opportunities?

Artwork Archive recently compiled a terrific list of Artist grants and published them with a user-friendly lists of FAQ details such as award amounts, deadlines, and limited artist fields. Most of the opportunities focus on the graphic arts field but you’ll find a few that are broader in scope. Moreover, they have a handy list of online resources that help keep artists apprised of new opportunities. Visit Artwork Archive’s The Complete Guide…

Minification

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Minification and Reducing HTTP Requests

One of the most common problems WordPress users run into over time are slowdowns resulting from an overload of HTTP requests. In English, those requests are the sum of getting and sending data, which could be something simple like files and images to something quite complex like social sharing, analytics tracking, and eCommerce functionality. The more stuff a user can interact with on any given page, the more HTTP requests it generates….

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