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

Stop Using Carousels And Sliders (The Wrong Way)

Here at ArtsHacker, we’ve been warning arts admins against the practice of using sliders and carousels as a strategy to deliver mutually exclusive messages within a single space as far back as 2016. But just like a stubborn viral bug, the idea that carousels somehow function as a magical message delivery platform that delivers high conversion rates is difficult to shake. Fortunately, there’s a great article by front-end and User Experience (UX)…

The Cost Of Doing Business Online Is Going Up And It Has Nothing To Do With Inflation

While it may not seem like a big price increase, .com domain registrations and renewals are going to go up 6.9 percent. That’s likely just the beginning thanks to the sweetheart deal the company that owns a monopoly on .com registrations, Verisign, received from the Trump administration in the form of a no-bid deal that also removed decades long regulations that capped how much they could increase prices year to year. Moving…

Find Out Who’s Tuned In To Arts Organizations Today

The folks at Capacity Interactive (CI) recently published the latest installment of their Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study. The previous installment was released right before COVID-19 so as I’m sure you can imagine, a lot has changed. I’m still reviewing the content but a few items that jumped out at me from the Key Findings include: 96% of ticket buyers plan to come back to your venues after the pandemic….

Using The Zeigarnik Effect To Become A Better Manager

This series is designed to help those working in the arts and culture sector apply user experience (UX) best practices to daily content management tasks. Using Jon Yablonski’s collection at LawsOfUX.com that gathers best practices designers consider when building user interfaces, today’s installment will focus on the Zeigarnik Effect: when people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.

The Time To Review Cybersecurity and Disruption Plans Is Now

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to make sure you’re as prepared as you can for disruptions to digital platforms because of cyberattacks resulting from events unfolding in Ukraine. To a large degree, there’s only so much you can do and while the risk to arts and culture organizations being targeted deliberately is low, the systems and platforms they rely on are much higher priority targets. At the most basic…

Using Parkinson’s Law To Become A Better Manager

This series is designed to help those working in the arts and culture sector apply user experience (UX) best practices to daily content management tasks. Using Jon Yablonski’s collection at LawsOfUX.com that gathers best practices designers consider when building user interfaces, today’s installment will focus on Parkinson’s Law. ContentsParkinson’s LawOriginsEcommerce Checkout ProcessRequired User RegistrationMutually Exclusive Shipping InfoMulti-Option Cart DonationsOnline Forms And Lead GenerationEmail SubscriptionsGeneral Time ManagementScheduling MeetingsSelf-Imposed Deadlines Parkinson’s Law Per https://lawsofux.com/parkinsons-law/ here’s how Parkinson’s Law…

Using The Law of Common Region To Become A Better Manager

This series is designed to help those working in the arts and culture sector apply user experience (UX) best practices to daily content management tasks. Using Jon Yablonski’s collection at LawsOfUX.com that gathers best practices designers consider when building user interfaces, these articles will show you how each practice can be applied to more than just user experience tasks. ContentsLaw of Common RegionOriginsWebsite Content ManagementBeyond Solid ColorsEmail CampaignsPresentationsSlippery Slope Law of Common Region Per https://lawsofux.com/law-of-common-region/…

Using The Serial Position Effect To Become A Better Manager

This article is the first in a series designed to help those working in the arts and culture sector apply user experience (UX) best practices to common tasks and beyond. Using Jon Yablonski’s collection at LawsOfUX.com that gathers best practices designers consider when building user interfaces, these articles will show you how each practice can be applied to more than just user experience tasks. ContentsThe Serial Position EffectOriginsWebsite Navigation MenuEmail MarketingContent ManagementDevelopment…

Advocacy Alert: Contact The White House About Establishing A National Vaccination Status Program

As we begin the new year, I want to encourage everyone to contact the White House and encourage the administration to advocate for a national vaccination status program that can be adopted at the state, local, and even institutional level. The omicron variant underscores the need for a secure and reliable system managed at the federal level that organizations and local governments can opt into. It needs to be user friendly and…

Why “Click Here” & “This Link” Are Choices To Avoid For Web And Email Links

Way back in 2016, ArtsHacker Phil Paschke wrote an article about why you want to begin moving away from using phrases like “click here” in web and digital marketing copy. Fast forward five years and it’s still an issue at a lot of sites but the stakes are a good bit higher now than in 2016. It isn’t difficult to find, common examples include “complete this form,” “click here for more information,” or “download our…

GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Data Breach And What You Should Do If It Impacts Your Organization

On November 22, 2021, GoDaddy informed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of a security breach for 1.2 million users on its managed WordPress servers. According to the report, the breach impacted users as far back as September 6, 2021. Let’s review what that means and what your organization should do if you utilize GoDaddy’s hosted WordPress management. ContentsConfirm Whether You Use The ServiceWhat The Breach Means For Your OrganizationWhat This Isn’tWhat…

A Sales Email Subject Line So Good You Have To Use It

Looking for a great sales email subject line that leverages buyer’s fear over supply shortages? If so, I have exactly what you’re looking for courtesy of an email that arrived in my inbox over the weekend. Credit where credit is due, the message came from Steele Canvas Basket Corp, a made in the US company that doesn’t rely on providers getting caught up in supply bottlenecks. Arts and culture organizations can take…

Is Facebook Not Sharing The Correct Info From Your Website?

Spoiler: it’s (mostly) not your fault. As if there weren’t enough reasons for Facebook to send content managers screaming into the night, one of their long-standing bear traps didn’t improve much in the past five years. The Problem You publish a new webpage or blog post and when you go to share, Facebook seems to be pulling up the wrong image, title, and/or description. Not only does the share probably look bad…

Use This Chrome Shortcut To Open Multiple Bookmarks At Once

Every content manager routinely opens multiple browser bookmarks throughout the week. Sure, you can add each one to your bookmark bar and open them one…at…a…time or you can use this simple bookmark bar hack that’s been flying under the radar for years. In a nutshell, you’re going to put all those bookmarks into a folder, place the folder into the browser toolbar, then use a little “open all” magic. The first steps…

The Secret To Converting Paragraph Breaks Into Line Breaks And Creating Comma Separated Lists

Pretty much every arts administrator knows the pain of looking at a long list of content in a Microsoft Word document where each line is separated by a paragraph, but you need them separated by line breaks. You could go through and manually change each…and…every…one or you can use this Find and Replace trick to do the entire doc in seconds. Convert Paragraph To Line Breaks (and vice versa) Use CTRL +…

Do All Of Your Web Pages Have Conversion Goals?

Conversion goals are one of those odd things every arts marketer seems to know they need but for whatever reason, most groups have too many webpages with zero goals. For those on the outside of marketing-jargon, conversion goals are the thing you want a visitor to do at your website. For the most part, they can be broken down into three basic types: Revenue generation: purchasing a ticket or making a donation. Lead…

The Status Of Required Vaccination Policies Among Nonprofit Performing Arts Orgs

The  Vax Policy Database has been gathering data since August 20, 2021 and it’s been adding new records daily. Over the holiday weekend, I added additional view to the database making it easier to see exactly which organizations require all stakeholders to be vaccinated, which provide all stakeholders except ticket buyers, which only require artist employees and staff, and the sliver that have a defined “no required vaccination” policy. At the time…

Looking To The EEOC For Clarification On Religious Discrimination Vaccination Exemptions

Among the numerous details to work out when crafting required vaccination policies is when an employee cites religious objections and requests an exmpetion. Recently, the 8/30/21 edition of starnewsonline.com published an article by John Staton that reports on the Wilmington Symphony’s decision to deny a musician’s religious exemption to their required vaccination policy. The article includes the following statement about when an employer isn’t required to accommodate religious belief requests: At any…

Resource: Performing Arts Org Vax Policy Database

Insisting on verifiable vaccination status to attend concert events is becoming policy at an increasing number of nonprofit performing arts venues. But coming up with policies and tracking peer status can be quite the challenge so in order to make that task easier, my fellow ArtsHacker, Ceci Dadisman, and I put together a performing arts org vax policy database. Special thanks to violinist Holly Mulcahy for her assistance in getting this ball…

Free 2021 Insta Profile, TikTok, YouTube Channel, Insta Stories, Facebook, and LinkedIn Company PSD Mockups

The folks at Kambadastudio recently released a round of new high quality photoshop templates for a wide variety of social media platforms and along with their paid options, they included a septet of free templates for Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Unlike the header specific templates I’ve featured in previous articles, these include more elements from the respective profile pages. For example, the YouTube file includes not just the header but…

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