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

New Research Into Nonprofit Staff Compensation

There’s an excellent article in the 6/12/2019 edition of fastcampny.com by Ben Paynter that examines two recent studies on nonprofit staff compensation. Spoiler alert: both studies uncovered ample evidence that compensation is a strong pain point among most employees. We conducted our own bit of reader research back in 2016 on how and why arts admins change jobs and sure enough, compensation was tied for the most common reason. How And Why…

Effective And Affordable Website User Testing

Whether it’s your website, email marketing templates, or landing pages, user testing is a critical step toward the end of a digital redesign process. Implemented properly, the process should include live and remote user testing utilizing one of several tools made expressly for those purposes. But the reality is that process requires time and adds costs that many arts organizations simply can’t accommodate in their budget. Fortunately, we’re here to help and…

If You’re Using Slack And Need Project Management Functionality, You Need Workast

One of the best trends in software and app development is the rise of offerings designed to integrate with other platforms as opposed to starting life as standalone offering. Case in point: Workast, a project and task management app designed to integrate seamlessly into Slack. If you aren’t already familiar with Slack, it’s a communication and collaboration platform that is simply fabulous. If you need a way to communicate with team members…

Fingerprint And Face ID Authentication FINALLY Comes To Lastpass

One of the first lines of defensive in a good cybersecurity hygiene is maintaining strong passwords. Technically, May 2, 2019 was national password day but it’s never too late to indulge in some improved security measures. One of the best favors you can do for yourself is use a password manager, like the one from LastPass.com (they have free and paid versions), which we reviewed in an article from 2016. While LastPass…

Website Policies: Which Ones You Need And Why They Matter 2019

A little more than two years ago, we took some time to review the type of website policies your organization should maintain and since then, the topic of online personal data collection and related policies has exploded. Everything from sweeping reforms such as the European Union’s (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations and data breach policies in the wake of massive corporate hacks mean it is more important than ever…

Press Kits: What Arts Orgs Actually Want

Press kits are easy, all it takes is making some photos and a pdf bio available then call it a day, right? Guess again. While that might be the bare minimum from days past, an effective artist press kit requires considerably more time and effort to craft. It isn’t unfair to say most arts marketers have anywhere from 5-20 minutes per event for compiling all the related artist information. That includes promo…

How A Healthy Data Driven Culture Energizes Healthy UX

I recently wrapped up a workshop for Americans for the Arts and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts on Website User Experience with a terrific group of participants taking part in a two-year capacity building initiative titled Arts Marketing and Audience Engagement in the 21st Century: Building the Capacity of Pennsylvania’s Cultural Sector. Though yesterday’s temps were chilly, it didn’t stop Drew McManus of Venture Industries Online from presenting a great… Posted by Pennsylvania Council…

Let’s Talk About Arts And Technology

Mark your calendar: Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 12:30-2:00pm CT I’ll be taking part in Arts Alliance Illinois’ ARTS MOVE POLICY (AMP): Arts + Technology webinar. Thanks to the generosity of The Joyce Foundation and the Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation, registration is free of charge. This webinar is part of their larger AMP series, which take a deeper dive into topics as they intersect with the arts. Previous topics include Arts +…

GA Skills For Creating A Data Driven Culture: Secondary Dimensions

One of the most popular sections of the data driven culture session I co-presented at the 2019 Nonprofit Technology Conference was how to modify a HiPPO culture. If you aren’t already familiar with the acronym, HiPPO stands for: HighestPaidPerson’sOpinion A common challenge for those entrusted with gathering, analyzing, and reporting data is creating trust and buy-in among those in executive leadership positions. Fortunately, there are some super easy tools you can use…

The Latest List Of Google Analytics Must Have Settings And Configurations

I’m attending #19NTC (the Nonprofit Technology Conference) in Portland, OR this week and in addition to a presenting a session on creating data driven culture along with fellow ArtsHacker, Ceci Dadisman, I’ll be hosting one of NTC’s new tactical sessions. Tactical sessions are shorter sessions, 30-minutes each, are designed to be deep dives into practical, immediately actionable tips and tricks. If that sounds like a lot like what ArtsHacker.com is all about, you’d be…

WordPress Plugin Review: Carbon Copy Menu Duplicator

Giveaway alert: submit your email to win a free one-year, one-site license for the plugin in this review. Who doesn’t love simple? But when it comes to some content management tasks inside WordPress, simple can get complicated in a real hurry. Case in point, duplicating menus.

While WordPress makes it easy to create multiple menus, there’s no default functionality to duplicate an existing menu. That means if you find yourself in a position where you need to make a copy of a menu, you must rebuild it from scratch, which can become double the hassle if you have a lot of custom link items or use custom classes.

Activate Google Signals And Slurp Up Even More Of That Sweet Google Juice

Google Signals provides the framework for tracking signed in users across devices, such as multiple browsers, mobile apps, mobile devices, and more. In short, the new reporting features in Signals will let you take advantage of enhanced advertising and reporting features. While all the cross-device capabilities are still in Beta mode, they’ve been up and running for several months. Consequently, if you were waiting to see how these new features would shake…

Orchestra & Opera Workplace Satisfaction: Winter 2019

The latest installment in the bi-annual series at my orchestra business blog that measures workplace satisfaction ratings of arts managers at orchestra and opera organizations by way of glassdoor.com reviews is now available. The Latest Update In Orchestra Workplace Satisfaction: Winter 2019 The Latest Update In Opera Workplace Satisfaction: Winter 2019 Expanding The Pie It would be wonderful to expand this effort into other performing arts sectors such as theatres, dance, performing…

Understanding The Difference Between Cloud Based and Hosted Software And Apps

An increasing amount of the time spent working with clients via my web development firm is understanding the differences between cloud based and hosted software and apps. There are no shortage of terminology bear traps and even the fundamental pricing structures can vary wildly. Recently, SmashingMagaine.com published an article by Zack Grossbart and Eduardo Abe that provides one of the most comprehensive written overviews I’ve come across. There are no prerequisite knowledge…

Most Personality Quizzes Are Junk Science. Here’s One from @FiveThirtyEight That Isn’t. Let’s See How Arts Admins Stack Up.

If you’re a data nerd then you almost certainly know about FiveThirtyEight.com, statistician Nate Silver’s number-crunching hub of data goodness. Recently, they posted a personality quiz that purports to deliver results that produce quantifiably meaningful results. In addition to taking the quiz as an individual, it’s designed to allow users to add their score to a predefined peer group. To that end, I am all kinds of curious to see how Arts…

Leveling Up Your WCAG Skills With Kontrast Chrome Extension

In November, 2018 we examined how you can move toward better web accessibility by focusing on improved color contrast. If you’re starting to get into a groove on those tasks, you probably realize the back-and-forth grind for checking colors can become a bit of a drag. Fortunately, there’s a Chrome extension designed for frontend developers that is so straightforward, anyone can use it. Since it’s baked right into the browser, you can…

Looking For A Creative Business Holiday Card Idea?

Business holiday cards can be a tricky task: you can always opt for safe/bland or cutesy/meme but doing something that reinforces your actual business relationship can be a tall order. Fortunately, I came across an idea years ago that does a great job at finding that sweet spot: the personalized infographic card. The infographic card does a great job at presenting shared accomplishments while simultaneously demonstrating that you’re following the client’s progress. The…

How Good Of A Job Does Your Organization Do With Cybersecurity?

In the wake of the Marriott hotel security breach that exposed not only exposed personal information for their customers, but also passport numbers and credit card payment information, it’s worth mentioning that your organization should have several measures in place to handle threats and be prepared to react accordingly in the event of a breach. In a timely announcement, the Nonprofit Technology Network, in conjunction with Microsoft, polled more than 250 nonprofit organizations…

1 2 9

Send this to a friend