With the exception of one less subcategory, the Canadian orchestra websites were evaluated on the same criteria as their American counterparts. They were examined on how well they presented their concert schedule, sell tickets, provide organizational information, facilitated making donations, and on their overall content and functionality…
At the core of every good orchestra website is the ability to generate revenue and create awareness in a way which is more efficient than traditional methods orchestras currently employ. An orchestra website should be constructed with a core function supported by five primary components which are delivered in an outer cover of straightforward functionality.
Although each aspect of the surrounding components (website content & services) and the outer cover (server platform, navigation structure, & aesthetic components) will be unique to each orchestra, they should never replace the core function of finding a renewable, less expensive, vehicle for selling tickets and connecting with their audience online and offline.
Generally, the Canadian orchestras were comparable to American orchestras in all but category four and five, where the Canadian’s lagged behind in the former and excelled in the latter. The following graph illustrates the differences:
One noticeable weakness among most Canadian orchestras is the inability and/or limitations on making online donations. 64% of the orchestras reviewed had no ability to make donations online and only one orchestra provided for more than one method of giving. This is likely to be a direct result of having a state supported system but according to budget information provided by some of the Canadian orchestras regarding revenue streams, they still rely on more than 30% of their income from donations and sponsors.
As the Canadian economy forces most of their orchestras to feel a similar financial strain as most American orchestras do, the Canadian orchestras will need to improve how they create a culture of individual philanthropy and reaching out to individual donors.
The one category where Canadians outperformed American orchestras was in “Content & Functionality”; however, this difference was largely due to the removal of the subcategory “Institutional Transparency”. If the Canadian orchestras were subject to this same requirement their score in that category would drop to 14.05. This would have put the Canadian average for this category only slightly ahead of the American average of 13.65.
Orchestras below are listed in alphabetical order. While surveys seeking detailed information about their respective website revenue and expense structure were not distributed to Canadian orchestras this year, there are plans to develop a survey for 2006. Clicking on an orchestra will open up their detailed score in a pop up window.