2009 Canadian Orchestra Website Review: Overall Rankings

Between 09/29/2009 and 09/30/2009, 14 professional Canadian orchestra websites were examined and ranked by how well they presented their concert schedule, sold tickets, facilitated making donations, provided organizational information, utilized dynamic content, and on functionality. Overall, the average Canadian orchestra website score increased in 2009 to an all-time high of 72.17 out of 100…

Canadian overall rankings
Canadian orchestra websites continue an impressive growth cycle.

Canadian orchestra websites were evaluated using the very same criteria used for the US evaluations (available here) with one notable exception; the Canadian review does not include the Institutional Transparency sub category. This is due to differences between federal laws governing tax forms and public transparency requirements.

Keep in mind; the websites were not examined on the subjective basis of color schemes, graphics, or other aesthetic qualities except in cases where those elements hindered functionality. Consequently, the reviews are not only fair but based on a set of quantifiable criteria, allowing orchestras of varying budget size to be evaluated on an even playing field.

Overall Canadian Results

Empty is as empty does - this was all the Orchestre Metropolitain website contained.
Empty is as empty does - this was all the Orchestre Metropolitain website contained.

Notwithstanding the odd state of Orchestre Metropolitain’s website, the majority of Canadian websites continue to offer strong fundamental components. Regarding, the decision to remove Orchestre Metropolitain from the overall Canadian averages, at the time of the review their website consisted of a single page that incorporated a pdf file download of the season brochure, an email link, and a donation link. There was a notice that the page was temporary but no information about when the permanent site would return.

Consequently, this was not entirely dissimilar from the bizarre situation in 2004 with the Knoxville Symphony’s disappearing website and at that time, a similar decision was made to remove that group from the overall averages. In the meantime, Orchestre Metropolitain’s score will remain a permanent part of their historic website review record.

About Drew McManus

"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.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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