The Transparency Two-Step

As promised in yesterday’s article, today’s post includes some direct support with helping U.S. orchestras improve institutional transparency. All that’s required to take a giant step forward in improving institutional transparency across the entire field is something that is “cut and paste” simple…

Institutional transparency is as easy as "copy and paste."
Transparency is as easy as "copy and paste."

The following list of U.S. orchestras did not provide a copy of financial disclosure documents (IRS Form 990) at the time the 2009 Orchestra Website Review evaluations were conducted. Instead of cajoling each one to do the legwork involved with digging up the link to their respective page at GuideStar.org, a website that collects these forms from the Internal Revenue Service, I’ve embedded each orchestra’s respective direct link into the following reference list.

All an organization has to do is:

  1. select the “View our financial reports.” text which is linked to the respective orchestra’s GuideStar.org page and copy (Ctrl+C or “Edit/Copy”).
  2. paste it into any section of their website. Recommended areas include the main donation/support page, on the donation form page, and on the “about us” page.

If you only want the link URL and not the suggested “View our financial reports” text, just right click on the respective link text and then select the “copy shortcut” or “copy link location” command. This will copy the URL to your clipboard which you can then paste into your respective orchestra’s webpage. If you can’t edit your webpage content directly, send this page to your website manager and ask him/her to make these changes for you.

So, short of directly editing an orchestra’s website, this is the most amount of assistance that can be provided to improve institutional transparency with the least amount of effort. The only remaining component is for each group to post a link to their respective Annual Report, and that’s something only they can do for themselves.

Alabama Symphony: View our financial reports.

Atlanta Symphony: View our financial reports.

Austin Symphony: View our financial reports.

Baltimore Symphony: View our financial reports.

Boston Symphony: View our financial reports.

Buffalo Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

California Symphony: View our financial reports.

Charleston Symphony: View our financial reports.

Charlotte Symphony: View our financial reports.

Chattanooga Symphony: View our financial reports.

Chicago Symphony: View our financial reports.

Cincinnati Symphony: View our financial reports.

Cleveland Orchestra: View our financial reports.

Colorado Springs Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Colorado Symphony: View our financial reports.

Columbus Symphony: View our financial reports.

Dallas Symphony: View our financial reports.

Dayton Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Delaware Symphony: View our financial reports.

Detroit Symphony: View our financial reports.

Elgin Symphony: View our financial reports.

Florida Orchestra: View our financial reports.

Fort Wayne Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Fort Worth Symphony: View our financial reports.

Fresno Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Grand Rapids Symphony: View our financial reports.

Harrisburg Symphony: View our financial reports.

Hartford Symphony: View our financial reports.

Honolulu Symphony: View our financial reports.

Huntsville Symphony: View our financial reports.

Indianapolis Symphony: View our financial reports.

Jacksonville Symphony: View our financial reports.

Kalamazoo Symphony: View our financial reports.

Kansas City Symphony: View our financial reports.

Knoxville Symphony: View our financial reports.

Las Vegas Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Long Beach Symphony: View our financial reports.

Long Island Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: View our financial reports.

Los Angeles Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Louisville Orchestra: View our financial reports.

Memphis Symphony: View our financial reports.

Milwaukee Symphony: View our financial reports.

Minnesota Orchestra: View our financial reports.

Mississippi Symphony: View our financial reports.

Naples Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

National Symphony: View our financial reports.

New Jersey Symphony: View our financial reports.

New Mexico Symphony: View our financial reports.

North Carolina Symphony: View our financial reports.

Omaha Symphony: View our financial reports.

Orchestra Iowa: View our financial reports.

Oregon Symphony: View our financial reports.

Pacific Symphony: View our financial reports.

Philadelphia Orchestra: View our financial reports.

Phoenix Symphony: View our financial reports.

Pittsburgh Symphony: View our financial reports.

Rhode Island Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Richmond Symphony: View our financial reports.

Rochester Philharmonic: View our financial reports.

Saint Louis Symphony: View our financial reports.

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra: View our financial reports.

San Antonio Symphony: View our financial reports.

San Diego Symphony: View our financial reports.

San Francisco Symphony: View our financial reports.

Santa Rosa Symphony: View our financial reports.

Sarasota Orchestra: View our financial reports.

Seattle Symphony: View our financial reports.

Spokane Symphony: View our financial reports.

Symphony Silicon Valley: View our financial reports.

Syracuse Symphony: View our financial reports.

Tucson Symphony: View our financial reports.

Utah Symphony & Opera: View our financial reports.

Virginia Symphony: View our financial reports.

West Virginia Symphony: View our financial reports.

Wichita Symphony: View our financial reports.

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra: View our financial reports.

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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2 thoughts on “The Transparency Two-Step

  1. “The following list of U.S. orchestras did not provide a copy of financial disclosure documents (IRS Form 990) at the time the 2009 Orchestra Website Review evaluations were conducted.”

    Drew, I’m confused. A few years back I added a “Financial Information” page to slso.org after seeing this as a weakness in our past website reviews. That page includes our latest 990 and a link to Guide Star to view past 990s.

    http://www.slso.org/staff/financial.htm

    – Dale Fisher @ SLSO

  2. Hi Dale, you are absolutely correct thanks for catching that. The SLSO page didn’t have a copy of their Annual Report but the page you linked to does have the GuideStar information. SLSO was included in the ratio chart from Examining Transparency Amidst The Economic Downturn but it didn’t get filtered out above. In fact, the orchestras removed from the above list were those that provided IRS 990 and Annual reports. In addition to the SLSO, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra were the other orchestras that provided the IRS 990 info but not an annual report. More importantly, the SLSO site did earn the correct amount of points for that sub category.

    Next week, this list is going to become a permanent resource page and include all of the orchestras from the review regardless of previous status. but I’ll make sure these comments don’t disappear so readers can see the correction.

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