Kudos To Syracuse

According to the 2/5/2011 edition of the Syracuse Post-Standard, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (SSO) beat the initial fundraising goal of $375,000 by $98,787 which puts them about 1/4 of the way toward their overall goal of $1.75 million by the end of the season (8/2011)…

The Post-Standard article, written by Melinda Johnson, also reports that the SSO plans on posting weekly fundraising totals at their website until they reach the end of their campaign. The initial fundraising benchmark was important in that it meant the county government would agree to release $100,000 in funds.

At the time the Post-Standard article was published, the SSO claims to have raised the initial funds from just over 1,300 donors, with the single largest donation at $100,000. With this initial benchmark successfully behind them, the orchestra and its board now have to continue the development grind over the next few months.

If this unfolds in a traditional sense, the organization won’t be able to benefit from as much media attention as the initial phase of the campaign but it isn’t unusual for that to be offset by the “success breeds success” factor, especially among larger donors. And for board members and development staff that might be suffering from fundraising burnout, it can be a real battery charger!

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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