More Good News

In the wake of grim news from Indianapolis last week I enjoyed a fascinating email conversation with a colleague that produced one of the best anecdotes I’ve come across that balances the rising tide of defeatism. Given that is all too easy for orchestra leaders feeling beat down by the economic downturn to succumb to pessimism, and with his permission, I wanted to share what he had to say with everyone.

Until one has experienced it, having success in raising resources based on creating a vision of what transformational art can do is I fear a theory to many.

By coincidence, the Seattle Symphony sent out an e-blast the very next day announcing that they reached their 2011-12 fundraising goal and regular readers likely recall the good news article about them from 8/16/12 that focused on momentum resulting from renewed institutional vision and stakeholder buy-in.

SSO thank you

Being a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, I think this is precisely the sort of message that needs to receive a spotlight right now so take an extra moment today and share this with colleagues and friends throughout your social networks.

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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1 thought on “More Good News”

  1. Drew,
    This is indeed good news. Without the assistance of any consultants, the musicians of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra are proud to join with donors, board and staff to announce the achievement of a balanced budget for FY 2012. This stunning achievement was accomplished through a combination of musician-led initiatives and concessionary contracts totaling a COLA adjusted $9.7M since 2005, and Ludovic Morlot-driven donor support approaching the $10 million mark in FY 2012 alone. As we begin the 2012-13 season, we build upon extraordinarily high concert revenue, growing donor support and low artist expenses to grow our recovery, continuing the desire of our community to support and expand a world-class orchestra in world-class Benaroya Hall.

    Seattle Symphony and Opera Players Organization

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