Stop Me Before I Pitch Again!

Based on the amount of email and FB messages coming in, I know folks are very anxious to hear more about insider insights related to the Minnesota Orchestra Association (MOA) but there’s less than 48 hours before the Orchestra 990 Database Project’s Kickstarter campaign ends and we still need to reach that funding goal.

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-023So help me help you get your orchestra business insider fix by becoming a backer and encouraging others to do the same thing. The sooner we reach the goal, the sooner I can push the “publish” button for the MOA article all set and ready to go.

And just in case you’re wandering into the whole Orchestra 990 Database Project thing, here’s the lowdown on what the project will accomplish and deliver:

  • Converting a decade’s worth of IRS Form 990s into a searchable format along with assigning category filters.
  • The database will begin with the 2003/04 season filings. The database will include all US based professional orchestras with total expenditures of $2 million and higher.
  • A website that will retain a searchable database of professional orchestra IRS Form 990s.
  • The user interface will provide multi taxonomy filtering to assist with narrowing results (think searching by state, zip, and other custom categories).
  • Users will be able to download copies of documents returned in the search query.
  • Searches and results will be free for all users, all the time. 
  • The website will be built atop an open source publishing platform and feature a responsive design, allowing users to easily interface via desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone without the hassle of downloading and installing platform specific apps.
  • An L3C will be formed as the entity under which all work and ongoing administration will be conducted (more on that below).

There’s even a super cool promotional video:

Not sure what a 990 is or why you should care? Then you’re in luck because there’s a great video explaining all of that and more courtesy of my interview with

Become A Backer Before Time Runs Out!

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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