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Director of Major Gifts

Type of Employment: Salaried, Exempt

Reports to: Vice President of Development

Important Staff Relationships: General Director and President, Vice President of Development, Director of Research and Prospect Management, Director of Events, Director of Individual Giving & Advancement Services, Director of Planned Giving, Chief of Staff, Development Special Projects Manager, VIP Services Concierge

Central Role: The Director of Major Gifts will join a talented 10-person fundraising team and will be primarily responsible for expanding the Opera’s leadership ($100k+) and major ($25k+) giving programs in partnership with the General Director & President and the Vice President of Development. Reporting to the Vice President of Development, the Director of Major Gifts is responsible for designing, creating, and executing new and innovative strategies that grow the company’s major and transformational gifts.

Primary Responsibilities

Portfolio Management

  •  Maintain and grow a strong portfolio of 75-100 current and prospective individual donors capable of making gifts at the $25,000 level and above. Manage the full life-cycle of giving including identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of these donors and prospects
  • Set and meet ambitious monthly and annual benchmarks for moving individuals through the giving cycle, supported by an aggressive schedule of meetings with donor prospects
  • Solicit upgrades, multi-year commitments, and comprehensive gifts (in partnership with the Director of Planned Giving) when appropriate
  • Ensure that Tessitura records for all portfolio files are meticulously maintained, including plan steps and contact reports Prospect Discovery and Development
  • Attend select donor calls with the General Director, the Director of Planned Giving, and/or the Vice President of Development as necessary and appropriate
  • Support the Vice President of Development and the General Director & President’s major and leadership giving portfolio work, in partnership with their respective assistants, sending relevant reminders on next steps and renewal timelines, and drafting correspondence and/or written proposals, as necessary
  • Work closely with Director of Research and Prospect Strategy to expand size and scope of HNW prospects to the Opera’s donor pipeline
  • Coordinate with Director of Events on the execution of special events for major donors and prospects throughout the season and oversee pre-performance entertaining planning for major donors and prospects Program Management
  • Manage the Board Ambassador Program and the fundraising portfolios of select Development Committee members:

o Partner with these Board/Committee members to design and drive strategy for engagement and solicitation efforts o Maintain all records relating to these prospects and donors and ensure that all information pertinent to them is entered into Tessitura, as appropriate o Support Board/Committee members as necessary by drafting written correspondence, providing supporting research, preparing them for meetings, organizing ticket orders and/or event invitations, and other related activities

  • Oversee the National Council initiative:

o Create and execute a comprehensive program plan and establish goals leading up to and during the annual Festival O

o Develop and execute acquisition, solicitation, and engagement efforts o Partner with the Director of Events on the design and execution of engagement activities around the annual Festival O

  • Oversee the Patron Travel Program, partnering with the VP of Development on planning and executing patron trips (no more than one trip annually)
  • Work with the Development Operations team to constantly ensure up-to-date cash and revenue projections and reporting for all major and leadership giving files

Related Duties as Assigned

Skills Desired and Qualifications

Education and Experience

  •  Bachelor’s Degree Required
  • 5-7 years of front-line fundraising experience preferred, with demonstrated experience identifying prospective supporters and converting them to supporters, overseeing cultivation and solicitation strategy
  • A demonstrated success in converting prospects into major donors, and experience in closing five and six-figure gifts, as well as experience in closing multi-year comprehensive gifts, is required
  • The candidate must have a nuanced understanding of the importance of discretion and confidentiality when dealing with HNW individuals and families
  • Experience working with donor databases and wealth research software, especially Tessitura and WealthEngine, is a plus
  • High level of proficiency with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Specialized Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  •  Knowledge of opera is an asset
  • The candidate must have a donor-centered attitude and approach to fundraising
  • Familiarity with Philadelphia’s philanthropic network a plus
  • The ability to thrive in a collaborative, creative, and team-oriented organizational culture
  • High level of familiarity with corporate, foundation, and planned giving vehicles
  • Outstanding interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills, including the ability to listen carefully and target communications to the specific interests of varied audiences
  • Familiarity with and adherence to the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Standards and the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement's Statement of Ethics
  • Results-oriented and disciplined approach to work, with impeccable attention to detail
  • Demonstrated creativity and strategic thinking, with the ability to take initiative and the willingness to learn
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to prioritize workload in a timely manner to complete assignments when faced with competing deadlines
  • Ability to thrive in an energetic, fast-paced, and dynamic work environment
  • Professional manner and appearance in representing Opera Philadelphia at all times
  • Evening and weekend availability required, especially around performances

An equal opportunity employer, Opera Philadelphia is committed to fostering an environment in which employees from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and personal experiences are welcomed and can thrive.

Questions about Membership or this application? Please contact Vincent Covatto, organizational membership manager, at VCovatto@operaamerica.org or by calling 646.699.5237.
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