Director of Donor Relations

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Oct 07, 2020
Nov 05, 2020
Position Type
Fundraising, Donor Relations
Arts, Education, Museum
Employment Type
Full Time


Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI) is a dynamic arts center serving diverse audiences to create transformational arts experiences that cultivate curiosity and creativity, enlighten, educate, and inspire. MWPAI fulfills its mission through three program divisions: Museum of Art, School of Art, and Performing Arts. Founded in Utica, New York, in 1919 and opened in 1936, MWPAI is named after the three generations of family members who were inspired to create “an artistic, musical, and social center” with a commitment to this vibrant area in Upstate New York and well beyond.


The Museum of Art began with the family home, Fountain Elms, a Victorian-era Italianate mansion. In 1960 a new Museum building, designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, opened to the public. Fountain Elms was refurbished to feature mid-nineteenth-century period rooms and exhibition galleries. In 1995 the two Museum buildings were connected with the Museum Education Wing, which houses offices and art storage. The Museum of Art features 300 years of American art, with a focus on nineteenth-century fine art and sculpture, nineteenth-century decorative arts, and modern and contemporary art. With a collection of more than 13,000 artworks, the Museum of Art hosts eight to ten special exhibitions and a wide range of public programs each year.


The School of Art offers two dynamic components: an active Community Arts Education program with year-round classes and workshops for all ages and the PrattMWP College of Art and Design. Established in 2000, PrattMWP is an extension campus of the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. PrattMWP students are fully matriculated Pratt students who spend their freshman and sophomore years on the vibrant MWPAI campus. Offering majors in fine arts, photography, communications design, and art education, PrattMWP is a residential program with a ten-to-one student-to-faculty ratio and a student body from all over the world.


The Performing Arts Division presents more than a dozen live performances, featuring rising stars, famous soloists, and ensembles. Programs include recitals with commentary, cinema, family programs, outdoor festival concerts, special events, and educational activities. MWPAI also offers a summer arts festival, art and music libraries, an active membership program, a Museum Shop, café, and rental facilities for private events.


MWPAI arts and educational programs have an annual attendance of approximately 150,000 people. Led by an active 12-member board, MWPAI has an expansive urban campus that includes 23 buildings, more than 175 staff members, an annual operating budget of $12.2 million, and a sizable endowment.




Located in the beautiful Mohawk Valley, the City of Utica is the 10th most populous city in the state of New York. Rich in history and scenic beauty, the region is nestled at the foothills of the Adirondack Preserve. The region is at the epicenter of the major commercial centers in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Montreal. Utica is a diverse city with a vibrant community of more than 40 different nationalities. According to the most recent census, the city’s demographics are 69 percent White, 15 percent Black, and 10 percent Latino. Five colleges are located within the city limits, offering a myriad of degrees and doctoral programs for students from all over the world.


With a growing population of 62,000 residents, Utica is home to a range of businesses, including national brands, small business startups, expansions, and entrepreneurs. The city is a key part of the larger Utica-Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which boasts a population of roughly 300,000 residents. Utica's parks system consists of 677 acres of parks and recreation centers. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., whose father’s firm designed New York City's Central Park, designed the Utica Parks and Parkway Historic District.






Reporting to the President and CEO (President), the Director of Donor Relations will oversee all activities related to philanthropic support for operating, capital, and endowment funds. In partnership with the President, this individual will provide leadership, strategic direction, and management for all areas of institutional fundraising. The Director of Donor Relations will also work with the President in engaging the board in development initiatives where appropriate.


Charged with conceptualizing and implementing a comprehensive development plan, the Director of Donor Relations will be a goal-oriented self-starter with a passion for MWPAI’s mission. As a part of the senior management team, this individual will play an active role in planning for the organization’s overall advancement. The Director of Donor Relations will drive an effective and growing fundraising program; provide hands-on, day-to-day direction of development strategies that are forward thinking and elevate MWPAI’s visibility and brand; and create a culture of relationship building that will last well into MWPAI’s future. Areas of responsibility will include membership, annual giving, major gifts, grant writing, alumni solicitation, fundraising events, and planned giving.



Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is an equal opportunity employer

that welcomes any qualified applicant and values diversity of all kinds.



Roles and Responsibilities


Departmental Planning and Operational Effectiveness 

  • Create, implement, and manage a development plan designed to increase overall contributed revenue and broaden the organization’s base of support.


  • Ensure the successful achievement of contributed revenue goals for individual, corporate, foundation, and government funding and special events, with a personal emphasis on identifying, cultivating, and securing new sources of funding.


  • Collaboratively plan with the Director of the Museum of Art, Dean of the School of Art, Director of Performing Arts, and other department heads to determine the highest organizational priorities and develop targeted strategies to support specific programs and initiatives.


  • Ensure that the department adheres to strategic and operational plan goals, preparing and presenting regular progress reports to the President and board as needed and oversee the departmental expense budget.


  • Manage the department’s staffing needs, including interviewing, hiring, evaluating, and mentoring team members.


  • Supervise and set goals for the Assistant Director, shared assistant, a part-time grant writer, and a part-time events manager.


  • Ensure regular contact and timely correspondence with prospects and donors.


Stewardship and Cultivation

  • Proactively support the board, development committee, and the President to drive fundraising activities and personal engagement with existing donors and potential prospects.


  • Develop and implement short- and long-term strategies for fundraising.


  • Maintain a personal portfolio of donors, cultivating and soliciting major gifts for the annual fund, special events, capital projects, and special programs.


  • Act as an MWPAI advocate throughout the community to develop and cultivate institutional relationships.


  • Establish solicitation priorities, manage prospect lists and research, and develop and execute targeted cultivation plans and solicitation strategies for a range of prospects.


  • Design, implement, and manage a comprehensive planned giving program.


Annual Fund and Membership Programs

  • Develop strategies to support membership growth, including visitor conversion, cultivation strategies, special events, benefits fulfillment, daily donor interaction, and volunteer management.


  • Direct all aspects of the membership program, including the design, execution, and measurable goal-setting, with special focus on growing the Fountain Elms Society—the highest membership level.


  • Design, implement, and manage an annual fund campaign and annual PrattMWP alumni and parent solicitation.


  • Maintain cooperative partnerships with all key departments to support annual giving programs, sponsorships, special projects, and events to strengthen existing donor relationships and engage new donors.


  • Coordinate with the Director of Communications to ensure all MWPAI external brand, identity, and messaging are consistent.



Traits and Characteristics

The Director of Donor Relations will be motivated and determined, with a passion for the role of art and arts education. A people-focused leader, this individual will be committed to developing a culture of customer service and will appreciate frequent interactions with a diverse range of community stakeholders and potential partners. Versatile and comfortable with frequent change, the Director of Donor Relations will value collaboration across the institution and will be comfortable juggling multiple projects and priorities within a complex environment.


Other key competencies include the following:


  • Time and Priority Management – Takes initiative and prioritizes tasks. Establishes courses of action to ensure that work is completed effectively, with desired outcomes and within allotted time frames.


  • Planning and Organizing – Works within established timeframes and ascertains top priorities for optimum productivity, with procedures, processes, and systems that result in order, accuracy, and efficiency. 


  • Goal Achievement – Establishes goals that are relevant and attainable and initiates activity without delay.


  • Interpersonal Skills – The gravitas to build rapport and demonstrate a sincere interest in others while effectively communicating and relating well to a diverse constituency.


  • Customer Focus – A commitment to customer satisfaction with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs and the ability to anticipate challenges and develop appropriate solutions.


  • Resiliency – The capacity to persevere in an increasingly competitive environment.




A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and five to seven years of relevant experience in a cultural organization, educational institution, or similar entity are required. A demonstrated commitment to the arts, arts education, and community collaboration in working with faculty, staff, board, and an array of external stakeholders is necessary. Previous managerial experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills and the ability to interact at the executive level are key.



Compensation and Benefits

Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off, and participation in a matching 403(b) retirement plan.



Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to:


Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

Director of Donor Relations Search

310 Genesee Street

Utica, New York   13502

Inquiries: 315-797-0000, extension 2108