Director of Major Gifts

Washington, United States
$100,000.00 - $125,000.00
Jan 05, 2021
Feb 03, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

Organization Overview:

 Led by Music Director Thomas Dausgaard, the Seattle Symphony unleashes the power of music, brings people together and lifts the human spirit. Recognized as one of the “most vital American orchestras” (NPR), the Seattle Symphony is internationally acclaimed for its inventive programming, community-minded initiatives and superb recordings on the Seattle Symphony Media label. With a strong commitment to new music and a legacy of over 150 recordings, the orchestra has garnered five Grammy Awards, 26 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and was named Gramophone’s 2018 Orchestra of the Year. The Symphony performs in Benaroya Hall in the heart of downtown Seattle from September through July, reaching over 500,000 people annually through live performances and radio broadcasts.

 Currently the organization is adapting to reach our audiences despite the orchestra’s inability to hold live performances due to the coronavirus. This season, our musicians continue to creatively share music online through Seattle Symphony Live, the orchestra’s virtual home. This new digital platform greatly expands our reach beyond our existing audiences to many who have never attended in person, including thousands of new viewers locally, across the country and around the world who joined us for free broadcasts. Annual education programs like Link Up and Community Connections, share free concert experiences in collaboration with our 70 nonprofit and service organization partners and have also been reimagined as fully digital programs to continue serving our community safely.

Position Overview:

The Director of Major Gifts is a key position in the success of the contributed revenue efforts of the Seattle Symphony, and responsible for the management and growth of a personal portfolio of individual donors as well as the department’s collective major gifts fundraising efforts, in coordination with the VP of Development. Through their own portfolio and in support of other frontline fundraisers, the DMG will lead the Stradivarius Circle ($25,000+) and Artist Circle programs in meeting critical revenue goals with strong fundraising techniques and stewardship practices. This position will be a part of the Development Leadership Team and will in coordination ensure fundraising initiatives align with organizational needs.

 The Director of Major Gifts is a professional who is comfortable engaging with donors, board members and colleagues and is sensitive, tactful, confident and patient, with a strong work ethic. The DMG has superior written and verbal presentation skills and is a strong strategic thinker; the DMG is self-motivated, well organized and able to lead initiatives both within the team and also within Board and fundraising committees. She/he is a quick learner, able to take direction, flexible and have good judgment. She/he is able to read financial documents and develop a firm understand the SSO’s budgeting process and history in order to relay pertinent information to donors.  An interest in classical music or the arts is desirable.

 Supervises: Potential to lead Major Gift Officer(s) based on candidate qualifications

Works closely with: Development Leadership Team, Symphony Board members, other development colleagues


  • University degree with a minimum of 10 years professional fundraising experience (preferably in an arts or cultural environment)
  • Proven track record of fundraising success with major gifts ($25K+); successful 6 and 7-figure gift solicitations
  • Ability to manage and steward a portfolio of 50-100 major donors and raise $1M-$2M annually
  • Advanced knowledge and experience in donor-centric fundraising methodology, including but not limited to
    • Identification – use of internet-based research tools, experience using Tessitura or similar databases, detailed knowledge of foundation community (volunteers and staff) in Seattle (and nationally), knowledge of Seattle social and business community
    • Cultivation – ability to reach and develop relationships with new and existing donors in a number of different ways, including cold calls, letters and emails, and networking at social and work environments; ability to judge donor capacity and interest and quickly impart detailed knowledge of the Symphony’s programming and initiatives and/or Benaroya Hall operations and capital needs
    • Solicitation – ability to successfully strategize short term and long term on proper amount, timing and asker to secure annual, repeatable gifts, and larger capacity building gifts. Superior writing and verbal communication skills. Assiduous attention to verbal and non-verbal cues provided by clients/prospects
    • Stewardship – skillful at nurturing relationship between patrons and organization in meaningful ways; scrupulous attention to detail of promised benefits, ensure that they are successfully and consistently delivered; superior report writing skills
  • Ability to quickly learn and adapt to the Seattle Symphony’s funding priorities as well as funding opportunities within Seattle Symphony Foundation and Benaroya Hall
  • Supervisory experience desirable
  • Intermediate level knowledge of Tessitura’s fundraising functions
  • Ability to work well in a dynamic, fast-paced environment
  • Availability for work outside of typical office hours, including evenings and weekends

 Essential Job Functions:

  • Responsible for the strategy, implementation, and management of a portfolio of individual donors to achieve a goal of $1-2 million, annually. Typically, an active portfolio of 50-70 donors and up to 30 prospective donors
  • Responsible for identifying, qualifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding your portfolio of donors to secure Annual Fund (recurring, annual gifts, ranging from $25,000 – 100,000), Leadership ($100,000+), and Special Project gifts. Secure new donors and increase contributions from renewing donors to assist in achieving the overall objectives of the organization
  • Work closely with Event colleagues to best facilitate participation and contributions at special events for individuals in your portfolio
  • Responsible for leading major gift team efforts in coordination with VP of Development, and facilitating appropriate collateral, communications, benefits, and events. Responsible for coordinating efforts with major gift officers, and mid-level giving to ensure cohesion in strategy and messaging within the department.
  • In conjunction with the Director of Special Events, coordinate a series of engagement opportunities for Stradivarius Circle, Artists Circle, and President’s Council donors each season
  • Help to grow the Musical Legacy Society (the SSO’s planned giving society) through cultivating and soliciting planned and estate gifts as part of overall donor strategy
  • Responsible for working collaboratively with Development Leadership colleagues to facilitate donor growth between levels and areas of giving, and to further establish teamwork
  • Work closely with the Development Committee of the Board to facilitate effective personal solicitation of prospects by committee members. 
  • Participate in donor identification, cultivation and stewardship at concerts, receptions and any other events created to further the development effort
  • Proactive use of Tessitura (data management software)

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