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Director of Major Gifts

Arena Stage
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Oct 13, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Major Gifts
Employment Type
Full Time
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Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, a national center for the production, presentation, development, and study of the American Theater, seeks a senior fundraiser and Development professional.

The Director of Major Gifts reports to the Director of Development and manages the Major Gifts team in their work of prospecting, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding individual donors who give $1,500 or more a year. The position will personally carry a portfolio of major gift donors and supervise the Leadership Giving Manager who stewards the Inner Circle and the Major Gifts Assistant who supports the team. The position will also be expected to collaborate thoroughly across the Development Team and the entire organization.


Responsibilities include:

60% Major Gift Fundraising and Prospect Management

  • Managing a portfolio of donors and prospects who currently give, or are capable of giving, $15,000 or more a year. The portfolio is currently about 50 qualified donors and prospects.
  • Through qualification of current members, subscribers and other prospects, grow that major gifts portfolio to approximately 80 qualified prospects and donors.
  • Frequently “getting out of the office” to deepen relationships donors and prospects at performances or off site meetings for stewardship, cultivation and solicitation.
  • Supervising the creation of written correspondence to donors including invitations, proposals, update letters, etc.
  • Aiding the Executive Producer, Artistic Director, Director of Development and Board members in focusing their efforts on key prospects.
  • Supervise and work closely with the Leadership Giving Manager, who focuses on individual donors giving between $1,500 and $14,999 annually, to identify and move interested donors from membership levels to major gift levels.
  • Assist the Director of Development in Board member relations and work with Trustees on Major Gift cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
  • Participate in identification and cultivation of potential Board members.
  • Working with the Development Operations team to create and prioritize donor research goals.
  • Creating and maintaining quarterly projections for major gifts revenue.
  • Maintaining and refining a moves management system to record donor steps and contact report.
  • Partner with the Planned Giving Specialist on planned giving prospecting and solicitation.
  • Managing the sponsorship program for productions and programs.

15% Event Management and Participation

  • Attending frequent opening nights, VIP dinners and other events hosted by the development team and Trustees of Arena Stage. Night and weekend work is expected but time will be flexed accordingly.
  • Working with the Development Operations team to plan and execute special events for Inner Circle and major donors, including frequent collaboration with Trustees to host off-site events.

25% Team Management

  • Functioning as a senior leader on the Development team and represent the team across the organization.
  • Partnering with the Membership team and manage the work of the Leadership Giving Manager to ensure retention and growth in the Inner Circle program.
  • Supervising the workflow of the Major Gifts Assistant.
  • Working with the Institutional team as needed to identify connections and craft proposals that involve individual and corporate or foundation components.
  • Assisting in building and maintaining the Young Patrons’ Board, a group of community leaders who are under 40 and passionate about Arena’s mission.



Arena Stage seeks a fundraising leader who would join a high-functioning team of collaborators. The success of the Development team is grounded in the trust we have for each other and we are looking for a new colleague to join that circle and share our passion for creating powerful art. Experience closing gifts as a front-line fundraiser is necessary. Working knowledge of Tessitura preferred.

The successful candidate…

  • Has a minimum of seven years’ experience in a donor-facing role, with a proven track record of carrying a major gift portfolio and closing five- and six-figure gifts.
  • Has a minimum of two years’ experience as a supervisor, preferably managing other fundraisers.
  • Has experience managing or working alongside an annual membership program.
  • Believes in the ability of theater to engage, entertain, educate and create social change.
  • Has a working knowledge of planned giving strategies and giving vehicles.
  • Is creative and can inspire and motivate colleagues.
  • Can take on a project and move it to completion, knowing when to delegate, ask for assistance and/or recalibrate goals.
  • Is very comfortable in social situations and displays maturity and extraordinary judgement in matters related to relationship cultivation.
  • Will be highly organized, self-motivated, strategic, professional and able to manage multiple projects under tight deadlines.
  • Is able to navigate the occasional difficult personality.
  • Will have excellent communication skills.
  • Has a memory for details.
  • Is available to work occasional nights and weekends.
  • Thrives in a very fast-paced work environment.
  • Has exceptional interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively.
  • Is experienced with handling confidential information in a discreet manor.
  • Knowledge of the arts in general and theater specifically is strongly preferred, as well as the greater DC donor community.
  • Must be computer literate and have demonstrated ability to work with donor databases (Tessitura preferred).
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