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The Watermill Center
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Feb 25, 2022

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Position Type
Fundraising, Annual Fund, Capital Campaigns, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Direct Marketing, Donor Relations, Fundraising Administration, Major Gifts, Membership, Planned Giving, Special Events
Arts, Community Foundations, Philanthropic Advisors
Employment Type
Full Time
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The Watermill Center seeks an experienced and innovative Development Director to build and lead fundraising initiatives with the Artistic Director, Managing Director, and Director of Institutional Advancement. The Development Director will join the multi-faceted organization at a pivotal moment with the recent creation of a three to five-year strategic plan. Focused on expanding audiences, growing the donor and trustee pipeline, and creating a sustainable funding structure for the future, the Development Director will oversee the Development Team and be responsible for building and executing the development plan and holding themselves and the team responsible for their goals. The right candidate values storytelling, relationship building, and collaboration. The Development Director is a position reporting to the Director of Institutional Advancement and works closely with the Managing  Director and Artistic Director.

About The Watermill Center
The Watermill Center is a laboratory for the arts and humanities, providing a global community the time, space, and freedom to create and inspire.

Founded in 1992 by Robert Wilson, The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities situated on ten acres of Shinnecock ancestral territory on Long  Island’s East End. With an emphasis on creativity and collaboration, Watermill offers artist residencies and education programs that integrate contemporary artistic practice with resources from the humanities and research from the sciences.

Situated on 39 Watermill Towd Rd, a 20,000 square foot main facility houses a Study Library, Art Collection, spaces for rehearsals, performances, and exhibitions, a kitchen with dining areas, and office space. The Artist-in-Residence House, at 11 Watermill Towd Road, is a 10,000 square foot facility with eight private bedrooms, a kitchen, living areas, and an amphitheater. The Art Collection consists of 5,000+ works of art and artifacts, ranging from ancient to contemporary, including numerous museum-quality works from Indonesia, Africa, and Oceania, as well as works by contemporary artists such as Paul Thek, Donald Judd, Bruce Nauman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Agnes Martin, among others.


Fundraising Strategy
● With the Director of Institutional Advancement, Managing Director, and Trustees, build a comprehensive strategy to sustainably expand philanthropic support, both domestically and internationally.
● Create a thriving culture of philanthropy in support of The Watermill Center’s programming and operations.
● Develop short and long-range fundraising goals and implement plans to ensure the team works effectively and cohesively towards these goals.
● Work with the Development Team to evaluate data from past fundraising efforts and the organization’s donor database to help develop fundraising strategies.
● Execute fundraising plans with precision and report regularly on progress.

● Draft compelling material for the Communications Team to support fundraising efforts. 

Individual Giving
● Plan and manage individual donor campaigns with Development Team
● Oversee donor research, cultivation, solicitation, and ongoing relationship management.
● Create a pipeline for future donors and trustees.
● Develop and implement a planned giving program and strategy.
● Support the Managing Director, Board Chair, and Artistic Director’s efforts to manage and engage the board.
● Help with board development, including research and stewardship of strong, diverse board candidates.

Institutional Giving
● Develop and implement a strategy for Institutional Giving.
● Identify and secure new funding opportunities to support programs and operations.
● Work with programs and operations teams to identify future funding opportunities.
● Oversee institutional funding calendar to ensure timely applications and reporting processes.
● Communicate goals and manage timely delivery of application materials with a grant writer.
● Build and maintain relationships with grant program managers and funders.

● Research and connect with companies eager to support and engage with The Watermill Center’s programs and events.
● Build relationships with the local business community to seek support for local public programs and education initiatives.
● Steward current brand partners and develop integrated opportunities to support both the artists and meet sponsors’ goals.
● Work with the Communications Team to create sponsorship packages and documents.
● Ensure sponsorship benefits are met, and reporting requirements are completed.
● With the development team, oversee membership initiatives and membership-related events and activities.
● Develop strategies to grow and engage our members.
● Strategize with the Communications and Programs departments to create content for our members.

Special Events
● Oversee the planning and coordination of special events ranging from membership activities to fundraising events, such as our Summer Benefit and Artists’ Table series.
● Work with the Artist Programs Manager and Curator to coordinate artist participation during events.

Finance, Reports, and Record-Keeping

● Prepare and manage annual departmental revenue and expense budgets and track quarterly cash flow against contributed income projections.
● Prepare financial reports for the Leadership Team.
● Regularly work with the Director of Finance to ensure accurate financial records.
● Oversee the Development Team’s management of the Salesforce database, donation processing, tracking, and analysis.
● Ensure acknowledgment letters and thank you notes are sent in a timely manner.

Desired Skills & Qualifications
● Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
● Considerable development experience and a strong track record in all areas of development
● Knowledge of contemporary arts and cultural sector with a demonstrated commitment to supporting artists and the arts
● Strong management skills with proven ability to motivate and lead
● Strategic, analytical, and detail-oriented with excellent writing and interpersonal skills
● Excellent organizational, research, and communication skills with strong attention to detail
● Highly collaborative and able to work across the organization
● Experience prioritizing tasks, working deadlines, and adapting to changing priorities
● Experience handling multiple projects simultaneously
● Strategic thinker with creative problem-solving skills
● Proficiency in development database software, Google and Microsoft Suites, Slack, Zoom, and adopting new digital tools.
● Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends for special events

Employment Terms
Full-time, ongoing position located at The Watermill Center in Water Mill, NY. M-F, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with some weekend hours. 15 days vacation, dates to be approved by supervisor; 10 major public holidays; 5 personal days; Option for health and dental insurance benefits; option for 401(k) plan. Salary commensurate with experience.

Please send a resume and a brief cover letter as a single PDF to with the subject heading “Development Director.” Only those whose applications are being considered will be contacted. No other emails or phone calls, please.

The Watermill Center, operated by the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation, is a proud equal opportunity employer and considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, familial or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.

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