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Vice President of Development - Harris Theater for Music and Dance

Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Illinois, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Jun 9, 2022

The Vice President (VP) of Development is a full-time position, reporting to the President and CEO and collaborating with the Board of Trustees to lead the Harris Theater’s successful contributed revenue program. The VP of Development produces the Theater’s fundraising strategy and develops the roadmap for success by leading the Development team to meet the department's annual revenue and donor relations goals.

 Working with the visionary and dedicated Harris Board of Trustees and talented staff, the VP of Development guides the strategic fundraising efforts for a portfolio of contributed revenue streams, including individual, foundation, government, corporate philanthropy, and special events. The VP of Development stewards and nurtures relationships with existing funders, cultivates and solicits new funders, and delivers best practices in nonprofit philanthropy. The VP of Development will set and execute a plan for growing contributed revenue for the Theater especially as it looks toward its 20th anniversary season (2023-24), building both the operational and team structure to support and sustain that growth.

 As a vital member of the senior leadership team, the VP of Development collaborates in setting annual and long-term organizational goals, enjoys representing the Theater externally in the community, and advocates for a thriving company culture. This individual values collaboration, artistic integrity, an organizational culture of belonging, and respect, and brings these values into their day-to-day work.




  • Serves as the chief architect and ambassador for all fundraising initiatives and sets the Theater’s contributed revenue fundraising goals and ensures they are met or exceeded
  • Leads the Development team in and participates in identifying, qualifying, cultivating, and soliciting a portfolio of board and major giving donors and prospects
  • Advances and inspires renewed commitments from current scope of donor and Board relationships
  • In collaboration with the Development and Marketing teams, outlines and activates the framework and mechanisms for donor engagement throughout the season
  • Develops a strategic and operational plan for annual growth in the Theater’s fundraising programs, to be reviewed with CEO and the Board of Trustees - Development Committee
  • Hosts donor site visits, tours, and in-person meetings and engages in-person donors, at all levels, at performances and events
  • Provides vision and leadership around the Theater’s fundraising events
  • Stewards sponsorship benefit fulfillment and formal/informal reporting
  • Ensures effective design and implementation of cultivation, acknowledgment, and recognition programs
  • Collaborates with the Finance department on timely reporting and reconciliations
  • Supports strategy and execution for major gift solicitations undertaken by the Harris’ senior leadership, Board of Trustees, Harris Theater Associate Board members, or other Development staff
  • Represents the Theater at performances and events, both internally at the Harris and externally in the Chicago community

 Board Relations:

  • Supports and guides the Board of Trustees and CEO in cultivating and soliciting prospects to make gifts supporting the Theater
  • Serves as staff lead for the Board of Trustees – Development Committee and collaborates with the committee chairs on committee strategy and focus (short and long-term)
  • Attends and participates in Board of Trustee committee meetings as requested by CEO or board committee chairs (examples: Governance and Nominating, Finance, and Executive Committees)
  • Works closely with the Executive and Board Relations Assistant on agendas, communications, and meeting operations for board meetings, and supporting board attendance at performances and events

Leadership and management:

  • Manages and leads the following direct reports: Senior Manager of Development and Engagement and Grants and Evaluation Coordinator, and indirect report, the Development Coordinator
  • Works closely with the Executive and Board Relations Assistant on guest relations for board members and donors for Harris Theater Presents performances
  • Supports direct reports by ensuring they have the tools, mentoring, professional development, and resources to meet their goals
  • Develops a dynamic and open partnership with the CEO that ensures strategic, proactive administration of fundraising programs and employee management
  • Sets and oversees the Development department budget and ensures the optimal return on investment and cost per dollar raised
  • Establishes performance measurements related to contributed revenue and goals and reports progress using data analysis and KPIs
  • Works with Development team members and organization at large to prioritize inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in day-to-day work and long-term goals
  • Ensures compliance with philanthropic regulations and laws, establishes and maintains organizational standards for receiving donations, and upholds philanthropic ethical principles and standards of conduct for fundraising professionals
  • Ensures best practices in data management and ongoing maintenance of donor and gift management systems
  • Collaborates as a key member of the senior leadership team in providing ideas and best practices for decisions affecting the Theater’s annual and long-term operating vision, including mission priorities, capital needs, and human & financial resources


As a key member of the senior leadership team, the Vice President of Development is expected to:

  • Uphold the Harris Theater’s mission to be a home for music and dance and embody organizational core values of artistic integrity, collaboration, belonging, and respect
  • Collaborate in senior leadership team meetings and actively generate ideas and opportunities to engage in organizational best practices and mission delivery
  • Maintain professional conduct and represent the Theater positively in all interactions with artists, partner organizations, donors, Trustees, patrons, and vendors
  • Collaborate to set the Theater’s contributed revenue fundraising goals and ensure they are met or exceeded

 The ideal candidate will have:

  • An excitement for the Harris Theater’s mission
  • 5-8 years of successful revenue-generating experience, with a broad and deep knowledge of philanthropy and a track record of securing major gifts
  • 3-5 years of employee management and a thoughtful instinct towards mentorship, delegation, and goal-oriented team accountability
  • The ability to represent the Theater through strong interpersonal and communication skills including observing/listening and writing/speaking
  • A drive to use data and metrics to achieve strategic objectives and make decisions
  • The ability to prioritize, manage multiple projects, and navigate various communication styles simultaneously
  • Outstanding organizational skills with strong attention to detail
  • A track record meeting financial goals
  • Experience with Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel (experience with Tessitura is a plus)

The salary range for this position begins at $135,000 per year plus a benefits package.

Please submit a cover letter and resume to No phone calls please.

The Harris Theater is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, veteran, national origin, or disability status or any protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, and local laws.

As of, August 16th, 2021, any new hire of the Harris Theater will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will be required to complete the Harris Theater COVID-19 Vaccination Disclosure Form during the initial onboarding with the Director of Human Resources. Medical and Religious Exemption form made available upon request. This policy is being instated based upon current public health guidance, our need for employees to physically be onsite at the Theater and Theater office premises to support standard and performance operations, and the current increase of COVID-19 cases within our immediate area along with the unpredictability of the current COVID-19 variant in addition to the potential of other variants. The Harris Theater reserves the right to evaluate and modify this policy at any time based on current public health guidance and industry standards.

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