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Senior Director of Development

Position Summary 

Imagination Stage seeks a dynamic leader and results-driven development professional to serve as our next Senior Director of Development. The Senior Director of Development will be a key member of Imagination Stage’s senior management team, working closely with the Managing Director, Founding Artistic Director, Director of Marketing and Communications, and Board of Trustees, to gain greater community awareness and financial support for Imagination Stage as we capitalize on the lead up to our 50th anniversary celebration in 2030. The Senior Director of Development will function as the primary solicitor for major individual funders in collaboration with the Managing Director. The position will serve as an integral co-leader in developing, implementing and monitoring the institution’s long-range resourcing strategies, as well as its annual contributed revenue, philanthropic activities and special events. This includes personal responsibility for major donor prospecting, cultivation, and solicitation of individuals and businesses (currently $600K), and overseeing special events, development operations, and institutional giving (currently $1.5 million), all towards capturing opportunities to increase current donor participation and diversify funding sources. This role will lead and work collaboratively with a dedicated team (currently 2 and growing), in partnership with executive leadership, to grow our annual fundraising yield from $2 to $4 million over 5 years.

Essential Roles and Responsibilities 

The Senior Director of Development will work collaboratively with the Imagination Stage team to advance its mission and goals while embodying its core values. Time will be split about 75/25 between major gift officer (driving and executing major and corporate gifts and planned giving) and departmental leader (guiding the annual fund, institutional giving, development operations, and special events) responsibilities. Other essential duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Major Gift Officer (75%)

  • Personally lead the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of a portfolio of major gifts and planned gifts from individuals and institutional partners.
  • Develop significant fundraising opportunities and contacts throughout the region. 
  • Work closely with the Managing Director to steward the organization's board members and most generous donors.
  • Ensure the development and maintenance of a giving pipeline, moving donors from the membership program to major and planned giving.
  • Manage and improve our program for the identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of existing as well as prospective major donors, including individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Departmental Leader (25%)

  • In partnership with the Managing Director, serve as a principal fundraising strategist and development officer for Imagination Stage.
  • Advise, prepare, and support the Managing Director, Artistic Director, and Board Members to maximize the effectiveness of Imagination Stage’s fundraising and community outreach efforts.
  • Prepare the Development department's strategic plan with short- and long-range goals to meet Imagination Stage’s funding and advancement objectives.
  • Hire, manage, develop, and evaluate development staff and consultants, including currently a, Development Manager and Development Apprentice, and grant writing firm.
  • Establish development policies, systems, and procedures, with a special emphasis on ethical standards for soliciting and reporting gifts and for exceeding the expectations of individual, corporate, foundation and government donors.
  • Prepare and administer department budget, projecting and monitoring goals for both revenue and expense.
  • Represent Imagination Stage at development-related community events.
  • Coordinate with Marketing Department staff to ensure integrated marketing and development activities and to produce website and print materials that enhance Imagination Stage’s image and promote its fundraising activities and mission-based impact.
  • With Development Manager and Managing Director, supervise the planning and execution of benefit events such as banquets, balls, or auctions and provide direction and oversight to ensure maximum net financial and institutional results from such efforts.
  • Ensure the appropriate use of donor software, securing donor privacy, data accuracy and timeliness of reporting.
  • Support the Community Engagement Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities 

  • Demonstrated success in soliciting and securing major gifts from individual and institutional funders.
  • Creative, energetic, and entrepreneurial
  • Able to provide strategic philanthropic leadership at a time when Imagination Stage is expanding its mission reach and institutional influence
  • Highly skilled and effective communicator with a demonstrated history of success working with a wide range of people
  • Superior organizational and planning skills
  • Ability to lead and inspire corporate and individual donors, volunteers, colleagues and staff to advance Imagination Stage
  • Savvy and smart with a sense of humor and a commitment to team-based management and the engagement and involvement of volunteer leadership
  • Desire to work in a fast-paced, open-office environment with regular interaction with many stakeholders
  • Must have a sophisticated understanding of the tools of fundraising and community partnerships
  • Demonstrated commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access and an appetite for imbuing these values into development practices.

Education and Experience 

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience, and a minimum of 5-8 years of front-line development and/or community relations experience in a nonprofit arts organization
  • Successful track record of cultivating, soliciting and stewarding five and six-figure gifts.
  • Supervisory experience is preferred.
  • Experience working directly with members of a governing board of trustees.
  • Background in the arts, youth development, education or as an arts consumer is preferable.
  • Experience with the greater Washington DC philanthropic community a plus
  • Knowledge of contact management systems, databases, research or other donor relations tools, preferably Tessitura, is preferable

Compensation and Benefits 

  • Annual Salary starting at $90,000, with significant opportunity for advancement as portfolio grows
  • Health Insurance
  • Paid Time Off
  • Transit/Parking benefit
  • Free and reduced priced tickets, classes, and summer camps

Imagination Stage celebrates diversity, is committed to creating an inclusive workplace that values members of our whole community and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not tolerate discrimination against applicants or employees on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by law. Imagination Stage is dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse workplace experiences and backgrounds. We encourage applicants of all backgrounds and identities to apply for roles that align with their interests and career trajectory. If you meet a majority of the qualifications and see yourself in this role, we would love to see your application. Candidates from all backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

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