Chief of External Affairs

Baltimore Museum of Art
Maryland, United States
$175,000.00 - $195,000.00
Closing date
Mar 9, 2024

Position Summary

The Chief of External Affairs (CEA) will lead and develop overall contributed and earned income strategies for annual operational and endowment growth. The CEA will be the primary staff liaison for the Marketing and Annual Gifts Board Committees and be engaged with other Board Committees such as Governance/Nominating. The CEA will report to the Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director and serve as a member of the Senior Leadership Team in setting direction and strategy for Advancement and Marketing and Communications teams. In partnership with the Director, the CEA will formulate local, national, and international strategic partnerships, maximize philanthropic and earned revenues, leverage institutional marketing and communications opportunities to attract visitors, and ensure a welcoming and engaging museum experience. The CEA will be deeply engaged in the solicitation of major and transformational donations, including sponsorships and event activities. They will conceptualize and implement a plan to build productive relationships with national, community, and civic partners. The CEA will also lead and motivate a diverse team of professionals to devise successful capital, endowment, annual fundraising, planned giving, and marketing and communications plans.


The CEA will be responsible for growing and managing a top-tier fundraising and external affairs operation. Building relationships with the diverse communities of Baltimore, the CEA will serve as a visible and engaging leader within the museum and throughout the broader community. They will also develop and deploy a national marketing and brand-building strategy for the museum through civic, cultural, and philanthropic partnerships. The CEA will also advance the BMA’s mission of social justice and artistic excellence in alignment with its operational and revenue-generation plans.


Role and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Fundraising

  • Create, implement, and manage strategic fundraising, marketing, and communications plans designed to increase earned and contributed revenue, attendance, public visibility, and demonstrated mission impact.
  • Mobilize the Board of Trustees, the Director, and community leaders and partners to drive fundraising activity and personal engagement with top prospects, sponsorships, and special events.
  • Provide expertise, leadership, and strategic direction in all aspects of development and external affairs to the Board, the Senior Leadership Team, and as required to the full staff of the BMA.
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of major and principal gift donors, cultivating and soliciting major gifts and developing productive corporate and foundation relationships.
  • Remain current on and adapt to cultural, economic, political, and social developments that affect revenue goals and external messaging.
  • Partner with curators and others to develop strategies to cultivate and solicit collectors and donors to acquire art that enhances the BMA’s collection and supports its mission of artistic excellence and social justice.
  • Embrace other strategic leadership and fundraising responsibilities, as needed.


Brand and Community Engagement

  • Oversee a comprehensive, integrated, and strategic brand engagement story that welcomes a wide range of audiences, donors, students, partners, employees, and other stakeholders that share the museum’s values and vision regarding inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.
  • Create and implement audience development plans based in quantitative and qualitative research on attending and non-attending audiences, evolving marketing trends, and contemporary outreach strategies.
  • Collaborate with Curatorial, Education and Exhibitions teams, among others, to develop thoughtful programs that are vital to community participation and the national and international reputation of the museum.
  • Fully utilize the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to ensure that fundraising, membership, and marketing efforts are aligned and optimized.
  • Embrace other brand and community engagement responsibilities, as needed.

Team and Operational Leadership

  • Recruit, lead, guide, and mentor the Advancement and Marketing and Communications teams’ successful achievement of museum experience goals, mission, and values, with an emphasis on identifying, cultivating, and securing renewed, increased, and new sources of attendance and support.
  • Ensure that the museum’s internal culture, print and digital platforms, and technological systems and procedures support the Advancement and Marketing and Communications teams as the foundation of a vibrant organization embracing boldness and relevance.
  • Oversee and monitor expense budgets, provide accurate reporting, analysis, and integration of data and ensure the maintenance and integrity of reporting and records in collaboration with the finance office.
  • Create a supportive, collaborative, productive, inclusive, and healthy work environment based on respect, teamwork and clear communication, expectations, and responsibilities.
  • Embrace other team and operational leadership responsibilities, as needed.


Traits and Characteristics

The CEA must be a flexible leader and astute manager with a collaborative spirit. They will be comfortable working within a nontraditional organizational structure that values cross-departmental collaboration, teamwork, and seeking new ideas from unconventional sources. The CEA will provide a strong fundraising, marketing and communications vision and be committed to exploring the evolving relationships between art institutions and their audiences, donors, and broader community. Proactive, dynamic, and people-oriented, the CEA will be an experienced leader with the vision to actively pursue BMA’s ambitious goals with creativity and determination. This individual will balance tasks and projects with a sense of urgency and possess superlative interpersonal, communication, and public speaking skills that result in compelling verbal and written messages for BMA. A self-sufficient and self-managed professional with a highly organized approach, the CEA will be able to achieve organizational objectives with staff, board members, volunteers, donors, the media, and external stakeholders. This individual will bring an affinity for BMA’s mission and a passion to positively impact the organization’s long-term success, complemented by highly developed skills and an efficient best practices approach. They will also model behavior that creates trust, builds confidence, and encourages others to follow suggested paths or approaches to advance the museum.


Other key competencies of this role include:

  • Diplomacy and Leadership – The dexterity to effectively handle difficult or sensitive issues, while organizing and influencing people to believe in a vision and create a sense of purpose and direction.
  • Personal Accountability and Self-Starting – The integrity to take responsibility and be answerable for personal and professional decisions with the capacity to clearly set and define goals while demonstrating initiative and willingness to be proactive.
  • Time and Priority Management – The acuity to develop initiatives and demonstrate self-control in managing time and priorities while identifying and leveraging resources that allow people to achieve results.
  • Planning, Organizing, and Project Management – The capability to establish courses of action to ensure that work is completed effectively and with appropriate processes, tasks, and systems that create efficiencies and support accomplishments.
  • Donor, Member, and Community Focus – The ability to meet and exceed diverse stakeholder needs, wants, and expectations.


An educational and professional background with eight or more years of progressive leadership experience in an art, cultural, or education institution is preferred. A proven track record of securing six- and seven-figure gifts and leading integrated earned and contributed revenue programs is required. Experience in all areas of advancement, including major gifts, planned giving, annual fund, membership, corporate sponsorships, foundation support, capital campaigns, endowments, special events, non-traditional fundraising resources, and marketing and communications is needed. Demonstrable expertise in managing a substantial department, project, and/or program budget is expected. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including public speaking, are necessary, as are strong computer skills and knowledge of advanced donor research and customer relationship management systems. Experience raising funds throughout a large geographic region, nationally, or internationally is a plus, as are multiple language skills.


Compensation and Benefits

BMA offers a competitive salary and a generous benefits package, including an annual base salary estimated to be in the range of $175,000 to $195,000. For this full-time exempt position, BMA offers medical, dental, vision, prescription drug, and long-term disability insurances; 403(b) retirement plan with match; flexible spending account; museum and restaurant discounts; and reduced fee gym membership. BMA also offers accrued vacation, holidays, personal days, floating holidays, and sick days to ensure a well-balanced and healthy workforce. 


Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit . For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:


Todd Ahrens, Vice President

201 West Lake Street, Suite 133

Chicago, IL 60606-1803

Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 216



BMA is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. BMA is also an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.  We are committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourage all qualified professionals to apply.


BMA acknowledges that research shows that women and individuals from underrepresented backgrounds often apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. BMA recognizes that it is highly unlikely that an applicant meets 100% of the qualifications for a given role. Therefore, if much of this posting describes you, then you are highly encouraged to apply for this exciting opportunity.


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