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New York City Opera seeks applications for Director of Development

New York City Opera seeks applications for Director of Development


New York City Opera (NYCO) was famously dubbed “The People's Opera” by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at its founding in 1943. More than 70 years later, and with its rebirth in 2016, NYCO continues its historic mission to inspire audiences with innovative and theatrically compelling opera, nurture the work of promising American artists, and build new audiences through affordable ticket prices and extensive outreach and education programs. Since its founding, NYCO has played a critical role in both the city’s cultural life and the world's operatic landscape. The company has launched many major operatic careers through engaging productions of diverse repertoire, innovative commissions, and regional premieres, resulting in a uniquely American opera company of international stature.


NYCO has a distinct identity, guided by its foundational principles: affordable ticket prices, a focus on American works, the promotion of up-and-coming American singers, and compelling productions that engage a diverse audience. Stars who began their careers at NYCO include Camilla Williams, Plácido Domingo, Beverly Sills, Samuel Ramey, and dozens more. For decades the company has been committed to introducing opera to young audiences, using educational outreach programs to bring the art form into New York City public schools. Taking inspiration from its vibrant community, NYCO celebrates diversity with such programs as an Ópera en Español series, an LGBT initiative, and revitalized outreach and education programs that cultivate and inspire the next generation of audiences.


Poised for significant growth, the organization’s current four-production operating budget is $3.1 million, with 80 percent derived from contributed revenue. Its endowment stands at approximately $3 million. NYCO has a five-member board led by Chairman Kenneth A. Rosen and its artistic and managerial team is guided by General Director Michael Capasso.


Position Summary

The Director of Development (DOD) will have an exciting and rewarding opportunity to chart the next phase of philanthropic growth for New York City Opera. Reporting to and partnering with the General Director, the DOD will create and execute plans to maximize contributed revenue. Growing annual giving, major gifts, and institutional giving are central to the position. This individual will partner with and mobilize board members and the artistic and executive leadership to maximize development opportunities and deepen relationships with the philanthropic community.


Roles and Responsibilities


Fundraising Strategy and Implementation


§  Create, implement, and manage annual fund campaigns designed to significantly increase contributed income and meet fundraising goals.


§  Collaborate with the General Director, Managing Director, and board to develop and execute short- and long-term fundraising strategies.


§  Direct all aspects of donor programs, including identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.


§  Establish solicitation priorities, manage prospect lists and research, and develop and execute targeted cultivation plans and solicitation strategies for a range of prospects.


§  Cultivate current donors for ongoing support while seeking new prospects to ensure a robust and diversified funding base.


§  Guide special event activities, design donor benefits, and engage in volunteer management.


§  Develop promotional opportunities to support annual giving programs, sponsorships, special projects, and events.


§  Represent NYCO at a variety of public and private community events, as appropriate.


§  Embrace other fundraising strategy and implementation responsibilities as needed.

Data Assessment and Integration


§  Prepare and monitor revenue and expense budgets and provide accurate reporting.


§  Analyze and integrate data into effective fundraising strategies.


§  Maintain the integrity of patron, donor, and prospect records.


§  Assess current technology and refine practices to ensure maximum efficiency and results, utilizing data to analyze and document fundraising needs and opportunities.


§  Embrace other data assessment and integration responsibilities as needed.


Traits and Characteristics

The DOD will be a self-directed and collaborative leader and a skilled frontline fundraiser who is motivated to pursue goals with energy and determination. This individual will be driven by practical results while taking initiative as and knowledgeable of the most current fundraising trends. The DOD will exhibit a drive for excellence with the ability to implement best practices and new approaches to achieve ambitious fundraising goals. The ideal candidate will bring personal charisma, a passion for opera and the arts, and a strong commitment to positively impact the organization’s success. The successful DOD will be results-driven, self-motivated, and relentlessly focused on fundraising goals.


Other key competencies include:


§  Goal Orientation – The capacity to establish, pursue, and achieve goals that are inspirational and attainable, recognizing and acting on opportunities that advance progress.


§  Teamwork – The flexibility to motivate and cooperate with others to accomplish shared goals while respecting team members and their individual perspectives.


§  Time and Priority Management – The dexterity to balance timelines and desired outcomes, to effectively manage difficulties and delays, and to prioritize tasks to stay on schedule.


§  Problem Solving – The resiliency to anticipate, identify, and resolve problems regardless of obstacles.



Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and development experience with increasing fundraising responsibility and demonstrated success working in a nonprofit organization. Superior presentation and written/verbal communication skills that can reach a broad range of individuals and organizations are required. This role requires expertise in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and donor database programs. High-level experience using Tessitura, digital media, and advanced tools for donor prospecting and research is desired.


Compensation and Benefits

NYCO provides competitive salary and benefits, including medical insurance, dental insurance, and generous paid time off.


Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:


Ms. Jenna Deja, Vice President


201 West Lake Street, Suite 133

Chicago, IL 60606-1803

Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext. 227



New York City Opera is an equal opportunity employer.