Director of Development

The Dallas Opera
November 25, 2019
Dallas, TEXAS
Job Type


Reporting to the Chief Advancement and Strategy Officer of The Dallas Opera (TDO), the Director of Development is responsible for raising contributed revenue in support of TDO’s mission, to sustain the company’s present and future. S/he will provide strategic and day-to-day leadership, planning, and implementation of all philanthropic support. Additionally, s/he will oversee the Development team’s expense budget.

Working in close partnership with board, staff, and volunteer leadership, s/he will manage a team that currently consists of six professionals. As part of TDO senior management team, the Director of Development will also be directly involved in the planning and implementation of the company’s strategies.

Specific duties will include:

  • Advancing and fine-tuning the Development team’s operating plan to increase new and deepen existing donor relationships, tracking quantity of donors, amount of philanthropic dollars, and number of gifts per donor per year per appeal/program/project/campaign, while continually assessing success factors and opportunities, implementing change, and applying best practices
  • Directing all of TDO’s philanthropic activity, including annual, capital, and endowment campaigns and planned giving, special events, and sponsorship programs
  • Aligning donor interests with TDO priorities and programming
  • Overseeing the daily teamwork to ensure that priorities are clear and systems and processes are maximized to support donor identification and research, cultivation and solicitation, accurate gift reporting, and stewardship as part of a comprehensive development effort, including the creation and implementation of a robust and impactful donor communications plan
  • Managing a portfolio of no more than 10 - 20 qualified households, utilizing best practices to cultivate, solicit, and steward donors of $50,000 and more, in partnership with the Board, General Director, and Chief Advancement and Strategy Officer, and staff members as appropriate
  • Serving as liaison with the Philanthropy Committee of the Board, providing staff support to their relationship-building work
  • Establishing and maintaining close relationships with major individual and institutional donors
  • Ensuring that fundraising programs are designed to realize the full potential of donor relationships, including leading the development and overseeing the implementation of a mid-level donor program and maximizing the impact of a clear donor communications plan
  • Managing, mentoring, evaluating, and, as needed, hiring skilled and appropriately experienced staff members
  • Modeling passion for inclusiveness in the art form and providing clarity in strategic direction of the team by individual and overall
  • Developing and administering an annual Development team expense budget for cost-effective results from a donor life-cycle perspective

Candidate Qualities


  • Intellect, perceptive capacity, relationship-building skills, and personal presence that inspires trust, confidence, accuracy, and accountability
  • Thinks in terms of total systems and balances long-range goals with short-term needs
  • Shapes and motivates Board members, volunteers and staff, align the department’s activities with TDO’s mission and needs, and unites a diverse group of individuals behind a common cause.
  • Possesses an appreciation for the role of a major opera company in a world-class city and is able to successfully articulate a persuasive case for philanthropic support to a wide variety of individuals and organizations
  • Proven ability to partner with all TDO Board and staff members, Trustees, and other volunteers
  • Delegates effectively to a team of competent professionals while nonetheless retaining ultimate accountability for meeting objectives

Skills and Knowledge

  • Broad and deep knowledge of a complete development program, including moves management strategies, sponsorships, and operating, planned, capital, and endowment giving supported by a well-articulated donor communications plan including persuasive case statements for each type of giving
  • Understanding of opera and the performing arts
  • Exceptional strategic and critical thinking skills and the capacity to perceive opportunities and challenges, create and execute plans, and meet goals within the context of a complex organization
  • High intellectual aptitude and the business and financial acumen that allow one to understand TDO’s current state and future goals
  • Demonstrated ability to meet the donor and donor prospect where s/he is and advance the conversation with genuineness, persuasiveness, and joy
  • Aptitude for delegating, multitasking, and managing time in a fast-paced environment which often presents competing priorities
  • Deep understanding of marketing philanthropic opportunities and ability to partner with others to successfully implement plans to maximize the opportunities
  • A proactive networker who is adept at identifying major donors and establishing and maintaining meaningful, productive relationships with them.
  • The ability to assimilate complex information, distill it to its essentials, and communicate it succinctly and compellingly both verbally and in writing.
  • Experience with Tessitura (or equivalent donor management tool) and comfort in integrating an annual plan and an annual budget with day-to-day activities.

Personal Traits

  • Genuine, trust-worthy
  • Collaborative
  • Compassionate and highly perceptive
  • Innovative, flexible, and quick-thinking
  • Equally comfortable in large, social venues and one-on-one relationship-building
  • Mature, poised, polished, and at ease interacting with people of wealth and influence

To apply, please send a cover letter no longer than two pages and resume to Please send Word or PDF file only.


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