Chief Development Officer, WNO Development

Washington DC
Jul 11, 2018
Jul 17, 2018
Executive, Director, IT
Full Time

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will

be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our

contribution to the human spirit.”

~President John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy's words resonate more strongly than ever for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the twenty-first century. The nation's performing arts center opened on September 8, 1971, and continues to fulfill President Kennedy's vision by producing and presenting an unmatched variety of music, theatre, dance, international festivals, special events, and multi-media performances for audiences of all ages. The Center touches the lives of millions
of people each year through thousands of performances by the greatest artists and ensembles from across America and around the world. The Center nurtures new work and emerging talent through commissioning and creating performances, broadcasts, and touring productions. And the Center serves the nation as a leader in arts education.

Washington National Opera is an integral part of the Kennedy Center and engages audiences with superb performances of classical and contemporary opera. WNO was founded in 1956 as the Opera Society of Washington, was later renamed The Washington Opera, and first performed at the Lisner Auditorium of George Washington University. WNO moved to the Kennedy Center when the Center opened in 1971, and has been in residence there ever since. In 2004, WNO changed its name to Washington National Opera to reflect its increasing national significance and congressional designation. WNO's relationship with the Kennedy Center was further strengthened in 2011 when it became affiliated with the Kennedy Center.

WNO is firmly established among the leading opera companies in North America. As a flagship of the Kennedy Center, WNO inspires audiences and enriches the greater Washington community with performances at the highest artistic level.

The Chief Development Officer (CDO)of WNO Development is responsible for developing and executing the giving strategies to raise approximately $12 million+ in annual funding for Washington National Opera , one of two Kennedy Center artistic affiliates.. The CDO is responsible for all of WNO's giving campaigns. This position will report to the Senior Vice President of Development in close coordination with the General Director of WNO, and must also work collaboratively with other development management and staff, as well as with WNO Administration and Artistic Director, Board leadership, and Kennedy Center senior staff.

Duties and Responsibilities:

33% Strategic Planning and Implementation for WNO Giving: Work with senior colleagues to develop, implement, execute, and evaluate long-term goals and strategies for meeting fundraising targets.

33% Management: Provide oversight, strategic guidance, appropriate delegation of tasks, and supervise two Managers who are responsible for the direct reports of the WNO's fundraising teams. Work closely with the full team of nine to execute fundraising plans.

33% WNO Fundraising Program: Oversee plans and tactics to raise approximately $12 million+ in annual funds from major and mid-level giving programs. Budgetary goals will increase annually. The CDO must collaborate with KC Corporate and Foundation Giving team, as well as NSO and KC Annual Giving teams to meet overall budgetary goal of approximately $12 million+.


Bachelor's degree required, graduate degree in a related field preferred. Eight to ten years minimum in professional fundraising. Experience managing a dynamic and highly competent fundraising team. Superior oral and written communication skills are imperative. Knowledge of the arts in general and opera and symphonic music specifically are required. Must be computer literate and have demonstrated ability to work with donor databases. The position requires a solid understanding of non-profit accounting standards and practices.

Minimum Skills and/or Knowledge Required:

Interpersonal skills: This position requires an extremely high level of interpersonal, organizational, written, and oral communications skills. The ability to relate well in a professional and easy manner to donors of all levels, Board members, and to corporate executives, as well as with other WNO and Kennedy Center staff members is critical. The incumbent should be able to create and manage the most aggressive possible fundraising program for the WNO, while simultaneously navigating the complexities of the Kennedy Center's overall institutional fundraising needs.

Decision-making ability, collaboration and delegation: The incumbent is faced daily with difficult and complicated situations and must be able to react with diplomacy, sensitivity, and a clear understanding of the broad issues associated with managing a major arts institution. The position requires regular collaboration with other development managers and other WNO and Kennedy Center staff. The incumbent must have the ability to prioritize work efforts, to clearly and consistently delegate appropriate work to staff, and to ensure that the myriad of details required in any fundraising effort are carefully considered and attended. The incumbent must have the ability and confidence to work without close supervision, including the ability to foresee development needs.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a world premier performing arts organization and our nation's cultural center. Diversity is a critical component of our mission, vision, and values. Our staff exhibits a wide variety of perspectives and experiences which enable us to foster and strengthen an environment of diversity and inclusion. We offer a comprehensive range of benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, paid vacation and sick leave, and a 403(b) retirement plan.

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