Chief Development Officer, National Symphony Orchestra (NSO)

Washington, DC
Aug 29, 2019
Sep 21, 2019
Full Time
**Applications submitted without a cover letter will not be considered.**

About the Organization:

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ("The Kennedy Center") 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.

Mission Statement: As the nation's performing arts center, and a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, we are a leader for the arts across America and around the world, reaching and connecting with artists, inspiring and educating communities. We welcome all to create, experience, learn about, and engage with the arts.

The Kennedy Center, which opened on September 8, 1971, is located on 17 acres overlooking the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. The Center continues its efforts to fulfill President Kennedy's vision by producing and presenting an unmatched variety of theater and musicals, dance and ballet, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, world, and folk music, and multimedia performances for all ages.

Founded in 1931, the National Symphony Orchestra ("NSO") has been an artistic affiliate of The Kennedy Center since 1986. NSO regularly participates in events of national and international importance, including official holiday celebrations through its regularly televised appearances on PBS for Capital Concerts, live-streamed performances from the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on, and local radio broadcasts on Classical WETA 90.9FM, making the NSO one of the most-heard orchestras in the country.

Job Description:

The Kennedy Center is uniquely organized, our vast array of programming-inclusive of the NSO's wide variety of exceptional classical, pops, educational, community-driven, and multi-genre programming-falls under one institutional budget. Therefore, the organization has one central Office of Development, comprising over 80 driven and dedicated staff members committed to raising over $83M annually in support of the institution's diverse artistic and educational programs and long-term aspirational growth plans. This position is a member of the Kennedy Center's leadership team, reporting to the Senior Vice President of Development, and also serves as a member of the NSO's leadership team. As a member of departmental leadership, this position works collaboratively with all Development staff to support the comprehensive fundraising strategy for the department over the next five years, and also actively contributes to the office's strategic planning initiatives through service and leadership on teams tasked with advancing the department's four strategic pillars. The position also collaborates closely with the NSO Executive Director, NSO Music Director, NSO Board leadership, and Kennedy Center senior staff as a thought-partner and team leader in institutional planning.

The NSO's Chief Development Officer (CDO) is responsible for developing and executing the giving strategies to raise approximately $12 million+ in annual funding for the Kennedy Center's artistic affiliate, the National Symphony Orchestra. This position is also required to raise special annual and endowment funds to support the Noseda Era for an additional $50 million target. The CDO is responsible for all of the NSO's giving campaigns.

Duties and Responsibilities:

35% Strategic Planning and Implementation for NSO Giving: Work with Sr. Vice President of Development, NSO's Executive Director, Directors of Development, Kennedy Center Management and program staff, NSO Board members and volunteer leadership in the developing, implementing, execution and evaluation of long-term goals and strategies for meeting fundraising targets, including $12 million NSO annual fund. Budgetary goals will increase annually.

20% Management: Provide oversight, strategic guidance, appropriate delegation of tasks, and supervise a department of ten.

10% NSO Board Relations: Work with NSO Executive Director and Board leadership on all aspects of NSO Board relations, cultivation and stewardship, managing board committees as well as stewardship of the NSO National Trustees, a national group of donors committed to supporting the NSO.

35% Specific duties related to these functions can include, but are not limited to:
  • Identify opportunities to secure undesignated funds as well as designated opportunities when they have the potential for attracting major gifts. Direct staff in conducting prospect research and developing profiles from new and nontraditional sources. Steward and maintain relationships with current and prospective donors and utilize NSO Board and volunteer leadership to assist.
  • Develop and supervise the preparation of creative, individually tailored written and/or alternative media presentations for solicitations and mini campaigns. Support materials include written proposals, project budgets, recognition packages, interim and final reports, benefit delivery, and other support materials that enhance the presentation.
  • Coordinate with special events team, appropriate Kennedy Center staff and donor staff in the planning and execution of NSO donor-related events.
  • Collaborate with Kennedy Center wide fundraising efforts including special events and strategic campaigns.
  • Perform other duties, as instructed by Sr. Vice President of Development and Executive Director.

N/A Responds to the needs and requests of Kennedy Center management and staff in a professional and expedient manner, adheres to all employer policies and procedures, and other duties as assigned.

  • At least eight years' experience in professional fundraising.
  • Bachelor's degree required, graduate degree in a related field preferred.
  • Experience managing and motivating 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.
  • Solid understanding of standard 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 Kennedy Center staff members is critical. The incumbent should be able to create and manage the most aggressive possible fundraising program for the NSO, 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 NSO 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.

Physical Demands:

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to communicate in person and on the telephone. The employee is frequently required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel in order to operate computer keyboard, office equipment, and other essential tasks. The employee is frequently required to sit, stand, walk, bend, stoop, crouch, and reach with hands and arms. This position infrequently lifts, carries, or otherwise moves and positions objects weighing up to 25 pounds.

Work Environment:

The noise level in the work environment is normal.

Travel up to 15% may be required.


We offer a comprehensive range of benefits to all full-time employees including: Medical, Dental, Vision, Paid Time Off, Paid Sick Leave, and a matching 403(b) Retirement Plan.

Additional benefits include: Commuter Programs, Education Assistance Programs, Social Activities, and other employee discounts and specials.