Position:                Director of Development

Reports to:             Executive Director

Classification:        Full-time, exempt

Supervises:             Team of 3 FTE, 2 PTE


The Chicago Humanities Festival believes that the arts and humanities play a vital role in cultivating and understanding the pressing civic, social, and cultural conversations of our time. For over 30 years, we’ve presented thoughtful programs, performances, and exhibitions, developing deep relationships with Chicago’s cultural, civic, and educational communities.

Our year-round programming invites audiences to explore, debate, and reflect on the critical issues of our day, as well as timeless concerns and ideas. We help to build a society that engages in thoughtful dialogue and explores a diversity of ideas and perspectives. We are dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices and inspiring personal and collective action and positive change in our community. Our carefully curated programs provide opportunities for individuals to engage with others and to reflect on their own ideas, assumptions and beliefs within the broader context of contemporary civic life.

The Festival is committed to creating conditions for broad and diverse participation in our programming, to cultivating a society in which social justice and equity are paramount, and to programming that creates the conversations and conditions for change. We take seriously our responsibility to Chicago, and to ensuring that all in our community are welcome, seen and heard. And, we work to amplify voices and ideas in ways only the arts and humanities are able—with depth, power, perspective and passion.


The Director of Development oversees the full breadth of the Festival’s fundraising efforts—individual giving, foundation, corporate, public sector, and annual benefit. The position is responsible for developing and executing an integrated fundraising strategy to secure $3+ million annually to support Festival programming.

The Director is a member of the Festival’s senior leadership (which defines overall institutional strategy) and works closely with the Executive Director. They will also collaborate with the heads of the Programming, Marketing & Communications, Production & Audience Experience, and Finance teams. The Director works closely with the Festival’s Board, serving as a primary liaison to the Governance & Nominating and Development & Special Events Committees.

The ideal candidate has a broad understanding of Chicago’s philanthropic and cultural communities, meaningful team management experience, development experience (with an emphasis on individual giving, major gifts, corporate partnerships, and endowment campaigns), and relationships with both local and national foundations that support the arts, education, and humanities. Experience with producing and managing events and audience engagement is a plus. The position supervises a staff of four development professionals, plus external contractors (as appropriate) and seasonal interns.

This is a full-time position with a salary of $105,000–120,000 based on qualifications and experience. Benefits include: health, dental, vison, 403b, and a commuter spending plan.

●       Lead the Development team to create and implement an annual contributed income strategy to achieve the Festival’s individual, institutional, corporate, and event-based financial goals.

●       Manage the Development team, providing support and guidance on all aspects of their work.

●       Manage departmental budget of $350,000+ (excluding staff).

●       Maintain a portfolio of 50—75 major donors and prospects for personal cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. This includes the deepening of long-standing partnerships as well as the cultivation of new donors.

●       Lead select Board Committees (Governance & Nominating, Development & Special Events), engage these committees and members of the Board in fundraising activities, and provide accurate and timely financial reporting.

●       Support the Executive and Artistic Directors in their development activity, including both strategy and execution for individual and institutional prospects.

●       Ensure best practices are in place for development operations, including the donor database, acknowledgement process, prospect research and moves management system.

●       Lead development and implementation of strategy for the annual benefit,which generates about $800K annually.


●       Strategic thinker, possessing solid problem solving and analytical skills.

●       A natural communicator, possessing strong verbal and written communication skills and the ability to simply communicate complex stories about the institution and its programs.

●       A well-organized and thoughtful planner able to clearly analyze data, set priorities and guide a team. Able to manage the intimate details necessary to succeed, without losing focus on larger overall objectives.

●       Ability to prioritize multiple projects, to lead in a fast-paced high-pressure environment, and to provide professional development for staff.

●       A good listener and relationship builder with the ability to nurture and maintain a strong rapport with internal and external stakeholders.

●       Significant experience soliciting and securing major gifts from private and public sources, institutional planning, and experience working with Boards.

●       Possess a high level of energy, be self-motivated, and extremely confident.

●       Budget and P&L experience required.

●       Knowledge and experience with fundraising management systems (Raiser’s Edge, Patron’s Edge, Tessitura) required; deep experience with Raiser’s Edge a plus.

●       5+ years of development/fundraising experience with expanding responsibilities, including demonstrated success in annual fundraising and endowment/capital campaigns.

●       Bachelor’s degree or equivalent relevant experience is required; an advanced degree in a related field is an advantage.


The Festival is committed to providing a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace, where all employees and volunteers, whatever their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or disability, feels valued and respected. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory approach and provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement in all of our departments, programs, and policies. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and ensure that all voices are valued and heard.






Instructions to Apply:

Submit resume, cover letter, and references to developmentdirector@chicagohumanities.org.

Application deadline: August 14, 2020.

To apply for this job email your details to developmentdirector@chicagohumanities.org

Pay Range: DOE