Posted on October 19, 2012
Vice President, Development
Big Apple Circus
Big Apple Circus - Vice President, Development
Big Apple Circus is an iconic non-profit arts institution devoted to presenting high quality circus arts from around the world in our intimate one-ring Big Top where no member of our audience is ever more than 50 feet from the ring. Celebrating our 35th season this year, Big Apple Circus is also very proud of our wide array of community programs that educate students, give accessibility to the disadvantaged, and lift the spirits of seniors in nursing facilities and children in hospitals. Our current annual operating budget is approximately $19M, with over 75% coming from earned income revenue and the remainder coming from contributed income.
The Vice President, Development is the leader of Big Apple Circus’s four-person Development Department and works closely with the Executive Director (direct supervisor), the Artistic Director, Executive Staff peers, other colleagues, and the Board of Trustees to raise funds for the Circus. This person plays a vital role in developing and executing a set of sophisticated contributed revenue strategies while also actively soliciting funds needed to ensure the strength and growth of the Circus from the current 35th season through the 40th, and beyond. The Vice President, Development is charged with significantly growing the Circus’s annual fund (currently about $5M) and helping to create and execute an endowment and capital campaign within the next five years. The successful candidate will manage, lead by example, and hopefully expand over time a small but aggressive staff to achieve fundraising goals, broaden the base of support for Big Apple Circus, and help build systems and infrastructure that will support a customer relationship management approach and an evolving fundraising culture at the organization.
A key challenge and opportunity for the new Vice President, Development will be to create and execute a successful fundraising program that is national in scope – with year-round cultivation and solicitation efforts both in New York City (currently both Manhattan and Queens) and at six other current venues on the East Coast where the Circus performs, as well as in other cities where Big Apple Circus Community Programs are run (such as Chicago). S/he will be responsible for the direction, planning, and implementation of the program, including the stewardship, cultivation, and solicitation of donors and prospects for Big Apple Circus. S/he will work closely with the Executive Director, Board of Trustees and local, regional, and national foundation, corporate, government, and individual funders to identify and grow the resources to support Big Apple Circus’s artistic and community outreach vision and strategic organizational development. The overall responsibility of the Vice President, Development is to provide leadership and management, energize the Board and the organization, develop and cultivate a broad prospect and donor pool of resources, raise significant cash and in-kind support from donors and prospects in every funder category, help expand current operations to develop a highly efficient and effective fundraising operation, build visibility and a fundraising culture for Big Apple Circus, and expand and deepen Big Apple Circus’s connections in the community and around the country.
TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS
The Vice President, Development should be a results-oriented leader and a proven fundraiser who can create and execute a fundraising program quickly and confidently. The successful candidate needs to be a people person who can work nimbly within a frequently changing creative environment to motivate a team and achieve goals. The Vice President, Development should have outstanding customer service talent and possess strong persuasive interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to articulate compelling messages for support that generate enthusiasm and commitment among stakeholders. S/he will have frequent interaction with others and must work collaboratively with all levels of staff, volunteers, donors, prospective donors, and other current or potential partners. The successful candidate must exhibit a polished presence, positive attitude, diplomacy, discretion, and a deep respect and understanding of donor and Trustee relations. S/he will need to be a good manager, mentor, and teacher who can motivate his/her staff to achieve individual and team goals.
The Vice President, Development must show initiative and strong problem resolution skills, be able to participate successfully in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment that is constantly changing, and be able to play a key role at Big Apple Circus functions, which typically occur on evenings and weekends.
Responsibilities include the following duties among others as needed:
Meeting short- and long- term contribution revenue goals for the organization (including the $5M FY13 operating goal) while saying on budget
Strategy for and management of Individual Giving program – from Membership through Major Gifts – and including direct mail, one-on-one solicitations, phone follow up, on-site acquisition, donor cultivation/stewardship, and prospect identification/research/evaluation;
Strategy for and management of Institutional Giving program, including maintaining relationships with foundation, corporate, and government grant makers and sponsors (including in-kind), preparing grant requests and reports, and prospecting;
Planning and leading execution of all Big Apple Circus fundraising and stewardship events and other activities, ranging from intimate dinners to member events to at least one annual Gala benefit;
Acting as a liaison with the Board of Trustees, including facilitating Board involvement in solicitations, identifying prospective Board members, and managing Board giving.
In addition, this position oversees development and fulfillment of donor benefits; represents Big Apple Circus at public events; generates content for Big Apple Circus print and electronic materials; and plans, maintains, and manages Development income and expense budgets, including regular reports to leadership and the Board.
A Bachelor’s degree is required, with a graduate or professional degree a plus. A minimum of 7-10 years of experience in an impactful fundraising environment with a clear record of success in individual giving and a track record of exceptional customer service capability is required. A working knowledge of direct mail, special events, database management, grant writing, and corporate sponsorship development is required. Financial management skills and the ability to practice a high level of confidentiality are essential. Previous experience with an arts and/or circus organization and knowledge of the arts philanthropic community is strongly preferred.
Our ideal candidate will be a team player with strong leadership qualities. S/he must also have a strong interest in our Circus programs; excellent interpersonal, oral communication and writing, editing, and presentational skills; and a solid understanding of fundraising databases, including segmentation, tracking, and donor research capabilities. The candidate must be a calm and effective problem-solver, have the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, and be both detail-oriented and self-motivated. Overall computer literacy and proficiency with Microsoft programs, including but not limited to Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is required, plus the ability to learn other software programs as needed. Evening and weekend hours required.
APPLICATIONS AND INQUIRIES
Send cover letter, salary requirements, and a résumé outlining demonstrable accomplishments and a verifiable track record of results in confidence to:
Lynn M. Stirrup, Executive Director, c/o Julia Bartlett, Executive Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Apple Circus is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Big Apple Circus
1 MetroTech Center North, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201