Development Director

Position Description

The Development Director will be a detail-oriented and dynamic fundraising professional who is comfortable managing multiple revenue streams. This experienced arts leader will develop strategy and oversee execution for all areas of the Alliance's fundraising portfolio, including foundation and government grants, individual giving, and special events. Along with the Executive Director and management team, the Development Director will also contribute to shaping AAI's strategic programs. 


Founded in 1982, Arts Alliance Illinois is the state's leading voice for the arts and arts education. The Alliance builds the vitality of communities statewide through service and advocacy, generating resources for the cultural sector and creative industries. Today, the Alliance's focus areas include statewide civic engagement, arts education, cultural equity, and arts access. We believe the arts are not just relevant, but essential to Illinois social, economic, and educational growth and vitality. Under the leadership of its new Executive Director, Claire Rice, the Alliance has completed a forward-visioning process that is charting a course for expanded programming, increased relevance and organizational impact. The Alliance is the only state-wide organization that actively serves and represents artists and cultural organizations across all disciplines, budget sizes, and geographic areas. More information on the Alliance is available at

Primary Responsibilities

We are looking for a Development Director with the confidence and experience to chart a course and achieve the following outcomes:

  • Individual Donors: Significantly expand major gift efforts and prospect list. Actively research, identify, cultivate and independently solicit potential donors at all levels, and develop innovative strategies for broadening the organization’s statewide fundraising with an emphasis on increasing individual giving. Develop and execute measurable and detailed strategies to move individual members of our advocacy network up the “ladder of engagement.” Lead the effort to include the Executive Director, staff and board in growing a culture of philanthropy at the organization with a goal towards deepening relationships with individual donors. 
  • Stewardship: Develop and implement stewardship initiatives aimed at cultivating relationships and retaining donors. Ensure best practices are followed in acknowledgments and other timely donor communications. 
  • Events: With the assistance of an event consultant, plan and coordinate the annual benefit luncheon, netting $200,000 in unrestricted revenue, as well as other special events to build support and raise funds for AAI’s work.
  • Institutional Funders: Supervise the work of a membership/development associate to implement all LOI, application, and reporting processes for foundation and government grants. Creatively think about new funding sources that align with expanded and refined programmatic activity. 
  • Strategy/Goal Setting: Determine long-range fundraising goals in tandem with management’s overall institutional goals and strategies, creating strategies to meet and exceed annual goals and support any future campaign or special project funding. Work to clearly identify benchmarks for year-over-year revenue growth by setting targets for each area of giving. Participate in organizational strategic planning, supporting the evolution of AAI’s core programmatic focus.
  • Board Development: Provide leadership and staff service to the Board of Directors and Development-related committees to ensure that board members are motivated, engaged, and well-supported as they carry out fundraising responsibilities.
  • Information systems and reporting: Further build departmental information and technology systems, including prospect tracking, reporting, mailings and on-line fundraising tools. Monitor and report regularly on the progress of development initiatives to senior management and the Board of Directors.

The successful candidate will have a minimum of five years development experience, with increasing responsibilities and a demonstrable record of success. S/he will have a passion for the Alliance mission and possess the following attributes and qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree (at minimum).
  • Proven track record of successful fundraising, including the design and execution of strategies, as well as the effective engagement of key leaders in those strategies
  • A disciplined self-starter who can independently set and manage personal and organizational goals. Meticulous attention to detail and organizational/project management skills.
  • Strategic and creative thinker with the ability to take larger strategy and insights and translate them into ideas and executable plans.
  • Commitment to arts and culture is essential. Experience with an advocacy and/or arts organization is preferred.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills --- can build relationships quickly and easily, can clearly articulate the value proposition of the organization and its activities, and knows how to close partnership opportunities.
  • Leverages the inner-connectedness of strategy, relationships, and innovation to set and reach aggressive revenue goals.
  • Excellent writer – can produce professional, persuasive communication and promotional documents with limited supervision.
  • The ability to remain calm under pressure, solve problems quickly, and handle diverse situations tactfully.
  • A results-oriented team player who thrives in a collaborative environment. 
  • Experience working with higher education institutions is desirable, but not necessary.

This is a full-time position. Salary is commensurate with experience. Health, dental and life insurance plus 403b retirement plan. Arts Alliance Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and encourages a diverse workforce.

To Apply:

Qualified and interested candidates should submit cover letter and resume to:

The Development Director Search Team, Arts Alliance Illinois
via email to
No phone calls please.