Director of Donor Relations

End Date
Dec 15, 2022

Department: Development

Job Title: Director of Donor Relations

Reports to: Vice President of Development


Type of position:  Full-time, hybrid onsite with flexibility for agreed-upon remote work
Hours:  Monday – Friday 9:00AM to 5:00PM, standard hours are substituted for weekends and evenings to attend performances and events

The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance is Chicago’s primary residence for music and dance, connecting diverse audiences with outstanding artists from across the city, the nation, and the world.


General Description
The Director of Donor Relations is a full-time position, reporting to the Vice President (VP) of Development and collaborating with the entire external affairs team to lead strategy and execute giving efforts ($15,000+) from individual donors and corporate entities. Working closely with the Development team, the Board of Trustees, and executive leadership, this role manages the budgeted sponsorship, planned giving, special event, and capital contributed income goals.

As a key member of the Harris Theater leadership team, the Director engages in strategy for staff professional development, setting annual and long-term revenue and organizational goals, representing the Harris Theater in the community, and is committed to enriching the Theater’s company culture.



Strategy and Stewardship

  • Collaborates with the VP of Development to lead the team strategy for major annual and capital gifts, sponsorship, and planned giving through individual and corporate channels
  • Actively manages and cultivates a designated portfolio of major donors
  • Develops a major giving prospect management strategy and implements this strategy to secure new funding
  • Creates unique and meaningful special events and donor touchpoints such as donor site visits, tours, and in-person meetings
  • Produces sponsorship and major gift solicitation materials, gift agreements, reports, and other written materials to support gift solicitation and stewardship
  • Directs the execution of corporate and individual funding agreements, including sponsorship benefit fulfillment, formal and informal reporting, and other negotiated sponsorship benefits
  • Ensures donor intent and gift requirements are adhered to and fulfilled by internal team members
  • Leads the Theater’s planned giving program
  • Prepares and presents data-driven reports on major gift fundraising efforts and results, and monitors progress against annual goals
  • Serves as a department liaison to the Finance team for budget projections, allocations for new and existing annual, sponsorship, and multi-year gifts
  • Collaborates with the VP of Development and Director of Development Operations in creating the annual departmental operating budget


Executive and Board Relations:

  • In collaboration with the VP of Development, supports and guides the Board of Trustees in cultivating and soliciting prospects to make major gifts supporting the Theater
  • Contributes to strategies and leadership for the Board of Trustees Development Committee


Leadership and Employee Management:

  • In collaboration with the VP of Development and Director of Development Operations, represents the Harris Theater as an organizational point of contact at performances, community engagement programs, and other events in the Chicago arts and non-profit community
  • Provides leadership and mentorship to members of the Harris development team
  • Upholds the Harris Theater’s mission to be a home for music and dance and embodies organizational core values of collaboration, integrity, belonging, respect, and resilience


Experience Requirements

  • Minimum of 5 years of progressive fundraising experience, including closing $15K+ gifts
  • Experience in a not-for-profit arts environment, supervisory experience preferred
  • Track record meeting financial goals as outlined in annual budgets
  • High-level organizational skills and communication skills (written and verbal) with strong attention to detail
  • An ability to be self-directed and work independently
  • Sense of humor and ability to work well with a diverse group of personalities
  • A drive to use data and metrics to achieve strategic goals and make decisions
  • Experience with Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel
  • Experience with Tessitura is a plus


To apply, please forward your resume/CV and cover letter to and list the job title in the subject line.
No phone calls or faxes, please. The Harris Theater is an equal opportunity employer.


Compensation based on experience with a base range starting salary of $75,000 per year plus a highly competitive benefits package.


The Harris Theater is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, veteran, national origin, or disability status or any protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, and local laws. Covid vaccine required.