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Director of Development
SUBMITTED DATE: 11/28/2018


Kentucky Opera is accepting applications for the position of Director of Development. This full-time salaried position reports to the General Director. We are looking forward to the selected candidate starting in early February 2019.


Kentucky Opera enriches and engages our community through spectacular music, creative storytelling and the thrill of the human voice. Founded in 1952, Kentucky Opera is a thriving, robust organization and one of the first U.S. companies to be designated as a “regional” opera company and is known for its long history of high artistic standards, courageous repertoire, and enthusiastically supportive audiences. Over the next few years, Kentucky Opera will seek to broaden service to our community to include neighborhoods, cities, and rural areas throughout the Commonwealth that have not traditionally been served by opera.


The ideal candidate will be an effective and enthusiastic leader who will guide Kentucky Opera into building a culture of philanthropy throughout all levels of the organization. The Director of Development oversees an annual development program with a $2 million goal. The Director of Development leads a three-person team, and works closely with the General Director to oversee and manage all aspects of Kentucky Opera’s development program. S/he also holds responsibility for a portfolio of major donors and prospects and supports the General Director and the Board of Directors in their fundraising efforts. The Director of Development must think strategically and practically to implement a comprehensive and results-oriented development plan that includes traditional and innovative strategies. Key components of this plan should include goals, strategies, and timetables for annual fundraising, major gifts, campaign gifts, events, planned giving and should include a complementary focus on prospecting, data analysis, and tactics to build key relationships with families, individuals, and corporate and foundation leaders. In addition to annual fundraising efforts, s/he will also play a key role in planning and executing future special campaigns.


  • Develop and implement a short and long-term development plan to meet established goals and objectives. This includes, but is not limited to, strategic initiatives for securing major gifts, annual events and appeals, corporate and foundation grants, defining stewardship and prospecting tactics, cultivation events, and developing new approaches to re-engaging lapsed donors, retaining and deepening Kentucky Opera’s relationships with our current supporters, and building new donor relationships.
  • Provide daily management of development staff, including establishing annual goals (to support overall goals established in the development plan), providing regular performance reviews and appropriate recognition, and supporting ongoing professional development opportunities.
  • Serve as the campaign director, as needed, and provide direct daily management of specifically focused initiatives to secure major gifts and leadership gifts in support of campaign goal.
  • Provide leadership and support to the Development Committee, serve as staff liaison to the Governance Committee, and participate in the work of the Finance Committee and other committees as necessary.
  • Work collaboratively and creatively with other departments to appropriately position development opportunities and integrate messages in publications, grant submissions, reports, and collateral materials for cultivating and stewarding donors.
  • Clearly articulate and promote a strong case of need for philanthropy, and build opportunities to create and sustain a culture that understands the relationship between philanthropy and Kentucky Opera’s mission.
  • Oversee management of gift processing and donor acknowledgement, the donor database, and financial reporting. Manage accompanying information systems.
  • Manage prospect research and cultivation initiatives with a special emphasis on pursuing strategies to secure or increase giving from donors.
  • Develop strategies for existing donors to effectively move them through a meaningful cycle of giving.
  • Meet regularly with the General Director regarding program goals and initiatives and routinely report to the Board of Directors and appropriate committees.
  • Attend Kentucky Opera events and activities and foster significant enthusiasm for fundraising efforts to support these events.


  • Demonstrate committed, articulate passion for Kentucky Opera and the communities we serve.
  • Exhibit professional leadership with a collaborative, decisive, motivating and engaging communication style.
  • Proven track record of fundraising success, particularly by securing major gifts, successfully managing campaigns, and engaging a community of motivated supporters.
  • Minimum of 5-7+ years of increasing responsibility in non-profit fundraising.
  • Excellent managerial skills including at least 2 years of previous experience successfully managing development staff.
  • Ability to balance multiple priorities in a complex environment.
  • Working knowledge of development best practices, trends in development, fundraising tools and technology, e-mail and online campaigns, and donor research.
  • Reliable transportation and driver license, and ability to drive long distances (5+ hours) for development work throughout the Commonwealth and surrounding area.
  • Extreme discretion, attention to detail, and a commitment to excellence.
  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred.
  • Deep appreciation of the performing arts, understanding of Kentucky Opera’s mission, and the ability to articulate its values and vision internally and externally.


Please send Cover Letter, Curriculum Vitae, and one-page statement of your Philosophy of Philanthropy to Jobs@KYOpera.org with the subject “Director of Development”. No phone calls, please.

Questions about Membership or this application? Please contact Vincent Covatto, organizational membership manager, at VCovatto@operaamerica.org or by calling 646.699.5237.
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