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Director of Development


Title: Director of Development
Reports to: General Director
Supervises: Development Department
Job Description (PDF)

Position Overview

The Director of Development oversees an annual development program with a $10.2 million goal. They lead a team of eight year-round professionals and three seasonal staff members. Direct reports include: Director of Individual Giving; Director of Institutional Giving; two Senior Major Gifts Officers; Manager of Special Events; Manager of Business Fund; Donor Records Administrator; and Development Assistant. They are responsible for a portfolio of major donors and prospects and support the General Director and Board of Directors in their fundraising efforts. They play a key role in planning and executing future special campaigns, such as an endowment campaign.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead a highly collaborative fundraising team including major and planned gifts, annual fund, foundation and corporation giving, prospect research and stewardship.
  • Manage a portfolio of board members, major gift donors and prospects with a special focus on and responsibility for Production Underwriting gifts of $250,000+.
  • Work closely with the General Director to provide careful stewardship and meaningful cultivation opportunities for the opera’s major donors.
  • Provide strategic guidance to support ongoing identification, cultivation and solicitation of new prospects.
  • In collaboration with the Manager of Special Events, design and execute two major annual Galas, Opening Weekend activities, Opening Night Dinners, all board events and numerous donor cultivation events. In collaboration with the General Director and Director of Executive Relations, develop and implement strategic geographic cultivation opportunities in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Denver and other major cities.
  • Provide leadership and support to the Development Committee and its Chairs, and present quarterly to the Committee during board week gatherings.
  • Participate in the work of other key committees such as Nominating, Endowment Investment, Finance, Governance, Arts Advocacy, Community Engagement & Education, Buildings & Properties, among others.
  • Oversee preparation of fundraising materials and work with Marketing and other departments to ensure timely preparation of donor lists and collateral materials.
  • Manage revenue and expense budgets and provide quarterly updates to the Business Office; build financial projections for revenue and expenses on a three-year forward rolling basis.
  • Oversee departmental processes and procedures for tracking and reporting all fundraising activities in Tessitura database.
  • Ensure that all gifts are appropriately acknowledged in a timely manner.
  • Manage Development expense budget and continually monitor return on investment of departmental resources.
  • Collaborate with the Leadership Team in furthering the strategic and financial goals of the organization.
  • Work closely with Marketing, Public Relations and Media teams to coordinate appropriate communication strategies.
  • Plan and execute future campaign efforts, including endowment campaign.
  • Lead the Development Department in an equitable and inclusive fashion, upholding the Santa Fe Opera’s commitment to the principles of DEIA.


  • A minimum of seven to ten years of senior-level experience developing and implementing strategic fundraising plans while managing successful fundraising teams.
  • Demonstrated success securing support that includes major gifts, individual giving, annual giving, planned giving, foundation relations and special events.
  • Experience leading major capital or endowment campaigns with a proven track record of success.
  • Proven experience as a member of the executive management team of a complex organization, including working closely with engaged boards, volunteers and development committees.
  • Experience cultivating high-level donors and developing strategies for complex donor engagements.
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with a diverse spectrum of people including the Music Director, musicians, staff, board members, donors and prospects in a complex variety of institutional and cultural settings.
  • Excellent financial management skills and experience in budget analysis, forecasting and planning.
  • Superb social skills and a desire to engage with current and potential donors and maintain a presence in the community.
  • A collaborative leadership style that encourages strategic thinking, innovation and integrity.
  • Excellent communication skills, including strong written, verbal and presentation skills.
  • Technological proficiency, including experience with donor management and fundraising software applications, particularly Tessitura.
  • An enthusiastic commitment to the mission of the Santa Fe Opera.
  • Ability to travel, regularly attend performances and special events, including evenings and weekends.
  • A background in music or opera is highly preferred.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; an advanced degree is preferred.

This job description in no way implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee occupying this position. The fundamental job requirements are included, and these are the essential job functions. Employees will be required to perform any other job-related duties assigned by their supervisor. All requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities.

The Santa Fe Opera has an industry-wide reputation as an excellent employer, providing rewarding opportunities amid a setting of great natural beauty. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, the Santa Fe Opera celebrates diversity and inclusion. We do not discriminate against any employee or job applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, creed, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, age, veteran status, political affiliation or philosophy. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.

The Santa Fe Opera has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy, which requires employees/interns to be fully vaccinated against COVID to perform work for the company or have been approved for an accommodation based on disability or sincerely held religious belief. Employees will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the requisite number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and a booster.

Application Process

Submit a completed employment application form, your resume, cover letter and e-mail to Human Resources or by mail to:

The Santa Fe Opera
Attention: Human Resources
Post Office Box 2408
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-2408

Application Form (PDF)