Director of Major Giving

December 2022 | Boston, MA

The Handel and Haydn Society seeks a new Director of Major Gifts who is excited to grow its major gifts program and play a key role in a robust, 8-figure campaign.

About the Handel and Haydn Society

view of an orchestra from behindBoston’s Grammy-winning Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) performs Baroque and Classical music with a freshness, a vitality, and a creativity that inspires all ag es. H+H has been captivating audiences for 208 consecutive seasons (the most of any performing arts organization in the United States), speaking to its singular success at converting new audiences to this extraordinary music, generation after generation.

H+H performed the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah in its first concert in 1815, gave the American premiere in 1818, and ever since has been both a musical and a civic leader in the Boston community. During the Civil War, H+H gave numerous concerts in support of the Union Army (H+H member Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) and on January 1, 1863, H+H performed at the Grand Jubilee Concert celebrating the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. Two years later, H+H performed at the memorial service for Abraham Lincoln.

Today, H+H’s Orchestra and Chorus delight more than 50,000 listeners annually with a ten-week subscription series at Boston’s Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, and other leading venues. Through the Karen S. and George D. Levy Education Program, H+H supports seven youth choirs of singers in grades 2–12, and provides thousands of complimentary tickets to students and communities throughout Boston, ensuring the joy of music is accessible to all. H+H’s numerous free community concerts include an annual commemoration of the original 1863 Emancipation Proclamation concert on December 31 of every year, in collaboration with the Museum of African American History. H+H has released 15 CDs on the CORO label, performs regularly in New York and around New England, and tours nationally and internationally. In all these ways, H+H fulfills its mission to inspire the intellect, touch the heart, elevate the soul, and connect all of us with our shared humanity through transformative experiences with Baroque and Classical music.

Inspired by its mission, H+H is fully committed to bringing its music to people in ever more diverse communities across Boston, and to encouraging their involvement. The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals in H+H’s Strategic Plan are to increase the diversity of H+H’s Board, staff, musical talent, and audiences; seek diverse performance venues; and offer H+H’s learning opportunities to engage adults, school-age children, and educators in communities across greater Boston.

About Philanthropy at the Handel and Haydn Society

youth chorus handel and haydnWith a $25M endowment and a $10M operating budget, H+H has grown significantly over the years, and continues to expand with the leadership of the President/CEO, the VP of Development, and a strong philanthropic Board. Major gifts efforts have been a key priority for the organization which have been built over the past 4 years. In FY22. H+H received almost 75% of their giving from individuals, making this a cornerstone of their development strategy. Additional sources of fundraising dollars include corporate and foundation giving, government grants, special events, direct mail, and online giving. FY22 has proven to be one of H+H’s best fundraising years to date, with totals currently surpassing $17.4M. In November 2021, H+H received the largest single gift in its history, $10M for the endowment.

In support of its mission and new strategic plan, H+H has begun to embark on an 8-figure comprehensive campaign that will:

  • Elevate H+H’s artistic quality and renown to new heights,
  • Engage a larger and broader audience in Boston, New England, and beyond, and
  • Propel sustained long-term achievement through strengthened financial resources

Through this campaign, H+H will connect a growing audience with the magic of H+H’s music, enhancing Boston’s stature as one of America’s most culturally rich communities. H+H has already secured substantial pace-setting gifts in the first year of the five-year campaign, creating a strong foundation for the endeavor. Major gifts will be a key factor for the success of the campaign and the organization going forward.

About the Position

The Director of Major Gifts is an experienced fundraiser with an understanding of how to build a culture of philanthropy. This person develops and manages strategies to solicit a personal portfolio of approximately 100 major gift prospects, while also having management responsibility.

The Director provides leadership in the implementation of the major gifts program, which supports general operations, special projects, and the endowment. This person will focus on identifying, qualifying, and growing the pipeline of major donors, as well as prospecting and cultivating new donors with interests in various aspects of H+H’s programming. The ideal candidate has demonstrated prospect research expertise and is comfortable working independently to craft individualized strategies, while also frequently working in collaboration with other members of the major gifts team, other staff, and Board members.

A senior member of a team of ten, the Director will directly supervise three staff on the major gifts team, including two Major Gifts Officers to be hired by the Director, and the current Grants Manager. This position will also have strong administrative support from Development and Campaign Coordinators, not under their direct supervision. This individual will be a counselor and mentor to a collaborative, nimble, supportive team, and will advance H+H’s goals of creating an inclusive and diverse organizational culture. The Director will have the acumen and flexibility to work productively and with impact from a home office, with the expectation of frequent local and regional travel. H+H has built a flexible and engaging culture, including organization closure on Fridays during the summer, and flexible work week hours when attending weekend and evening concerts and events.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide experienced leadership and insight to all H+H major gifts and comprehensive campaign initiatives, with direct supervision of two Major Gifts Officers and the Grants Manager, and supervisory oversight of all major gifts personnel and related consultants.
  • Manage a portfolio of approximately 100 major donors and prospects, while assisting with strategy for high-level portfolios held by the President/CEO and Vice President of Development.
  • Identify and qualify leadership ($100,000+) and major gift ($10,000–$99,999) prospects, including qualifying prospects recognized by wealth screening. Qualify donors who currently give $500-$9,999 annually to determine long-term major gifts potential.
  • Support Board recruitment efforts, recommending appropriate candidates on an ongoing basis
  • Conduct personal visits with prospects and donors, in conjunction with other staff and/or volunteers as appropriate.
  • Provide high level strategy and communications support, including drafting annual major gifts plan, Board reports, CEO and Board communications, and solicitation strategies, as well as ongoing forecasting and creation of gift tables.
  • Gather, record, track, and properly store information about prospects and donors utilizing the Tessitura database and internal share drives to document meaningful touchpoints
  • Work closely with Major Gifts Officers to promote awareness of planned giving vehicles within personal portfolio, and expand membership of planned giving society.
  • Manage a campaign committee of board volunteers, with support from the campaign consultants. Support Major Gifts Officers with strategy for the planned giving volunteer committees.
  • Devise appropriate recognition and stewardship strategies for major donors.
  • Staff all relevant cultivation events and concerts and act as an ambassador of the organization, reflecting the values of teamwork, collaboration, and inclusivity.
  • Participate in regular internal meetings, including campaign and major gifts strategy meetings, CEO strategy sessions, and staff meetings, as required.

Key Qualifications

  • 10+ years of Development experience, with at least 5 years of major gifts experience. Planned giving experience a plus. However, H+H respects every individual’s unique journey through life and will welcome personal statements which can deepen our understanding of any candidate’s qualifying experiences.
  • Demonstrated experience closing five- and six-figure outright gifts.
  • Planned giving and capital campaign experience is preferred, but not required.
  • Solid track record of working with board members and volunteers. Experience coaching fundraising volunteers is preferred.
  • Broad knowledge of best practices, principles, and ethics of fundraising, including working knowledge of planned giving vehicles; ability to participate in all aspects of the giving cycle. Deep understanding of moves management strategies.
  • Strong writing, verbal communication, and cultural humility. Must be able to communicate well with key program and executive staff, as well as motivate a diverse population of volunteers, staff, and donors.
  • Ease with technology, familiarity with Tessitura or similar donor database program, and high comfort level with spreadsheets and major gifts moves/data management processes is desired.
  • An independent, organized, and proactive fundraiser, who is goal-oriented, flexible, collaborative, and creative.
  • Passion for the arts and arts education is essential. Commitment to and ability to advocate for H+H’s mission with an appreciation for Baroque and Classical performances, music education, and community engagement are a plus.
  • Ability to perform in a fast-paced, dynamic work environment, meeting multiple deadlines and managing multiple projects, is essential.
  • Expected to staff weekend and evening concerts, events, and meetings as needed.

Salary Range: $100,000 – $125,000

The Handel and Haydn Society is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, national origin, genetic information, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity and expression), marital status, protected veterans’ status, citizenship status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.  Please email if you would like to request special accommodations during the interview process.

H+H is committed to diversity and inclusion, and we aspire to build a diverse staff team and community, including groups that are traditionally underrepresented.  Frequently cited statistics show that underrepresented groups apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. H+H appreciates different personal and professional experiences and encourages you to apply, even if you do not meet all the listed qualifications. 

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Mel Witman

Executive Search Consultant

Development Guild DDI

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