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Associate Director of Development, Donor Relations

The Associate Director, Donor Relations will design, develop, and implement individual major gift fundraising efforts for Chicago Opera Theater (COT), including planned giving efforts. This position will cultivate and manage relationships with and solicit donations from existing major gift donors and prospects, and steward new prospects. An ability to clearly communicate COT’s mission and programs to outside parties is key.

This role functions in coordination with the Director of Development, General Director, and Development Manager to advance ongoing campaigns, initiatives, and events. This position reports to the Director of Development.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Manage portfolio of approximately 100 major gift donors ($1,000 - $9,999) and prospects, including members of COT’s President’s Council (giving society of $1,500+), and Encore Society (Legacy/Planned Giving).
  • Steward new major gift prospects, and develop and execute moves management plans around these.
  • Make direct solicitations and assist the board with their solicitations (e.g. provide portfolio development support, strategic counsel, help with donor communications).
  • Acknowledge major donors through public and private recognition.
  • Develop and implement planned giving initiatives based on industry best practices.
  • Work with the Director of Development and General Director to develop strategies for individual giving (annual fund, major gifts, planned gifts, campaign).
  • Oversee tracking of major gifts ($1,000 - $9,999) made to the organization, as well as incoming planned gift documents and received bequests through COT’s customer relationship management system.
  • Manage the planning and implementation of the annual fundraising gala, including securing sponsorships, managing the gala committee, and working with vendors and partners on event logistics.
  • Oversee the execution of smaller events including Donor Room, President’s Council and Encore Society events, and annual Holiday Soiree.


  • 3-5 years of development/fundraising experience in a nonprofit organization required
  • Experience with direct solicitation
  • Experience with event planning & management
  • Knowledge of PatronManager or similar CRM software helpful
  • Desire to support arts & culture and/or opera
  • Familiarity with the Chicago philanthropic community a plus
  • Committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion and supporting an institution striving to be anti-racist
  • Bachelor’s degree encouraged

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), immigrants, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Salary range is $55,000 - $60,000 annually plus health, dental, and vision insurance; paid vacation, holidays, sick and personal days; paid family leave; life insurance; flexible & remote work options; 403(b) plan; complimentary tickets; and other benefits. Relocation assistance available for out-of-town candidates. Salary is commensurate with experience. Position is full-time salaried, exempt.

Please let us know how you heard about this opportunity along with submitting a resume and cover letter to

Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago, IL