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Arts administration ,
submitted by
Andrew Levine

Individual Giving Manager


Merit School of Music seeks a full-time Individual Giving Manager to build upon and continue to grow our base of individual donors. The ideal candidate will be a creative, organized, and dynamic development professional with an entrepreneurial spirit. Passion for inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism is a must!

Organizational Overview

Merit School of Music is a community music school located in Chicago’s West Loop. Our primary goals are to help young people transform their lives and experience personal growth through music by providing access to sustained participation. For more than 40 years, we have been home to a diverse community of talented young musicians and have acted as a springboard for achieving full musical and personal potential. Our 125 passionate and experienced teaching artists provide access to high-quality music education, engaging over 3,000 students annually at our downtown location and in area schools and community centers.

Our students, who reflect the socioeconomic and ethnic diversity of Chicago, have the rare opportunity to learn together, dream together, teach each other, and broaden their horizons as they build inspiring lives through music. Merit develops musicians and provides young people with the tools they need to excel in life, with virtually 100 percent of our graduates going on to conservatory or college.

Merit School of Music is committed to building a world in which historically underrepresented groups can attain access to quality music education. Simultaneously, Merit is continually working towards becoming an organization that is truly reflective of the demographics of the city and the students we serve. Merit is dedicated to being an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and anti-racist organization and continually examining our efforts in this area.

Reporting Relationship

The Individual Giving Manager reports to the VP for Development and Marketing.

Job Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Individual Giving Manager include, but are not limited to:

Individual Fundraising Management and Donor Communications – approx. 40%

ο Create, implement, and manage various efforts to secure renewed and novel financial support from individuals up to the $5,000 level

ο Coordinate solicitation strategy sessions, prepare action and statistical reports, and develop and promote a variety of giving opportunities

ο Write and create monthly donor e-newsletter in collaboration with the Director of Marketing

ο Work within our donor database (Raiser’s Edge) to create donor reports and analyses; support department stewardship efforts and edit acknowledgment letters created by Donor Database Coordinator ο Manage all aspects of direct mail and electronic appeals

ο Ensure appropriate donor relations steps are followed in order to ensure stewardship and gift renewals

ο Support prospect research and prepare donor profiles/giving histories in collaboration with Director of Donor Engagement for major gift prospects

ο Collaborate with Director of Donor Engagement to prepare donor reports after special events or in response to appeals

Volunteer Management – approx. 30%

ο Work closely with Associate Board leadership and members to develop, execute and manage fiscal year strategies for achieving engagement and fundraising goals; lead the organization and development of Associate Board special events and volunteering opportunities

ο Liaise with Merit Parent Association leaders and potential alumni leaders to develop, execute and manage strategies for engaging Merit parents/alumni and achieving budgeted MPA and alumni fundraising goals

Scholarship Stewardship – approx. 15%

ο Work closely with student services staff to assist in the organization, selection, and stewardship of student scholarships and awards and coordinate payments with finance staff

ο Collect biographic info from scholarship recipients to update scholarship funders

Other initiatives as needed – approx. 15%

ο Work closely with Development and Marketing team to fundraise for, produce and execute Merit Annual Gala

ο Represent Merit at community events and task forces

Personal Skills/Attributes/Qualifications To be successful in this job, you will excel in these areas: Relationship-building: must excel at building and maintaining relationships with volunteers and donors and tailoring communication for each audience. Highly organized time management: must be able to demonstrate an effective system for staying on top of an ambitious workload. Communication: strong writing skills are required to write compelling fundraising appeals and emails that convey passion for Merit’s mission and encourage donors continued financial support Flexible mindset: willingness to learn new skills and support a variety of projects is required. You should be comfortable self-starting when working independently and solving problems in a team environment. Some of your time will be spent in Raiser’s Edge, Merit’s donor database software. Familiarity with databases is required, but we will teach you how to use Raiser’s Edge if you haven’t used it before. Similarly, you will work with our Marketing department by using Canva and Constant Contact to create e-newsletters, email appeals, reports and graphics, but prior experience in graphic design or Canva, while a plus, is not required. Experience with MailChimp, Salesforce, Donor Perfect, eTapestry, Adobe Pro or Illustrator will transfer nicely to our platforms. MS Office proficiency is required (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and light Excel).

Educational and Experiential Requirements

•Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience

•3+ years of relevant experience with a successful fundraising track record

Schedule Flexible M-F schedule, approximately 37.5 hours/week. Some evenings and weekends are required for special events but taking comp time is expected. Merit staff are working remotely as of 8/2/2021, but we plan to gradually resume in-person work over the summer and fall. Compensation and Application Compensation commensurate with experience but based on a starting salary of $45,000 annually. To apply, please upload your resume detailing your relevant experience and qualifications for this role using this link. Applications will be accepted through October 24, 2021. Materials should be compatible with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF. Applicants will receive further guidance and updates about the hiring process by e-mail, with interviews provided for finalists.

ALAANA/BIPOC people, trans and gender-nonconforming people, and women are encouraged to apply.

For more information about Merit School of Music, please visit

Merit School of Music is committed to enhancing the diversity of our musical community, recognizing that by providing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment for our students, we are preparing them for personal and professional success in an increasingly multicultural and global society. The Merit community recognizes that it has a responsibility for creating and sustaining a learning and working environment where difference is valued, and where equity and inclusion are practiced.

Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago, IL