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 Annual Giving Manager


In its new and expanded home, Black Ensemble now operates an annual budget of $3.5 million, of which approximately $1.1 million comes from philanthropy. The theater is proud to have a fundraising program that includes giving from individuals, foundations, corporations and government agencies. Fundraising is under the responsibility of the department of Institutional Advancement, which is run by a Vice President for Institutional Advancement and includes 4 full-time equivalent employees, in addition to Founder/CEO Jackie Taylor who is active in fundraising activities as well.

Recognizing the great potential of individual giving, Black Ensemble is investing in a new position – the Annual Giving Manager. The manager will be responsible for creating a comprehensive annual giving strategy, executing the plan and evaluating its results. Currently, $150,000 comes from individuals who make annual gifts to the theater, and it is expected that this number could double by 2017 with a dedicated Annual Giving Manager in place.

The Annual Giving Manager will report directly to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and work with Black Ensemble’s management team to increase the participation of and giving from individuals at all levels of the giving pyramid. Executing for results through a variety of activities, the Annual Giving Manager will be responsible for:


1. Direct mail and e-campaigns (55%)

•    Plan and implement direct mail solicitation campaigns - coordinating the mailing schedule, theme, and donor segments, in concert with a fulfillment house.

•    Plan and implement e-campaigns, including creating the theme, drafting copy, and coordinating the mailing schedule to targeted donor segments.
•    Conduct post evaluation for donor appeals and analyze program results to plan segmentation for future mailings and/or cultivation activities.


2. Annual Giving Circles, including Next Stage Society (25%)

•    Support the V.P. for Institutional Advancement in developing and implementing an overall recruitment and retention plan for individual donors to further cultivate relationships, resulting in new and upgraded donors over time.

•    Grow and steward members of the Next Stage Society, Black Ensemble’s lead annual donor circle, which recognizes donors of $1,000 or more.

•    Continue to build on the success of the Next Stage Society by creating additional, higher level annual giving circles with unique benefits and recognition opportunities.

•    Build one-on-one relationships with individual donors during their visits to the theater, in meetings, by phone or by written communication.


3. Stewardship (15%)

•    Ensure donor stewardship via timely acknowledgment letters and recognition in in programs and publications, the Black Ensemble website and donor honor walls.


4. Young Professionals Council (5%)

•    Coordinate and provide staff support for the Young Professional Council, a group of volunteers dedicated to advancing the Black Ensemble mission through fundraising and higher levels of awareness for the theater.


This position is both internally and externally facing, as the Annual Giving Manager will interact with donors in addition to working behind the scenes to manage the Annual Giving program.




Black Ensemble seeks a professional with a minimum of 2 years of post-college experience. Experience working in a non-profit organization, i.e., a theater or arts organization, is considered a plus, but is not required, as candidates with transferrable skills will be considered.


Additional professional and personal attributes of sought after candidates include:

•    Belief in the Black Ensemble Theater mission

•    Excellent oral and written communication skills, with a specific ability to create donor solicitations, and thank you letters

•    Demonstrated record of accomplishment in annual giving, knowledge of fundraising principles and techniques, and experience managing successful direct mail programs a strong plus

•    Attention to detail, with a commitment to maintaining Black Ensemble’s unique voice while improving the quality, content and format of solicitations/appeals

•    Excellent time management skills, ability to manage multiple projects and identify priorities

•    Ability to manage work flow and plan/coordinate the work of others to meet deadlines

•    Professional demeanor with the ability to work independently and as a team player

•    Ability to communicate successfully with stakeholders, patrons, performers, and employees

•    Strong focus on results with an entrepreneurial approach to fundraising and problem solving

•    Strong sense of personal and professional accountability

•    Familiarity with the Chicago philanthropic community (individual donors, foundations and government agencies) a plus

•    Desire to work in a dynamic, fast-paced and ever-changing environment

•    Proficient knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint

•    Sense of humor


To Apply


Black Ensemble offers a competitive salary and benefits package. To inquire about this opportunity, please send cover letter, resume and salary history to to the attention of Margie DeVine, president of the nonprofit fundraising and executive search firm DeVine Consulting, located in Chicago, Illinois.