Director of Advancement

Opening Act
Brooklyn, NY 11202

Job Details


Organizational Background

Committed to advancing arts equity in NYC and beyond, for twenty years, Opening Act has actively centered the voices of students of color through free, high-quality theater programming!

Opening Act targets the city’s highest need schools with disproportionately less access to resources than other schools in the system. These schools are often flagged by the DOE as “under-performing” and are at risk of closure. Since inception, we have grown to reach over 5,000 young people. Today, our free, year-long, after school theater program serves 57 schools throughout New York City, including our partnership with the city’s alternative school district, where we work with young people who are pursuing a high school equivalency diploma in a formal educational environment because their education was disrupted by a life event.

Looking Ahead

As we approach the new educational landscape of the upcoming year, Opening Act is committed to providing both virtual workshops that meet the unique needs of our school community and experiences that engage our supporters in exciting ways. With this in mind, we are re-envisioning the format of our programs to meet new remote learning requirements, deepening our trauma informed/healing centered practices to support our students, and re-imagining donor engagement. We remain dedicated to creating a unique, brave, and empowering space – even when that space is virtual.

At this time, when so many of the issues Opening Act’s work addresses – social justice, education, the arts, equity – are gaining urgency because of national events, our programming is especially critical and relevant.

Opening Act is at a pivotal and compelling moment as an organization and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome a new Director of Advancement to work alongside our new Executive Director and play a critical role in our next stage of success in arts education and positive youth development. 

Job Summary

Opening Act seeks a high performing leader in the nonprofit field to join a collaborative and dynamic team of professionals as our Director of Advancement. 

The Director of Advancement serves as the primary strategic architect of a comprehensive development program that will advance Opening Act’s mission and goals. In collaboration with the Executive Director and working closely with the Board of Directors, the Director of Advancement will design and implement a comprehensive, results-oriented development plan that includes annual fundraising, major and planned giving, campaigns, and special events. The Director will take a lead role in establishing a vision for fundraising at Opening Act – including goals, strategies, benchmarks, and timetables – in order to identify new donors and deepen relationships with individuals, corporate, and foundation leaders.

Candidate Profile 

The ideal candidate is:

  • A proactive and thoughtful strategist

  • An outstanding communicator and storyteller (both in writing and in person)

  • An exceptional relationship builder

  • Comfortable working both independently and collaboratively to meet annual fundraising goals

  • Visionary and eager to advance the work of Opening Act with an anticipatory approach to challenges and opportunities

  • Excited to lead all aspects of Opening Act’s development work 

Personal characteristics and work style:

  • Committed to excellence consistent with Opening Act’s best-in-class approach to program development and implementation

  • Sincere passion for and understanding of Opening Act’s mission and commitment to our students; ability to be a compelling ambassador for the organization’s values

  • Collaborative and engaging communication style in working with people of many backgrounds

  • Ability to multitask and balance multiple priorities in a complex and multi-faceted development program

  • Comfort in a small, fast-paced virtual and/or entrepreneurial environment

  • A strong work ethic is required; must work well in a collegial team environment that is supportive of team members’ accomplishments

  • A positive outlook and a sense of humor

Qualifications include:

  • At least 3 years of demonstrated ability to set and monitor the strategic direction of an advancement program and to ensure its alignment with organizational goals

  • Experience establishing strong relationships with executive leaders, board members, and volunteer committees and leveraging them effectively in the fundraising process

  • Track record of personally securing monumental gifts from all constituencies, including individuals, corporations, and foundations

  • Working knowledge of advancement best practices, emerging trends, and tools and technologies to support a variety of development initiatives, including prospect research and digital campaigns

  • Demonstrated ability to articulate clear and compelling messages – both verbal and written – to motivate constituents to action with positive results

  • Extremely detailed-oriented and highly organized

  • Demonstrates initiative and problem-solving skills

In addition: Strong proficiency in Microsoft applications (Word and Excel required); tech savvy and comfortable with donor management and communications management

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
Strategy, Vision, and Leadership

  • Work in tandem with the Executive Director, Board of Directors and senior staff to develop and execute Opening Act’s annual fundraising plan 

  • Create and execute a strategy for a large sustained base of individual donors

  • Help present and position the organization to funders, and connect Opening Act to a larger circle of supporters and volunteers

Grants Management and Prospect Research

  • Oversee and supervise the research of foundations, corporations, and public sources for grant applications

  • Supervise the management of Opening Act’s grant timeline and database 

  • Spearhead and manage grant proposal writing and submission of applications to institutional grant-makers

  • Manage the completion of reports as necessary to current funders; track, evaluate, and report outcomes to donors

Donor Management Oversight

  • Ensure accurate process for donations, acknowledgement letters, mail generation, and other correspondence

  • Ensure accurate data entry and daily operation of donor management system

  • Support other team members with requests for reports/information from donor management system

Special Events and Fundraising Campaigns

  • Manage the planning and logistics for fundraising events including an annual Play Reading Gala with high caliber talent and an annual spring event hosted by Opening Act’s Social Board

  • Plan events from start to finish according to requirements, target audience, and objectives

  • Work with the Executive Director to prepare budgets and ensure adherence

  • Coordinate with all vendors and in-kind donors for events

  • Manage consultants working on large scale development projects

  • Book space for events as needed

  • Coordinate with communications team to implement promotional activities for the event

  • Proactively plan for potential challenges and resolve them as they arise

  • Lead debrief of event’s success and prepare reports

  • Work with the Development and Communications team on developing and implementing the annual social media #POWEROF20 Campaign (Fall); and planning and production of Opening Act’s gala event, the Annual Play Reading Benefit (Spring)

Opening Act values and welcomes diversity in the workplace and strongly encourages all qualified persons to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

Classification: Full time

Reports To: Executive Director


Opening Act offers a competitive salary of $80,000 – $90,000 and will be commensurate with skills and experience. Benefits include paid time off, health and dental insurance, 403b plan, and paid parental leave. 

In addition, Opening Act’s employees work with a talented team of individuals who are committed to living out Opening Act’s core values of our programs in the workplace:

  • Respect

  • Showing Up

  • Listening

  • YES, And-ing

  • Empowering

  • Including

To Apply

Please click the yellow “Apply” button below – you will be prompted to upload your resume, fill out additional information, and submit a thoughtful cover letter that addresses why you would like to work for Opening Act and which of our core values resonates with you most.

Application Deadline: October 16, 2020

Start Date: November 23 with flexibility

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. No phone calls please. We will contact only those applicants with whom we plan to set up an interview.

For more info on Opening Act:


November 23, 2020 –


$80,000 – $90,000