About Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra: Founded in 1942, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (SYSO) is the largest youth orchestra training program in the United States. SYSO has enjoyed a prestigious reputation as a high caliber orchestra, counting many acclaimed professional musicians amongst its alumni, including three of the founding members of the Kronos Quartet. Having thrived under the musical leadership of Stephen Rogers Radcliffe for the last 12 seasons, SYSO will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2018.
The organization serves nearly 2,000 diverse students each year and has extensive partnerships with local public schools with reduced lunch and free lunch programs serving low income and disadvantaged youth. With five orchestras, three summer music programs and innovative programming such as the Endangered Instruments and the Musical Pathways programs the organization provides a wide variety of opportunities for the youth it serves. A recent merger with the Seattle Conservatory of Music grooms and prepares youth who aspire to become professional musicians. By awarding over $300,000 in financial aid annually, SYSO ensures that every talented student from age 7 to 22 can participate in the right program for them, regardless of financial resources.
SYSO is a unique and extraordinarily multifaceted organization. It is similar to a private school with a diverse parent and student base; it is an arts organization with earned income from ticket sales from concerts, events and festivals; it is like a university with an extensive alumni and parent/grandparent network; and it is similar to a youth development organization with a focus on underserved populations.
Position Summary: SYSO is currently poised for growth and seeks a Development Director with a strong vision and the demonstrated ability to put plans into practice, shaping the organization’s trajectory into the future and moving from maintenance into growth mode. The organization seeks to better balance revenue generated through tuition/earned income by increasing contributed income and build out individual and major donor giving programs. There is great opportunity and untapped resources for a skilled strategist to develop and create new programs and strategies. Specifically, the vast alumni network and parent community has not previously been tapped for support, though the opportunity is tremendous with just these two constituencies. Planned giving and estate planning are additional opportunities for development.
We seek a builder to evaluate the Development function, current roles and responsibilities, the break down of revenue and the untapped potential and collaborate with the board, Executive Director and Music Director to develop a plan for diversifying the revenue stream. With several new and committed board members, the board is energized and ready to work collaboratively with the incoming Development Director to take the organization to the next level. SYSO is looking to modernize its operations and customize its revenue strategy to meet future needs; this person will play an instrumental role in outlining and implementing the plan. The Development Director will provide coaching and guidance to the board, Executive Director and Music Director to deepen fundraising proficiency. The upcoming 75th anniversary presents a wonderful opportunity to capitalize on current strengths while outlining an inspiring future vision for SYSO.
Candidates for this position should be seasoned Development professionals with a passion for and experience working in the arts and with youth. Candidates should thrive on the opportunity to build: organizations, development strategies and relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders. This person should be self-directed, comfortable with ambiguity and able to create and implement a strategy, coaching and guiding staff, leadership and board members along the way. The successful candidate will possess a superior organizational skill set and a demonstrated ability to set priorities and create strategies and processes that align with strategic goals.
The Director of Development will be expected to work some weekends and holidays due to concert schedules. The Director will attend all concerts and events and will be a well-known and trusted steward of the mission and organization within the broad community of concert attendees and community members. The successful candidate will thrive on engaging and building relationships with a wide variety of audiences. This person will also be required to attend all relevant board committee meetings related to fundraising efforts and donor cultivation.
Primary Responsibilities: • Evaluate current Development infrastructure, systems, functions, strategies and practices: o Conduct a landscape assessment to understand current programs and practices and identify areas of opportunity o Evaluate donor database and consult with the team to determine options for improvement o Meet with Development staff to understand current functions and identify opportunities to increase efficiencies and strengthen the team • Collaborate with the Board, Executive Director and Music Director but ultimately lead the effort to develop a comprehensive plan to diversify the SYSO revenue stream: o Create a strategy for building relationships with parent and alumni networks, converting community members and other stakeholders into donors o Create and implement major giving and individual donor programs o Strengthen corporate, foundation and institutional donor programs o Develop planned giving and estate planning programs • Grow SYSO’s mission profile in order to increase student, audience and philanthropic participation in its programs in alignment with the strategic plan: o Collaborate with the Executive Director, Board, Music Director and other community members to develop resources and markets for SYSO • Provide oversight on all aspects of contributed resource development: o Prepare annual development plans and associated budgets including strategy, planning, execution, evaluation and review of all development efforts, including management of associated personnel and expenses • Engage, guide, coordinate and coach Executive Director, Board, Music Director and other community stakeholders to grow involvement and income to advance the mission of SYSO: o Utilize exceptional written and verbal communications skills to engage a diverse range of audiences • Mentor and coach the development team: o Create workflow efficiencies and align individual team member goals with the strategic and revenue development plan • Integrate a strong understanding of issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion into all aspects of the work
Qualifications and Experience: • 7-10 years experience in a senior level development role in an arts, education and/or youth focused organization • Experience creating and/or overseeing major donor, individual donor, planned giving, corporate, foundation and institutional programs • Experience converting alumni, parents, audience members and other stakeholders into donors • Experience overseeing or contributing to capital campaigns • Broad understanding of foundations and institutional donors beyond those focused on the arts • Strong organizational skills and experience creating work flow systems and processes that create efficiencies and increase productivity • Excellent communications skills, both written and verbal, and an ability to articulate a compelling story about SYSO that engages and motivates community members, funders, staff and various stakeholders • At least five years staff management experience and demonstrated commitment to a servant leadership model • A sense of humor, levity and a willingness to do whatever it takes to support the team, all key constituents and the mission
Additional Salary Information: This is a full-time exempt position with competitive salary and excellent benefits including a competitive vacation plan, health, vision and dental coverage and the opportunity to contribute to a 403(b) retirement plan. The SYSO office is closed for two weeks over the winter holidays.
Founded in 1942, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (SYSO) is the largest youth orchestra
training program in the United States. SYSO has enjoyed a prestigious reputation as a high
caliber orchestra, counting many acclaimed professional musicians amongst its alumni, including
three of the founding members of the Kronos Quartet. Having thrived under the musical
leadership of Stephen Rogers Radcliffe for the last 12 seasons, SYSO will celebrate its 75th
anniversary in 2018.