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Job Summary

To Apply:  Please upload your cover letter and resume as one document.

As a comprehensive performing arts school set in one of the world’s finest public institutions of higher education, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) is deeply engaged in the creation, practice, scholarship, and pedagogy of music, theatre, and dance. We aim to provide leadership, nationally and internationally, in all three fields. We assert and celebrate the value of the arts to the mission of the University of Michigan. SMTD is committed to sharing values of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain excellence.

The Director of Major Gifts will work closely with the Chief Development and External Relations Officer in setting the strategic direction for the School of Music Theatre & Dance’s major gift and campaign fundraising efforts, with an emphasis on identification, cultivation, and solicitation of individual major gift prospects. The Director will manage his/her own portfolio of major gift prospects, and will provide leadership, guidance, and project and moves management strategy for the Major Gift Officer Intermediate, Manager of Annual Programs, and Stewardship Officer.



  • Develop and execute long- and short-term strategies to continually identify, cultivate and solicit prospects capable of making gifts of $50,000 or more to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
  • Identify, assess, analyze and conceive appropriate strategies for approaching, cultivating, and soliciting prospects and making the vitally important selection of the appropriate donor’s interest match with the program and curricular needs within the School.
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of the priorities of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and make a persuasive verbal and written case for supporting key programs and projects, effectively matching the interests of prospects to specific needs of SMTD.
  • Manage a portfolio of 150-200 major gift prospects, focusing on those with gift capacity of $50,000 or more, and conduct at least 120 visits and participate in a minimum of 20 solicitations per year. Travel throughout the U.S. as necessary for meetings with donors and prospects.
  • Provide field leadership in major gifts on behalf of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Act as liaison and collaborate with OUD regional and school/college/unit major gift officers to coordinate major gift cultivation, solicitation and stewardship and ensure appropriate prospect management standards and best practices.
  • Solicit major gifts from individuals and negotiate on behalf of School of Music, Theatre & Dance and the University with potential major gift donors.
  • Ensure the effective presentation of trust, bequest and other deferred giving instruments to prospects and donors.
  • Work with faculty to articulate priorities and needs in the School for discussion with major gift prospects. Involve faculty in the development process as appropriate.
  • Help to plan and direct development activities including campaign volunteer activities, campaign celebration/recognition events, donor/alumni receptions and events, and individual visits by the dean, officers and faculty as necessary. Coordinate the involvement of campaign volunteers and University staff, faculty and officers in these activities as appropriate.
  • Develop materials and communications used by dean, faculty, and campaign volunteers for meetings, visits or individual contacts.
  • Gather, record and properly store information about prospects and donors utilizing DART, the University’s donor and alumni tracking database.


  • Provide leadership and guidance to three professional gift officers within the SMTD development and external relations team: Major Gift Officer Intermediate, Manager of Annual Programs, and Stewardship Officer. Ensure their continued and increased success in supporting the SMTD’s funding and programmatic priorities.
  • Work with staff to set and evaluate individual goals, develop and sustain appropriate training, identify and recommend professional development opportunities for staff members, and assign and ensure coverage of primary areas of focus.
  • Foster an environment for sharing information and keeping the development and external relations team and all stakeholders well informed of strategies, contacts with prospects and donors, and related activities.
  • Through collegial consultation and cooperation, demonstrate and be a model of collaboration in the University of Michigan development community. Maintain strong lines of communication with colleagues in other academic units, and across the university, to ensure synergy in achieving SMTD’s fundraising goals and objectives. Work with other development personnel in identifying referral opportunities and supporting the overall university campaign goals.
  • Attend monthly Development Council meetings and participate in leadership and major gift strategy sessions as necessary.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree highly desirable.
  • 5-7 years major gift fundraising experience in academic and/or arts environment and/or relevant experience in sales and marketing, or other related fields, in a confidential environment to a sophisticated audience will be considered.
  • Proven success in solicitation and gift closure at the six-and seven-figure level is expected.
  • Excellent communications skills coupled with strong writing and presentation skills.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues in a team environment.
  • Exercise discretion and an ability to interact with high-level donors and the ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality.
  • An ability and willingness to quickly learn the School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s history, mission, demographics, faculty, current programs, departments, etc., as well as the University culture, to be able to persuasively articulate how U-M SMTD distinguishes itself from peer institutions.
  • Strong interpersonal skills are required, as well as a high level of sophistication and maturity in social and professional settings.
  • Candidate will be an articulate individual with personal integrity, strong interpersonal skills, creative, flexible, organized and self-motivated, with good planning and follow-through.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with individuals from diverse communities and cultures.
  • Strong ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively with development officers in other Schools and Colleges as well as with the Office of University Development and a strong ability to work in, and an appreciation for a very interdisciplinary and diverse School and University.
  • Ability and willingness to travel, work outside the normal workday, and effectively deal with ambiguity and uncertainty in the workplace.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Knowledge of University policies, procedures and culture is desired and an appreciation for the unique role of education in the context of a major public research university is expected.
  • Strong understanding of music, theatre, and dance, and a passion for the performing arts is preferred.

Underfill Statement

Position may be filled at a senior level depending on select candidates experiance and qualifications.

Application Deadline

This job will be posted for fourteen (14) days, but can be pulled of the job boards after the required seven (7) days.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.