Position: Senior Director of Development Operations

Reports To: Chief Development Officer

Status: Full-time, exempt 

Lyric Opera of Chicago exists to provide a broad, deep and relevant cultural service to the Chicago region and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form of opera.

Lyric Opera of Chicago is embarking on an ambitious 10-year plan to increase annual fundraising and raise significant endowment and capital funds to ensure the future of the company. The new Senior Director of Development Operations will be responsible for the planning and implementation of all Tessitura data management functions that support annual, endowment, and capital fundraising efforts. The Senior Director will be responsible for planning and implementing a comprehensive prospect management system and will provide strategic guidance and track all fundraising activities of the Development department.

This highly collaborative individual will proactively recommend and implement solutions for automation and reporting with an emphasis on efficiency, consistency, and best practices for information management, gift administration, and donor relations. The following positions report to the Senior Director: Director of Development Operations, Database Manager, Donor Records Associate, Donor Records Coordinator, and Director of Prospect Research and Management (new position).

The Senior Director will be proficient in overall non-profit fundraising and development operations best practices, as well as Tessitura database or similar CRM usage.


Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Demonstrate leadership in accordance with Lyric’s mission and vision.

  • Manage the Development Operations and the Prospect Research and Management teams including strategic planning and deployment of financial and staffing resources; establishing and measuring annual plans, goals, and performance metrics; ensuring clarity, privacy, integration, and timeliness of data and sensitive information; efficiency of reporting and performance metrics; effectiveness of technology supporting the operations.

  • Align the team in support of new and evolving operational strategies.

  • Independently and/or in collaboration with Lyric’s IT department and/or external experts, create and execute standard and customized Tessitura reports that meet the evolving needs of the fundraising teams including reports to support prospect research and tracking.

  • Lead and manage Development analytics initiatives using Tessitura Business Intelligence Suite and other tools as appropriate.

  • Provide insight into donor trends to support fundraising campaigns and events and help drive decision-making.

  • Liaise with IT department, other managers, and key stakeholders to establish and maintain organizational standards for Tessitura database usage and data.

  • Plan and implement programs and reports that include measurable targets for annual, endowment, and capital campaigns and track the performance of gift officers including key performance indicators and financial reporting for all officer programs.

  • Ensure dynamic processes in all phases of donor qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship to expand and diversify prospect pool.

  • Facilitate, lead, and prepare presentation of reports and analysis for the Development Committee and Board of Trustees.

  • Oversee management of Tessitura database to ensure current, consistent, and accurate data.

  • Design and maintain dashboards for gift officers and run statistical, financial, and constituent reports as needed.

  • Assess and update gift acceptance policies in collaboration with Finance on an annual basis to ensure appropriate compliance and alignment with giving trends.

  • Assess and update all giving vehicles in collaboration with Finance to ensure fundraisers have accurate and timely information.

  • Assess training needs and approaches for data and technology systems; partner with the fundraising staff to improve and standardize procedures and processes.

  • Oversee the annual revenue and expense budgeting process for the department.

  • Other duties as assigned.


Knowledge and Skills:

  • 10+ years of progressively responsible experience.

  • Experience with financial constituent relationship management databases. Tessitura required.

  • Extensive knowledge of best practices in philanthropy.

  • A metrics-driven, entrepreneurial mindset that informs strategy and work.

  • Collaborative team player who can work closely with company leaders, board members, and other internal and external constituencies.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills to build strong relationships and adapt to the needs of diverse groups of individuals at all levels of the organization.

  • Strong management skills with demonstrated success in team leadership and building.

  • Strong communication skills.

  • Strong track record of leading projects and initiatives to completion for positive business impact, while navigating through a complex organization.

  • Highly responsible, self-motivated, and exceptional attention to detail.

  • Passion for the performing arts; although an extensive knowledge of opera is not a pre-requisite – familiarity is a plus.

  • Extensive knowledge and expertise in MS Word, Excel, and other Microsoft applications.


Work Conditions:

  • Ability to occasionally oversee and work evening or weekend functions.

  • Sitting for extended periods of time.

  • Ability to operate a computer keyboard, mouse, and to handle other office equipment.

How to Apply

Please forward a resume and cover letter denoting the position of interest to jobs@lyricopera.org or mail to Lyric Opera of Chicago, Attention: Human Resources, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 860, Chicago, IL 60606.

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to enhancing our diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Lyric does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.