Director of Planned Giving

Position: Director of Planned Giving
Reports to: Senior Director of Planned Giving and Senior Director, Development
Status: Full-Time, Exempt

Duties and Responsibilities:

Working in partnership with the Senior Director of Planned Giving - identify, cultivate, solicit, administer, and steward activities targeted toward individuals with bequests, trusts or other planned giving arrangements. Duties include enhancing and building upon the following functions of Lyric Opera’s planned giving program:

  • Maintain a portfolio and cultivate, solicit, and steward individuals with expressed interest in considering estate gifts through Lyric’s database resources to grow The Overture Society and Bel Canto Benefactors membership. Develop and execute communication plans and special events targeted to new planned giving prospects. 
  • Build and maintain key relationships with individuals with confirmed planned giving commitments (members of The Overture Society and Bel Canto Benefactors), and monitor the delivery of planned giving donor benefits that were advanced to secure their support, striving for “value added” results. 
  • Assist in all aspects of the Planned Giving Advisory Council, Lyric’s volunteer group of the city’s premier estate professionals and wealth advisors. Contribute to meeting preparation and ongoing communications.
  • Attend Lyric events, dinners, and meetings where designated stakeholders are represented in order to enhance external relations and serve donors in an advocacy/facilitator role. Proactively schedule performance night Graham Room dinners and non-performance date breakfasts, lunches, and visits to enhance Lyric’s relationship with current Overture Society members and cultivate new planned giving donors.
  • Develop and present Estate Planning seminars to groups of Lyric prospects to inform on a variety of topics, including estate planning essentials, gift annuities, etc.
  • Create plans for out-of-office/in-person introductory meetings and engagement at networking events. Develop actions plans, and identify potential donors/planned givers for Chicago area and regional Midwest trips with existing or past Lyric patrons, and for “snowbird” trips with those whom have seasonally or permanently relocated outside the state.
  • Assist in developing and managing ongoing communications; including dynamic website content, season program advertisements and periodic flyers, newsletters, email communications, and other informational materials directed at planned giving prospects and current planned givers.
  • Interface with internal groups – particularly Marketing, Tickets, and the Business Office – to accommodate planned giving donors and ensure that the recognition and visibility provided is accurate and appropriate.
  • Proactively monitor the estate administration process, maintaining regular communication with attorneys and trust officers to oversee and secure the best interests of Lyric Opera. 
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of estate planning best practices and law through ongoing education, professional association membership, subscriptions to industry-focused magazines and materials.
  • Assist the Development Team in the identification, cultivation, solicitation, administration, and stewardship of activities targeted toward donors or prospective donors in the $100,000-$500,000+ range. Create strategies, write proposals/letters, and market funding opportunities to prospective planned givers.
Management retains the option to add or change job duties at any time.

Knowledge and Skills:

  • J.D. degree or other graduate degree with 7+ years of professional experience in the law or development field preferred. 
  • 7+ years of progressive experience in the successful solicitation of individuals for philanthropic support; demonstrated expertise in developing/maintaining strategic stakeholder relationships. 
  • Exceptional interpersonal communication and project-management abilities, excellent oral/written skills, public speaking experience, and effective team leadership experience all required. 
  • Proficiency with MS-Office products (Word, Excel), familiarity with donor database and planned giving software packages very desirable. 
  • Some exposure to Probate proceedings and Trust administrative practices preferred. 
  • Extensive late evenings and weekend work during height of opera season, September - March each year. 
  • Knowledge of opera a plus.
Successful applicants will need to submit to criminal background check prior to employment.

How to Apply:

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