Chief Philanthropy Officer

Boston Lyric Opera

New England's largest opera company, founded in 1976.

Boston MA

Work Location: Hybrid: remote & office


  • Full Time
  • Boston MA (Remote)
  • Wed, Nov 30, 2022
  • Work Location: Hybrid: remote & office
  • Opera
  • $155,000
  • $200,000

Website BostLyricOpera Boston Lyric Opera

New England's largest opera company, founded in 1976.

Organizational Background

Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) leads the way in celebrating the art of the voice through innovative programming and community engagement initiatives that redefine the opera-going experience. In May 2022, the Company adopted a five-year strategic plan that establishes a path to prioritize programming that centers a diverse experience, strengthen our relationships with our community, focus on expanding our leadership at the board level, and establish new roots with dependable performances spaces.

The strategic plan also restates the organization’s mission, vision, and values to articulate how the organization will continue to achieve these results with our communities and impact our audiences.

Our Mission: Boston Lyric Opera inspires, entertains, and connects communities through compelling opera performances, programs, and gatherings.

Our Vision: To create operatic moments that enrich everyday life.

Our Values: Boldness, Connection, Collaboration, Learning, Belonging

Now in its 46th season, BLO is the largest and longest-lived opera Company in New England. Founded in 1976 when three opera companies—New England Regional Opera, New England Chamber Opera Group, and Associate Artist Opera—decided to combine into one entity. In 1981, BLO became Company-in-residence at Northeastern University. Performances moved to the Schubert Theatre in the 1990s and to the Majestic Theatre and Opera House in 2016. Currently BLO does not have a single performance venue and presents in a variety of venues throughout the Greater Boston Area.

The Company has staged world premieres, United States premieres, and co-productions and co-commissions of note with organizations such as The Royal Opera, Scottish Opera, and San Francisco Opera. BLO continues to be a destination for some of the leading artists, conductors, directors, and designers from around the world. Programming at BLO celebrates the artform while blazing new ground, building audiences, and creating new ways to enhance the opera-going experience. Artists in the Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artists initiative work to hone their craft and prepare themselves for other world-leading stages. BLO’s wide-reaching collaborations and education initiatives introduce opera to new audiences across generations.

BLO’s 2022/23 season marks a return to a full season of live opera productions and a continuation of the Company’s on-screen programming throughout the year. The season is anchored by four new productions, opening with a free, outdoor public performance of Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet in collaboration with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company.

BLO has a 24-member board of directors led by Chair Michael J. Puzo. Bradley Vernatter serves as Acting General and Artistic Director (GAD). The staff is an energetic small team with big ambitions. They move fast with a creative problem-solving mindset and a belief that opera can be everything and be everywhere. BLO works with Resilient Philanthropy on fundraising strategy, P&C Consulting to manage human resources functions, YW Boston on DEI strategies, and RADAR Non-profit solutions to manage financial operations, including payroll, revenue management, audits, taxes, compliance, cybersecurity, and loan management.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access

BLO commits to becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization. It recognizes that this work will take time, intentional actions, and accountability from the board, employees, artists, patrons, and community. It commits to embracing individuals from all backgrounds and identities.

BLO commits to exhibiting the following values:

• We acknowledge and appreciate the inherent human rights of all individuals, without discrimination.
• We believe that our work must be based on mutual respect.
• We aim to examine our actions so that we may act without bias based on the differences we encounter during our work.
• We aspire to listen, learn, and seek diversity among the voices that join us in our work.

For additional details and a summary of action to date, please visit:

Areas of Responsibility

• Serve as a key member of BLO’s Senior Leadership team, contributing toward organization strategy related to programming, operations, and revenue development
• Build development strategies across all areas of individual and institutional giving
• Direct, strategize, manage and participate in all development activities, and personally steward approximately 100 major donors
• Identify and collaborate on strategic growth priorities with development opportunities, to grow major gifts
• Establish and communicate BLO strategy and needs by guiding the execution of our proposals, grant applications, and analytical reports
• Direct work and collaboration with the board, attend all board meetings, and provide direction and strategy for all board development and orientation activities
• Proactively build strong relationships to our financial team, and perform analysis and planning of development results; supervise development operations ensuring accuracy and efficiency
• Supervise, coach, challenge and inspire a high-performing team, encouraging career growth and expanding team impact on the organization
• Actively seek and build strong internal partnerships, and coach program staff on philanthropic opportunities

• Provide leadership, strategy, and direction to the development effort in support of annual, campaign, and long-term fundraising goals
• Develop, implement, and delegate comprehensive revenue and expense targets, strategies and measures to reach annual fund goals, and support long-range institutional objectives
• Develop and delegate all aspects of fundraising calendar for Individual Giving campaign, including creating outreach plan and strategy including but not limited to direct mail, email, print, telemarketing, web-based and social initiatives, and personal solicitations
• Provide direction and delegate analysis of donor trends to support fundraising campaigns and events and help drive decision-making.
• In coordination with the Director of Major Gifts, supervise donor incentive and stewardship programs including the Orfeo Society for major donors and sponsorships/naming opportunities.
• Ensure effective implementation of systems for recordkeeping, acknowledgment, moves management, reporting, and analysis in all areas; set parameters for list generation and segmentation; supervise print, mail, and fulfillment timelines to ensure efficiency and accuracy.
• Provide direction for all other donor and prospect assignments; support the Major Gifts team, the General & Artistic Director, and Board leadership in cultivation/solicitation assignments.
• Collaborate with the Senior Director of Public Engagement on marketing and audience development strategies and all public-facing initiatives
• Maintain a select portfolio of major, individual, and institutional gift prospects
• Establish strategy and supervise marketing, cultivation, and solicitation of planned gifts for BLO’s Boris Goldovsky Society in conjunction with the Major Gift team.

• Supervise and delegate development operations to ensure accurate and timely financial tracking, gift processing, and acknowledgment
• Lead the development of long-term revenue budgets and direct the creation and management of annual and long-term expense budgets in conjunction with departmental budget leaders and the Finance department
• Collaborate with the Finance team to ensure successful reconciliations and regular cash flow updates
• Responsible for routine program analysis and reporting, assessing ROI on appeals and fundraising efforts for the campaigns; track and report on the performance of each appeal, leverage analytics to create tailored content for the individual patron/donor.
• Independently and/or in collaboration with IT expert users 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. Supervise technological resources, including data management and donor information systems, donor screenings and research tools, and online giving

Board Support
• Produce timely and accurate development reports to senior management, Board committees, and Boards of Directors
• Provide staff support, motivation, and strategic direction for Board committees as assigned
• Develop goals and strategies to involve Directors and Advisors in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship activities
• Supervise the regular creation and distribution of invoices and Board statements.

• Responsible for management, performance reviews, professional development, and recommendations for hiring and performance improvement of reporting Development staff
• Ensure the highest standards of professionalism and customer service, especially as they relate to loyal and generous supporters and subscribers
• Collaborate with the senior management team and other departments on general operational management, strategic planning, and organizational priorities
• Represent the Company as a member of BLO’s senior leadership team to internal and external constituencies
• Collaborate with the executive leadership team on long-range planning and organizational priorities
• Coordinate with other departments on inter-departmental communications and activities
• Work with Board and staff on delivering overall Company positioning and organizational messages.

You are:
• A highly organized, detailed individual.
• A solution-oriented individual and can think quickly and efficiently under pressure.
• A team player who fosters collaboration but also comfortable forging new ground independently.
• Passionate about the performing arts and bonus if it’s opera.

We are:
• A dynamic, small, collaborative, and efficient team; we move quickly to adapt to the needs of our artists, patrons, and the world around us.
• Confident that opera can be everything and everywhere – an art form that belongs to all.
• A team unified around all areas of public engagement, taking an integrated approach to the audience experience, from the community and public programming, to how we communicate and welcome diverse audiences into the theater.

• 15+ years of experience in development, including at least five years of leadership experience
• Superior personal fund-raising skills and significant experience with major gifts
• Strong strategic thinking, including the ability to translate broad goals into measurable plans
• Excellent team management track record and skills
• Excellent collaboration and relationship-building skills, including the ability to work across the organization and with board members and to contribute positively to organizational morale
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills
• Understanding of and relationships in the arts community is highly valued but not required.
• Bachelor’s degree required.
• Must be available to represent BLO at community-wide events and board-related meetings, which may take place at nights and weekends.
• Proficiency in Microsoft Suite, QuickBooks, and experience with Tessitura and Activity HD

Job Conditions
The position is full-time, non-exempt. Regular business hours are Monday to Friday, with occasional evening and weekend work with seasonal high-volume periods. Administrative work is currently hybrid/remote, as BLO staff continue to adapt to COVID-19 precautions. Some regular onsite work is required for BLO performances and events in Boston and across the greater Boston area (both during the week and/or on weekends). Ideal candidates for this role will live in the greater Boston Area.

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