Manager, Advancement Research: Opera Philadelphia

Posted June 30th, 2015 at 9:40 am.

About Opera Philadelphia: Since its formation in 1975, Opera Philadelphia has been the premier opera-producing organization in the Greater Philadelphia-area. The Opera’s three-series season format features three grand-scale productions in its traditional home, the historic 2,700 seat Academy of Music; two productions in the Aurora Series, which features new and rarely performed chamber operas in the 563 seat Perelman Theater; and Opera in the City, a series that diversifies audiences’ operatic experiences through site specific productions in unexpected venues around the city. The Opera is also championing new opera development with the American Repertoire Program, the Opera’s commitment to produce at least one American opera each year, and its Composer in Residence program.

The Opera is committed to engaging the Philadelphia region with innovative arts experiences. Each year the opera offers Opera on the Mall, a free, public HD broadcast of the season-opening production on the mall at Independence National Historical Park. Since 1991, more than 145,000 Philadelphia-area children have participated in Opera Philadelphia’s award-winning Sounds of Learning ™ program which advances interdisciplinary learning by integrating opera into the core school curriculum, and the program has been recently expanded to reach more classrooms. The Opera also partners with numerous community organizations in an effort to make opera relevant to a more diverse constituency. Opera Philadelphia and Art Sanctuary’s collaborative program, Hip H’opera, was launched in 2006 and works to build the self-esteem of opportunity youth by bridging the gap between classical music and pop culture.

Position Description:  The Advancement Research Manager will be responsible for identifying, researching and analyzing prospective and current individual and institutional donors to Opera Philadelphia, with an emphasis on major gifts. The Manager will produce thoroughly researched, well-written reports and analytics that provide an evaluation of giving ability and suggested strategies for engagement and solicitation based on the prospects’ areas of interests, behaviors and background. The Manager will be responsible for developing policies, procedures and systems that aid in meeting research priorities while working closely with a talented development team and senior management to advance the philanthropic goals of Opera Philadelphia.

Reports to: Director of Development

Type of Employment: Salaried, non-exempt

Detailed Responsibilities:

  • Research, identify, evaluate and recommend major gift prospects from individuals, corporations, foundations; discuss findings and recommendations with development staff on an ongoing basis.
  • Development and implement internal systems and practices that enhance internal screening processes, pipeline development and fundraising outcomes.
  • Utilize Tessitura database, T-Stats, and other resources as needed to manage and analyze prospect information; continually updating research findings in Tessitura.
  • Oversee research components of Tessitura database, including the development of policies and procedures to ensure integrity of data and reports; mentor and collaborate with development staff to ensure understanding of and adherence to such policies and procedures.
  • Review and/or capture contact reports from development staff and senior management on a regular basis.
  • Prepare written profiles, biographies, reports, lists, briefings and other customized documents that support the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of prospective and current donors as needed by the development staff and senior management.
  • Utilize online databases, internet resources, in house data and files and other references to enhance research findings.
  • Monitor select periodicals, news outlets, and other publications for relevant information on key prospects, donors, artists and trends; disseminate to development staff regularly.
  • Collect and synthesize information regularly from performance programs, annual reports, newsletters and similar communications from other organizations.
  • Stay current with developments in the field and best practices for professional prospect research.
  • Budget for and maintain all required subscriptions and researching expenditures.
  • Develop supportive and productive relationships with campaign managers; work in collaboration with them, the Director of Development, and senior management.
  • Maintain highest level of organization, accuracy and confidentiality of research files and data.
  • Attend opera performances and special events as required.
  • Other special projects as assigned.

Skills Desired:

  • 5+ years of experience in development research or related experience.
  • Knowledge of and interest in opera.
  • Strong computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, working knowledge and experience with major research databases and technology tools, including Tessitura, Lexis Nexis, Wealth Engine, and more.
  • Knowledge of best practices pertaining to development research and its incorporation into a comprehensive fundraising program.
  • Ability to effectively work with a team.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills, including the ability to listen carefully and target communications to the specific interests of varied audiences.
  • Demonstrated creativity and strategic thinking, with the ability to take initiative.
  • Ability to work nights and weekends.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.

Opera Philadelphia is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

To Apply

To apply, please submit resume, cover letter, work samples, and salary requirements to Bethany Steel at

Filed under: Management Level by Margie DuBrow

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