Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra: Director of Development & Advancement, Application Deadline January 3

Director of Development & Advancement

Position: Director of Development & Advancement

Department: Public Engagement

Reports to: Senior Director, Public Engagement

Supervises: Manager of Development (Sponsorships & Events), Development Coordinator(s)

Start Date: Early 2022

Salary Range: Commensurate with Experience

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is currently celebrating its 74th year. From its debut 1948 performance to over 3,000 audience members, the WSO has become a powerhouse orchestra, regularly surprising guest conductors and artists with the exceptional musicianship and flexibility of its members. The WSO holds over 90 events in its five music series, and vibrant education programs.[RD1]

Under the leadership of Music Director Daniel Raiskin, the orchestra has earned a place among the ranks of major Canadian symphony orchestras. It has come to be regarded as one of Canada's most innovative, welcoming eminent artists and conductors from all over the world.The WSO's activity regularly extends beyond its home stage at the Centennial Concert Hall.

Each year, the WSO's much-lauded and highly innovative Winnipeg New Music Festival [RD2] regularly draws crowds in the thousands. The WSO has produced concerts in Olympic size diving boards, cottage country harbours and outdoors at The Forks in -30c. The orchestra has toured twice to Carnegie Hall, regularly performed across Manitoba and Canada and plans to tour to the Netherlands in May 2022.

In 2011, the WSO founded Sistema Winnipeg (based on the famous Venezuelan El Sistema program for at-risk children), in partnership with two Winnipeg school divisions. Over 40,000 students attend orchestra concerts presented by the WSO each season and its innovative pops and film programs serve a rapidly growing audience. The WSO functions as the official orchestra of Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Manitoba Opera Association. My WSO TV, the uniquely WSO subscription-based platform features free and paid content alike.

The Role

Working as part of an integrated Public Engagement team, the Director of Development & Advancement will report to the Senior Director of Public Engagement and work closely with the Executive Director as part of a collaborative team. The incumbent plans, strategizes, oversees and/or executes a multi-pronged development strategy which includes major gifts, Maestro Circle, sponsorships, foundations, government funding, Sistema, events and endowment fundraising. The Director assists the WSO in the exciting launch of its 75th Anniversary in 2022-23 and lays the groundwork for a major capital campaign currently planned expected to launch in late 2023 and that will include the renovation of a new home for the WSO.

The successful candidate will have at least 7 years' experience in non-profit sector fundraising, ideally within the performing arts. A degree from a post-secondary institution is required, and advanced training in a recognized fundraising program is considered. Superior written and verbal communications skills are required. Experience with Tessitura or similar performing arts database is an asset.

Key Responsibilities


The Director of Development and Advancement leads a dynamic team that meets or exceeds annual revenue targets and supports fundraising initiatives:

  • In consultation with the Executive Director, establish annual fundraising and sponsorship goals and lead an annual Fund Development Plan (including strategies, activities and revenue targets);
  • In collaboration with the Public Engagement team, research and identify WSO's programs, special projects and streaming programs suitable for corporate sponsorship or donor support;
  • Identify prospects, prepare proposals and solicit support in the community, including matching relationships with WSO Board and senior staff;
  • Manage sponsorship agreements including research, sponsor report cards, benefit activation, stewardship and tracking in Tessitura;
  • Oversee and at times contribute to grant writing and proposals for government funding and foundations.

Planning & Events

Participate in WSO strategic planning, and in collaboration with the Public Engagement team, ensure the successful implementation of annual institutional fundraising events such as Manitoba Remembers – A COVID Commemoration (March 13, 2022), the Netherlands Tour (May 2022) events, inauguration of the President's Advisory Council and the WSO's 75th Anniversary, ensuring that the net projected targets are met or exceeded and that the WSO's brand is advanced. Assist in the planning, execution and evaluation of fundraising events that are underpinned by the WSO's core mission, which is music:

  • Setting, meeting or exceeding financial goals;
  • Event planning, execution and post-event evaluation;
  • Maximize opportunities to build new relationships with donors and sponsors through strong event management and post event stewardship;
  • In conjunction with the Public Engagement and Finance teams, oversee financial processing related to the event;
  • Act as one of the primary contacts with sponsors; managing relationships from the initial ask through to sponsor fulfillment;
  • Secure and assign support roles to other Development staff as needed to successfully execute events;
  • Work closely with the Public Engagement team to ensure consistent use of key messages.

Relationship Management

In collaboration with the Executive Director and the Senior Associate Major Gifts and Planned Giving, oversee the ongoing development and implementation of the WSO's stewardship program so that key relationships with donors, sponsors and other key stakeholders are maintained.

  • Act as the key point person for the WSO's Development Committee and in fundraising relationships with the Board Executive and the President's Advisory Council of the WSO;
  • Manage stewardship of specific Major Gift and corporate sponsors, with special focus on renewing existing relationships and achieving multi-year sponsorship agreements;
  • Oversee and ensure donors profiles are updated, monitor activity and mine data as required;
  • Oversee effective sponsor, donor and supplier relationship management and contracts.


The ideal candidate brings to the role the following:

1. Skills, Abilities and Knowledge

  • Current knowledge of fund development theory, principles, ethics and practices;
  • Knowledge of promotions and marketing practices and techniques;
  • Knowledge of businesses, corporations, foundations and other funding agencies in Manitoba and Canada;
  • Experience in managing and/or overseeing events, corporate sponsorships and stewardship programs including managing designated staff;
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team member on multiple projects and priorities;
  • Ability to write complex proposals and reports;
  • Professionalism and diplomacy and ability to influence, negotiate, and secure the cooperation of others;
  • Strong commitment and ability to maintain confidentiality;
  • Strong organizational skills, a high level of initiative, creativity, diplomacy and discretion in working with the Board of Directors, its committees and the public sectors;
  • Knowledge of the performing arts, and the ability to work within a high pressure environment with multiple deadlines;
  • Demonstrated experience with database and fundraising software;
  • Ability to perform occasional activity that involve standing and lifting objects up to 10kg.

2. Education, Training and Experience

  • Minimum of a certificate in a recognized fundraising program (a degree/diploma would be considered an asset);
  • Post-secondary degree;
  • Seven years of related experience

This full-time position requires work on some evenings and weekends. The WSO welcomes all qualified applicants and highly values inclusion, diversity and equity.

Candidates will be required to disclose vaccination status for COVID-19.

Salary: Salary will be commensurate with experience. WSO staff are eligible for a full benefits plan including matching RRSP contribution program.

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter along with a resume and 3 references to: Lori Marks, ( ) by Jan 3, 2022 at 4:30 pm. Note that references will only be contacted following the interview process, in the eventuality of a potential offer.