Lyric Opera of Chicago

REPORTS TO: Vice President of Development

STATUS:          Full-time, exempt

Through artistic excellence coupled with innovative, relevant programming; initiatives to connect with and grow new audiences; engagement with communities to ignite creativity across Chicago; and a modernized Opera House that is the setting for truly great experiences, Lyric is leading the advancement of opera. This collaborative vision will deliver ever more exciting, thought-provoking and inclusive audience and community experiences – while increasing the gravitational pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Lyric Opera of Chicago (Lyric) is one of the world’s great opera companies, renowned internationally for its artistic excellence and financial strength. Lyric has an ambitious plan to increase annual fundraising and raise significant endowment and capital funds to ensure the future of the company. Philanthropy Officers serve as critical relationship managers with Lyric’s most generous donors, raising their philanthropic sights and generating significant philanthropic revenue for the organization.

The Philanthropy Officer works with individuals, families, and family foundations to secure annual gifts of $10,000 and greater and campaign gifts. This involves engaging regular donors to inspire increased operating commitments, new campaign commitments, and planned giving commitments. It also inspires capable friends and patrons to begin giving gifts at the $10,000 level and above.


  • Demonstrate leadership in alignment with Lyric’s mission and vision.
  • Qualify and maintain a portfolio of 100-125 major gift prospects, ensuring timely solicitation of regular giving, focusing on upgrading operating giving, and introducing multi-year and planned gifts. Collaborate with research staff in the qualification process.
  • Establish operating, endowment, and capital goals for each donor in the portfolio based on the donor’s history of giving, capacity rating, and areas of interest to secure, retain, and upgrade these donors.
  • Build and execute a relationship strategy and a plan for communications and personal contact for each donor, leading to appropriate solicitations to secure gifts at the established goals.
  • Meet with prospective and current donors to cultivate, solicit, and steward philanthropic giving, according to metrics established with development leadership.
  • Participate in Lyric’s donor events and opera performances as required to execute the stewardship strategy.
  • Work with Artistic, Communications, and Development colleagues to prepare proposals and other communications to solicit operating, endowment, capital, and planned gifts.
  • Enter plans, steps, and call reports in the Tessitura database in a timely fashion, to support accurate and timely reporting of fundraising performance.
  • Collaborate with other philanthropy officers and fundraising colleagues to share knowledge and experience on strategy, relationship management, knowledge of donors, and other areas of best practice.
  • Maintain membership in relevant professional associations to build knowledge, learn methods, and upgrade fundraising skills.
  • Actively participate in team and department meetings.
  • Communicate professionally and effectively with all stakeholders verbally and in writing.
  • As the business evolves, so may this role. These duties may change as Lyric’s leadership identifies the need at any time.


  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college, university or relevant experience.
  • 3-5 years of experience in fundraising, relationship management, sales, or related work.
  • A passion for the institution’s mission, traditions, and long-term success.
  • Knowledge of opera is a plus.
  • A strong entrepreneurial drive, combined with the ability to collaborate fruitfully as a team member.
  • Ability to communicate the mission, goals, and activities of the institution.
  • Strong interpersonal, organizational, and analytical skills demonstrate leadership and initiative, tact, diplomacy, attention to detail, creativity, and cultural sensitivity.
  • Strong project management and organizational competencies with a demonstrated aptitude for multitasking, attention to detail, and meeting competing and overlapping deadlines.
  • Outstanding communication skills–interpersonal, verbal, and written.
  • Demonstrated ability to meet and exceed goals and performance objectives in the planning, execution, and financial goals and fundraising targets.
  • Understanding of, and commitment to, working in non-profit organizations.
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends throughout the opera season required.
  • Proficiency in Tessitura or similar relationship management database and in the Microsoft suite of products.
  • Experience working with arts and culture organizations.
  • A positive ‘can do’ attitude.


  • This will involve working on-site under the guidance of Lyric’s Safety Committee.
  • Significant evening or weekend functions, meetings, appointments, or performances.
  • Sitting for extended periods, and must be able to lift to 30 lbs.
  • Ability to operate a computer keyboard, mouse, telephone, and other office equipment.


Job Classification: Full-time, Exempt

Salary is $80,000-$90,000

Lyric Opera offers benefits including health, dental, vision, 403B (no company match),401(k) with company match, PTO (including sick, vacation, and personal days, and holidays), life/AD&D coverage, opportunities for professional development, and complimentary tickets.

The 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.

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