The Wexner Center for the Arts seeks a Head of Advancement

Mission Statement: The Wexner Center for the Arts is The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary laboratory for contemporary art and culture. Through exhibitions, performances, screenings, educational programs, artist residencies, and publications the Wex serves as a vital forum where artists test ideas and where diverse audiences engage the art and issues of our time. In its programs, the Wex balances a commitment to experimentation with a critical appreciation of the past. Our work affirms the university’s pursuit of civic participation, freedom of expression, and robust dialogue.

Executive Summary: Working closely with the Executive Director (with a dotted line relationship to the Assistant Vice President in the Office of Advancement), the Head of Advancement serves as the head fundraiser leading all development and donor experience activities and will understand the mission, needs and value proposition of the Wexner Center for the Arts and build relationships with prospective donors and sponsors to increase philanthropic support. Donors such as alumni, friends, patrons, board members, corporations and other university constituents will be identified by listening for opportunities to align their interests and passions with opportunities to donate to the center. The Head of Advancement, in partnership with the Executive Director will create and lead the strategy to identify, develop and maintain a pipeline of donors.

The aim of the role is to actively manage a portfolio of prospective donors to be asked for gifts of $100,000 and above. Preparation for the “ask” will include creative and strategic utilization of resources to determine the prospective donor’s capacity for giving, build their interest, raise their sights, sustain their engagement, and obtain a gift. Success in the position will be guided by annual metrics such as number of monthly meetings, number of gift commitments, number of solicitations, qualified prospects and dollars raised. Central resources such as a robust donor database and reporting and analytics tools exist to help the role achieve goals and manage an allocated budget.

The Head of Advancement, in partnership with the Executive Director, is responsible for creating and leading the strategy, which yields in excess of $5M per year. In addition, they will identify, develop and maintain a pipeline of donors with a team of professionals comprised of development, donor experience and engagement professionals, within their charge as the Head of Advancement. This position operates with a high degree of independence to make decisions, solve problems, negotiate, and adapt to shifting priorities. This position is a critical partner to the Executive Director and all plans and strategies that advance the development goals of the center. Expectations include stellar communications and interactions with constituents, collaboration with colleagues across Advancement and the university with diplomacy and discretion. This role requires frequent workweek travel including in-state and out of state travel and occasional evenings and weekend work.

The Head of Advancement is a member of the executive management team at the Wex and as part of that team will work closely with the staff to integrate advancement efforts with all Wex functions. They also work with the Wexner Center Foundation and more specifically with the Donor Programs and the Governance and Nomination Committee to lead fundraising initiatives within these committees composed of trustees and external members. The role supervises:

  • Director of Philanthropy (currently Director of Foundation and Government Relations)
  • Associate Director of Advancement
  • Assistant Director of Development (two positions)
  • Director of Advancement Operations (currently Director of Donor Relations)
  • Donor Experience Senior Associate
  • Coordinator-Special Events
  • Development Services Senior Associate

The ideal candidate for this job will be a confident and accomplished fundraiser who is passionate about contemporary art, performance, film and learning and public practice; deeply knowledgeable about the collecting and philanthropic communities in Central Ohio; the national and international arts funding environment (including major corporate and foundation funders); and articulate/effective at making a strong case for both restricted and unrestricted support. They will be a thoughtful leader with a high degree of integrity and the ability to motivate and manage their team efficiently and effectively.

Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education/experience. Seven years of professional fundraising experience (building relationships towards philanthropic end through making calls, conducting face-to-face appointments, creating and presenting proposals, closing gifts) and two years of related experience in marketing, sales, public relations, financial advisement, account management or related field with emphasis on donor cultivation, solicitation and relationship cultivation of individuals/businesses. At least five years of management experience.

Desired Qualifications: At least ten years of professional fundraising experience raising the highest level of philanthropic gifts at an organization (preferably five or six figures and above). At least ten years of professional fundraising experience in higher education or a hospital/health care environment. Experience working in other advancement departments such as donor relations and stewardship, donor communications and/or alumni relations. Preferably experience working with CRMs such as Tessitura, Salesforce or Blackbaud.


60% - Fundraising and Leadership: Provides leadership and creates the strategy to identify and develop a robust pipeline of donors; supervises and directs development professionals across functional areas; conducts prospect strategy sessions; works to build effective relationships with advancement to enhance overall fundraising for the Wexner Center for the Arts. Cultivates strong bonds with alumni, donors, and other constituents; oversees the development and management of all events and activities. Builds/maintains a robust prospect group, serving as prospect manager for major donors at $500,000 and above; responsible for strategy, cultivation, and solicitation of principal gift donors with a capacity for gifts of $1,000,000 and above.

Recruits, trains, evaluates, motivates, and coaches employees of various backgrounds and identities; builds a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging amongst team members; establishes and monitors goals, provides performance feedback and coaching, and supports professional development; completes annual performance management procedures; manages performance issues; is responsible for using independent, consistent and fair judgement in exercising authority; develops procedures, assigns and prioritizes work, and ensures that the resources needed to accomplish work are provided. Provides support for the continued trajectory of increase in new fundraising activity and philanthropic receipts to achieve Wexner Center for the Arts goals while driving enhancement of current and creation of new innovative programs. Partners with central advancement resources to achieve fundraising goals.

30% Identifies, qualifies, and cultivates a portfolio of prospective major gift donors. Pursues connections and discovers donor values, capacity, interests, and passions. Ensures quality and positive momentum within assigned portfolio to convert prospects to donors. Builds context for gift proposals, develops, and implements strategic gift solicitations. Maximizes opportunities to steward donors to further enhance relationships.

10% - Miscellaneous: Completes special projects and performs other duties as assigned. Ensures individual and team member fundraising work documented in Wex and Ohio State Advancement systems.

DEI Statement: The Wexner Center for the Arts values diversity and offers a supportive, open, and inclusive community. We encourage candidates to apply, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

Additional Information: Per University policy, use of personal vehicle may be required (mileage reimbursed); in accordance with the Disaster Preparedness and University State of Emergency Policy 6.17, this position has been designated as a standby position; successful completion of a background check required prior to start date.

Salary range: 116k

Job classification: Full-time, salary

To apply:  Please visit Applicants should submit the following:

1. A current and comprehensive resume.

2. A letter of interest describing why you are interested in the role, why you are a good candidate for the position based on your experience, and why now is a good time for you to consider the opportunity.

All inquiries and nominations should be submitted to Allison Thomas at [email protected]. Please submit all application materials by February 16, 2024.

Posted: January 4, 2024
Deadline: February 16, 2024

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