Vermont Studio Center
Full-time, year-round, exempt position
$90,000 - $100,000
The Vermont Studio Center (VSC), one of the most respected international artist and writer residency programs in the United States, seeks an energetic and experienced Development Director to lead all aspects of a successful fundraising and alumni engagement program in a dynamic, nimble, and growing institution. The Development Director will join VSC at a time of great optimism for the future, with a new executive director, a committed board, and planning underway for a comprehensive campaign.
Founded in 1984 by artists for artists, the VSC mission is to support artists and writers by providing studio residencies in an inclusive international community, honoring creative work as the communication of spirit through form.
Sited in the Green Mountains in beautiful northern Vermont along the Gihon River, VSC offers two- to four-week studio retreats to visual artists and writers from across the country and around the world each year. VSC residencies provide working time and space, housing and food, the companionship of creative peers, and the optional counsel of distinguished Visiting Artists and Writers, all on our historic 30-building village campus. During the past 18 months of the pandemic, VSC shifted to offering online workshops and programs, allowing us to virtually reach new and wider audiences. We are resuming in-person residencies in early 2022 but will continue to extend our reach with excellent virtual programming.
VSC’s actions and policies remain grounded in the universal values of humanitarianism, compassion, respect, simplicity, and harmony. VSC embodies these values and integrates them into all aspects of the organization. The campus is preserved and developed in accord with environmental and ecological standards, and reflects Vermont traditions of respect for nature, modest comfort, privacy, beauty, and an unhurried way of life, while prioritizing health and safety. VSC is deeply committed to access and has an ambitious program of grant and fellowship support for individual residents. In 2014, VSC completed an extensive Campus Master Plan that now serves as the foundation for current and future capital planning.
The Vermont Studio Center operates with an annual budget of $3 million, an endowment approaching $8 million, and full-time staff of 17. The organization is governed by a board of trustees and managed by an executive director and 5 department heads (Program, Development, Finance, Plant, and Community Engagement.)
The Vermont Studio Center seeks a full-time Development Director with proven experience leading successful and creative fundraising and engagement activities for a dynamic nonprofit, including identifying and securing funding from new sources, devising, and directing individual and foundation strategies, and stewarding existing donors.
The Development Director will lead a small, talented, and collaborative team to direct all fundraising activities, including major gifts, annual fund, foundation and government grants, stewardship, and development office operations. In recent years, VSC has raised approximately $3M in private donations for annual fund, endowment, and capital projects, on average. With the board’s endorsement and planning for a comprehensive campaign underway, we will grow this amount considerably to usher in a new level of philanthropic engagement. The new Development Director will partner with the executive director and the board of trustees to help carry out the comprehensive campaign.
This leadership position serves as a member of the senior team and reports to the Executive Director. The Director of Development serves as primary staff liaison to the trustee Development and Campaign committees and works collaboratively across the organization to bring resources to the programs and people that fulfill our mission.
Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.
- Partner with Executive Director and Board Chair to set annual fundraising goals and the strategies to achieve those goals
- Supervise and mentor staff working in grants, annual fund, gift processing, and events
- Identify, engage, solicit, and steward existing major donors; expand donor base through research and engagement of trustees and staff to identify new prospects.
- Make visits (virtual and in person) to see donors, largely in Vermont, NYC, Boston, Montreal, and occasionally elsewhere
- Staff board Development Committee and Campaign Task Force; attend and report on fundraising activities at quarterly board meetings
- Engage with and support board members and VSC staff in fundraising efforts as cultivators and solicitors
- Coordinate with Finance on donor projections
- Provide supervision and guidance to employees to ensure full utilization of the systems used to track and cultivate donors and prospects, including donor database and wealth screening tools
- Plan and execute fundraising and donor stewardship events
- Oversee gift processing in accordance with non-profit requirements and standards
- Expand and reinvigorate planned giving efforts
- Lead program of creative and authentic alumnae engagement
- Oversee two direct reports: grants manager and development manager
- Work within a creative community of artists and writers
- Engage with external audiences; effective at communicating with alumni, donors, board members, visiting artists and residents, and with staff across all VSC departments
- Work with the development team and across all departments
- Able and willing to work evenings and weekends
- Able to remain in a stationary position, and be able to do administrative work in an office environment
- Able to travel throughout campus in northern Vermont weather conditions
- Able to travel out of state to visit donors
- Yes, occasionally to visit donors (with Executive Director, board members, and solo)
- Excellent time management skills
- Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and meet deadlines
- Experience with SalesForce or other contact management databases, Microsoft 365 and Zoom
- Understanding of and appreciation for VSC’s mission and the capacity to communicate our mission effectively and persuasively
- Superb written, verbal, and interpersonal skills
Required education and experience
- Bachelor’s degree
- 5-7 years of fundraising experience in a non-profit setting, ideally in an arts organization
- Experience managing diverse teams of staff and volunteers
- Seasoned and joyful fundraiser with experience soliciting individual and foundation donors and stewarding relationships
- Experience making timely, effective, and ethical decisions
- An entrepreneurial spirit and drive
- Curious and strategic about how to explore and develop new revenue and partnership opportunities
- Capacity to listen to all constituents with empathy and inclusion
- Excellent communication skills, both in writing and speaking; experience writing successful proposals and managing grants
- Authentic, active interest in visual arts and literature, intentional communities, historic preservation, and/or cultural exchange and attraction to the lifestyle, climate, and remoteness of a village in northern Vermont
- Experience and ease using CRMs and data to track fundraising and drive decisions
Preferred education and experience
- Master’s degree
- Experience working in the arts in New England, and of the arts philanthropy landscape
Like all staff, the Development Director must be available to answer questions, maintain a comfortable and appropriate working atmosphere, and foster high morale among VSC’s residents and staff.
All VSC staff are expected to pitch in and help support team members when needed. From sweeping the porch and weeding the garden, from greeting guests as they arrive to cleaning studios after they leave, VSC residencies are a team effort, and we all work together to have things go with flying colors. We support each other in our daily operations by asking for help when it’s needed, offering help without being asked, sharing responsibilities, acknowledging the good work of others, and helping to create a culture we are all proud to be a part of.
This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of all activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the position. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.
Salary and Benefits
The salary range for this position is $90,000 -$100,000 based on experience. We offer comprehensive and competitive benefits, including:
- Health, vision, and dental insurance
- Retirement (401k)
- Paid Time Off: 25 days CTO (holiday/vacation/personal) and 6 sick days per year
- Employee Assistance Plan
- Studio space
Staff Presence on Campus
The nature of most Vermont Studio Center positions requires individuals to be readily available throughout the day at defined times and locations. Other types of responsibilities, such as administrative positions, may afford flexibility. Staff in some VSC positions are occasionally needed outside of regular business hours, including evenings and weekends.
In an effort to maintain collaborative efficiency, the Vermont Studio Center requires staff members to perform their jobs on campus and adhere to a regular, predetermined work schedule. While the ideal development director would also work in person at VSC full time, flexible/hybrid schedules for qualified candidates may be considered.
Staff spending the night on the VSC campus are required to be vaccinated. Requests for Medical and religious exemptions will be considered.
About our location
Vermont Studio Center is located in downtown Johnson, Vermont, a rural town nestled in the Green Mountains at the confluence of two rivers. The arts and education rich village is minutes from some of the state’s best skiing, hiking, and fishing. Johnson is within commuting distance of Vermont’s two largest cities, Burlington, and Montpelier, is less than two hours to Montreal, and three hours to Boston.
VSC EEOC Statement
All employment decisions at the Vermont Studio Center are based on business need, job requirements, and individual qualifications. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, height, weight, religion, age, disability, gender identity, results of genetic testing, veteran status, service in the military or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.
VSC provides reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities in accordance with the American with Disabilities Act. Employees who are qualified individuals with disabilities covered by ADA and /or any applicable state and local disabilities laws and who require reasonable accommodations should discuss potential accommodations with the HR director. It is the employee's responsibility to notify VSC of the need for reasonable accommodations and to provide medical documentation upon request. Medical information will be kept confidential.