Director of Advancement

Institutional Advancement

The Director of Advancement is a member of the senior leadership team and is responsible for implementing and managing a comprehensive advancement program to increase, diversify, and sustain major gifts from individuals, industry, foundations, and the government.  The position requires demonstrated leadership in building and guiding an advancement team and in increasing active donor engagement and support in order to strengthen the financial resources of the College. Collaborate with a variety of College stakeholders to work on identified strategic priorities. The Director of Advancement serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet responsible for fundraising and alumni relations.

The mission of Cornish College of the Arts is to provide students aspiring to become practicing artists with an educational program of the highest possible quality, in an environment that nurtures creativity and intellectual curiosity, while preparing them to contribute to society as artists, citizens, and innovators.

The College’s founder Nellie Cornish, and the many teaching artists who have followed her, believed in education through exposure to all of the arts. This approach continues to inform the College’s curricula and community involvement today. Our holistic approach to education promotes experimentation, discovery, and innovation, giving artists the creative intelligence they need to thrive in their disciplines and beyond. We have been inspiring artistic and academic excellence for more than 100 years.

If you are looking for a culture that promotes and supports creative engagement, consider Cornish. In addition to a great culture, Cornish offers generous paid medical, dental, vision, long-term disability, paid time-off and holidays.

Duties and Essential Responsibilities

  • Establish long-term relationships with donors and prospects; establish solicitation priorities; manage prospect lists; and research, develop and execute targeted cultivation plans and solicitation strategies for major gift prospects.
    • Identify, assess and design appropriate strategies for approaching prospects and donors.
    • Personally identify and qualify new potential donors at the highest level.
    • Personally cultivate and solicit high level prospects and donors to secure major gifts.
    • Establish and maintain strategic relationships and partnerships to enlist active support of fundraising programs.
    • Build prospect portfolios for those identified on the major gift team and assign the individual responsibilities within the portfolios.
    • Mentor, coach and train staff and key volunteers, specifically regarding moves management.
    • Evangelize the value of philanthropy to the College leadership and faculty to further their understanding and support of fundraising – working to build a culture of philanthropy throughout the College.
  • Develop and maintain close collaborative relationships with the President, key staff, faculty, and volunteers to:
    • Gain a deep knowledge and understanding of the academic programs in order to identify and define priorities of the College to be funded.
    • Establish a strong infrastructure and stewardship practices to provide effective donor management systems and processes for the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of donors and prospects.
  • Manage and supervise the Advancement team in support of successful programs that include annual giving, major gifts, corporate and foundation giving, public funding, special events, planned giving/endowment, and alumni relations.
  • Manage and coordinate the writing, design and production of electronic and print collateral materials for fundraising purposes between the Advancement team, the Marketing department, and third-party vendors.
  • Identify, develop, and manage cultivation, solicitation and recognition events.
  • At the President’s request, attend and support the Board of Trustees and President’s Cabinet meetings. Serve as lead for the Advancement Committee which establishes and oversees all aspects of advancement policies and procedures. Serve as a liaison of the Cornish Foundation Board.
  • Ensure that data related to prospects and donors is recorded and tracked in electronic and/or hard copy files; manage recordkeeping; evaluate progress toward goals; prepare periodic reports on fundraising and present to leadership; recommend revisions to the fundraising plan, as needed, to meet goals.
  • Manage the fundraising budget in concert with various staff and volunteer leadership committees.
  • Ensure documentation and execution of donor acknowledgements and public recognition, as appropriate.


The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree, with CFRE preferred;
  • 5-7 years of professional experience in fundraising with a track record of success; specific experience in individual giving and/or major gifts, foundation grant writing, and working with volunteer leadership;
  • Proven success at securing major gift support and in establishing relationships with individuals and family foundations;
  • Experience in scheduling and staffing solicitation calls and conducting follow up and stewardship;
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills;
  • Demonstrated experience in developing fundraising materials and proposals;
  • Excellent interpersonal, analytical, and organizational skills; capable of working effectively with senior management, leadership volunteers, staff/faculty members, consultants, and donors/prospects;
  • Energetic, self-motivated, flexible, and adaptable with a sense of humor; able to multi-task and work independently;
  • A team player with an attitude of service and ability to motivate others; and
  • Computer fluency in the Raiser’s Edge / NXT database software and knowledgeable about the role of technology and electronic communication in fundraising.

Department: Institutional Advancement
Reports to: President
Supervises: Advancement Services Manager, Grants & Foundations Relations, Alumni Relations Manager
Compensation:   $125,000-$145,000

Application Procedures

Please submit the following materials to

Equal Opportunity Statement

Cornish commits to demonstrating respect for individual expression and integrity; to promoting the equality of opportunity and rights of all persons within the community and to actively encouraging and maintaining the representation and inclusion of diverse cultures and backgrounds within the student body, faculty, staff and curricula.

We believe that diversity refers to a number of human qualities and characteristics. National origin, race, gender, age, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation and disabilities are characteristics that combine in unique ways, forming the multiple identities we all hold. Those diverse characteristics contribute positively to the environment of Cornish and to an education that accurately reflects and contributes to the complex interplay of art, culture and society.

We hold ourselves responsible to fulfill the mission of Cornish by preparing students “to contribute to society as artists, citizens, and innovators,” and believe that the mission is best served by actively cultivating a positive environment in which to explore and express the diverse perspectives of a pluralistic society.

Cornish College of the Arts is an equal opportunity employer intent on enriching the diversity of its faculty, staff, and students. Our goal is to create an intercultural learning environment comprised of people with varied experiences and perspectives. We strongly encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups for all open positions.

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