Director of Development and Communications

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Published 17 days ago


The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) seeks a strategic and skilled director of development and communications with a commitment to the transformational potential of the visual arts and arts programming. Located in Summit, NJ, our mission is to nurture the capacity for personal expression, expand the creative experience, and foster stronger communities by empowering people to see, make, and learn about art.

Our ideal development director enjoys working directly with donors, is a team player, and is eager to assume a leadership role with our successful arts organization.

Reporting to the executive director and managing a small staff, the director of development and communications manages the overall fundraising program and communication strategy for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey.


About Visual Arts Center of New Jersey

VACNJ was founded in 1933 as the Summit Art Association by seven local artists to foster the appreciation, enjoyment, and practice of art. We have grown steadily into a leading contemporary arts institution in the tri-state region serving the public through contemporary exhibitions, Studio School classes, and community engagement programs. Our vision is to create an inclusive and welcoming community where lives are transformed and enriched through the shared experience of art. The Art Center comprises 23,000 square feet, with five galleries, ten studios, and an outdoor sculpture garden. We are open to the public seven days a week, exhibiting works by nationally and internationally recognized artists.

We are one of nine American Alliance of Museums accredited museums in New Jersey and are the state’s leading institution dedicated to contemporary art. Our exhibitions are viewed by 30,000+ visitors each year, feature artistically and culturally diverse works. Through our Studio School, we offer 400+ classes and workshops serving 4,500+ children, teens, and adults, as well as an outdoor summer art camp for children and teens. We serve an additional 1,100 people through our community engagement and education programs. Our educational and visual arts experiences are available to the public, including those who are underserved and economically disadvantaged including at-risk youth, veterans, the elderly, disabled individuals, immigrant populations, English-language learners, and individuals from low-income households.

Position: Director of Development and Communications

Salary Range: $100,000 to $115,000

Report to the executive director; and supervise the assistant director of development, communications manager, and grant writer

Position Type: Full time, exempt; weekend and evening work, as required

Essential Functions

Major Gifts

  • Oversee the annual development and implementation of an individual giving fundraising plan.
  • Identify, qualify, and prioritize prospects through research, screening, and discovery meetings.
  • Create annual goals and an engagement plan for each of VACNJ’s major donors and prospects based on organizational priorities, the individual's interests, history of giving, and other relevant criteria.
  • In collaboration with the executive director, successfully engage, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of past individual patrons and major donor prospects (currently about 309 people, with a goal of $370,000). You will be lead staff for a portion of the major donor portfolio and provide logistics, moves management strategy, and tactical support and advice to the executive director when and where she is the lead.
  • Engage, activate, and support the board and other key volunteers as ambassadors, connectors, cultivators, and, where appropriate, askers, for VACNJ.
  • Develop and implement innovative fundraising programs and events to identify, cultivate, and solicit individual funders.
  • Develop and implement a Planned Giving Program.

Public and Private Grants

  • Oversee grant planning, including grant schedule, research of new grants, and relations with grant funders.
  • Work directly with the grant writer to conceptualize and draft compelling proposals for institutional funders (foundation, corporate, and government), including complex proposals that require working closely with the executive director, program staff, finance staff, and, at times, artists and teaching artists.
  • Ensure all application materials (e.g., narratives and attachments) are of the highest quality and all deadlines are met.
  • Assure that all grant reporting requirements are met during and after the grant agreement.
  • Develop and update proposal and reporting templates by coordinating with the executive director, program staff, finance staff, artists, and teaching artists when necessary to obtain program information, anecdotal and statistical data, and internal and external research; ensure templates are stored in the grants management files system.
  • Supervise efforts in researching grant prospects, writing proposals, reporting to grantors, and acknowledging all grants and corporate sponsorship contributions.
  • Oversee the management of the database for all government and private foundations and corporation funders.
  • Oversee all printed materials to ensure that funding acknowledgments are appropriately listed, including the annual updating of the Donor Wall in the front foyer.

Special Events Fundraising

  • Collaborate with the executive director, board of directors, and fundraising team to coordinate all logistical components and execute an annual benefit gala and other events.
  • Oversee the creating of individual and corporate sponsorship packages for solicitations.
  • Work with events chairpersons and the development of committee to identify and solicit major corporate and individual donors for event sponsorships.
  • Develop and manage event budgets.
  • In collaboration with communications manager, develop all printed materials for fundraisers including invitations, brochures, event journals, postcards, etc.

Annual Appeal

  • Spearhead VACNJ’s annual appeal campaign to engage small, grassroots support and larger matching gifts.
  • Create and oversee the implementation of November and May appeal solicitation letters and the timetable for distribution, including mail and online solicitations.
  • Analyze results considering rates of donor retention, reactivation, and attrition as well as identifying new individual and major donor prospects for a moves management plan.
  • Manage the tracking process and ensure the mailing of all acknowledgment letters.
  • Oversee the development and management of the individual donor database.


  • Continue to grow and manage our membership program to deepen engagement through consistent and compelling communications.
  • Manage membership levels and benefits.
  • Oversee the management of the individual membership database.
  • Oversee the creation of membership marketing materials.

Communications & Marketing

Provide strategic direction and inspiration for the communications manager to develop compelling communications materials that spur continuous growth in revenue-generating programming and inform our institutional and individual donors about our innovative programming. This will require both a broad overview and a detailed understanding of the VACNJ’s programs and projects. Duties include:

  • Plan and develop the Art Center’s marketing strategies, marketing communications, and public relations activities.
  • Oversee development and implementation of support materials and services in marketing, communications, and public relations.
  • Oversee the creation, implementation, and measurement of the success of a comprehensive marketing, communications, and public relations program supporting the Art Center’s brand in the marketplace, including publications, media relations, social media, etc.
  • Work with staff to develop short- and long-term plans and budgets for the marketing/communications/public relations program and its activities; monitor progress; evaluate performance. Develop, implement, and monitor systems and procedures necessary to smooth the marketing/communications/public relations function.
  • When necessary, represent the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey to the highest professional standards with its various public groups (volunteers, artists, students, members, business and government agencies, and art organizations). Maintain a statewide presence for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey by participating with other arts-affiliated organizations when possible.


  • Develop and manage budgets for the Development & Communications Department.
  • Review and approve all department expenditures.
  • Meet all department income goals and keep expenses within budget.


  • Develop and implement an annual schedule of meetings with the Board Development Committee and all development subcommittees. Meet with and regularly discuss and strategize on all Development Department initiatives, programs, and events with the chair of the Development Committee. Attend all Development Committee meetings.
  • Hire, supervise, and direct the efforts of the Development and Communications staff. Assess the performance of staff members in the Development and Communication department.
  • Maintain a departmental climate that attracts, retains, and motivates top-quality personnel, both paid and volunteer.

Personal Qualities

  • Passionate about the arts, art making, and the power of arts education
  • Effective leadership, management, and training skills
  • Highly organized and conscientious with the ability to prioritize effectively, juggle multiple responsibilities, and meet deadlines
  • Self-motivated and entrepreneurial while being a team player
  • Strong moral compass; able to maintain highly sensitive and confidential donor information
  • Committed to fostering an environment of trust, transparency, and mutual respect
  • Appreciation of and sensitivity to a diverse environment, inclusive of staff, donors, and partners from varying sociocultural, economic, ideological, racial, and ethnic backgrounds

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree and at least five years related experience
  • Experience and success building rapport with and maintaining long-term relationships with major and mid-level donors
  • Experience and success in raising major gifts and winning grants
  • Experience inspiring and leading a team and able to work effectively with a team
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with a variety of audiences; includes one-on-one conversations, proposals and reports, and emails
  • Excellent analytical and strategic thinking skills with the ability to develop long-term plans, set objectives, and track and report on progress toward achieving them
  • Experience, coursework, or other training in principles, practices, and procedures of charitable giving, particularly in the areas of major gifts, annual gifts campaigns, and planned giving
  • Able to participate professionally in board meetings and support and empower board members on their development-related goals and activities
  • Experience in planning and delivering budgetary responsibilities
  • Understanding of best practices in nonprofit management
  • Familiarity with the New Jersey arts community and funding sources

This position allows flexibility for 20% of time working from home.

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

We value diversity and seek actively to build an inclusive applicant pool and pursue a thoughtful hiring process, including a diverse hiring committee, carefully designed interview questions, and mindfulness about unconscious biases.


The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) seeks a strategic and skilled director of development and communications with a commitment to the transformational potential of the visual arts and arts programming. Located in Summit…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Job Type
  • Start Date
    November 1, 2021
  • Application Deadline
    September 13, 2021
  • Education
    4-Year Degree Required
  • Professional Level


USD 100,000 - USD 115,000


Very competitive full benefits and paid vacation

Very competitive full benefits and paid vacation

Level of Language Proficiency

English - Excellent written and oral communications skills required

English - Excellent written and oral communications skills required


68 Elm Street, Summit, NJ 07901, United States

How to Apply

Please forward a thoughtful cover letter and your resume to:

No calls please.

Please forward a thoughtful cover letter and your resume to:

No calls please.

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