Director of Principal Giving

Director of Principal Giving

PURPOSE: To develop, plan, manage and execute San Francisco Opera's Principal Giving Programs for individual who give or have potential to give a minimum of $250,000.


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university (preferred) or equivalent work experience.
  • Minimum of ten (10) years of progressive fundraising experience with proven success in building programs and long-lasting relationships that result in 7-figure-and-above gifts and meeting significant revenue goals.



  •  Successful track-record meeting significant revenue goals, working with high-capacity donors in soliciting 6- and 7-figure gifts, both directly and through peer-to-peer asks; demonstrated achievement in providing superior service and producing excellent financial results from patrons.
  • Hands-on knowledge of managing the day-to-day operations of a major capital campaign, including knowledge of best practices for large development operations and complex organizations. 
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of fundraising.
  • Knowledge of performing arts and/or the operatic art form preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience leading complex gift strategies and negotiations in collaboration with staff and volunteer leadership.
  • Knowledge of the Bay Area community donor base highly preferred.
  • Proven success in managing, motivating and empowering a team of direct reports.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and database navigation; Tessitura revenue management system experience highly preferred.
  • Exemplary diplomacy, problem-solving and teamwork skills.
  • Must be able to independently set priorities; coordinate multiple projects simultaneously; meet firm deadlines.
  • Outstanding communication skills, both oral and in written; ability to convey complicated information in a clear, succinct and respectful manner.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills including the ability to interact with staff, volunteers, donors and the public in a professional, confidential and tactful manner.
  • Ability to attend evening and weekend Opera events in the Bay Area.
  • Ability to travel on Opera business, including for organized patron travel programs.
  • Must perform the functions of the position in a safe manner.



  •  Works closely with the Director of Development and senior leadership team to develop and successfully execute strategies to ensure departmental short- and long-term goals in support of the strategic mission, vision and values of the Opera.
  • Develops and executes strategies and plans to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward the Opera’s most capable donors and prospects for 6-, 7- and 8-figure annual, capital, special-purpose and endowment commitments.
  • Establishes a metrics-driven approach to major-gift fundraising, including development and monitoring of systems and procedures for annual and multi-year goal setting and moves management.
  • Serves as the internal manager for the Opera’s Centennial Campaign. In partnership with the Director of Development and principal giving team, manages planning, strategies and implementation of department-wide campaign fundraising processes and procedures, including development and implementation of a campaign prospect pipeline as well as recognition and stewardship strategies.
  • Serves as the principal contact for a portfolio of the Opera’s highest-rated donors and prospects.
  • Partners with senior leadership, Board members, department managers and staff to effectively plan and execute fundraising strategies.
  • Manages a high-functioning team including: Director of Legacy Giving; Director of Prospect Research and Strategy; Principal Giving Manager; and Principal Giving Associate.
  • Oversees revenue and expense budgets for the principal giving, campaign, research and legacy giving areas, including creation, monitoring and analysis.
  • Drives efforts to develop a national base of principal gifts donors and major production sponsors, including managing national prospect research, cultivation events and out-of-town salons.
  • Ensures highest levels of individualized and confidential stewardship for principal, endowment and campaign donors.
  • Oversees research and legacy giving efforts for the department, integrating efforts cross-functionally to various campaigns.



  • Works to secure the community involvement and support necessary to assure the future of San Francisco Opera. 
  • Oversees creation and implementation of strategic travel opportunities for principal and campaign donors.
  • Ensures maximum optimization of staff, volunteer and material resources within departmental division.
  • Maintains accurate and up-to-date records of contacts and ongoing communications with current and potential donors.
  • Hosts giving prospects and donors at various events and functions. 
  • Works in partnership with annual and leadership giving, special events and stewardship to facilitate successful events and cultivation opportunities.
  • Performs other job-related duties as assigned.


E-mail required job application, cover letter and résumé with salary requirements directly to or fax to (415) 551-6297.  No phone calls please. San Francisco Opera only retains résumés that are sent in response to specific, posted job openings.

Qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records will be considered for this position in accordance with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance.


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