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Director of Development

Company: Canada's National Ballet School
Date Posted: June 22, 2016


Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) is seeking a new Director of Development to create and implement a strategic approach to our revenue development program. The new Director of Development joins NBS at a moment of transition as the organization seeks to strengthen its fundraising function, diversify its donor base through strategic initiatives in the community, significantly increase its level of private sector support from 10% of annual revenues, and consider the possibility of a 60th anniversary campaign. The Director will oversee and execute all annual, major gift, planned giving and event initiatives for Canada’s National Ballet School, Canada’s National Ballet School Foundation, and the Friends of Canada’s National Ballet School. Reporting to the Chief of External Affairs, the Director of Development will provide leadership and direction to the revenue development team of eight fundraising professionals. As a member of the Senior Management team, the Director will promote NBS within the community to ensure a broad base of funding resources.


Established in 1959 by Betty Oliphant and Celia Franca, Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) is one of the world’s foremost training institutions for aspiring young dancers and teachers.  Under the current leadership of Artistic Director and CEO, Mavis Staines, NBS attracts students from across the country and around the world. NBS is the only ballet academy in North America to provide elite dance training, academic instruction, and residential care on the same campus. The School’s progressive curriculum, with its emphasis on the physical and emotional well-being of the student has put NBS at the forefront of dance training internationally. Talent is the sole criterion for acceptance into NBS’ Professional Ballet Program.

NBS also offers a professional Teacher Training Program, Musician Mentorship Program, and community classes for both children and adults. The Associates Program offers classes after school and on weekends for students between the ages of 5 and 17, while the School's popular Adult Ballet Program offers classes in the evenings and on weekends to adults of all fitness levels and dance experience.

Canada’s National Ballet School is at the forefront of professional ballet schools in delivering a wide and diverse range of community programs that improve health and quality of life for people of all ages and abilities.  Through its Sharing Dance Program, NBS promotes broad public participation in dance, providing dance activities to public school children, adults and the elderly, including those living with Parkinson’s disease or dementia. The excellence of the Professional Ballet Program is reflected in all of our programs. As an international leader in ballet training, we share our knowledge and expertise to make dance accessible to as many people as possible.

As we approach our 60th anniversary in 2019 - 2020, three strategic priorities guide our actions:

  • Achieving excellence in professional dance training and contributing to a vibrant future for the art of dance;
  • Demonstrating dance’s relevance through community engagement; and
  • Strengthening our funding model to support our mission and vision.

Whether training elite, Olympic-calibre ballet dancers, or promoting the benefits of dance to people of all ages and abilities in the wider community, Canada’s National Ballet School demonstrates the relevance of dance and improves quality of life.

NBS has an annual operating budget of $20 million. The NBS Foundation has assets of $52 million.   


Through the Office of Strategic Partnerships, NBS cultivates deep loyalty from donors and explores additional funding sources as programs expand to new areas. With generous financial support from our donors, we raised over $2.3 million in 2015 and enabled NBS to ensure that our training continues to provide the best platform for leading dance artists to prepare for a highly successful professional career and to uphold a fundamental commitment to providing public access and engagement. 

Under the leadership of John Dalrymple, Chief of External Affairs and through the work of a dedicated staff team of 19, the Office of Strategic Partnerships is committed to helping individuals, corporations and government agencies find meaningful and mutually beneficial opportunities to become involved with NBS. The Office fully integrates its development function with programming staff evolving and deploying key strategic initiatives in the community.

Canada’s National Ballet School also gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Arts Training Fund, Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, and the Canada Cultural Investment Fund); Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport (Culture Development Fund); Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto (Arts and Culture Division).


Self-assured and confident, the Director of Development will promote NBS’ mission and vision with excitement, passion and fresh energy. The new incumbent will demonstrate an “out the door” call-culture perspective by initiating donor and prospect engagement rooted in sound strategic planning.

Utilizing best practice fundraising strategies, the ideal candidate will maximize opportunities within our traditional development revenue streams and will employ a metrics based approach to ensure operational efficiencies.

The successful candidate will be an inspirational mentor, supporting their team to grow fundraising expertise, while encouraging excellence and continuous improvement. The new incumbent will convey strength and stability, along with authority. Partnering with the School’s leadership to confidently navigate forward, the ideal candidate will possess a high degree of emotional intelligence to manage up, down and across.

The Director of Development will be tolerant of ambiguity and adaptive to our unique artistic environment. Resilient and tough when needed, the successful candidate will be achievement oriented and driven to succeed. The new incumbent will diplomatically know when to push the status quo and when to find compromises and bridge gaps. With the flexibility to work within constraints, the ideal candidate will be innovative, creative and engaging.


Reporting to the Chief of External Affairs, the Director of Development is responsible for the following:

Strategy and Planning

  • Collaborate with the Chief of External Affairs and the Development Committee of the Board of Directors to plan revenue development activities, including programs for planned and annual giving, major gifts, matching gifts, endowments, bequests and capital campaigns.
  • Plan and direct all individual, foundation and corporate solicitations and appeals.
  • Implement revenue development plans in accordance with ethical fundraising principles.
  • Monitor and evaluate all fundraising activities to ensure that the fundraising goals are being achieved.
  • Coordinate efforts with the Chief of External Affairs and the Development Committee of the Board of Directors to cultivate, solicit and steward high impact donors.
  • Support Board members with solicitation activities and advise Board Committees as appropriate.
  • Monitor trends in the community or sector, and adapt fundraising strategies as needed.

Revenue Development

  • Oversee revenue development programs/activities, direct the day-to-day operations of the revenue development function and monitor the performance of revenue development activities through coordination with staff, volunteers and appropriate committees.
  • Nurture existing relationships and build new relationships with donors, business and community leaders, institutions and other key stakeholders.
  • Manage a personal portfolio of approximately 100 - 150 prospective donors with the capacity to make commitments of $12,500+.
  • Identify and develop corporate, foundation, community and individual prospects for the organization's fundraising priorities.
  • Manage the prospect clearance process for the Office of Strategic Partnerships.
  • Oversee the submission of foundation grant applications.
  • Oversee the planning and execution of special fundraising events as specified in the revenue development plan to generate maximum gross and net funds for the organization.
  • Oversee donor engagement, recognition and stewardship strategies tailored for donors within revenue streams.
  • Ensure fulfillment of deliverables as outlined in funding agreements and promotes donor retention and upgrading.
  • Develop and manage timelines for various fundraising activities to ensure strategic plans and critical fundraising processes are carried out in a timely manner.
  • Develop policies and procedures for the revenue development team which reflect ethical fundraising practices.
  • Oversee the administration of a donor database which respects the privacy and confidentiality of donor information.
  • Coordinate in-kind donations and make decisions regarding the issuing of receipts.
  • Lead and ensure development of effective content for case for support, donor opportunities, proposals and donor stewardship, and collaborate with the Marketing and Communications team to finalize materials for external use.
  • Foster an understanding of philanthropy within the organization.
  • Build relationships with community stakeholders to advance the mission and fundraising goals of the organization.
  • Ensure adherence to legislation (Privacy, Canada Revenue Agency, Imagine Canada Standards), industry codes of ethics, and best practices throughout the organization.

Leadership and Management

  • Recruit, engage, coach and inspire a high performing revenue development staff team to encourage knowledge of fundraising best practices.
  • Conduct annual staff goal setting exercises, ensuring that staff are achieving objectives in alignment with annual operating, revenue, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship goals.
  • Recommend continuing education and training programs for staff professional development.
  • In consultation with NBS’ Human Resources department, review policies and procedures to ensure compliance with policies, legislation, regulations and other legal requirements pertaining to employment.

Financial Management

  • Propose annual department budget for review and approval by the Chief of External Affairs and Board of Directors.
  • Monitor revenue and expenses in relation to the revenue development team budget.
  • Prepare regular reports on progress, budgets, receipts and expenditure related to fundraising and the management of the revenue development activities.
  • Design and provide oversight to the implementation of cost-effective revenue development programs, managing economically, while maintaining acceptable levels of quality and net return on investment. 


  • Significant experience working in an annual fund and major gifts environment.
  • Skill in developing and implementing successful strategies for the identification, cultivation and solicitation of donors within annual fund programs.
  • Knowledge of special events planning and management.
  • Previous leadership experience and strong management skills.
  • A proven leader with the ability to motivate, coach and inspire staff.
  • Commitment to hold self and others accountable.
  • High-level of polish and professionalism with a donor-first attitude.
  • A passion for the performing arts.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Exceptional time management, planning, and organizational skills, with an emphasis on detail and accuracy.
  • Demonstrated experience with proposal development.
  • A strong work ethic, combining energy, enthusiasm and a highly proactive approach with fundraising metrics and rigorous processes.
  • Personal reputation for integrity and the highest ethical standards.
  • Ability to operate and thrive in a collaborative environment.
  • Comfortable working in a sometimes ambiguous environment with shifting priorities.
  • Solid knowledge of fundraising software and proficient computer skills (word processing, databases, spreadsheets, e-mail, and internet).
  • University education, or equivalent required.


Canada’s National Ballet School has retained KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) to lead the Director of Development search on their behalf. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, please contact Sylvia Kadlick, Senior Search Consultant at 416-340-9710 ext. 250 or via email at

All inquiries, nominations, and submissions will be held in strict confidence. 

Candidates who wish to be considered for this position are kindly asked to submit a resume and a letter of interest to the above email address no later than July 28, 2016.