Career Opportunities

Join a team of fundraising professionals across the Institution working to chart the future of the Smithsonian.

Office of Advancement: Career Opportunities

Resumes are only accepted in applications for listed positions. Please send a cover letter and resume to oastaffing@si.edu. Specify the position title for which you are applying in the subject line.

Open Positions

Associate Director of Advancement, National Portrait Gallery / Grade: 14/15 / Location: Washington, DC / Open to All / Closing: January 21

Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history, as the Institution continues a comprehensive strategic plan, expands the programming, educational, and scholarly activity of its museums and research centers, and completes its very first Institution wide fundraising campaign.

This position is located at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), Smithsonian Institution, which was authorized and founded by Congress in 1962 with the mission to acquire and display portraits of "men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States." Today, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery attracts over 2 million visitors onsite and 4 million online and continues to narrate the multi-faceted and ever-changing story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery presents poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives form our national identity.

The NPG is comprised of around 75 full-time staff and advised by a 25-person Board of Commissioners (the “Commission”) who represent around 18 states across America. The NPG is managed by a Director and a six-person executive team comprised of the Chief Curator and associate directors of Finance & Operations, Collections & Exhibitions, History, Research & Scholarship, and Audience Engagement. The Associate Director of Advancement will report to the Director, serve on the executive team, and be the main liaison with the Commission on the Advancement Committee, and the central Smithsonian’s Office of Advancement.

The museum has significantly grown its advancement department in the last two years and, as a result, has seen dramatic increases in fundraising performance. Our goal is to maintain this rate of growth beyond the museum’s $25 million comprehensive campaign, which concluded at the end of 2018, the Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary year. This position offers excellent opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the National Portrait Gallery. There is no better time to join this amazing museum.

The Associate Director of Advancement (ADA) is a newly created position for the NPG, identified in the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan to help the NPG “step up” its fundraising and earned revenue in the wake of an enormously successful five years that saw media attention quadruple, attendance double from 1.1 million, and annual fundraising go from $1.3M to in FY13 to $4.4 million in FY18. Specifically, the ADA will work closely with the Director and Commission members to increase the NPG’s ability to raise over $6M for the annual fund; increase endowment (currently at $6.7M), increase special event revenue in light of proposed policy changes by the Smithsonian to allow private events in January 2019 at over $1M p.a.; and support the Commission Gala Co-Chairs to expand the ambitions for the NPG’s bi-annual American Portrait Gala to raise upwards of $2M at the next gala to be held on November 17, 2019. The ADA will especially help lay the ground work for the NPG to successfully participate in the Smithsonian's next Fundraising Campaign around 2021.

The ADA is responsible for providing strategic focus and tactical direction that support the NPG’s mission in these key areas:

  • Annual fundraising, (Incl. individual, major gifts, corporate, and foundation)
  • Planned Giving
  • Special Events
  • American Portrait Gala
  • Support and administration of the Commission
  • Management of the 2019 – 2023 Strategic Plan

The ADA is responsible for the Advancement department, which comprises three departments and eleven full-time: Development (including Commission liaison), Special Events (including the gala production), Commission and strategic planning support. The incumbent will work closely with this group in developing priorities and devising compelling fundraising cases for support that cross departments (exhibitions, education, collection, events), financial years, and revenue streams (restricted, unrestricted, planned giving, and endowment).

The incumbent’s main priority—and estimated 50%+ of their time—will be to strengthen the advancement office to raise over $6M a year, working with the Director, Commission, Endowment Committee and advised by outside consultants.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES

Advancement

  • Work with advancement office staff to establish a strategy to increase annual giving to around $6M a year and attract endowment support—including planned giving.
  • Assists the Director, executive team, and Commissioners in developing compelling cases for support that cross departments over multiple financial years, to attract long-term interest from donors, with special attention given to the bi-annual gala, exhibition sponsorship, program endowments, named galleries and endowed positions.
  • Together with the Director, and Commission / endowment chairs, serve as the external face of the NPG, “selling” the NPG’s vision and interest to individuals, companies, and foundations across the United States.
  • Manage the membership programs, including: Portrait Patrons ($150 - $1,000), Portrait Circle ($1,000 – 10,000), Corporate Circle, and American Legends Circle (planned giving).
  • Manage the NPG fundraising portfolio, including major gifts, planned giving, and foundations and maintain own portfolio of key donor relationships.
  • Works with NPG curators, historians, educators, selected staff and Commissioners on developing fundraising skills on specific targeted proposal requests.
  • Responsible for developing prospect lists, developing solicitation strategies, and writing or editing final proposals and stewardship reports; ensuring that all donor activities are accurately recorded and tracked in the Smithsonian’s data base, and “next steps” are developed.
  • Be equally zealous about donor stewardship and generating a feeling of excitement about the NPG’s activities, as research and cultivation.
  • Serve as the main liaison with the Commission’s Executive Committee, and specifically the Vice Chair of the Commission. Work with the Director and advancement chairs to set meeting agenda items, record accurate minutes, and establish next steps.

Strengthen Annual Fundraising

  • Working with consultants to complete a feasibility study and set the framework for "raising the bar" in annual and on-going fundraising.
  • Develop a menu of compelling projects that include gallery spaces, named positions, and named programs – and their attending cases for support and recognition.
  • Work closely with the Director, Commission chair, and Chairs of the Advancement Committee on strategy.
  • Go alone, or in the company of the Directors, content staff (curators, historians, educators), or Commissioners to meeting with prospective donors to solicit their support.

Advisory Board of Commissioners Liaison and Strategic Planning Management

  • Serves as the main liaison of the Advancement Committee of the board of Commissioners.
  • Helps identify and recruit new Commissioners.
  • Works with the Director to set the Commission meeting and events schedule.
  • Ensures that the Commission receive complete board materials—including minutes of meetings and approvals—in a timely manner.
  • Manages the Commission meeting logistics including out-of-town meetings every 18-24 months.
  • Develops, distributes, and analyses a Commission survey at the conclusion of each meeting to continually improve the effectiveness of the NPG Commission.
  • Ensure that the NPG Commission members are made aware of Smithsonian-wide initiatives that they may enjoy and derive benefit.
  • Tracks strategies and actions in the strategic plan, reports to the Director and executive team on areas of progress and/or concern, and reports on progress at every Commission meeting.

Special Events

  • Oversees the special events department that raises visibility and revenue for the NPG’s annual operations, including developing effective ways to retain past clients and market to potential new clients.

Gala Management

  • Manage the American Portrait Gala that takes place every two years and raises both national visibility and funds for the NPG’s endowment.
  • Identify and work with Gala Co-Chairs to identify high profile honorees and their presenters.
  • Manage all aspects of contracting gala production, including design and printing, catering, décor, and public relations.
  • Develop engaging and professional gala sponsorship materials.
  • Actively develop events and activities to promote the gala.
  • Conducts solicitation meetings, independently or accompanied by the Director and/or Gala Chairs, to raise financial and other support for the Gala and the NPG.

Administration

  • Attends all weekly meetings with the Director and monthly Executive Team meetings.
  • Attends central Smithsonian Office of Advancement meetings as required.
  • Serves as liaison with the Smithsonian’s office of government affairs.
  • Manages resources efficiently, including professional and support staff, interns and volunteers, and the department’s budget.
  • Promptly replies to all communications with NPG stakeholders including donors, Commissioners, and Smithsonian leadership.

Successful candidates will have:

  • Mastery level skill of fundraising and marketing methods, techniques and practices and the creativity and ingenuity to develop new concepts and approaches is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead fundraising efforts in a major cultural or educational nonprofit organization to secure external financial support exceeding $2.5 million annually.
  • Experience in development of comprehensive strategic plans and execution of strategic plans for an advancement program sufficient to outline communication techniques, program activity, budget requirements and establishment of milestones to achieve the assigned objective.
  • Skill in written communication sufficient to accomplish effective donor communications, grant applications, and sponsorship proposals that secure substantive financial support from foundations and corporations.
  • Ability to communicate orally sufficient to make effective and persuasive oral presentations for support of cultural projects that secure financial support from a wide variety of donors.
  • Ability to lead, develop and supervise a staff of 10 or more advancement and special events professionals, and unpaid staff to include fellows, interns and volunteers.
  • Ability to provide advisory service and expert guidance to board members, officers, and senior staff leadership of cultural or educational nonprofit organizations to achieve multi-million-dollar campaign goals.
  • Ability to analyze the connections between fundraising goals and donor interests to make recommendations about the prospects, and alternatives, for funding sources and possibilities.
  • This position is recognized as an expert regarding all philanthropic and outreach activities in promoting fundraising.
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of the National Portrait Gallery.

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers. The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”  Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad. 

DOWNLOAD THE DESCRIPTION

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits. Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a cover letter to oastaffing@si.edu by January 21, 2019. Please include the title of the position in the subject line of the email.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Advancement Assistant, National Air and Space Museum / Grade: 7 / Location: Washington, DC / Open to All / Closing: January 25

Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history, as the Institution implements a new comprehensive strategic plan, expands the programming, educational, and scholarly activity of its museums and research centers. 

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has launched a $250M campaign that will transform the Museum on the National Mall and is expanding upon its model fundraising organization, one that will meet the growing needs of one of the world’s most visited museums.  This position offers exciting opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian.  There is no better time to join this amazing Institution.

The Advancement Assistant works in the Advancement Office at the National Air and Space Museum to support Donor Relations, including the National Air and Space Society.  The incumbent manages the standard acknowledgement letters to donors, members, and prospects; responds to donor and member inquiries via phone and email; prepares presentation materials as requested; and provides overall administrative support.

Qualified candidates will successfully demonstrate strong written communications skills, an ability to successfully manage multiple deadlines, superior organization skills, and a thirst for learning.  Experience in a large, complex non-profit organization preferred.

The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. It is also a vital center for research into the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics. To learn more about the museum, please visit www.nasm.si.edu.

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers.  The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”  Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad. 

DOWNLOAD THE DESCRIPTION

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits. Interested candidates should submit their resumes, a cover letter, and a sample donor acknowledgement letter to oastaffing@si.edu by January 25. Please include the title of the position in the subject line of the email.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Gift Officer, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage / Grade: 12 / Location: Washington, DC / Open to All / Closing: January 30

Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history, as the Institution implements a new comprehensive strategic plan and expands the programming, educational, and scholarly activity of its museums and research centers. 

Following a successful national campaign, the Smithsonian has built a model fundraising organization, one that will meet the growing needs of this unique organization and offer excellent professional opportunities. This position offers exciting opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage seeks an experienced and creative gift officer with proven fundraising experience to help build and manage a portfolio of prospects and donors to execute the Center’s advancement program. Duties include expanding the Center’s donor community; creating and implementing innovative strategies for securing major gifts; managing a portfolio of prospects; preparing proposals and other donor communications; and organizing donor events. 

Successful candidates will demonstrate proven success in securing significant contributions from individuals through creative discovery and cultivation of productive relationships with prospective donors. Strong organizational, relationship and communication skills and the ability to work independently are essential. A minimum of four years of progressive fundraising experience, a passion for learning and exploration, and the desire to join a dynamic and growing operation should be demonstrated in your application. Experience in complex higher education or a large cultural or environmental organization is preferred. Travel is required and work during the evenings and weekends may be necessary.

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is a research and educational unit of the Smithsonian Institution that produces the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, exhibitions, documentary films and videos, symposia, publications, and educational materials. Through the power of culture, we increase understanding, strengthen communities, and reinforce our shared humanity. We are committed to sustaining cultural diversity across the United States and around the world through research, education, and community engagement.

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers.  The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”  Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad. 

DOWNLOAD THE DESCRIPTION

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits.  This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits. To learn more about the Smithsonian, please visit www.si.edu. Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a cover letter by January 30, 2019 to oastaffing@si.edu.   Please include the position title in your e-mail subject line.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Associate Director, Regional Council Program, Office of Advancement / Grade: 14 / Location: Washington, DC / Open to All / Closing: February 11

Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history, as the Institution implements a new comprehensive strategic plan and expands the programming, educational, and scholarly activity of its museums and research centers. 

Following a successful national campaign, the Smithsonian has built a model fundraising organization, one that will meet the growing needs of this unique organization and offer excellent professional opportunities. This position offers exciting opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the Smithsonian.

The Regional Council Associate Director serves as the manager for the Smithsonian’s Regional Council program. As part of its first pan-institutional campaign, which concluded December 31, 2017, the Smithsonian recruited members to participate in regional committees.  Members shaped the Smithsonian’s regional campaign outreach and introduced advancement staff and leadership to new people in their communities.  These committees, now formalized into Regional Councils, continue to strengthen the Smithsonian’s presence regionally, connect volunteers more effectively nationally, and inspire increased support for the institution in regions. 

The Regional Council Associate Director is a member of the Office of Volunteer Engagement, Events and Programming and oversees the planning and execution of all activities associated with the Regional Council program. The Associate Director is the primary Council liaison, leading efforts to engage members, managing the preparation of plans, agendas, programs and meetings, and coordinating with departments across the institution. The incumbent reports to the Director of Volunteer Engagement and Programming and works closely with the Director of Major Gifts and Discovery, several Regional Gifts officers and museum and center advancement staff in planning and strategizing programming for the Councils.

MAJOR DUTIES

  • Under the direction of the Director of Volunteer Engagement and Programming, develops a multi-year plan of strategic engagement for the Smithsonian’s Regional Councils aimed at building community and serving the larger fundraising goals of the Institution. There are currently 10 Regional Councils across the country.  Members are leaders in their communities; many serve on Smithsonian advisory boards.
  • Serves as the Institution’s primary liaison with Regional Councils, building relationships with regional council members and regularly traveling to regional council meetings and events across the country.
  • Develops, recommends, plans and executes all Regional Council programs, conference calls, meetings and meeting follow-up. Partners with the Volunteer Engagement, Events and Programming team and SI museums and centers to arrange for speakers, catering, transportation and lodging in connection with Regional Council meetings.
  • Works with each Regional Council leader to develop and track progress of Council goals.
  • Tracks Regional Council membership terms and giving; works with Regional Council members, leaders and regional gifts officers on identifying and recruiting new council members.
  • Establishes and maintains collaborative working relationships with the Office of Major Gifts and Discovery and a wide variety of colleagues across the Institution upon whose cooperation the success of the Regional Council program depends. Coordinates participation of senior Smithsonian management in Regional Council activities.
  • Maintains master council rosters via Panda data maintenance; vets communications materials with regional council lists for accuracy (i.e. giving website, city brochures, event programs)

Regional Council Annual Summit

  • Develops, recommends, plans and executes an annual Regional Council summit, working with senior Smithsonian leadership and the Regional Council Executive Committee to develop and execute a program aimed at educating all Regional Council members about Smithsonian priorities and strengthening their work as fundraising volunteers.

Regional Council Communications

  • Working closely with the Advancement Communications team, develops and executes a communications plan for Regional Councils that engages members regionally and pan-institutionally in the Smithsonian.
  • Regularly drafts emails and updates aimed at keeping Regional Council members informed.
  • Ensures that Council members receive other regular Smithsonian communications and updates.
  • Develops presentations and briefings for Smithsonian leadership and Regional Council members.

QUALIFICATIONS

Required

  • Successful candidates will demonstrate superior communication skills, both oral and written, excellent interpersonal and organizational skills, and the initiative and ability to work independently.
  • A minimum of five years related experience, preferably in alumni relations or volunteer management. This should include building long-term relationships with volunteer leaders in a complex organization, preferably a museum or cultural institution, advising on alumni or volunteer relations strategies, and developing programs designed to steward and increase volunteer engagement.
  • Experience working in a fast-paced, deadline driven environment and being able to manage multiple projects at once is a must.
  • Willingness to travel locally and nationally, approximately 6-8 days per month, and to work evenings and weekends as needed.
  • Bachelor’s degree is highly desired.

Preferred

  • A passion for learning and exploration, and the desire to join a dynamic and growing operation should be demonstrated in your application. 
  • Experience developing outreach strategies and/or managing volunteer donors in partnership with development officers is preferred
  • Experience managing budgets and overseeing events is preferred.  

The Office of Advancement oversees and guides the fundraising efforts of the entire Smithsonian and is home to the central advancement organization for the Institution.  In addition to raising significant support for a variety of Smithsonian initiatives, the Office of Advancement provides support services to advancement offices across the Institution.  The office engages with staff throughout the Smithsonian in accomplishing their goals.

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers.  The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”  Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad. 

DOWNLOAD THE DESCRIPTION

The Smithsonian offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package. To learn more about us, visit www.si.edu. This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits. Interested candidates should submit their resumes and cover letter to oastaffing@si.edu by February 11, 2019.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.