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Canadian Opera Company

Director, Annual Campaigns

Posted On: February 21, 2024
Closing On: March 21, 2024

Location: Toronto/Hybrid
Employment Type: fulltime
Level: management
Salary Range: $140,000 - $150,000


The Canadian Opera Company (COC) is seeking a strategic and creative collaborator to join their team as the Director, Annual Campaigns. In this newly created role, the Director will provide thought leadership and strategic vision to the COC’s direct response marketing and membership campaigns, including year-end matching, corporate canvass, Golden Circle, President’s Council, Friends of the COC, and Vox.

The Director will oversee efforts to engage, acquire, and retain COC annual donors through direct mail, digital, and telemarketing campaigns with a keen eye for data and an enthusiasm for innovation.

Reporting to the Deputy General Director and Executive Director, Philanthropy & Audiences, the Director will be an inspiring mentor and coach to a high-performing team of 5. The Director will enjoy significant autonomy in this role and will be a skilled, strategic communicator building trust and confidence with COC leadership, donors, volunteers and the team.

Opera lives at the intersection of music, theatre, dance, and visual art, and the team at COC is incredibly passionate about sharing that experience with as many people as possible. This is a great opportunity to be part of one of the most vibrant arts and culture scenes in the world!

At Canadian Opera Company, they enjoy a hybrid work environment, with staff in the office a minimum of 3 days per week.



Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. General Director Perryn Leech joined the company in 2021, forming a leadership team with Music Director Johannes Debus and Deputy General Director Christie Darville.

The COC enjoys a loyal audience, including a dedicated base of subscribers, and has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. Its diverse repertoire includes new commissions and productions, local and international collaborations with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracts the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists.

The company is an incubator for the future of the art form, nurturing Canada’s new wave of opera performers and creators with customized training and support. The COC’s purpose-built opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, is hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world.

The COC is currently in an exciting moment of renewal focusing on:

  • Bold and inclusive programming that promotes opera as relevant, accessible, and vitally connected.
  • Critical capital investment in the company’s physical infrastructure/assets.
  • A commitment to building creative partnerships with new communities.


 The COC Orchestra—the oldest opera orchestra in Canada—comprises more than 50 permanent instrumentalists and has received worldwide acclaim for its musical versatility and range of expression. Under German-born conductor Johannes Debus, who was appointed Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company in 2009, the orchestra continues to excel in a wide variety of repertoire, achieving “almost otherworldly perfection” (Globe and Mail).


The COC Chorus is made up of professional singers, some of whom have worked with the company for more than 20 years.

The size of the chorus varies according to the musical needs of the repertoire, but the Chorus normally has around 40 singers, divided equally between sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenors, baritones, and basses.

From time to time, chorus singers are assigned smaller solo roles in addition to their chorus duties.

Because the Chorus is not a full-time occupation, most members of the Chorus also have day jobs. There are teachers, office workers, university professors—some even work in COC administration!

Sandra Horst and the Canadian Opera Company Chorus are generously underwritten by Tim and Frances Price.


The COC Academy aims to create a vibrant community of Canadian artists and creative professionals through a series of early career development programs, which provide participants with the skills, experiences and resources to thrive in a global opera environment. Currently, it comprises the COC Ensemble Studio, a rigorous training program for singers and pianists/coaches, the COC Orchestra Academy for post-secondary music students, the COC Composer-in-Residence, and the COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence.


The Community Partnerships & Programs (CPP) department connects young people, parents, educators, and communities with meaningful and experiential learning opportunities. Our programs are designed to spark creative power through culturally responsive and engaging learning opportunities. Through new and ongoing initiatives such as our Free Concert Series, Opera Makers Programming, COC Summer Opera Intensive, Showcase Series, and COC Teen Council, the CPP department is committed to making opera accessible and dedicated to providing diverse access points and opportunities for the next generation of creatives.

For over 70 years, the COC has invested in opportunities for the community to engage with the performing arts from a number of different disciplines, artistic backgrounds and practices. We are thrilled to continue to broaden program offerings, open doors to brand new communities and organizations, and deliver meaningful, authentic learning opportunities to the people we serve.

Through developing strong connections within the community, the CPP department continues to support, execute and highlight a diverse range of artistic talent that reflects the diverse landscape of Toronto.


The long-awaited announcement for the COC’s new home was made in July 2002.  Ground-breaking for the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts took place on April 11, 2003 and inaugural celebrations took place in June 2006. The opera house, situated at the southeast corner of Queen Street and University Avenue, is a 2000-seat theatre specifically designed for opera and ballet with the finest possible level of acoustics. The contemporary expression of a traditional five-tiered, European horseshoe-shaped auditorium provides unparalleled intimacy between the audience and the stage. A glittering five-storey transparent Isadore & Rosalie Sharp City Room faces University Avenue, encouraging the public to experience the artistic life of the building through regular informal public recitals and performances. This first Canadian purpose-built opera house is designed by the award-winning Toronto-based firm Diamond Schmitt Architects.





Annual Campaign Strategy

  • Collaborate with the Executive Director to provide thought leadership and strategic vision for the ongoing evolution of the COC’s comprehensive annual campaigns.
  • Play a pivotal role in reshaping and elevating the COC’s annual membership programs, offering leadership and vision for annual program operations.
  • Develop annual budgets and set revenue targets, establish benchmarks, key performance Indicators (KPIs), and qualitative goals to monitor performance of the various campaigns.
  • Apply a deep understanding of CRM optimization and effectiveness and experience with high-impact fundraising campaigns to create and implement strategies to achieve Annual Campaign goals.
  • Utilize existing and introduce new data and analytics reporting to support data-driven decision making.
  • Work with the Senior Manager, Annual Programs to create a multi-channel communications calendar of appeals that leverage a variety of tactics and vehicles to communicate with current and potential annual donors.
  • Oversee ongoing development and delivery of an engaging membership programs and experiences with support from the Senior Manager, Stewardship & Engagement.
  • Maintain an awareness of and serve as a resource for best practices and new developments in Annual Campaigns and ensure that such practices and opportunities are shared with and integrated into the activities at COC.

 Execution, Implementation and Collaboration

  • Execute strategy and evaluate a fully integrated direct-response program (e. g., direct mail, monthly giving, digital giving, and telemarketing), with a specific focus on new donor acquisition.
  • Work with the Senior Managers, Annual Programs, Philanthropy Insights and Audience Insights to monitor performance metrics for campaigns. In addition, collaborate to identify insights to continually optimize results, and develop targeted direct response campaigns.
  • Extract segment data from Tessitura, applying it to email marketing, delivery to mail house or telemarketing partners.
  • Work with the Philanthropy & Audiences team to oversee message development and copywriting across all campaigns, in keeping with the COC’s overall messaging and key offerings.
  • Oversee operational aspects of appeal and source reporting and maintain accurate donor records to regularly monitor and interpret data, revenue targets, metrics, and department goals for the Executive Director and Individual Giving team.
  • Support the Annual Programs team in ensuring gifts are processed accurately in Tessitura and oversee timely and appropriate acknowledgement and fulfillment communications.

Leadership & Management

  • Motivate, and lead an outstanding team of 5 committed, positive, high-performing individuals who are passionate about the COC.
  • Lead weekly and monthly pipeline meetings to ensure revenue goals, conversion and retention rates are achieved and KPIs and qualitative goals are met.
  • Manage people and performance of the Annual Programs team; lead and motivate a high–performing, diverse fundraising team, inspiring them to achieve revenue goals.
  • Manage relationships with external campaign partners (telefunding agencies, mailhouses, etc.).
  • Develop, implement, monitor, and analyze the annual operating plans and budget for the COC’s Annual Programs.



  • Progressive experience in a direct response fundraising role, including experience with campaigns that involve external fundraising partners.
  • Demonstrated success implementing fundraising strategies for annual giving and membership programs.
  • Highly adept program and data analysis with strong analytical and strategic thinking skills.
  • Established track record in strategy development and implementation.
  • Excellent budget and revenue forecasting skills.
  • Proven leadership experience that includes coaching, mentoring and motivating a high-performing team, keeping them focused on achieving KPI’s that contribute to revenue growth.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills, with a preference for a candidate with experience in writing/editing direct-response fundraising copy.
  • Ability to employ a collaborative approach balanced with clear decision making and results orientation that supports organizational goals.
  • Outcome focused with excellent project and time management skills, the ability to effectively manage multiple projects and deadlines and deliver on KPIs.
  • Demonstrated learner mindset that welcomes feedback and strives for excellence.
  • Passion for philanthropy and mission focused.
  • Clear understanding of and strict adherence to ethical fundraising standards.
  • Strong experience and capability with CRM systems. Knowledge of Tessitura is an asset.
  • Strong facility using Microsoft Office.
  • Ability to work outside of regular business hours with some evening and weekend work required.



KCI Search + Talent has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the Canadian Opera Company. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Jill Anderson at KCI Search + Talent via email at

Interested candidates are invited to send a resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by March 21, 2024. All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

The target hiring range for this role is $140,000 to $150,000, and group benefits are also provided.

To view the full Position Brief, please visit:

As Canada’s largest opera company, the Canadian Opera Company deeply values equity and diversity across all levels of the organization and believes in fostering an inclusive, discrimination-free environment that fully supports our team’s personal and collective success. We are committed to building a workforce that reflects our community, our city, and our country and, in turn, the Canadian Opera Company welcomes applicants from all backgrounds and abilities who share and embrace these values of anti-racism and inclusion.

The Canadian Opera Company is committed to providing accommodations for people with disabilities in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in all parts of the hiring process. If you require an accommodation, please let the Search Consultant know and we will work with you to meet your needs.