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Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Senior Director, Philanthropy

Posted On: September 13, 2023
Closing On: October 6, 2023

Location: Toronto
Effective: Immediately
Employment Type: fulltime
Level: senior
Salary Range: $120,000 to $140,000

File: Download

Is this you?

You are reading this Position Profile because it is entirely possible you could become the Senior Director, Philanthropy for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Suitability for the role starts with your own – objective – personal analysis.

In other words, are you a fundraising executive who has significant experience securing gifts in the six-figure range as well as developing and implementing successful fundraising strategies to meet and exceed financial targets? You have extensive experience in managing a complex portfolio of prospects (individuals, foundations, and corporations) at various stages of relationships. You have superior management skills, with the proven ability to supervise, support, and inspire a high performing fundraising team. You are known to be a sophisticated communicator who operates at a very high level, able to engage donors from a range of backgrounds and interests, and you understand the importance of attention to detail in creating a superior donor experience. You are a proud supporter of the arts community and would be motivated to join a team dedicated to raising the profile of symphonic orchestral music in Toronto and Canada.

Donors respect and appreciate you because you build lasting relationships that are founded on trust, integrity and impeccable attention to detail. You are not ‘salesy’; you are authentic, passionate, and real. You bring an entrepreneurial approach to fundraising that creatively matches donor interests with organizational needs.

Senior volunteers and board members speak of you with admiration and high regard. They would say that you are a true partner in their own philanthropic journey – you appreciate that they are volunteers. You respectfully find ways to utilize the gifts and talents of your board and involve volunteers in creative ways that resonate with their why.

You are results-driven and grounded in strategy. You have extensive experience partnering with leadership to develop philanthropic strategies that maximize financial commitments for your organization across all areas.

If this sounds like you, please read on…

The Organization

For over a century, The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has played a fundamental role in shaping and celebrating Canadian culture. Now in their 101st year, the TSO’s commitment to musical excellence and ability to spark connection remain as strong as ever. With a storied history of acclaimed concerts and recordings, Canadian and international tours, and impactful community partnerships, they are dedicated to engaging and enriching local and national communities through vibrant musical experiences.

Music Director Gustavo Gimeno brings an expansive artistic vision, intellectual curiosity, and sense of adventure to programming the nearly 100-musician Orchestra that serves Toronto – one of the world’s most diverse cities. As a group of artists, teachers, and advocates who share the belief that music has the power to heal, inspire, and connect people from all walks of life, they engage audiences young and old through over 100 concerts annually, and an array of education, community access and health and wellness initiatives. The 2023/24 season marks the 50th anniversary of the TSO-affiliated Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra – a tuition-free training program dedicated to cultivating the next generation of Canadian artists.

With an annual operating budget of $30 million, the Development team, under the leadership of Chief Development Officer Robert Dixon, is responsible for generating a growing portfolio of $8 million yearly (excluding bequests).

The Opportunity

The Senior Director, Philanthropy oversees all major gifts to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and is responsible personally for soliciting multi-year commitments of $250,000 and above. Working closely with the Chief Development Officer, our successful candidate will lead a team of fundraisers responsible for individual, foundation, and corporate giving, and stewardship. The Senior Director, Philanthropy will be accountable for working externally with potential donors to understand their affinity and capacity to donate. This will involve working collaboratively with internal partners to develop compelling projects and proposals that align strongly with the philanthropic interests of potential donors. Well respected in the philanthropy community, the Senior Director, Philanthropy will be able to think creatively and innovatively about the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of major prospects.

Organized, yet flexible and responsive, the Senior Director, Philanthropy will provide support to the CEO, Chief Development Officer, and Associate Vice-President, Development. They will apply rigour and analysis to decision making on fundraising activities, prospect engagement, and management for donors in the $250k to $1M range.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Personally manage a select portfolio of significant major gift prospects (individual, foundation, and corporate), including identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship
  • Solicit new multi-year commitments for gifts between $250,000 to $1 million ($100,000 and above annually) for both ongoing artistic and education programming, as well as long-term transformative investments in the Orchestra
  • Prepare written materials, including case statement and tailored proposals, to support donor solicitations
  • Support the CEO, CDO, Board of Directors, and other key stakeholders to advance relationships with the organization’s most significant donors and prospects
  • Manage the major gifts team (individual giving, foundation, corporate and community giving, and stewardship) including hiring, coaching and evaluating staff to ensure a high-performing, motivated team
  • Develop and implement strategies to ensure the effective identification and allocation of prospects across the major gifts portfolio
  • Measure staff and portfolio performance against core metrics and report on activity and financial results
  • Participate in the development and evaluation of departmental infrastructure, budget, and strategic plan
  • Collaborate with staff across the organization to identify opportunities for philanthropic support, offer advice on fundraising and development, and facilitate a donor-centric culture

Candidate Competencies

  • Demonstrated passion for the arts
  • High emotional intelligence with infectious energy and drive
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills that foster meaningful relationships with donors and prospects. Experience in making in-person solicitations with prospective donors and proven success in forging relationships with major donors
  • Organizational skills that allow for the successful management of a portfolio of 40-60 prospects and donors
  • Experience with fundraising models, trends, innovative techniques and ideally engaging donors from different communities, such as the Asian Diaspora in the GTA
  • Strong attention to detail, self motivated and results focused
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills
  • Imaginative and innovative approaches to the development of new giving opportunities
  • Strong financial ability to develop budget and manage expenses
  • Excellent staff management skills and team leadership
  • A practical, calm, and creative problem-solver and strategic thinker, with the flexibility to react nimbly to the unexpected

Candidate Qualifications

  • Minimum 7+ years’ relevant and progressive senior leadership experience within a not-for-profit environment
  • Extensive experience in managing a complex portfolio of major gift prospects (individual, foundation and corporate) at various stages of relationships
  • Successful track record of securing six-figure gifts
  • Experience working with senior volunteers
  • Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Superior interpersonal skills, with the ability to relate effectively, tactfully and professionally with donors and staff at all levels
  • Well-organized, detail-oriented, self-motivated, and results-focused
  • Understanding of the Canadian philanthropic environment
  • Flexibility in hours and ability to work key evenings and/or weekends (during the September to June concert season) as part of the TSO team
  • Advanced level PC skills. The TSO uses Google Workplace (G Mail, Google Drive, Google Docs) and MS Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
  • Experience with Tessitura or related fundraising database system is an asset


Gustavo Gimeno’s tenure as the tenth Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra began in 2020/21. Since his appointment, he has reinvigorated the artistic profile of the Orchestra, engaged with musicians and audiences alike, and brought performances of familiar works as well as some of today’s freshest sounds. Further, he has overseen renewed community engagement and sown the seeds for an ambitious program of commissioning new works from emerging and established composers.

During the 2023/24 season, Gimeno and the TSO usher in a bold new beginning for the Orchestra in its 101st year, with major symphonic works—including Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Pulcinella—presented alongside an unprecedented number of pieces never before performed by the TSO. Gimeno will share the stage with, among other soloists, Daniil Trifonov, James Ehnes, Emily D’Angelo, Frank Peter Zimmermann, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

February 2024 will see the release of the first commercial recording Gimeno and the TSO made together, in May 2023, memorializing Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie under the Harmonia Mundi label. This builds on Gimeno’s relationship with the label, for which he has recorded Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, and Stravinsky’s ballets The Firebird and Apollon musagète with Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg.

Gimeno has held the position of Music Director with Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg since 2015 and will become Music Director of Teatro Real in Madrid in 2025/26—he currently serves as their Music Director Designate. As an opera conductor, he has appeared at renowned houses such as the Liceu Opera Barcelona; Opernhaus Zürich; Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia; and Teatro Real, Madrid. He is also much sought-after as a symphonic guest conductor worldwide: in 2023/24 he returns to orchestras such as London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouworkest, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, NSO Washington, Dallas and Cincinnati symphony orchestras.

Mark Williams’s fresh, progressive mindset imbues every facet of his work. A seasoned arts professional, Williams was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in April 2022, to lead the internationally renowned organization into a milestone Centennial season and beyond—to set the tone for the symphonic future of Canada’s largest city.

Williams’s strategic acuity and pursuit of excellence have allowed him to flourish and deliver as an orchestra executive, with a resume that includes a nine-year tenure at The Cleveland Orchestra and serving as Artistic Administrator of the San Francisco Symphony.

As Chief Artistic & Operations Officer at The Cleveland Orchestra, Williams executive produced a flagship digital streaming concert series, In Focus, and oversaw all artist programming across diverse platforms including subscription series in Cleveland and Miami, global touring, and media. He was further responsible for management of the orchestra, music library, and choruses. He began his career in artist management, holding posts at Columbia Artists Management and IMG Artists.

As a Black executive and CEO, Williams has been active in reshaping the arts landscape—he is committed to empowering the next generation of Black and Latinx executive arts leaders, having served as a mentor for Sphinx LEAD (Leaders in Excellence, Arts & Diversity), and was a Trustee of College Now Greater Cleveland, supporting access to higher education for young people. He was also a Jury Member of the 2022 Nielsen Violin Competition.

A Cincinnati native, Williams began his career as a horn player and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in horn performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University, where he was honoured with the Alumni Achievement Award in 2017.

Robert Dixon, Chief Development Officer at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, leads fundraising for one of Canada’s most respected arts organizations. He drives the TSO’s philanthropic vision, builds strong relationships with its lead partners, and oversees a team of skilled development professionals raising more than $8 million annually.

Robert is an accomplished fundraising leader. Over nearly a decade in advancement he has been privileged to raise funds for leading organizations in both Canada and the UK, including the University of Oxford, Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières Canada, and Toronto Metropolitan (formerly Ryerson) University. With a naturally collaborative and strategic approach, he has a strong track record of developing high-performing, inclusive teams in a culture of aspirational philanthropy.

Robert is also active as an organist and choral conductor. Having held positions at Gloucester Cathedral, Jesus College Cambridge, the City Church of Oxford, and Christ Church Deer Park, he currently directs the music at St. Mary Magdalene in Toronto – a church made famous by its long association with the dean of Canadian composers, Healey Willan. In demand as a recitalist and accompanist, Robert has performed live on BBC Radio 4 and Switzerland’s Radio SRF 2 Kultur, and has recorded three CDs with the choirs of Jesus College Cambridge on the Signum label.

Robert holds an MA in Theology from the University of Cambridge and the Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists. He lives in Toronto.

Application Instructions

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is committed to having a workforce that is reflective of the diversity of the City of Toronto and strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals, especially those who can provide different perspectives and contribute to the diversification of ideas. The TSO is committed to providing accommodations for people with disabilities. If you require accommodation, we will work with you to meet your needs.

The TSO requires all employees to provide proof of their fully vaccinated status, with vaccines approved by Health Canada. A person is considered fully vaccinated if they have completed the required regime for COVID-19 vaccine and 14 days have passed since their final dose.

This role will appeal to an accomplished leader, someone with sophisticated relationship skills, experience leading a high-performing team with full accountability, and impressive fund development experience.

If you are looking for an outstanding challenge, working with a great senior management team for a very important, focused, and successful organization who are experiencing positive momentum, please submit your CV along with a covering letter explaining why you are a serious candidate by October 6th, 2023, to:


via email:

Please note all inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence and only qualified respondents will be contacted.