Position Description: Chief Advancement Officer

POSITION Chief Advancement Officer
ORGANIZATION Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art
REPORTS TO Chase F. Robinson
Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art
LOCATION Washington, DC

Position description

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which together constitute the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, are located on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Committed to preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting exemplary works of art, the Freer and Sackler house exceptional collections of Asian art, with more than 44,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period to today. Renowned and iconic objects originate from China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, the ancient Near East, and the Islamic world.

With its centennial coming in 2023, the museum is committed to building upon the strengths of its two complementary galleries to serve as a national resource that preserves, exhibits, and interprets Asian art in ways that deepen our understanding of Asia, America, and the world. The museum shall continue to celebrate great art and pose essential questions about culture and society, employing innovative approaches and technology to expand and engage both local and global audiences.

Distinguished for its excellence among the renowned museums that comprise the Smithsonian, the National Museum of Asian Art offers one of the finest collections of Asian art in the world. Having earned the highest stature in its field, the museum appeals to a broad audience, both local and from around the globe. Its superlative profile, cultural relevance, and expert, visionary leadership positions it well to continue expanding its brand and donor support
This is an exciting moment for the National Museum of Asian Art, characterized by new leadership, including an invigorated and growing Board, new branding, and a new five-year strategic plan that stimulates the museum’s investment in development. The new branding as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian art foregrounds the museum’s strengths, clarifies its mission, and enhances its alignment with the Smithsonian, one of America’s most trusted and revered brands. The National Museum of Asian Art’s strategic plan for 2020-2025 promises a more creative, engaged, and efficient museum, one that celebrates art and addresses essential questions about culture. The museum’s Office of Advancement plays a key role in those efforts.

Over the museum’s first century it has been fortunate to benefit from the long-term philanthropy of Charles Lang Freer and subsequent donors. The museum is continuing that tradition with recent significant investments in endowment and operating support (for its Japan and China programs in particular.) Today, under the leadership of Chase F. Robinson, the museum is implementing its new strategic plan, preparing for the Freer Centennial in 2023, and looking ahead to the next Smithsonian campaign, which is expected to launch internally in late 2021 and to conclude in 2026 to coincide with the United States’ 250th anniversary. The National Museum of Asian Art is seeking to add a seasoned and visionary advancement professional who will complete the transformation of its development efforts and put in place a state-of-the-art office to achieve the museum’s 2nd-century ambitions.

The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will provide expert, authoritative advice to the museum Director on all aspects of fundraising and advancement, make substantial recommendations for policy changes and new program directions, and lead major fundraising initiatives to support the broad and ever-evolving programmatic needs of the museum. The CAO will manage all aspects of the upcoming Smithsonian campaign, and future Smithsonian-wide campaigns, particularly as they relate to major and principal gift donors. The CAO will serve as an inspiring fundraiser and brand champion for the National Museum of Asian Art and the catalyst in strengthening the museum’s culture of philanthropy.

Required qualifications and experience:

  • Passion for, and deep interest in, the missions, exhibitions and programs of the National Museum of Asian Art and Smithsonian Institution. Deep appreciation for the global reach of the museum and the esteemed place it occupies within the Smithsonian Institution. Ability to inspire and engage others as a senior representative of this powerful brand.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree and strong academic credentials that will be credible to donors and other stakeholders are preferred.
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in progressively responsible development leadership positions, which includes work in all functional areas (individual giving, institutional giving, annual giving, planned giving, stewardship, Board relations) and participation in a major capital campaign (planning, implementation, management, and successful conclusion), preferably within a major cultural institution, nonprofit organization, educational institution, or other environment of similar complexity.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least five years of supervisory experience, including experience creating a managing a budget. A strong record of recruiting and developing exceptional people and fostering a transparent work environment where collegiality is a key to success.
  • A proven and inspirational frontline major gifts fundraiser with a long track record of success in securing six and seven-figure gifts and greater. Demonstrated strength in prospect discovery and in building effective strategies to compel new major donor targets to invest in the museum’s programs and mission. Experience in translating annual giving strategies that groom the next generation of leadership and major gift donors.
  • Particular strength in developing the case for support and strategic, complex, and innovative fundraising plans, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives. Experience working directly with the most senior levels of an organization is very important, as is the ability to effectively strategize and engage various groups and constituents.
  • Direct experience in international fundraising and the cultural sensitivity it requires; a global orientation and knowledge of strategies and trends in global philanthropy. Must have experience working with individual and institutional donors on a global scale.
  • Demonstrated ability in planning and executing integrated, strategic communications in support of achieving fundraising goals. Experience identifying and coaching project spokespeople. A functional understanding of how to effectively leverage various communication mediums and distribution channels for optimal exposure and impact.
  • Experience identifying, nurturing, and working with Board members and other museum supporters, and an appreciation for their role in building an effective fundraising network.
  • The ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about donor strategy and process. A working knowledge of modern data management practices and techniques, including database information systems, data modeling, and analysis. Familiarity with technology and other innovations that can streamline the development process and contribute to the integration of advancement functions.
  • Ability and enthusiasm to travel domestically and internationally as necessary.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art has retained Diversified Search to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Managing Director
Practice Leader – Development & Philanthropy
Diversified Search
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174
gerard.cattie@divsearch.com | 212.542.2587