Development Director – The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company – Los Angeles, CA


The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company

Reports to Executive Director

The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company (US) seeks a mid-career development professional with 7+ years of increasing responsibilities in fundraising experience to lead revenue growth. The organization’s annual budget is currently $800,000 with a goal to increase revenue to $1.2 MM in three years. Staffed with a development assistant and other consultants as needed, including grant writers and event planners, the department currently raises funds from foundations, government grants, contracts, individuals, special events, direct mail and online giving.

We are looking for a strategic thinker with experience in all of the above areas and that can inspire other people to do fundraising. As part of a growing organization with a deep philanthropic portfolio, the new development director will have abundant opportunity for advancement and will play a vital role in achieving our overall strategic goal of reaching more youth in more communities. The successful candidate must be versatile and have the sophistication and experience that comes with having worked in environments that require a nuanced management and relationship-building style.

The career path for this position is likely that of a development generalist with experience in a larger, highly structured development operation who is seeking management of their own department. The person may have held the title of Associate Director or Development Manager in this large organization or even held the Director position in an organization of similar size to US. This person should enjoy both the administrative and functional aspects of development and will have had some direct experience in:

working with an engaged board of directors and ED to increase competence in cultivation, solicitation and stewardship
creating or establishing standard development practices that ensure smooth departmental operation
involvement in or oversight of grant writing for private foundation and corporate prospects
creation of innovative stewardship opportunities or otherwise enhancing donor relationships
building a major gifts and corporate program to complement an already robust foundation program
gracefully managing one or more annual events that are mission-driven and profitable

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES (Essential Job Duties & Tasks):

Participates with the Executive Director, senior staff, and board in defining the organization’s values, mission, and vision, and ensuring organizational health and effectiveness.


Creates overall development strategies, working closely with Executive Director, Board of Trustees, and US staff to increase support for the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company.
Helps the organization define performance measures for fundraising success and monitors results. Develops and implements an annual Development Plan and produces revenue progress reports.
Serves as the organization’s ambassador, nurturing community relationships and identifying individuals for board candidacy and prospects as potential donors.
Fosters a strong relationship and builds communication interactions between US staff and Board of Trustees

Helps identify, cultivate, recruit, develop, and evaluate fundraising volunteers.

Strategically leverages the time and connections of the Executive Director and other senior leaders to support aggressive fundraising targets, including developing the capacity of the Board to execute against development goals.
Helps board members, Executive Director, other fundraising volunteers and staff identify, cultivate and solicit charitable gifts.
Solicits portfolio of prospects and/or donors on behalf of the organization, individually or in concert with leadership volunteers.
Assures development and writing of foundation and corporate proposals and solicitation materials.
Assures timely, accurate design and maintenance of donor and prospect records, gift management systems, and informational reports.
Assures appropriate and ongoing prospect research.

Special Events

Collaborates with US staff, volunteers, and trustees to develop successful events
Develops budget and timeline and sets goals for each event
Creates a strategy and provides leadership in formation and function of the Gala committee
Ensures that each revenue generating component of the gala meets or exceeds its fundraising goal including sponsorships, table and ticket sales and live and silent auction.


Oversees internal and external communications functions, including branding implementation and production of all fundraising materials
Develops communication plans to insure members, participants, and the community understand the case for support.
Sets forth communications goals for the organization
Publishes bi-annual newsletter and by-monthly electronic communications.
Oversees Website content and Social Media messaging

Reporting and Evaluation

Assures sound fiscal operation of development function including timely, accurate and comprehensive development of charitable contributions income and expense budgets, reporting, monitoring and implementation.

Works with Executive Director and program staff to develop appropriate survey and evaluation approaches, tracking and reporting
Oversees and manages government contracts to ensure deadlines and procedures are followed.

Provide sound management of Development Department budget resources.

Personnel Development

Keeps informed of developments in philanthropy and fund development as well as the general fields of management and the not-for-profit sector
Assures stability by creating a work environment that is rewarding to staff and Volunteers.
Establishes personnel accountabilities for development staff and consultants and evaluates performance regularly.
Pursues formal and informal education for self and others in fund development


Successful candidate must be a proven fundraiser. Experience or interest in theatre and youth arts education is a plus. Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree and 10 years’ professional experience, including at least 5 years in development, or 7+ years of fundraising experience. Comprehensive management skills and experience are required including but not limited to short and long-term planning, evaluation, directing and motivating staff, oral and written communication skills, marketing and financial management, values clarification, organizational behavior and development, board development and governance.

The position requires demonstrated experience in managing and implementing a comprehensive fund development program that meets or exceeds revenue goals. Knowledge and experience in the following areas is required: the nature and dimensions of philanthropy, ethics, motivations for giving and volunteering, research and cultivation practices, standard fundraising techniques (including face-to-face solicitation, proposal writing, special events, online giving, telephone solicitation, and direct mail) and development office functions including gift processing, prospect and donor histories, and fundraising reporting. The individual is also expected to have demonstrated experience and confidence in asking people to contribute time and money.


Familiarity and comfort with modern technology, including computer systems and software is necessary. Must be able to work weekends and evenings as necessary, drive a motor vehicle, have a valid Drivers License, and lift at least 30 pounds.


Excellent interpersonal skills; sensitive to the needs of the donors, volunteers and peers.
Team player who inspires collaboration and functions decisively, but also has the ability to work independently.
Superior organizational skills, confident self-starter and finisher, paying close attention to detail and follow through.
Strong writing and presentation abilities and the ability to communicate effectively.
Flexible, energetic, creative, with a strong work ethic, a sense of humor and the ability to respond to many agendas and needs.


The information presented indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain, or to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications and objectives required of employees assigned to this job.

How to apply

To apply, please email your resume and cover letter to and include Development Director Application in the subject line.