Vice President of Development, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra


Founded in 1932 and led by internationally renowned Music Director Christopher Warren-Green, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) mission is to connect and strengthen the Charlotte community through exceptional musical experiences. With 58 professional full-time musicians and a staff of 24, the CSO is the resident orchestral company of Blumenthal Performing Arts. The CSO operates with an annual expense budget of approximately $11 million that is met through a combination of ticket sales, contract income, annual fundraising, sponsorship, and the endowment draw.

The CSO actively nurtures the next generation of musicians and music lovers by supporting two diverse youth orchestras. More than half of the CSO musicians are educators in the region, teaching not only the young musicians of the youth orchestras, but students in the residency program at Northwest School of the Arts and in Project Harmony, a free, afterschool orchestra and personal development program.

The CSO believes in equity and inclusion and aims to reflect diversity on stage and in all its activities. The Music For All program welcomes community members on public assistance to attend any Symphony concert for $1 per ticket. The CSO strives to be an industry leader in imaginative, relevant programming by intentionally seeking out female conductors, underrepresented in the industry, and conductors, composers, and guest artists of color. The Students In Tune membership program offers the next generation audience $10 tickets.

Performing across the Charlotte region and beyond, the CSO presents a variety of concert series featuring classical, pops, movie, family, and special events, such as gala concerts with renowned guest artists. Longstanding Summer Pops at Symphony Park, continually voted Best Concert Series in the city, closes each season and features the annual Celebrate America program the first week in July. On Tap series at NoDa Brewing Company offers patrons exposure to classical music in a laid-back setting four times per year, as does CSO On the Go in Ballantyne three times per year. Building upon a long track record of collaboration, the CSO performs each year as the pit orchestra for Opera Carolina and the Charlotte Ballet.

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The Vice President of Development reports to ­­­­the President and Chief Executive Officer and leads a team of five development professionals that is expected to expand shortly, to support the upcoming Comprehensive Campaign.


As a member of the five-strong Leadership Team supporting the President and CEO, the Vice President of Development is an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting the CSO. In partnership with the President and CEO, the Vice President of Development is responsible for all fundraising and development activities and for helping to forge new relationships to build CSO’s visibility, impact, and financial resources. The Vice President of Development will design and implement a comprehensive plan for developing key external alliances by cultivating individual and philanthropic support.

The Vice President of Development will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow a $6 million Annual Fund through the solicitation of major gifts, federal and state grants, special events, and corporate and foundation support. The individual will expand and diversify CSO’s donor base/pipeline and work closely with other team members to secure funding for new initiatives. In addition, the Vice President of Development will work closely with the Board of Directors and the board development committee to support board members as they take on more active fundraising roles.

Over the next 18 months, the Vice President of Development will help spearhead the CSO’s pursuit of a Comprehensive Campaign goal of $20 million in new endowment and quasi-endowment funds, strategic funding support, and (with no $ goal) legacy commitments. The Campaign is being supported by the Carter Group as Counsel and is spearheaded by a volunteer Campaign Cabinet. The Campaign’s ‘quiet phase’ kicked off in the fall of 2021, with a targeted completion date of early 2023.

Expectations are that the Annual Fund monies raised by CSO will also grow over time as the Vice President of Development systematically and effectively strengthens the organization’s overall fundraising capacity. This individual will provide leadership, strategic direction, oversight, and the efficient coordination for the development team to execute the development plan and to monitor progress towards these goals.

Specific duties will include, but not necessarily be limited to:

  • Work with the President and CEO and development team to develop and implement a comprehensive development strategy and annual plan that includes corporate, foundation, government grants, and individual donors; create and implement an operating budget to support this plan.
  • Identify, lead, and mentor a high performing development team.
  • Partner with the President and CEO, board members, and leadership team on all major fundraising initiatives and further develop and implement a stewardship program for donor cultivation.
  • Lead the CSO’s efforts with the Comprehensive Campaign.
  • Lead and manage the overall development efforts including annual giving, online and direct mail campaigns, major gifts, special events, and other solicitations.
  • Oversee research of funding sources and trends, with foresight, to position CSO ahead of major funding changes or trends.
  • Oversee and execute all proposals and reports, including to corporate and private foundations and state and local governments.
  • Monitor all donor information and provide and present statistical analysis to the President and CEO, board members, and leadership team.
  • Monitor and report regularly on the progress of the development program.
  • Attend concerts and special events (may require nights and weekend work).


  • Minimum ten years of development experience in a nonprofit organization with demonstrated success in managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources and achieving annual revenue targets; minimum five years of experience leading a team.
  • Commitment to, and passion for, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s mission.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and leading high-performing teams and collaborating cross-functionally across an organization.
  • Ability to work independently without close oversight, but also a team player who proactively and productively engages with others across all levels within and outside the organization.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, with the ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and to build long-term relationships; effective storyteller who leverages the strengths of fellow team members to effectively engage funders.
  • Innovative; experience identifying and successfully executing on new development strategies and alternative revenue streams.
  • Demonstrated experience positively impacting both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives; tangible experience expanding and cultivating new and existing donor relationships over time.
  • Strong partnership-building and event-planning skills.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; CFRE preferred.


Compensation will be commensurate with experience including a competitive base salary, bonus opportunity, and competitive benefits package.


Joy Davis, Consultant