Major Gifts Officer

Organizational Background

National Sawdust is a non-profit music venue whose mission is to build new audiences for classical and new music by providing outstanding resources and programmatic support to both emerging and established artists and composers. Centered upon discovery, National Sawdust’s programming introduces audiences to new artists and artists to new audiences. An incubator for new music, National Sawdust provides artists the space, time, and resources they need to create their art.

National Sawdust is housed in a century-old sawdust factory in Brooklyn, now transformed into a state-of-the-art facility where composers and musicians can experiment, collaborate, record, and perform. Since opening in 2015, we have produced 900 events, featuring a diversity of classical and contemporary artists and genres including Philip Glass, Sasha Velour (RuPaul’s Drag Race winner), Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Meredith Monk, all spearheaded by composer and National Sawdust Co-Founder and Artistic Director Paola Prestini.

Approximately half of National Sawdust’s annual budget comes from fundraising activities, including board member contributions; individual donor gifts; foundation, corporate, and government grants; and special events, including our annual Spring Gala, which takes place in May. Each of these revenue streams has increased steadily over the past three seasons, and the department has in turn grown to two full-time employees and one part-time employee. National Sawdust now seeks a new Major Gifts Officer to build on this strong foundation and further position the organization for long-term sustainability by expanding its Major Gifts program.

Job Summary

The Development department is undergoing an exciting growth phase as it seeks to hire its third full-time employee. The Development department currently consists of a Director of Development who manages a full-time Development and Research Associate, and who also receives part-time support (for events, grant-writing, etc) as needed. The Director of Development will leave temporarily from March/April through the end of August. National Sawdust is looking for a dynamic individual with major gifts expertise who can lead the department while the Director of Development is on leave, and who has the capacity to then focus on their major gift goals when the Director of Development returns.

This individual needs to be a team player who can lead and also take direction. National Sawdust is a young organization with strong artistic leadership and a board of directors consisting of twenty-six members. We are seeking an individual who is comfortable in a startup environment; can collaborate easily with the Marketing, Programming, and Partnerships departments; can generate new and innovative ideas; and who has a deep commitment towards excellence in all aspects of the organization.

Reporting to and in partnership with the Director of Development and Executive Director, the Major Gifts Officer will be a crucial part of National Sawdust’s comprehensive fundraising program, which currently raises approximately $2 million from the board of trustees, individual donors, foundations, corporate foundations, and government agencies. This role will start as an interim Director of Development, through the end of National Sawdust’s fiscal year (August 31) and then resume as the Major Gifts Officer in September 2019 upon the return of the Director of Development.


Using a multi-tiered approach, the Major Gifts Officer will drive the growth of existing individual giving initiatives and will create new strategies for the identification, cultivation, stewardship, and solicitation of new sources of funding from individual donors. The Major Gifts Officer serves as an important representative with key stakeholders, patrons, and the greater community. Key areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to:

Individual Giving/Major Gifts/Board Development

  • Act as Interim Director of Development from March/April until the end of National Sawdust’s fiscal year (Aug 31)
  • Plan and lead our Major Gifts program
  • Research Major Gift donor prospects and build a pipeline of potential new donors
  • Cultivate and expand existing donor relationships through consistent stewardship and engagement
  • Develop comprehensive solicitation strategies for individual donor prospects
  • Track and access Major Gift fundraising metrics
  • Provide support for Director of Development, Artistic Director, Executive Director and Board Leadership in identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major donors and board prospects
  • Maintain and modify (as needed) existing structure of donor circles and corresponding benefits
  • Manage general fundraising appeals twice per year, using both direct mail and digital strategies alongside Marketing department and with assistance from the Development and Research Associate
  • Help plan for and present fundraising updates at quarterly board meetings
  • Oversee Development and Research Associate’s tracking, reporting, processing and acknowledgment of individual donor gifts

Special Events

  • Work with Director of Development, Artistic Director, Executive Director, board members, and entire National Sawdust team to meet ambitious fundraising goal for annual Spring Gala
  • Develop strategies for night-of and post-gala donor engagement
  • Oversee Development and Research Associate’s tracking, reporting, processing and acknowledgment of gala gifts
  • Plan and work with staff to execute additional cultivation events, both at National Sawdust and off-site in donors and board members’ homes.

Development Operations

  • Work with the Development and Research Associate to improve development processes including gift processing, donor acknowledgment and benefit fulfillment, the monthly donor newsletter, and record keeping
  • Stay apprised of trends in the broader funding landscape to ensure that National Sawdust takes advantage of capacity-building and other special funding opportunities that align with its strategic vision


  • A proven history of successfully achieving and exceeding fundraising goals from major donors
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and experience working with high-profile board members, patrons, and artists
  • Minimum of six years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, including mastery of best practices in engagement, cultivation, and stewardship, preferably at a cultural institution
  • Ability to think strategically and communicate and implement innovative ideas successfully across departments
  • Highly organized with superior attention to detail
  • Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment
  • Ability to take initiative and be proactive and independent, but also a team player
  • Comfort in a startup environment and enthusiastic about the opportunity to be a part of a brand new institution
  • Deep commitment to music, media, or the arts a plus


  • Commensurate with experience; includes benefits package

How to Apply

  • Email résumé and cover letter with salary requirements to jobs@nationalsawdust.org, with your name and “Major Gifts Officer” in the subject line. No phone calls please.

Staff Accountant

Now in its fourth season, National Sawdust is seeking a Staff Accountant reporting directly to the Chief Financial Officer.  


  • Provide fiscal support, including financial reporting, audits, tax preparation, cash flow management, forecasting and analysis, general accounting activities, treasury management, banking, and account reconciliations, interfacing with auditors and vendors as necessary
  • Provide cost analysis support and compliance with all contractual and programmatic requirements. This includes: 1) interpreting legislative and programmatic rules and regulations to ensure compliance with all federal, state, local, and contractual guidelines; 2) ensuring that all government regulations and requirements are disseminated to appropriate personnel; and 3) monitoring compliance
  • Manage organizational revenue/expense and balance sheet reports, reports to funding agencies, development and monitoring of organizational and contract/grant budgets, and General Ledger within the accounting system
  • Investigate cost-effective benefit plans and other fringe benefits which the organization may offer employees and potential employees with the goal of attracting and retaining qualified individuals
  • Manage the production of monthly P&L reports as well as financial statements and cash flow projections for use by Executive management, as well as the Finance Committee and Board of Directors
  • Manage Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, Petty Cash
  • Manage Payroll of 16 FT and 10 PT staff employees, as well as corporate card expenses and staff reimbursement process; assist in benefits and compliance administration
  • Manage business insurance plans and health care coverage analysis.
  • Communicate directly with vendors regarding payments and services; process, prepare, and record invoices
  • Provide support for management of annual budgets and administration of monthly reviews including explanations of variances


  • CPA and FP&A
  • Quickbooks
  • Payroll systems (ADP/Paychex)
  • G Suite (Google Sheets)
  • Enjoys working with data and always strives to make systems as efficient and accurate as possible
  • Team player who is willing to sometimes work outside of their job description and lend a helping hand where it is needed
  • Acute attention to detail, highly organized, and willing to learn
  • Ability to multitask while prioritizing one’s duties
  • Works well under pressure and in a fast-paced environment.
  • Love for music and the arts

Salary $60-70k, with competitive benefits and vacation package.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other category protected by law. National Sawdust is an equal opportunity employer.