Chief of Philanthropy and External Relations – Saint Louis Art Museum, MO

Position Summary

The Chief of Philanthropy and External Relations (CPER) will lead overall contributed and earned income strategies for SLAM that maximize philanthropic and earned revenues, leverage institutional marketing and communication opportunities, and ensure a welcoming and engaging visitor experience. Reporting to and partnering with the Museum Director as a member of the Senior Leadership team, the CPER will be deeply engaged in the solicitation of major and transformational donations including sponsorship, event activities, and art acquisitions. The CPER will conceptualize and implement a plan to grow SLAM’s revenue and build productive relationships with the community and civic partners. They will lead and motivate a diverse team of professionals to devise successful capital, endowment, annual fundraising, planned giving, marketing, communications, and visitor experience programs.

A highly skilled and effective fundraiser, this individual will be responsible for growing and managing a top-tier fundraising and external relations operation and building relationships with the community, including government officials. The candidate will lead a team of 25, initiatives to secure funding for capital and annual campaigns, marketing, communications, and visitor experience and serve as a visible and engaging leader within the community. This position will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies to support the museum’s annual budget and contribute to SLAM’s overall strategic planning process.

Role and Responsibilities

Team and Operational Leadership

  • Recruit, lead, guide, and mentor the Development and External Relations team’s successful achievement of revenue and visitor experience goals with an emphasis on identifying, cultivating, and securing renewed, increased, and new sources of attendance and support.
  • Ensure that the museum’s internal culture, technological systems, and procedures support the Development and External Relations team as the foundation of a vibrant organization.
  • Oversee and monitor revenue and expense budgets; provide accurate reporting, analysis, and integration of data; and ensure the maintenance and integrity of reporting and records in collaboration with the Finance Office.
  • Create a supportive, collaborative, productive, and healthy work environment based on respect, teamwork, and clear communication, expectations, and responsibilities.
  • Embrace other team mentorship, administration, and oversight responsibilities, as needed.

Strategic Planning and Revenue Enhancement

  • Create, implement, and manage strategic fundraising, marketing and communications plans designed to significantly increase revenues, public visibility, and demonstrated mission impact.
  • Understand and clearly articulate SLAM’s mission, history, programs, values, and policies to key stakeholders.
  • Mobilize the Board of Trustees, Museum Director, and community leaders to drive fundraising activity and personal engagement with top prospects, sponsorships, and special events.
  • Cultivate and enhance authentic relationships in the regional and national communities that SLAM serves.
  • Provide expertise, leadership, and strategic direction in all aspects of development and external relations to the Board, the Senior Leadership team, and as required to the full SLAM staff.
  • Remain current on and adapt to the cultural, economic, political, and social developments that affect revenue goals and external messaging.
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of major and principal gift donors, cultivating and soliciting major gifts and developing productive corporate and foundation relationships.
  • Work with curators and others to develop strategies to cultivate and solicit collectors and donors to strategically acquire art that enhances SLAM’s collection and reputation.
  • Embrace other strategic leadership and revenue enhancement responsibilities as needed.

Community Engagement

  • Oversee a comprehensive, integrated, and strategic brand engagement story that welcomes a wide range of audiences, donors, students, partners, employees, influencers, and other stakeholders that share the museum’s values and progressive vision regarding diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.
  • Create and implement audience development plans based in quantitative and qualitative research on attending and non-attending audiences, evolving market trends, and contemporary outreach strategies.
  • Collaborate with Curatorial, Collections, Exhibitions, and Learning and Engagement teams, Chief Diversity Officer among others, to develop thoughtful and illuminative programs that are vital to community participation and the national and international reputation of the museum.
  • Fully utilize the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to ensure that fundraising, membership, and marketing efforts are aligned and optimized.
  • Maintain strong relationships with government officials, especially those related to the Art Museum Subdistrict of the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District of the City of St. Louis and County of St. Louis.
  • Embrace other brand and community engagement responsibilities as needed.

The above statements of this job description describe the general duties and level of work performed by the employee assigned to this position. They do not claim to describe all of the functions of this position. Employees may be assigned other duties, and the essential functions may change or be changed from time to time.

Traits and Characteristics

Proactive, dynamic, and people-oriented, the CPER will be an experienced leader that actively pursues SLAM’s ambitious goals with creativity and determination. The CPER will have a high degree of personal accountability and a commitment to resourcefully begin and direct new activities. This individual will balance tasks and projects with a sense of urgency and possess superlative interpersonal and communication skills that result in compelling verbal and written messages for the museum. The CPER will be a change agent who can thrive in shifting environments and is able to lead others through organizational change. A self-sufficient, self-managed, and highly organized professional, the CPER will be able to achieve organizational objectives with staff, board members, volunteers, donors, the media, and external stakeholders. This individual will bring an affinity for SLAM’s mission and a passion to positively impact the organization’s long-term success, complemented by highly developed skills and an efficient best practices approach. They will also model behaviors that create trust, build confidence, and encourage others to follow suggested paths or approaches to advance the museum.

Other key competencies of this role include:

  • ·       Leadership and Teamwork – The ability to organize and influence people to believe in a vision, while fostering a culture of collaboration and cooperation in creating a sense of purpose and direction to meet objectives.
  • ·       Personal Accountability – The integrity to be answerable for personal actions.
  • ·       Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The clarity to demonstrate emotional intelligence and sensitivity when handling difficult issues while communicating, building rapport, and relating well to all kinds of people.
  • ·       Customer Focus – The capability to anticipate, meet, and/or exceed customer needs, wants, and expectations.
  • ·       Project Management and Time and Priority Management – The facility to identify and oversee all resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results, while also prioritizing and completing tasks in order to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.


An educational and professional background with eight or more years of progressive leadership experience in an art or cultural organization is preferred. They will have a proven track record of securing six and seven-figure gifts as well as leading an integrated multimillion-dollar revenue program and knowledge of all areas of advancement, including major gifts, planned giving, annual giving, membership, corporate and foundation giving, capital campaigns, endowments, special events, non-traditional fundraising sources, and marketing and communications. Experience raising funds throughout a large geographic region and/or specific knowledge of the Saint Louis region is a plus. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are necessary, as are strong computer skills and knowledge of advanced donor research and customer relationship management systems.

Compensation and Benefits

SLAM provides a competitive compensation, with an estimated salary range between $220,000 and $250,000 commensurate with experience, coupled with a robust benefit package including Medical, Dental, Vision, and HSA and FSA benefits offered with applicable plans, and generous Paid Time Off, Sick, Bereavement Leave and paid Holidays. Museum-paid LTD, STD, Life and AD&D insurance are included as well as an Employee Assistance Program and other lifestyle and wellness benefits. Saint Louis Art Museum full-time employees are part of the City of Saint Louis’ employer-paid Employee Retirement System pension. Additionally, the museum offers supplemental retirement 403b, and Roth options as well as supplemental Life, AD&D, and Critical Illness coverage.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Todd Ahrens, Vice President

Nan Keeton, Senior Vice President

201 West Lake Street, Suite 133

Chicago, IL 60606-1803

Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 216 (Mr. Ahrens) or Ext. 203 (Ms. Keeton)


The Saint Louis Art Museum is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color. The Museum is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to treating all applicants and employees fairly based on their abilities, achievements, and experience, without regard to sex, race, age, disability, religion, national origin, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other classification protected by law.

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