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Vice President, External Relations - Peace Center

Company: Peace Center
Date Posted: February 22, 2018

DHR International has been exclusively retained to conduct a search for the Vice President, External Relations for Peace Center.

POSITION TITLE:                   Vice President, External Relations

REPORTING TO:                      President & CEO 

DIRECT REPORTS:                  Development Department

LOCATION:                             Greenville, SC

THE COMPANY:                       Peace Center


With a 2,100-seat concert hall; a 400-seat theatre; an amphitheater; a dedicated patrons’ lounge; and a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting, rehearsal, and event spaces, the Peace Center is the major performing arts attraction in Upstate South Carolina. Built on a six-acre campus, with an energetic mix of leading-edge architecture and historic preservation, the campus is at the hub of Greenville’s nationally-recognized downtown.

The Peace Center was founded in 1990. It has a $20-million-plus operating budget; 13-15% of its revenue is from contributed income. There are 54 full-time staff members employed by the center. Peace Center is a member of the PACC and IPN. Each performance space is architecturally and acoustically remarkable. Classical, dance, jazz, country, bluegrass, folk, pop, and comedy performers, as well as a full calendar of top Broadway shows, are on the Peace Center’s stages. Several of Greenville’s excellent performing arts organizations are resident companies. These include Carolina Ballet Theatre, Greenville Chorale, Greenville County Youth Orchestras, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, International Ballet, and South Carolina Children’s Theater.

The Peace Center’s next major initiative, in addition to community engagement, is the development of additional property based on long-term planned growth. The expansion will provide the community with the opportunity to continue to demonstrate its ongoing long-term financial support.

With the recent hiring of a Vice President of Community Impact, the Peace Center has embarked on an ambitious, long-term program to influence the lives of members of various previously underserved community members. The Peace Center is embarking on an ambitious, multi-year program of redeveloping its performance spaces, repurposing buildings it owns, and creating a unified establishment that represents a welcoming, engaging entity to the entire community. The Vice President, External Relations, will play a key part in the planning and funding of these new developments.



The Vice President will be an executive leader in the organization, capable of placing the needs of the entire organization in the context of his/her departmental demands while also being a hands-on and deeply involved fundraiser. One of the four Vice Presidents reporting directly to the President, the Vice President, External Relations will work with the Peace Center’s President & CEO, Board, and senior management team with a primary focus on leading the Center’s annual fund campaigns, including all individual, sponsorship, corporate, and foundation efforts for both annual operations and designated programming needs. The Vice President will be the leader in the development and implementation of the strategic vision for Center fundraising that will ensure long-term sustainable growth in the Annual Fund, deepening the Center’s relationships with its donors and its community, while helping prepare the organization for a future campaigns. The Center’s current fundraising goal is $2.5 million annually, with the objective of growing it to $5 million in five years. More importantly, the Peace Center will be creating opportunities for naming of new and repurposed facilities, for major programmatic initiatives, and branded series. The Vice President will be responsible, with the President & CEO, for exploring and achieving these possibilities.

Primary Responsibilities:

The Vice President will have the following primary responsibilities: 

  • Mentor and develop the talents of his/her department staff that raise funds through:

-         Business and corporate sponsorships.

-         Philanthropic grant proposal development.

-         Major gifts from individuals.

-         Restricted giving campaigns.

-         Planned giving.

-         Support group and membership contributions, matching gifts, direct mail, and web-based giving.

  • Key factors contributing to the success of the Vice President will be the ability to collaborate with the staff to raise public awareness of Peace Center and its programs, and to develop effective outreach and campaign strategies that connect with individual and institutional donors. As part of that effort, the Vice President will work with his or her team to continually improve fundraising support infrastructure and ensure that the organization can respond quickly, effectively, creatively, and contextually to long-term financial requirements, short-term operating needs, and to donor interests and opportunities. Critical to the overall success of the fundraising effort are long-term cultivation of individual and institutional donors, ensuring that investment in fundraising infrastructure and events has a high return on investment and capture and reuse of donor information.

Immediate Priorities:

The Vice President’s immediate priorities are to:

  • Thoroughly understand the Peace Center – its history, culture, traditions, programs, performances, personalities, constituencies, and governance structure; understand its base of financial support and the short and long-term funding requirements of all segments of the organization; master knowledge of the nature, scope, and impact on the community of Peace Center performances and programs, as well as their funding requirements; analyze and contextualize the structure of the current fundraising efforts.
  • Coordinate the institutional brand development with the Vice President, Marketing, whose public relations and marketing mandate is concentrated on generating earned revenue mainly through ticket sales.
  • Working with the President & CEO, develop the funding concepts that respond to the short-term and long-term capital expansion plans. Assist in developing the “Case for Support” to align the expansion plans for buildings and programs with the potential for private and sponsorship support. As these plans develop, oversee the development of collateral material, branding, slogans, and fundraising campaign materials that support the philanthropic efforts.
  • Learn about staff and board leaders that are (or can become) actively involved in fundraising and refine the roles of each; develop a strong relationship with the President & CEO of the Peace Center, the senior management team, and the various members of the Board. Come to know each person’s strengths, as well as areas where their strengths may be complemented by the strengths of others; identify and bring personal attention to improving areas of potential improvement; support others within the development group as they build on strengths that are already embedded within the organization.
  • Establish clear standards for stewardship, donor recognition, and institutional sponsorship, with particular emphasis on the proper use of logos, brands, naming and other recognition opportunities; ensure successful adherence to grant and restricted giving agreements.
  • Encourage, mentor, evaluate, and restructure direct reports and build succession within the departments under his/her purview.

Other Responsibilities:

Counted among the responsibilities of the Vice President will be to:

  • In collaboration with the President & CEO and the other staff in the development department, define and continually upgrade a systematic fundraising plan that addresses the needs and concerns of each prospective donor, segmented by type (individual, business, foundation), level (subscription levels, various major gift levels, planned giving), and restricted (for specific purposes, including community engagement and education initiatives, and programming).
  • Participate in long-range strategic planning for Peace Center as part of the senior management team - the department must be creative and responsive in crafting focused fundraising plans to raise adequate support for an increasingly ambitious artistic agenda.
  • Evaluate current processes and systems that support fundraising initiatives and donor recognition; ensure that information systems are scaled to need and are properly maintained and used, including a review of the ticket management and donor relations software. Make upgrades to the software and, long term, evaluate the use of an integrated CRM system.
  • Provide support to the Board Development Committee; working with President & CEO, help to set governance policies and practices, and help attract and train new board members.
  • Recruit, retain, and manage a team of development professionals and consultants who possess the appropriate donor cultivation, marketing/sponsorship, individual giving, and institutional giving skills and experiences.
  • Establish work plans, performance objectives, and goals for team members and regularly review performance, professional development, and training to achieve those goals.
  • Oversee the involvement, identification, training, and support of Board and other fundraising volunteers; guide the efforts and strategies for volunteers, Board members, community advisors, and committees in the solicitation process and support Board development efforts.
  • Aggressively implement a structured program for major gift and individual fundraising, and for fostering strong relationships with targeted individual and institutional donor constituencies, involving where appropriate the President & CEO, Board members, Peace Center personnel, artists, and performers.
  • Assist in the development of materials that tell the Peace Center story to donors and individual prospects; the community; government leaders; local, national, and international influencers.
  • Collaborate with the President & CEO, the financial staff of Peace Center, and key staff members of the development group in the preparation of annual operating plans and budgets, incorporating fundraising projections into the budget of the organization.
  • Strengthen the stewardship and donor recognition program for individual donors with the objective of establishing life-long planned giving and even intergenerational relationships between donors, their families, and the Peace Center.
  • Establish long-range institutional giving programs for local and regional sponsorships, and corporate gifts; develop annual special events that boost institutional and individual fundraising efforts.
  • Develop and implement basic guidelines for sponsorship that will preserve the integrity of the Peace Center brand and enhance its institutional identity as one of the leading performing arts venues in the South East.
  • Engage in direct donor solicitations as appropriate and most effective with the support of other Peace Center staff, the President & CEO, and members of the Board.
  • In conjunction with other development staff, and the programming, production, community engagement, and marketing teams as appropriate, develop a comprehensive, strategic plan for all special events.



Candidates should have the following type of experience and qualifications:

  • Significant nonprofit fundraising experience with a sizable institution that includes experience soliciting significant major gifts from individuals, foundations, and business sources.
  • A record of personal success in raising money through major gifts from individuals, businesses, foundations, corporations, or the public sector; broad-based knowledge of various development activities including: direct mail, proposal and grant development, planned giving, event planning and management, direct solicitations, leveraging fundraising databases and support systems for donor segmentation, research, and volunteer management.
  • Ability to navigate a fundraising environment with nuanced strategies and initiatives, while building an effective group of volunteer fundraisers through board development and annual fund committee activity, and gaining respect of community and business leaders and the board.
  • A track record as an exceptional communicator, in writing as well as verbally; adept at writing proposals, solicitation letters, donor correspondence, and other materials.
  • Demonstrated management skills in motivating, directing, and managing staff and consultants, and in coordinating and supporting the fundraising activities of others; particular expertise in mentoring others, encouraging the best efforts of each member of the development team, and in modeling active solicitation is important.



The successful candidate should be:

  • An experienced, proven leader with the ability to project confidence, humility, emotional intelligence, high energy, and empathy. A hands-on engaging individual who also possesses the ability to see the entire picture of the organization, its mission, its position in the community and in the arts world.
  • A mission-driven individual with a belief in and commitment to the mission of Peace Center; a strong interest in, and passion for, the performing arts and the diverse communities of Greenville and its surrounding communities.
  • A good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources, and able to analyze and formulate disparate information into a sound, well-organized plan.
  • Determined yet respectful of other’s concerns; someone with the flexibility and creativity needed to find alternative ways to reach funding objectives when barriers arise; a skilled negotiator who does not drive him/her selves or others into a corner.
  • A charismatic communicator, able to build enthusiasm for the Center, its performances and programs, and for innovative approaches that advance the reputation of Peace Center as a performing arts leader in the South East.
  • A hard worker with a high energy level; a “doer” with a willingness to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of development and advancement activities.
  • Emotionally mature with a very good sense of humor and the flexibility and sensitivity to work with diverse personalities and situations.
  • Knowledge of the arts, particularly of the performing arts, and the ability to communicate an excitement about the artistic product to donors, are essential.

Please send résumé to:  

Phil DeBoer
Senior Associate
DHR International
(708) 450-4003