Howe-Lewis International Seeks Chief Advancement Officers for Non-Profits

March 21, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm Howe-Lewis International has been selected to find chief advancement officers for non-profit organizations in California and New York. Despite the differences in their missions, both the Palm Springs Art Museum and the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) will rely on this key role to drive their fundraising.

The Palm Springs Art Museum seeks to be the top-of-mind art and cultural destination in Palm Springs. The museum is well on its way toward this goal, with a diverse exhibition schedule, a stimulating theatre program and recent expansion beyond the walls of the primary location to the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, and the Architecture and Design Center, Edward Harris Pavilion.

The CAO will be charged with leading an advancement team and all aspects of fundraising for unrestricted annual support as well as programmatic, exhibition, capital and endowment funds for the museum, said Howe-Lewis International. The primary focus of the role will be to create, lead and implement an aggressive plan to increase contributed support. Depending on the successful candidate’s profile, the position may also oversee communications, marketing and design, and audience engagement activities.

“The individual will join the museum at a pivotal moment in its history and become part of a committed, passionate team dedicated to elevating the profile and resources required for the institution’s continued success and impact,” said the search firm.

A Vital Role

The CAO reports to the executive director, works closely with senior staff and trustees, and leads a team of nine.

The museum has an annual operating budget of about $10 million, about 75 percent of which is generated through contributed support, and the balance through earned income.

Candidates for the position should have significant advancement leadership experience in an art museum or other successful not-for-profit setting, said Howe-Lewis International. The ability to serve as a trusted partner to the executive director and trustees is crucial. Success envisioning, implementing and managing a bold advancement strategy is also needed.

The ideal candidate will be an effective front-line major gift solicitor. He or she should have leadership experience planning and executing comprehensive campaigns as well as knowledge of the regional and national philanthropic communities. Understanding of how best to leverage opportunities for a seasonal community, and how to engage donors year-round, is invaluable experience for the role.

An Expanding Footprint

The Palm Springs Art Museum features a sophisticated collection that rivals urban metropolitan museums. Vision 20/20, the museum’s strategic plan, outlines the institution’s metamorphosis into a nationally and internationally recognized art museum and vibrant cultural hub.

The New York Restoration Project, which is also seeking a CAO, set the standard for citywide greening efforts, partnering with local communities, public agencies, and the private sector to acquire, create, maintain and program public open spaces. The organization aspires to expand its footprint and impact in all five boroughs.


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 As a member of NYRP’s leadership team, the CAO will design and set into motion integrated strategies for fundraising and marketing to advance philanthropic and public awareness goals. “The individual will be the primary architect of all plans and initiatives related to development and external affairs, ensuring that NYRP’s contributed revenue streams are robust and sustainable and that the brand is strategically defined and communicated across all organizational areas and to all current and potential funders,” said Howe-Lewis International.

The CAO reports to and works closely with NYRP’s executive director to manage the overall organization and set its future direction, said the search firm. The individual will also work with the board of trustees and lead a team of eight in all aspects of development, marketing and communications.

Job Requirements

NYRP has a current annual operating budget of about $9 million, largely generated though philanthropic support from foundations, corporations, special events and individuals. Aggressive growth plans call for increasing annual unrestricted support and creating a robust culture of philanthropy, with particular focus on major individual gifts, in addition to institutional and government support.

Qualifications for the role include demonstrated success envisioning, implementing, and managing a bold advancement strategy; significant management experience in development, external affairs, and marketing in a non-profit setting; experience cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major donors; successful experience working with board members and volunteers; and experience in marketing and public relations with particular focus on developing a strategic, integrated marketing and communications plan that supports and publicizes the work of NYRP.

Veteran Recruiters

Candidates should also have excellent verbal communication skills with a record of successful and persuasive public speaking engagements, said Howe-Lewis International. Excellent writing skills with the ability to coach, oversee and edit development and marketing materials is important, as is experience across digital and social as well as traditional platforms to extend development outreach. A bachelor’s degree is required.

Initially a grassroots effort by entertainer Bette Midler to clean up neglected parks, NYRP has evolved into New York’s only citywide conservancy, bringing private resources to spaces that lack adequate municipal support, fortifying New York’s aging infrastructure and creating a healthier environment for those who live in the most densely populated and least green neighborhoods.

Founded in 1975, Howe-Lewis International focuses on the not-for-profit and healthcare sectors. Its clients represent a full range of education, cultural arts, healthcare, human services, membership and advocacy organizations. The firm is led by co-managing directors Patricia Anne Greco and Esther Rosenberg.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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