Fundraising Director Search at YEA!

Comments by George Hopkins, CEO of Youth Education in the Arts

Raising Funds is critical to most any not-for-profit. In the case of Youth Education in the Arts, the kindness and generosity of our alumni and friends is very, very, very important.

The Cadets costs are in excess of the funds raised through tuition and performance fees, the Urban Arts Center is a free program offered to hundreds of youth from the Lehigh Valley and in the world of high school music programs, funds are less and less available.

All of this affects Youth Education in the Arts.

These challenges demand that our fundraising program is successful. The annual campaign, the Holiday Campaign, the corps shows, the Wine Tasting, Grant Writing — it all matters!!!

A few years ago, just as our fundraising was in full blossom, an accident took the life of our development and fundraising director, Susan Erben. Since then, we were fortunate that Andrew Barlow stepped in for a year, and Bill Speakman, the operations director for YEA!, has been putting in extra time to keep our funding efforts in place.

But … as we approach Christmas, 2011, our organization is in need of a real, honest to goodness, director of development. We need someone to manage and lead fundraising. And we need that person to take on the task with passion, commitment, emotion and skill.

Recently, we have interviewed a number of folks who are qualified for the position but, what we have not found is someone who has a passion for the cause of marching music. Indeed, we have settled for professionals who have the fundraising background, but they have but a passing interest in students and music. They never marched, their kids never marched, they have never seen the transformation of a young person over the summer and they have never stood in the stands and cried … with pride over a victory, or in admiration as our Cadets stand at attention in the face of defeat.

As you might guess, without the passion, these folks have not been successful.

Life lessons are what we do. Life lessons are why we are a not-for-profit. I believe that. Those who work here believe that. And we need a fundraiser who believes the same thing!!! Passion for the cause. It cannot be taught. But we have to have it!

And I believe, that somewhere out there in the world, are a person or two who fit our requirements for the position while also loving the fact that in taking a fundraising job with YEA!, they will be a part of an organization that does great things for young people, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring! From bands to corps, to indoor to hip hop — we are making a difference in the world through our efforts with young people.

Please read the information regarding the position. Below is the job description. If not you, forward to others … and, yes, we do need a self starter, a professional who knows the world of fundraising. After all, we would like to double our gifts in the coming years. For the more we earn, the more we can do. And yes, as I have stated, we are looking for that person who loves the kids, loves the activity and loves the future possibility of marching music, and all other programs YEA! touches!

Thank you for the attention! We hope to have someone in place before Jan. 1st so drop us a line, or pass along this information and document! We are ready to add you to our team!!! We are ready to add that fundraising hero who is going to make YEA! so much more than we are today!

Happy Holidays !!!

Director of Development Job Description:

The Director of Development is responsible for developing and implementing the fund raising strategy for Youth Education on the Arts and all related programs. Reporting to the Director of Operations, the Director of Development is responsible for achieving the organizations Development/Fundraising goals. This includes managing major donor relationships, alumni relations, direct mail and annual campaigns as well as web and e-mail based fundraising and fundraising events.

The Fund Raising Department at YEA! is a two-person operation! With that in mind, know that this is very hands-on. Attending events, alumni gatherings, phone calls, data entry and event management are a crucial part of the position.

At the same time, as we concentrate on the activities that generate $300K or so per year, we need to grow and expand past the current programs, so that $500K and $1M of raised funds are available. This will require insight and effort from the Director of Development in cooperation with the team.


  • Support and partner with the CEO and board members on all major fundraising initiative
  • Collaborate with the Chief Operating Officer (COO) to develop and implement YEA’s 
financial strategy
  • Manage and implement all direct mail campaigns including the annual, holiday and special campaigns
  • Actively work with the CEO and senior staff to develop and implement a comprehensive 
development strategy to include corporate, foundation, government grants, etc. Over years we must expand our fiscal base past individual giving.
  • Have primary responsibility for development and execution of all proposals; write and archive all 
proposals with a long-term relationship-management approach
  • Oversee research funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position YEA! 
ahead of major funding changes or trends
  • Monitor all donor information; provide and present statistical analysis to board and senior leaders. Much of the data entry will be hands/on. It is possible to grow and develop a volunteer team to support this effort.
  • Develop and implement a stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors, particularly Cadet fans and alumni.
  • Monitor and report regularly on the progress of the development program
  • Identify develop, and mentor a development team. There will be an assistant to the director. This is a two-person department with support as needed. Working with the marketing department will be key top success.


  • 7-plus years of professional experience in a nonprofit organization; demonstrated success in a development function (managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources) 
  • Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral; ability to influence and engage a wide range 
of donors and build long-term relationships
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Flexible and adaptable style; a leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical 
fundraising initiatives
  • Ability to work both independently without close oversight, but also a team player that will 
productively engage with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside YEA!


  • YEA! Offers medical insurance, a contributory 401K plan, vacation and holiday time off. The fee for this position is probably in the mid 5 figures depending on experience and past success. 
  • Programs and activity many times run on weekends. As a member of the YEA! team, the development director could have activity on 15-20 Saturdays per year. These include band events, corps events, fundraising activities and even rehearsals that might be important to fans and alumni.

To Apply

  • Please send a resume and cover letter to Bill Speakman, the COO for Youth Education in the Arts at
  • Interviews for the position will be conducted over the week of December 19-22
  • This position is available NOW

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