Working with Gulfshore Opera!

Join the GO team in enriching the community of Southwest Florida by presenting accessible, high quality, diverse vocal music performances and community engagement.

Development Director, Gulfshore Opera

Development Director 

Company: Gulfshore Opera

Company Location: Southwest Florida (Naples/Ft Myers area)

Job Location: On-Site/In Person/Hybrid remote

Job Type: Full-Time with reduced hours and four weeks paid vacation during summer months

Date Posted: April 29, 2024

Network(s): Development, Arts Management


Job Highlights

The Development Director serves as the Chief Development Officer at Gulfshore Opera, working to identify individuals and organizations at all giving levels with a particular focus on those with the potential to make transformative gifts to the organization and systematically bringing them through all phases of the fundraising cycle, from donor qualification to effective solicitation and stewardship. This position will work closely with the company staff and leadership to develop special funding opportunities for donors and assist in developing grant proposals for arts funding organizations. The Director of Development will manage special gift initiatives, such as the annual fundraising gala, GO’s Maestro Club and President’s Council, and develop and manage corporate and individual underwriting opportunities for mainstage performers, artists, and productions. The ideal candidate will have an arts administration background, excellent communication skills, and a proven track record of successfully managing a development office/program.

Join Us!

We are looking for a talented, passionate, and dedicated individual who is eager to contribute to the Southwest Florida community and our mission.

Concerned you do not meet every single requirement listed? Apply! We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job if they don’t think they meet 100% of the requirements.  At GO, we are dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive, and authentic workplace.  So, if you’re excited about this position but your experience doesn’t align perfectly, we encourage you to apply!  You may be just the right candidate for this position or another role at GO.


Key Responsibilities

Donor Cultivation and Stewardship: Develop and maintain strong relationships with donors, patrons, and prospective supporters through personalized engagement strategies, including one-on-one meetings, events, and communication outreach. A particular focus will be on new and younger patrons, as many new people are moving to the area.

Major Gift Solicitation: Identify, qualify, and solicit major gift prospects with the capacity to make significant financial contributions to Gulfshore Opera. Create tailored solicitation strategies and proposals to secure major gifts in support of GO’s fundraising priorities.

Proposal Development: Collaborate with staff and senior leadership to create compelling funding proposals, impact reports, and case statements that articulate the GO mission, vision, and funding needs to major donors, government grant offices, foundations and philanthropic partners.

Donor Recognition and Benefits: Working with the Development Manager (who is in charge of donor appreciation), ensure that donors receive appropriate recognition, stewardship, and benefits per GO’s donor acknowledgment policies. Coordinate exclusive experiences for major donors to deepen their engagement with the organization.

Collaboration and Teamwork: The Director of Development is assisted by the Development Manager and office administrative assistant, and works collaboratively with the General Director, Board of Directors, Ambassadors, and other internal stakeholders to achieve fundraising goals and to advance the GO mission and strategic objectives. Duties also include participation in regular team meetings and strategy sessions, attendance at all events, concerts and productions, overseeing fundraising aspects of the annual gala and fundraising activities at all special events. 

Reporting: Provides detailed fundraising progress reports to the General Director and Board of Directors.

Prospect Research and Pipeline Management: Oversee and work with the Development Manager and office assistant to maintain accurate donor records and gift documentation in ETapestry (a Blackbaud product), the organization’s donor database, to track donor interactions, solicitations, and gift commitments


  • Bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management, arts administration, fundraising, and/or related field (Master’s degree preferred).
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising (performing arts preferred), with a focus on major gifts and individual giving.
  • Proven track record of soliciting and closing gifts from individual donors, foundations, grant providers and corporate partners.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to cultivate meaningful relationships with donors, stakeholders, and community leaders.
  • Evidence of effective team participation and collaboration beyond boundaries of role.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to articulate the GO mission, programs, and impact to diverse audiences.
  • Knowledge of fundraising best practices, donor cultivation strategies, and moves management techniques.
  • Proficiency in donor management software and CRM systems (ETapestry, Blackbaud) for donor tracking, reporting, and analysis.
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, to attend donor events, performances, and meetings as needed.
  • Knowledge of opera is a plus, but a passion for the performing arts is essential.
  • Due to the nature of GO’s geographic reach, the ability to drive up to one hour each way to events is essential.

Compensation and Benefits

The starting salary for a candidate who meets the position’s minimum requirements is $75,000 with advancement opportunities. We offer the following benefits to full-time employees, including:

  • Relocation bonus of $5,000
  • Generous paid time off, including vacation, wellness, parental leave, scheduled and flexible holidays
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Free tickets to our mainstage and community productions and events

Equal Opportunity

Gulfshore Opera is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all employees and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All employment decisions at GO are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, religion or belief, national, social or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws or regulations. GO will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. GO encourages applicants of all ages.

About Gulfshore Opera

Gulfshore Opera was founded in 2014 by General Director Steffanie Pearce, who brings 30 years of experience in the field of opera. She is a producer, director, performer and teacher of the great art form and has performed around the world. The mission of GO is to enrich the community of Southwest Florida by presenting accessible, high quality, diverse vocal music performances with classically trained artists and to create a positive social impact through a youth development choral program and a regional emerging artist program. 

Gulfshore Opera is a growing Level Three opera company (according to Opera America guidelines) and the only touring opera company in Florida. It serves communities across Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, offering accessible and affordable high quality productions, supportive community events and friendly social activities for the general public. GO Community Engagement Programs are enriching the lives of a diverse cross section of the Southwest Florida community through a variety of creative activities including the free after school “Harmony Choir”, a youth development program which serves marginalized young people in partnership with established after school programs. 

GO actively engages in public and private vocal music based events and performances during “high season”, the winter months from November through May, with opportunities for some community initiatives during the summer. For the upcoming season, the company plans two touring Chamber opera productions at smaller venues and one fully staged performance of Grand Opera at the two premier performance venues in Southwest Florida. GO is the only company presenting full scale grand opera at the two leading professional venues in SWFL. This season’s Grand Opera was Turandot, with a cast of over 130 performers and musicians. It was the largest regionally produced show ever in SWFL and the Naples performance exceeded all previous box office records for a single opera performance regionally.  In addition GO is known for its fun and friendly social events including community concerts and “The Taste of Opera” dinners in public and private venues across three counties, providing affordable and accessible opportunity for patrons to enjoy high quality vocal music close to their home  

Gulfshore Opera is headquartered in Estero, the midpoint of its region and operates with a small staff, an external marketing consultancy and a Board of Directors to support the General Director and Founder. It is registered with Opera America and has a platinum GuideStar/Candid rating. GO has successfully completed all goals outlined of a five year strategic plan for growth and direction and a new five – year plan was recently approved. The company is debt free and has an established endowment fund.

GO is passionate about building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable working environment for all company members. 

Gulfshore Opera is an equal opportunity employer.