Chicago Architecture Biennial 78 E. Washington St. Chicago, IL 60602


Artistic Directors

Board of Directors

International Advisory Committee



Manager of Donor Relations and Engagement

Position Description: Manager of Donor Relations and Engagement 

The Manager of Donor Relations and Engagement is devoted to maximizing contributed income to realize the mission and objectives of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB). CAB is an international forum on architecture and urban issues dedicated to presenting innovative ideas that imagine and shape the future of architecture and design. Free and open to the public since the 2015 inaugural event, CAB draws more than half a million guests and visitors from across the nation and around the world. It is the largest international survey of architecture in North America, focused on exhibiting projects presented by global architects, designers, and artists. Each CAB edition provides a platform for informative, educational exhibitions that appeal to professionals, scholars, cultural tourists, and general audiences of all ages. In addition, ongoing programming ensures that CAB exhibitions and activities remain relevant at accessible destinations throughout the year.

This position is responsible for identifying, cultivating, and working with CAB leadership to secure prospective donors, sponsors, or grant opportunities to reach a fundraising goal of approximately $3.5 M for the CAB 5 edition. The Manager of Donor Relations and Engagement will also help develop and implement strategies to establish sustainable funding sources for ongoing annual operating expenses for the organization.

Key Responsibilities Include:

Fundraising and Development: Strategy and Implementation 

  • Work with the Executive Director to align specific fundraising strategies with the CAB’s strategic priorities, including its exhibitions program (encompassing education and partner programs) and communications (encompassing media relations, social media, PR, and marketing). Assume a lead role in prospect management, including the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of individual donors and prospects.
  • Prepare strategies for donor engagement, solicitation, and stewardship across categories (philanthropic, corporate, individual giving, events, in-kind, etc.
  • Set specific and measurable performance objectives and goals for development; establish metrics for measuring progress towards implementing goals. 
  • Supervise the activities of support staff or consultants working in the areas of fundraising as those future positions are identified and filled.

Donor Engagement and Communications

  • Manage consistent and strategic messaging in all written correspondence, including grant and sponsorship proposals, grant reports, and all donor communication, including thank you notes and stewardship communications.
  • Work with CAB leadership to cultivate and maintain strong personal relationships with the philanthropic community, individual and corporate donors, sponsors, board members, and volunteers.
  • Plan and organize special events, sponsor events, and cultivation events; engage key stakeholders (such as the Board of Directors or Host Committees) and leverage their support in special event success.
  • Research grant opportunities prioritizing exhibitions, programs, and general operations. Prepare grant proposals and reports, develop budgets, and generate supporting documents.

Operational Management:

  • Manage all development operations, including budgeting, goal setting, planning, gift processing, database, and related functions.

The ideal Manager of Donor Relations and Engagement will have the following skills, qualities, and characteristics:

A dynamic leader and team player with a successful record in directing multi-channel development programs. She/he will be a flexible, collaborative problem-solver who thrives in a dynamic organization. Merging the strategic and tactical, s/he will be able to manage internal and external stakeholder relationships with poise, integrity, and commitment. The ability to build consensus, form new relationships, and understand personal dynamics will be crucial to success. 

  • 3- 5 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, written, and oral communication skills.
  • A proven track record of measurable success in personally cultivating and soliciting gifts
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills
  • A team player with organizational experience in working across departments
  • A strong knowledge base in art, design, and/or architecture preferred
  • Familiarity with Chicago’s arts funding and philanthropic communities preferred
  • Must be able to accommodate occasional travel (some international) and work weekends or after business hours as needed.   

CAB will establish a salary and benefit compensation package competitive and commensurate with experience