On the Boards, Seattle’s home for contemporary dance, theater and multidisciplinary performance, seeks outstanding candidates for a Director of External Relations to join its staff leadership team.

This person has a passion for contemporary performance and art, the interpersonal communication, and leadership skills to lead an audacious effort to expand On the Boards’ audience and investor community. This highly visible person works face-toface with donors, investors, board members, volunteers, and partners, enlisting their help in growing and sustaining the Pacific Northwest’s premier institution for contemporary performance. This is an opportunity for an ambitious individual to do meaningful, rewarding work at a pivotal time for a well-established organization that has shaped the way Seattle’s art lovers experience performance.

Organization Description:
On the Boards is a 39-year-old arts organization located in Seattle, Washington. We are celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2019 – and the 2019/2020 season will feature community and fundraising events, as well as a comprehensive fundraising campaign.

On the Boards owns and operates the Behnke Center for Contemporary Performance located in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood. The facility includes two theaters: the 300-seat Merrill Wright Theater and a flexible Studio Theater.

Since its inception, On the Boards has featured seminal performances by artists including Laurie Anderson, Bill T. Jones, The Wooster Group, Spalding Gray, Dumb Type, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Sankai Juku, Gisèle Vienne, Bruno Beltrão, chelfitsch, Romeo Castellucci, John Jasperse, Ralph Lemon, Jan Fabre, Back to Back Theatre, Faustin Linyekula, Dana Michel, Michelle Ellsworth, Mark Morris, Pat Graney, Dayna Hanson, Heather Kravas, Amy O’Neal, Reggie Watts, Ahamefule Oluo, Zoe Scofield & Juniper Shuey, Dani Tirrell, and Crystal Pite.

On the Boards operates with a $1.7 million budget and a staff of 15. We present 11- 14 performances and special events annually that feature local, national, and international artists in contemporary dance, theater, and multidisciplinary performance work. We also run, a website that streams full-length, HD films of performance and is used in all 50 states, 157 countries, and by thousands of students at 125 universities worldwide.

On the Boards has a well-earned reputation for hitting above its weight.

Organization Mission and Values:
On the Boards invests in leading contemporary performing artists near and far and connects them to a diverse range of communities interested in forward-thinking art and ideas. We believe if we are successful in our work that we can grow our field, enrich people’s lives, and contribute to civic and global dialogues.

We value:
• artistic risks while being fiscally responsible;
• leadership in our field and the multiple communities we serve to strategically advance the role contemporary artists play in society;
• racial and social equity, and accountability;
• provocative art as a vehicle to connect people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives;
• our regional creative community as we engage with international artists and peers;
• professional and transparent management

A Note About On the Boards Workplace Culture:
On the Boards honors collaboration, respect, humor, and the humanity of its employees, Board members, and volunteers. We regularly acknowledge that life happens, friends and family are important, and that working in a small non-profit is much better with likable, hard-working colleagues. On the Boards is made up, at every level, of individuals who will change the light bulbs, empty a trash can when needed, or step up to represent the organization in a professional and energetic way.

The organization is prioritizing racial equity in the workplace. An equity task force, made up of staff and board members, has implemented regular trainings and workshops and has developed an equity toolkit for decision-making. Our work is ongoing, and we are looking for a new member of our team whose experience and qualifications can help us make our workplace and practices more racially equitable.


The Director of External Relations (DER) is a new position responsible for working with the Executive Director, Artistic Director, Director of Finance and Operations, and the Board of Directors to provide strategic oversight for external affairs including fundraising, communications, marketing, media, audience development and community relations. The DER works with the Executive Director and Artistic Director to build and maintain relationships with patrons and partners on behalf of On the Boards and to raise major gifts support. The DER manages staff to devise and implement work plans to meet the goals associated with all areas of external relations.

The DER’s work focuses on strategies that drive major gifts, ticket sales, audience development, and community relations. This new position is part of a larger restructuring at OtB in anticipation of a 40th Anniversary major fundraising initiative. We anticipate slight adjustments to this position description over time. We assume this position is 50% Fundraising, 30% Marketing and Communications, 20% Audience Development and Community Relations.
• Provides leadership in fundraising, marketing, public relations, communications, and audience development. Supervises Communications Associate, Development team, and Director of Audience Services. Works with Front of House staff towards best practices and positive audience experiences.
• Serves on management team with Executive Director, Artistic Director, and Director of Finance and Operations to execute current and future artistic, financial and operational goals.
• Establishes and maintains relationships with a portfolio of businesses, community and civic leaders, supporters, and volunteers who are current and prospective partners and investors in On the Boards’ work.
• Serves as a spokesperson and ambassador for On the Boards.
• Serves as a staff lead and liaison for key Board committees and task forces. Works with Executive Director, Artistic Director, and Director of Finance and Operations to facilitate clear, consistent board communications.
• Works with Executive Director, Artistic Director, and Board Executive Leadership on Board development and cultivation of new board members.
• Oversees cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of prospects and current donors of $2500 and higher, including individuals, corporations, and other partners. Supports Development Director in their creation and execution of short and longterm grant strategies.
• Plays key role in implementing 40th anniversary fundraising efforts, and works closely with temporary and consulting fundraising staff.
• Provides ongoing budget management and reporting of financial investments from donors, subscribers, and other investors. Supports Communication Associate in development and oversight of marketing and communications budgets.

• At least 7 years progressive fundraising responsibility
• Track record of soliciting gifts of $10,000 or more.
• Experience managing complex departmental budgets
• Audience development and marketing experience, specifically understanding ticketing and audience patterns over time.
• Ability to build a team with multiple outward-facing roles and responsibilities.
• Commitment to OtB’s Values, and to specifically increasing racial equity in the arts.
• Exceptional written and oral communications skills
• Highly tuned listening skills
• Ability to learn quickly and act both independently and as part of a team.
• Confident, professional, demonstrated passion for performance, art, and On the Boards’ mission
• Strong empathy and perseverance
• High ethical standards
• Optimistic, positive, friendly disposition
• Proven success at team management and leadership

General Information:

Status: Full-Time Exempt
Reports to: Executive Director
Supervises: Director of Development, Patron Relations Specialist, Communications Associate, and Director of Audience Services
Collaborates with: Executive Committee, Artistic Director, Campaign Staff
Compensation: $57,000 – $62,000 commensurate with experience

Benefits: Eligible for company paid medical, vision, and dental insurance as well as short-term and long-term disability, accidental death and dismemberment and life insurance. Additional benefits include a subsidized ORCA card and/or parking pass and generous paid time off including 12 holidays, vacation, and sick leave. On the Boards is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse, accessible workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. Our building and offices are ADA accessible and we strive to make any additional accommodations. People of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Must have, or be willing to acquire, legal authorization to work in the United States.

To Apply:
Email cover letter, resume, and three references to [email protected] (subject line: Director of External Relations Search) Position open until filled, priority given to those who apply before July 22, 2019.

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