Aga Khan Museum

Development Director
Posted Date: 
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Closing Date: 
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Job Description

The Opportunity

The Aga Khan Museum is seeking a Development Director to provide strategic and operational leadership to the Museum’s development activities. This role is an exciting opportunity for an experienced fundraiser, team leader, and development operations manager to play a lead role in an entrepreneurial environment and build on a base of rapid revenue growth.

Reporting to the Museum’s Chief Development Officer, this newly created position will be responsible for a significant personal portfolio of high level individual, corporate, and foundation major gift prospects and donors, and will take an active role in leading a high performing and collaborative team of development and membership staff. Through the generous support of donors and members, we raise over $7.5 million in annual revenue to support the Museum’s mandate to educate, inspire, and connect cultures through art.

Having recently celebrated its 4th anniversary, the Aga Khan Museum has already made progress in fostering dialogue and in instilling mutual understanding among people with different backgrounds and from different cultures. Our donors and members come from across the country and around the world presenting an opportunity for fundraising on a global scale. Candidates must therefore be prepared for occasional travel within North America and at times internationally.

Note: As our team grows, we will also be adding a Development Manager, Major Gifts to the team. We are open to also receiving inquiries from candidates interested in this role.

About The Aga Khan Museum

Art is a powerful tool for changing perceptions. It stimulates new ideas and experiences and inspires us to contemplate our identity, celebrate our history, plan for the future, and see the world through different eyes. Through art we have the capacity to bring people together of all races, cultures, genders and religions to spark important dialogue, break down stereotypes and foster social inclusivity. According to a recent survey by Business for the Arts, engagement in the arts is helping to improve creativity, empathy, and understanding, and nurture healthier, more integrated communities.

By connecting cultures through the arts, the Aga Khan Museum is opening the eyes of tens of thousands of people each year to the positive truths about Islamic communities that today represent almost one-quarter of the world’s population, include a diversity of cultures, and boast a rich history of contributions to world heritage that have shaped and touched us all.

Few, if any, public institutions in the world are making this kind of outcome a priority today.

Opened in September 2014, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, offers visitors a window into worlds unknown or unfamiliar: the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China.  Our mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage, and to connect cultures through art.

Honouring the spirit of collaboration upon which the Museum is built, the Aga Khan Museum is deeply committed to both forging relationships with Canadian institutions and communities, and to preserving an international mandate.  It maintains strong global ties with such institutions as the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.

As a vibrant educational institution, the Museum encourages the full spectrum of public engagement with its exhibitions, live arts programming, and diverse Permanent Collection of more than 1,000 objects dating from the 8th to the 21st centuries.

The Aga Khan Museum is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).  Founded and chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan, the AKDN is a private, international, non-denominational development organization that works to improve living conditions and opportunities for people in the developing world.  His Highness is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, and has received honourary citizenship from Canada.


Development at the Aga Khan Museum

The Aga Khan Museum relies on the generosity of donors and members to sustain its vision of building bridges between cultures through the arts.  This support helps to promote the understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the arts of Muslim civilizations and knowledge of their contributions to world heritage.

Donations from individuals, corporations, government and foundation grants directly support the activities of the Aga Khan Museum, necessary to maintain our exceptional Permanent Collection and sustain its roster of exhibitions, education programs, performances, and events.

His Highness the Aga Khan invested generously to construct the Museum and provided the Permanent Collection and we continue to benefit from annual operating grants from the Aga Khan Foundation. While this solid base of support is critical for the Museum’s operations, the community plays an important role in supporting our ongoing efforts to build bridges and strengthen global community ties. Each year over 4,000 Museum supporters contribute approximately $7.5 million to support the Collection, exhibitions, performing arts and education programs. Stretching beyond this support to realize our vision for the future will require new investment and additional donors who share our commitment to art and pluralism.

Changing Perceptions Campaign

The Aga Khan Museum believes there is no greater social imperative than to find creative ways of uniting people through education and art. Only through social change can we build a more enlightened society, one that works together to overcome global concerns that transcend borders and cultures.

In the short time since its opening, the Museum has made significant advances toward its mission of fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Islamic civilizations have made to world heritage. The Museum’s leadership is committed not just to maintaining our trajectory, but to accelerating it, responding to urgent global issues, and impacting even more people across Toronto, Canada, and beyond.

In response to this, in 2017 the Aga Khan Museum launched the Changing Perceptions Campaign to fulfill our vision for the future.  Through investments in this bold vision, the Aga Khan Museum will leverage its impact nationally and internationally, emerging as a powerful, sustainable force for critical social change, and a catalyst for new connections and relationships among diverse constituent communities.

Together with our community, the Aga Khan Museum will raise $25 million over five years in support of three cornerstone goals:
Thought Leadership: We will emerge as a national and international thought leader of Islamic arts and cultures with an expansive array of art, artefacts, and performances; collaborations with artists, curators, academics and institutions; and original research leading to publications, workshops, conferences and symposia that reveal, educate, and promote dialogue among cultures.
•Museum Without Walls: We will continue to digitize our collection and performances, promote travelling exhibitions and partnerships, and introduce educational programming on the arts and culture of Islamic civilizations that can be scaled up and adopted by Museums, school boards, and organizations around the world.
•Centre for Innovation and Creativity: We will grow the Museum into a hub of both innovation and creativity where artists of diverse cultures and genres connect, and powerful new works of performing and visual art are conceived.

Ideal Candidate

The Development Director will be a strategic, collaborative leader and accomplished fundraising generalist. The ideal candidate will possess solid experience and knowledge of best practices in building development plans, programs, teams, and operations.

The new incumbent will bring a strategic and analytical mindset and exceptional planning, organization, prioritization, and problem-solving skills. They will work with the team to further develop systems, processes, and structures that will ensure solid operations for the continued growth of development activities.

Nimble and entrepreneurial, the successful candidate will be undaunted by change and ambiguity and thrive in a fast pace environment that encourages initiative to evaluate and pursue opportunities as they arise.  With impeccable follow through, this leader will drive forward and bring others along.

With a strong track record of success in securing donations at the major gift level complemented by a high-level strategic understanding of best practices of annual giving, direct marketing, and events, the Development Director will be an effective relationship builder who thinks creatively in identifying and acquiring new partners and who understands how to extend networks by leveraging and harnessing the connections of others.

Both coach and cheerleader, they will work with team members to understand, develop, and best apply their respective skills while rallying the team together towards common goals. Open, warm, personable, and with a sense of humour and fun, the new Development Director will embrace the culture of ‘working hard and working together’ that drives the development team and museum.

Passionate and mission-driven, the Development Director will be aligned with and embrace the vision of the Aga Kham Museum of bridging cultures and communities through education and the arts.

Key Duties & Responsibilities

Strategy, Planning, and Fundraising
•Collaborate with the Chief Development Officer to create fund development plans that increase revenue to support the Aga Khan Museum’s strategic directions.
•Actively manage and solicit a portfolio of major gift prospects and donors at the $25,000+ level including individuals, corporations, and foundations, while providing support to the Chief Development Officer with their portfolio.
•Support the Chief Development Officer in enhancing Board involvement in prospect identification, cultivation, and solicitation activities.
•Develop and manage timelines and operational plans for all fundraising activities ensuring processes and best practices are implemented.
•In partnership with colleagues, devise and integrate strategies to engage diverse communities in Museum programs and activities.
•Implement the donor recognition policy and practices with emphasis on stewardship and donor engagement, including hosting a number of special events each year.


Team Leadership & Management
•Lead, coach, and inspire a growing team of ambitious and promising fundraisers.
•Lead the development of tactics and operational planning, ensuring that strategic objectives are achieved.
•Provide leadership in prospect identification, assignment and tracking:  ensure best practices in moves management and prospect management are in place.
•Work with staff to develop and achieve performance goals, targets, and metrics for their programs and revenue streams.
•Assess current priorities, workload, and resources, and establish an action plan ensuring that immediate needs are met while longer-term strategies, plans and actions are developed.
•Work with program leads to ensure integration and coordination of their programs to maximize donor engagement and fundraising results.
•Oversee the recruitment and retention of development staff including hiring, performance management, accountability and professional development.
•Develop strategies and work with Museum colleagues to ensure effective donor relations are implemented across all donor levels.


Qualifications and Competencies
•Relevant experience in a management role in the non-profit sector, leading a fundraising program and team.
•Proven track record of developing and executing successful strategies for the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major gift donors at the five-figure level and above.
•Strategic fundraising program planning, implementation and management skills, in a broad scope of fundraising including but not limited to major gifts, events, and annual giving.
•Skilled at translating organizational priorities into inspiring, donor-centric cases for support.
•Entrepreneurial spirit and creative mindset, combined with operational excellence and sound business acumen.
•Solid leadership experience and the ability to attract, retain, mentor, motivate, and lead a professional team of fundraisers to achieve common goals and objectives.
•Superior interpersonal skills to develop and maintain a broad range of relationships with stakeholders internally and externally. Ability to develop relationships of trust and respect with colleagues, volunteers, donors, patrons, and partners.
•Personal reputation for integrity and exercising diplomacy and good judgement.
•Operational experience, including budgeting, forecasting, KPI’s, metrics and fundraising operations.
•Excellent written, presentation, and communication skills with the experience and inclination to be an effective spokesperson for the Museum.
•Superior organizational and time management skills to determine priorities and manage multiple projects in a fast-paced and resource-lean environment.
•Strong computer skills including Microsoft Office and experience using a CRM database (ideally Tessitura).
•Passionate about the education of cultural heritage with expressed interest in the mandate of the Museum.
•Ability to travel nationally and internationally – a valid driver’s licence and passport are required.
•A University degree or equivalent combination of education and experience is required. CFRE is an asset.
•Experience in the arts and culture sector is considered an asset.

Please note that the Aga Khan Museum is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to fair and accessible employment practices.

For More Information

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the Aga Khan Museum. For more information about this leadership opportunity, please contact Ellie Rusonik, Senior Search Consultant at

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

To apply, please send resume and letter of interest to the email address above by November 29, 2018.

Note: As our team grows, we will also be adding a Development Manager, Major Gifts to the team. We are open to also receiving inquiries from candidates interested in this role.