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External Relations Director
San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory

San Diego, CA

Reports To: President & CEO

Status: Full-Time, Exempt

Supervises: Institutional Giving Manager, Development Coordinator, Communications Coordinator

The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS)’ mission is to instill excellence in the musical and personal development of students through rigorous and inspiring musical training experiences.  It has established a long-term vision for music education to be accessible and affordable for all children. It aims to reach this vision by building community support for music education.

SDYS’ Conservatory Programs include approximately 600 students ages 8-25 in 12 large ensembles; its Community Programs include another 350 students.  These programs, plus initiatives to support school-based music education, currently serve as the mechanisms for building this community support. New initiatives including programs, partnerships, and communications efforts are regularly being developed to expand SDYS’ efficacy in building a movement for music education.

The External Relations Director is the senior staff position leading all efforts to secure resources and relationships to fulfill SDYS’ vision and goal. The External Relations Director collaborates with the President/CEO, board members, and other SDYS staff and stakeholders to increase financial investments in SDYS. In addition, the External Relations Director ensures events, publications, and communications efforts galvanize SDYS’ stakeholders and the wider community into a movement for music education through communicating the SDYS vision and story.

External Relations and Resource Development Goals and Strategy

The External Relations Director collaborates with the President/CEO, board leaders, and staff to establish SDYS’ resource and relationship development goals and strategy. He/she monitors and adjusts strategies based on changing circumstances and new information. He/she also communicates results and progress toward goals to the President/CEO, board, and staff leadership team. The External Relations Director is charged with using SDYS’ vision and goals to develop a comprehensive external relations, communications, and fundraising plan that includes the following activities:

  • Establish consistent SDYS messaging to solidify brand identity and deepen relationships with all constituency stakeholders and community prospects

  • Generate annual fundraising plan, based on the budget (approx. $2 million operating budget), including goals and strategies for individual giving, institutional giving, fundraising events, and Angels’ Angels

  • Design annual plan for increasing earned income and awareness through SDYS publications, marketing efforts and public relations

  • Monitor progress toward contributed and earned income budget goals as well as all development and marketing expenses and adjust strategies or spending as needed to meet budget goals

  • Initiate new fund raising activities, including potential capital campaign, in collaboration with the President & CEO

External Relations Team Leadership

The External Relations Director leads and supports the External Relations staff. Building upon the current collegial dynamic of the team, the External Relations Director will collaborate with the team to organize each person’s responsibilities so that the team’s capacity achieves SDYS’ goals. Key areas include:

  • Ensure all department responsibilities have a primary staff assignment and the team works collaboratively

  • Establish goals, priorities and deadlines for each team member based on their responsibilities and job descriptions

  • Monitor team members’ progress and work quality individually and as a group

  • Create professional development plans with each team member

  • Evaluate team members with support and guidance from the Deputy Director

Board and Staff Collaboration

Reaching the SDYS vision requires strong internal relationships. The External Relations Director collaborates closely with managers in other departments, board members, committee members and volunteers to fulfill their responsibilities to the vision include:

  • Generate planning topics and ideas for collaborative evaluation and adoption by board and staff leadership teams

  • Collaborate with other SDYS managers as well as participate in and contribute to management team meetings, planning meetings, and project development

  • Serve as primary staff partner for the Development, Community Relations and Special Event committees plus the SDYS Advisory Council

  • Coach and train staff and board members to participate in external relations activities

  • Attend board meetings and other organization and committee meetings

Constituency Relationships

SDYS stakeholders include board members, faculty, staff, parents, students, partners, alumni, and donors. The stronger these relationships are, the more commitment individuals from these constituencies will make to SDYS and the fulfillment of its vision. The External Relations Director serves as the chief partner of the President/CEO and board members to build relationships with donors and stakeholders at all levels. Activities to achieve this include:

  • Familiarity with donors, their history with SDYS, and personal interests

  • Contact with donors between events to learn the range of their interest in SDYS and engage them further

  • Interact with and host donors at events including concerts, Angels’ Angels, and the major fundraising events

  • Design and implement donation solicitations and donor stewardship programs

  • Strategize with President/CEO on appropriate communication and solicitation of major donors

  • Prepare and participate in donor and major gift solicitations

  • Collaborate with current SDYS stakeholders to identify and engage new prospects to become SDYS stakeholders or partners.

  • Represent SDYS with current constituency stakeholders and in the community

Event Management

Concerts and events are the setting for most SDYS stakeholders to experience and witness the impact they are having through their investment in SDYS. Their positive experience at events translates into a positive relationship with the organization. The External Relations Director is responsible for ensuring SDYS creates an inviting, interactive, and personal experience for stakeholders at events. This includes building strong relationships with event homeowners, overseeing the smooth running of patron facing logistical elements, and providing personal attention to attendees. Responsibilities include:

  • Assess suitability of prospective event venues with event chairs and Production Manager

  • Assign staff to liaise with event hosts to manage event logistics including catering, rentals, and décor

  • Work with President/CEO, event chairs, board and committee members to achieve maximum attendance by key donors and prospects at events

  • Oversee design and mailing of event invitations and rsvp collection and communications with guests

Other duties as assigned by the President and CEO.


  • 10 years of leadership experience in resource development, marketing, and communications

  • Demonstrated history of leading a staff team and collaborating with volunteer board members

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail with an ability to prioritize their own work and their team’s work

  • Strong sense of integrity and collaboration

  • Experience with various computer programs, including Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Google apps, social media, web maintenance, etc.

  • Bachelor’s degree required

  • Experience in the performing arts, particularly music, or youth development fields preferred

  • Capital campaign experience desirable

  • Written and spoken Spanish desirable

This is a full-time position with regular hours Monday through Friday, plus some weekends and evenings. We will begin reviewing applications on June 1, 2017.  To apply, send an email with a current resume and thoughtful cover letter to


Contact:Amber Weber

Deadline: 06-30-2017

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