Congratulations to Theresa Duncan and Burning Man for the successful conclusion of this search.
Director of Philanthropic Engagement
Painter Executive Search is supporting Burning Man in their search for an experienced and entrepreneurial fundraiser to help shape and execute a fundraising strategy that honors Burning Man values and invites the whole community to share and spread Burning Man culture around the globe.
Burning Man Project (Burning Man) is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation whose mission is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event (AKA Black Rock City) into the larger world. Burning Man is committed to nurturing Black Rock City as the seminal manifestation of the 10 Principles-based culture, while developing a support infrastructure to connect, celebrate and facilitate the sharing of the culture in communities around the world. Based in San Francisco, California, Burning Man employs a diverse staff of creative professionals with extensive knowledge of art, civics, and community building who seek to bring experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems and inspire a sense of community, culture and personal engagement.
Burning Man exists and grows from the vibrant and creative contributions of a largely volunteer community. “Burners” who are transformed by their experiences in Black Rock City and embrace the 10-Principles culture, seek to contribute to the social good “off-playa” when they return to their home communities. Burners gift their personal resources in a range of ways, through financial support, labor, creation of artwork, public art, community building, civic action and other forms of participation. It is this gifting culture that fuels the community’s creativity and powers the social transformation which has led to the dissemination of 10 Principles-based work in the world.
The Burning Man organization seeks to be a node in this highly dispersed network by facilitating learning, sharing ideas and technical knowledge, developing resources to seed and foster grassroots work and by celebrating the culture and gifts that flow from it. Burning Man supports this diverse community by awarding grants for art and civic engagement projects, producing interactive art exhibitions and events, offering fresh and unique interactive public art and performance experiences, as well as providing technical, operational or administrative support for efforts to influence social change in local communities. They also share their values and ideas in public speaking engagements and connect leaders, informal groups and like-minded organizations who are working to develop a vibrant, life-enhancing world of civic participation. Burning Man’s community of artists, event participants, and volunteers spans the globe and includes over 60 community produced regional celebrations and gatherings as well as civic engagement work in more than 24 countries.
Working in collaboration with the leadership team, the Director of Philanthropic Engagement (Director) will lead the development and execution of a fundraising strategy which celebrates a culture of gifting and extends the opportunities for those who embrace Burning Man’s mission to participate fully in support of that work. Reporting to the CEO, the Director will provide strategic and operational leadership and manage the department staff and programs including annual, major gift and capital campaign initiatives while continuing to nurture and celebrate the unique and vibrant volunteer culture.
This role is highly creative and calls upon an experienced fundraiser to establish sound fundraising practices which embrace 10 Principles-based culture. Deep experience with fundraising mechanics, including clear policies, infrastructure and process development, as well as substantial experience in donor engagement and major gifts is critical. Engaging with donors of a wide range of means, including volunteers whose gifts of time, expertise and passion are essential to the culture will be highly important. Working through ideas and programs that develop a range of opportunities aligned with donors’ and volunteers’ interests and celebrating all contributions with equal enthusiasm is critical for this role.
ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES, HISTORY AND PROGRAM
10 Principles and a Gifting Culture
Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the 10 Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed regional network. Importantly, they are descriptive rather than prescriptive and are a reflection of the Burning Man community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception. Understanding these 10 Principles will be critical in developing a culturally sensitive and effective fundraising program. While these principles rose from the experience of Black Rock City, they define Burning Man culture on and off the playa–how they inform the work of Burning Man continues to be explored and evolved as the work of the community moves off-playa and around the world.
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
Radical Self- Reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other that the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art and methods of communication that support such interaction.
We value civic society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare, and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformational change, whether in the individual or in society can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with the natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
Gifting is at the heart of this culture. Participating in experiences, celebrating and supporting work for a common civic good or in the creation of art and events, generates the interaction that is core to any Burning Man experience. Burning Man both raises funds for programmatic needs, core initiatives and grantmaking programs, and distributes a range of support grants for arts, civic engagement and training. Burning Man also highlights and supports other mechanisms that fund and support artists, celebrations or civic efforts—elevating multiple channels for support. Challenges to fundraising methods will arise when philanthropy seeks to influence in ways that are contrary to other Burning Man values such as Decommodification or Radical Inclusion; where contributions can be seen as class-driven, transactional or as a shortcut for personal participation. Maintaining an even playing field, where people are treated and thanked with equal care for their unique contributions–regardless of background or level of personal wealth–are important to members of our community.
Burning Man began in June, 1986, as a one night event on Baker Beach in San Francisco. The burning of a wooden sculpture, in the form of a human figure, was a spontaneous act of creativity that became an annual tradition. In 1990, the event grew to span Labor Day weekend and moved to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Today, Burning Man is a year round, globally recognized organization that manages the infrastructure of Black Rock City, where 70,000 attendees (or “Burners”) gather for the annual eight day event.
In 1998, the six founders of the event now known as Black Rock City formed an LLC for the purposes of managing the event’s operations. In 2011, they recruited a Board of Directors and formed the nonprofit organization, The Burning Man Project, in a formalized effort to extend the principles, creativity, and culture of Burning Man into the world, year round. The nonprofit received its 501(c)3 status in May 2012. In order to more fully realize the vision of the new nonprofit, the Board of Directors and Burning Man’s leadership developed a strategy of aggregating the programs and organizations into a single entity. This strategy ultimately brought together Black Rock City LLC, the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) and Burners Without Borders (BWB) under the umbrella of the Burning Man Project nonprofit. Today the Burning Man Project, simply known as Burning Man, is positioned to support these key programs through its focus on three core areas of work; The Event, The Culture and The Network.
In the past, the LLC raised nearly all of its money from ticket sales to the annual event in Nevada, but that alone cannot support the flourishing global expansion of Burning Man culture. In order to seed and support the dreams of inspired Burners year-round, the organization needs to grow charitable contributions from the community to help support this important work.
Black Rock City and Burning Man on the Playa
The eight-day annual event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert is the “mother ship” of Burning Man culture. The individual experience of Burning Man can simply be described as completely dependent upon what you bring to it. The exercise of radical self-reliance in this unforgiving desert environment meets the open, gifting culture that eliminates money and adopts a currency of participation, radical self-expression and ultimately the immediacy of self-discovery. This is not a festival to “see” but a vibrant, active community of citizens fully participating in the expression of self and community through art, experiences and communal living. Black Rock City is designed as a vessel for community engagement that honors self-expression through all means, but is particularly well known for its art. The art that is created and shared at Burning Man has long been celebrated through books, photography, and on film, but a true understanding of the power of the iconic sculptures, art cars, and rituals requires participation and personal experience.
Burning Man Arts and Civic Engagement
Threaded through out the experience of Burning Man is art that requires individual and community participation for its completion. The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.
In the Fall of 2014, all art initiatives, were joined to create a single, robust program that strives to provide more streamlined services to artists, produce more interactive, community driven art and inspire more civic engagement projects. The Burning Man Arts program supports artists on and off the playa, and is exploring an expanded range of offerings, including increased collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations and additional support services for artists, including fiscal sponsorship.
Burning Man Arts provides a range of grants focused on Black Rock City, Global Arts and Civic Arts. This year Burning Man provided more than $1 million in grants to artists. In the previous 13 years, the Black Rock Arts Foundation had funded 149 projects worldwide, providing more than $2,500,000 in grants and support to artists and more than $430,000 through its Grants to Artists program and installed or otherwise supported 38 projects (with direct grants of $770,000) through its Civic Arts program.
The Network (Regional and Global)
Since 1997 Burning Man has been building and supporting an official Regional Network. Although the work of the Regional Network is not directed by Burning Man, the Network is supported in a variety of ways that facilitate cross-pollination and collaboration amongst designated Regional Contacts, regional event production teams, and Burning Man community leaders around the world. Each year Burning Man hosts a Global Leadership Conference in the spring in the San Francisco Bay Area and a European Leadership Summit. They tap new knowledge and share decades of experience, by providing training and useful tools for engaging in arts and civics at the local level.
Although the Regional Network functions as an official conduit of information, a broader global network of loosely affiliated individuals, groups, organizations and partners has emerged organically from the relationships forged and values shared by Burners. Burning Man would like to support all efforts that reflect the 10 Principles with a platform to engage and share knowledge, stories and further develop the interconnectedness of the community.
Burners Without Borders and Civic Engagement
Burners Without Borders (BWB) promotes activities around the globe that support a community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches to disaster relief and grassroots initiatives that make a positive impact. BWB was born in Biloxi, Mississippi during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort where Burning Man participants had instinctively gathered to fill in where government relief efforts were falling short. Since then, BWB has emerged as a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community leadership organization whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems that bring about meaningful change. Supporting volunteers from around the world in innovative disaster relief solutions and community resiliency projects, BWB is known for the unbridled creativity they bring to every civic project they do. BWB recently became a program of Burning Man after operating as a fiscally sponsored organization.
DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPIC ENGAGEMENT
The Director of Philanthropic Engagement will build a sophisticated and sustainable fundraising program that seamlessly integrates into Burning Man’s programmatic initiatives to advance the organization’s mission. The role focuses on both fundraising program development and relationship building, including identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of contributors to Burning Man from individuals, foundations and companies, public agencies as well as a large number of volunteers including artists, regional leaders and event participants whose creativity and participation is the cultural capital upon which Burning Man is built.
Goals for the Director include establishing a culture of fundraising that invites broad participation in the development of leadership and major gifts and ensures that all gifts are welcomed with a spirit of gratitude. The Director will also create systems and processes that enhance the ability to deepen relationships with donors and volunteers and that effectively acknowledge their contributions in a timely and affirming manner. The Director will be responsible for increasing both the base of individuals and foundations contributing to Burning Man annually, and in deepening the support through effective storytelling, engagement and participation. They will lead the efforts to creating an increasingly healthy and dependable annual fund, as well as prepare the infrastructure for a future capital campaign or special project need.
Specific responsibilities include managing a portfolio of leadership donors and prospects, supervising staff and participating as a member of the leadership team. The department is being constituted by existing staff members from other departments, but the Director will have the opportunity to hire as needed. The current department is envisioned as a Major Gifts Officer, an Individual Gifts Officer, a Fundraising Grants Officer, an Information Systems Development Assistant, a Special (Fundraising) Events Manager, and a Stewardship and Volunteer Appreciation Programs Manager. Aligning the existing fundraising efforts and building understanding and consistency across all fundraising programs will be an important focus for the position.
DUTIES & ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS
LEADERSHIP, STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Support and partner with the CEO, Board members and other key leadership to develop and execute a fundraising strategic plan;
- Actively work across the organization to set and communicate specific fundraising objectives, strategies and goals in support of the mission and strategic plan;
- Work with the CEO to engage and activate Burning Man’s Board of Directors, including establishing a Fund Development Committee and supporting, motivating, training Board volunteers in their fundraising efforts;
- Actively understand, reflect, and promote Burning Man to the public, effectively and joyfully sharing the fundraising opportunities and needs of the community;
- Engage with volunteers in a manner that affirms their importance and value to Burning Man culture and both facilitates and celebrates their personal contributions of creativity, participation and time;
- With the CEO and leadership team, steward the strategic vision of the organization, participating in weekly leadership team meetings, communicating priorities and goals, and building a positive team culture that reflects the organizations values;
- In consultation with others, craft organizational messaging about Burning Man’s programs to communicate and motivate current and prospective donors to strengthen their organizational and philanthropic commitment;
- Working across the organization, help establish an awareness and a vocabulary for communicating outcomes of Burning Man’s highly diverse and creative work;
- In coordination with Burning Man Communications, drive development-related content in such publications such as Jack Rabbit Speaks, newsletters, annual reports, fundraising appeals, e-mail, and other communication channels;
- Engage in positive leadership development within the team to advance Burning Man as a great organization;
- Play a leadership role in capital campaigns and discussions that ensure the long-term sustainability of Burning Man and its programs.
MANAGEMENT AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
- Manage the day-to-day responsibilities of executing the development program;
- Identify, develop, and mentor the development team; promote professional development of the staff and creatively organize them to maximize their effectiveness and clearly define their roles, relationships, and expectations;
- Collaborate with the Finance Director to develop and implement Burning Man’s financial strategy; oversee the development and monitoring of the annual budget for the department;
- Oversee research of funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position Burning Man ahead of major funding changes or trends;
- Oversee development and execution of all fund development proposals with a long-term relationship-management approach;
- Monitor donor and fundraising information; regularly provide and present data and analysis to the board and senior leaders, reporting progress and challenges to fundraising efforts;
- Develop and implement a stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors;
- Oversee and provide supervision for hands on/engaged experiences, receptions and events;
- Assist in the creation, publishing and maintenance of process documentation.
- Manage a portfolio of leadership gift prospects ($25,000 and above) contributing to achievement of the overall fundraising goals for Burning Man;
- Regularly meet with the CEO to review the fund development prospect pool and devise specific strategies for individual engagement and solicitation.
A successful candidate will likely have:
- Ability and successful experience in conceptualizing a comprehensive strategy for institutional advancement; possess a deep command of the fund development body of knowledge;
- Demonstrated success in identifying, cultivating and soliciting individual donors which resulted in a robust pipeline of new relationships and significant increases funding;
- Experience building and/or significantly growing a sophisticated, complex development function, ideally within a visual arts-related organization or cultural institution;
- Excellent relationship-building skills and agility to build rapport with internal and external stakeholders around innovative ideas and programs;
- Able to work effectively with artists, board members, donors of all financial capacities and colleagues across the Burning Man community;
- Experience fostering deep relationships with volunteers and valuing their contributions of time expertise and passion as equal to any financial contribution;
- Ability to both motivate and engage volunteer leaders in fund development activities, including making ‘the ask’;
- Exceptional communication skills; articulate, with proven ability to write effectively and speak persuasively;
- Superior organizational skills, with a strong sense of detail-orientation and excellent time management skills;
- Demonstrated success in working with a diverse volunteer leadership; donors and donor prospects; and corporate, community, and government leaders;
- Demonstrated leadership skills in order to establish and build a finely-tuned fund development department;
- A bachelor’s degree, preferably a Graduate Degree;
- Valid Drivers’ License and a clean driving record;
- Direct familiarity with Burning Man as a result of participating in the annual Black Rock City and/or official Burning Man regional events in other locations;
- Ability to adjust work schedule seasonally and work away from home (on playa) for up to 10 days during the months of August and September.
- Dedicated to principles of behavior and ethics of the Burning Man organization; able to embrace the organization’s evolving mission and the sweep of its vision, and will fit well within a culture of impassioned, driven, creative, and dedicated professionals;
- Dynamic, highly organized, and strategic individual with a deep understanding of their personal value and a commitment to express that value creatively and with passion;
- Inspirational, able to bring out the best in others and joyfully approach challenges as opportunities for growth and learning;
- Ability to think on his or her feet, problem solve, critically think, and remain calm under stress;
- Friendly, personable demeanor conducive to effectively presenting information and responding to questions from executives, managers, staff, vendors, artists, local community members, participants, BMP board members, and the general public;
- Ability to prioritize tasks in a fast-paced environment along with the ability to accept interruptions as part of the routine; confidence in managing multiple projects and deadlines;
- Exercise a keen sense of organizational diplomacy, able to maintain personal integrity and uphold high standards of confidentiality;
- Committed to building a responsive, efficient, and highly lucrative fundraising program within a dynamic cultural enterprise;
- Possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and fortitude.
For additional information or to be considered for this role contact:
(415) 202- 6240