Development Manager

Posted: 11/15/2019

About Big Top

Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, located in the beautiful Chequamegon Bay area, is a non-profit performing arts organization with a mission to provide entertaining and educational cultural activities with an emphasis on celebrating history and the environment. For 34 years, Big Top has been presenting approximately 60 performances and events from June - September in an intimate 900 seat, canvas tent venue, as well as regional touring performances. Big Top has produced the nationally-broadcast radio program Tent Show Radio for more than 20 years. 

Position Description

Big Top is seeking a highly organized, creative and energetic Development Manager to join our organization.  Under the direction of the Executive Director and General Manager, the Development Manager will create and execute the organization’s fundraising plan, oversee all areas of fundraising, sponsorship and donor growth, and lead ongoing writing of grant proposals. This position oversees one Development Assistant position.


Annual Fund:
  • Create an annual fundraising plan that includes a comprehensive strategy on how to reach all Development goals
  • Actively seek donations and provide excellent stewardship of donors and prospects, create a cultivation strategy for annual fund donors, including face to face meetings
  • Produce and coordinate annual fund mail, email, and social media campaigns
  • Maintain calendar of annual fund activities including seasonal and ongoing appeals
  • Track, enter and acknowledge gifts with the support of Development Assistant
  • Maintain online donation systems
  • Oversee and implement raffle booth fundraising activities
  • Analyze donation data for trends and annual plan adjustments
  • Participate in all aspects of fundraising and stewardship of our major donor group, The Keepers

  • Identify and secure show sponsors, Tent Show Radio sponsors, and BART shuttle sponsors.
  • Oversee sponsorship agreements, tracking, and stewardship.
  • Oversee and coordinate sponsor stewardship and recognition at summer performances. This includes arranging: sponsor tickets, sponsor announcements, artist poster signing, artist meet & greets, photography, and sponsor pre-show events (as requested).

  • Write, track and report on grants for programs such as our Free Family Series, Native American Community Connections Series, Youth Bluegrass Camp, Big Top Idol, and original house show productions.
  • Identify new foundation and corporate funding sources and corresponding areas for mission-related program growth.
  • Plan and execute fundraisers such as the annual BigTAP beer and music festival.
  • Help coordinate and staff capital campaign and major donor events, including planning and set-up.

Capital Campaigns:
  • Assist in all aspects of fundraising for capital projects including researching prospects, putting together solicitation letters, proposals and folders, tracking and acknowledging all gifts and pledge payments, and holding fundraising events.  Additionally, assist with all aspects of potential government, foundation or corporate funding opportunities toward our capital projects.

Heritage Society:
  • Work with all aspects of planned giving  


  • Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum three years of related work experience
  • Nonprofit experience preferred
  • Understanding and belief of the organization’s mission, vision and values
  • Demonstrated experience and comfort in fundraising, sponsorship and donor search, and planning of major donor and sponsorship events
  • Accountable and dependable
  • Strong organizational, written and verbal communication and customer service skills
  • Proactive management of time-sensitive workloads
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Ability to manage and execute multiple project concurrently
  • Strong leadership abilities
  • Ability to work closely and collaboratively with all other internal departments
  • Ability to utilize various computer programs and manage electronic information databases


Applicants should submit their resume and letter of interest with salary requirements to the address below or submit electronically to
Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua
101 W. Bayfield Street
PO Box 455
Washburn, WI  54891

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.