Make lives meaningful through making.

Who We Are

Penland School of Craft is an international center for craft education offering residential workshops, residencies, community education programs, and exhibitions. Located on 420 acres in the NC Mountains, Penland has 16 teaching studios and 60 historic and contemporary buildings. We are an equal-opportunity employer with a staff of 50+. Penland operates with a $54 million endowment and an annual operating budget of $8.4 million. We are located about an hour northeast of Asheville, NC. 

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Penland School of Craft welcomes everyone and believes that equity, inclusion, diversity, and antiracism are essential to our mission. We want the Penland experience to benefit from varied ideas, world views, and personal experiences. We stand against all forms of discrimination and are committed to creating an environment grounded in our equity values.

Black, Indigenous, Latine, Asian, and other people who identify as people of color or BIPOC individuals are encouraged to apply, as are people holding other marginalized identities related to gender, sexual orientation, ability, and class background.

Position Summary

The Penland Chief Advancement Officer is a key senior staff position that drives the achievement of Penland’s ambitious strategic fundraising goals and ensures that Penland meets or exceeds its annual giving budget, including budgeted revenues from the annual fund, scholarships, grants, and the yearly benefit Auction.

This position will lead the organization’s major and leadership gifts fundraising, development program management, and Board and leadership volunteer fundraising coordination. 

The chief advancement officer is a member of the executive team and works closely with members of the board of trustees and other staff members. This position currently manages our communications manager in addition to a staff of five full-time professionals in development & events. Based on the qualifications of applicants for this position, we may continue this model or restructure the department. This exempt position is full-time, year-round, and benefits-eligible.

Primary Responsibilities


  • Manage the execution of a successful major gifts program for identified capital and endowment priorities that will lead to a larger campaign.  The Penland for Everyone initiative is currently in its initial phase of leadership gifts fundraising, which will help determine the scope and timing of the next campaign.
  • Manage a major gifts fundraising prospect portfolio that includes direct and personal responsibility for raising annual gifts of $1,500 to $25,000 and major gifts of $25,000 to $250,000.  The Chief Development Officer is expected to build, solicit, and maintain a personal portfolio of 150 to 200 prospects.
  • Work closely with Penland’s Executive Director (ED) to ensure the ED can successfully manage a separate leadership gifts fundraising prospect portfolio of up to 50 prospects for annual gifts of $25,000 and up and major gifts of $250,000 and up.
  • Design and manage a proactive prospect identification and cultivation program for major gifts, annual gifts, and planned gifts that will fund a significant campaign for identified capital and endowment priorities.  This program will identify prospects from Penland’s constituency groups of workshop students, Auction participants, and past and current donors, along with additional prospects who support the vision and mission of Penland, a leading educational institution in the world of craft.
  • Build and solicit the pool of qualified planned giving prospects for endowment growth, drawing on Penland’s constituency groups and those aligned with the mission and vision of Penland School of Craft.
  • Direct all fundraising activities.
  • Direct the cultivation and solicitation of foundations, corporations & government prospects. Works with the ED and Grants Manager and other department heads to target Penland needs with donor interests with research, writing, and management of grant requests and reporting. 

Advancement Program Management

  • Manage the work of the development office staff to ensure they meet all annual and long-term goals of the fundraising program, which includes the functions of annual giving, major and planned gifts, grant writing and management, campaign administrative support, database management, and Auction staffing.  Development office management includes staff hiring, creating and tracking identified goals, continuous performance monitoring, and serving as primary liaison with Penland staff colleagues.
  • Ensure special events, communications, and marketing initiatives are focused on the school's fundraising, annual, and strategic goals. Support these teams to meet these goals.
  • Serve as a member of the executive team that supports the ED and the vision and goals of the school. 
  • Work closely with the Director of Finance and ED to develop and implement the annual budget for all fundraising revenues and expenses.  Report monthly fundraising results, including progress on a written action plan for fundraising, to the ED and Board Development Committee.  Report quarterly fundraising results and progress to the Board of Trustees.
  • Ability to participate in school activities to connect with the community and cultivate relationships.

Board and Volunteer Fundraising Coordination

  • Be the primary contact with the Board of Trustees to ensure Board members meet the Board’s financial goal for annual giving, scholarship support, and Auction giving.
  • Serve as senior staff member liaison with the Penland Development Committee and ensure Committee members have the support needed to solicit and steward their individual portfolios of annual and major gifts prospects.
  • Serve as senior staff member liaison with current and future Board committees engaged in fundraising on behalf of Penland School of Craft, such as Campaign leadership and Auction leadership committees.
  • Work closely with the ED and the Committee on Trustees to identify, research, and cultivate prospective Board members who can play key roles in Penland’s successful achievement of its growth and long-term financial stability goals.
  • Other duties as assigned.


The successful candidate will:

  • Have a demonstrated track record over 5-10 years of personally raising gifts of $25,000 to $250,000 and up.
  • Have a demonstrated track record of personally managing a major gifts portfolio of at least 100-150 prospects annually, which includes personal cultivation and solicitation calls that result in major gifts to the organization.  Face-to-face fundraising visits are expected to be the primary method of raising significant gifts for the organization.
  • Be willing and able to invest at least 75 percent of your time on personal major gifts fundraising and 25 percent on other management responsibilities.
  • 5-10 years of experience as a front-line fundraiser at a college, university, museum, or non-profit arts organization.
  • Demonstrate strong communication skills, both in speaking and writing, as well as planning and organizational management skills.
  • Familiarity with and willingness to use common office software tools and fundraising software such as Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge.  
  • Demonstrate the ability to think creatively and act proactively and pragmatically to implement and sustain a high-performance fundraising program.
  • Preferably have experience managing full-time and part-time staff, and working with Board and volunteer leadership.
  • Have demonstrated the ability to lead in a collegial environment that values trust, creativity, and teamwork.
  • Be comfortable with varying work hours, including evening activities and traveling, to meet fundraising goals. Must be able to drive.
  • Be committed to the mission and vision of Penland School of Craft.

Physical Demands

This position requires travel and the ability to drive a car. The employee is expected to walk unaided up and down hills and over uneven terrain, bend, stoop, reach above their head, use fine and gross motor skills, and work in close quarters. The employee must have normal visual acuity at near and far distances with correction and hear the spoken word with correction. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit and work at a computer. The employee must frequently use hands to maneuver, handle, or touch objects, tools, or controls and talk fluently. The employee must be fluent in English. The employee must occasionally lift and move objects weighing up to 25 pounds.


We take care of our staff through a wide range of benefits. For your wellness, we offer multiple medical plans, vision, dental, long-term disability, life insurance, retirement, and an EAP program. Benefits include generous vacation, sick, extended sick, floating holiday leave programs, access to studios, free classes, meals during programming, and other discounts. We have other generous benefits that we can explore more during the interview process. 


This is a non-exempt, full-time (40 hours per week), year-round, benefits-eligible position. The salary range for this position is $93,000 - $122,000 annually and negotiable based on the skills and experience an applicant brings to the position.


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