Office of Advancement Career Opportunities

Join a team of fundraising professionals across the Institution working to chart the future of the Smithsonian.

Resumes are only accepted in applications for listed positions. Please send a cover letter and resume to Specify the position title for which you are applying in the subject line.

Looking for an internship? View open internships with the Office of Advancement.

Open Positions

Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history. The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest museum, education and research complex, comprised of 19 museums and galleries, nine research centers, 21 libraries, the National Zoological Park and more than 200 affiliate museum partners. The Smithsonian is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge” and as such we use our resources to encourage curiosity, ignite wonder and spark the joy of learning.

With dynamic leadership throughout the Institution, we are focused on broadening our reach by engaging new audiences who haven’t always been represented in museums and creating a more robust virtual Smithsonian that complements and amplifies our collections, our expertise, our exhibitions in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. Through this digital strategy we plan to touch every home and every school in America. Marrying the possibilities of digital access with the strong educational and programming offerings housed in our museums and research centers, we will provide equal and effective educational access to all primary and secondary school children.

This position is located at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), Smithsonian Institution, which was authorized and founded by Congress in 1962 with the mission to acquire and display portraits of "men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States." Today, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery attracts over 2 million visitors onsite and 4 million online and continues to narrate the multi-faceted and ever-changing story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery presents poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives form our national identity.

The NPG is comprised of around 75 full-time staff and advised by a 31-person Board of Commissioners (the “Commission”) who represent around 18 states across America. The NPG is managed by a Director and a six-person executive team comprised of the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Directors of Finance & Operations, Collections & Exhibitions, History, Research & Scholarship, and Audience Engagement. The Director of Advancement will report to the Director, serve on the executive team, and be the main liaison with the central Smithsonian’s Office of Advancement.

The museum has significantly grown its advancement department in the last two years and, as a result, has seen dramatic increases in fundraising performance. Our goal is to maintain this rate of growth beyond the museum’s $25 million comprehensive campaign, which concluded at the end of 2018, the Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary year. This position offers excellent opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the National Portrait Gallery. There is no better time to join this amazing museum.

The DoA is responsible for providing strategic focus and tactical direction that support the NPG’s mission in these key areas:

  • Annual fundraising, (Incl. individual, major gifts, corporate, and foundation)
  • Planned Giving
  • Special Events
  • American Portrait Gala

The DoA is responsible for the Advancement department, which comprises two departments and eight full-time staff: Development and Special Events (including the gala production). The incumbent will work closely with this group in developing priorities and devising compelling fundraising cases for support that cross departments (exhibitions, education, collection, events), financial years, and revenue streams (restricted, unrestricted, planned giving, and endowment).

The incumbent’s main priority—and estimated 50%+ of their time—will be to strengthen the advancement office to raise over $6M a year, working with the Director, Commission, and advised by outside consultants.



  • Work with advancement office staff to establish a strategy to increase annual giving to around $6M a year and attract endowment support—including planned giving.
  • Assists the Director, executive team, and Commissioners in developing compelling cases for support that cross departments over multiple financial years, to attract long-term interest from donors, with special attention given to the bi-annual gala, exhibition sponsorship, program endowments, named galleries and endowed positions.
  • Together with the Director, and Commission / endowment chairs, serve as the external face of the NPG, “selling” the NPG’s vision and interest to individuals, companies, and foundations across the United States.
  • Manage the membership programs, including: Portrait Patrons ($150 - $1,000), Portrait Circle ($1,000 – 10,000), Corporate Circle, and American Legends Circle (planned giving).
  • Manage the NPG fundraising portfolio, including major gifts, planned giving, and foundations and maintain own portfolio of key donor relationships.
  • Works with NPG curators, historians, educators, selected staff and Commissioners on developing fundraising skills on specific targeted proposal requests.
  • Responsible for developing prospect lists, developing solicitation strategies, and writing or editing final proposals and stewardship reports; ensuring that all donor activities are accurately recorded and tracked in the Smithsonian’s data base, and “next steps” are developed.
  • Be equally zealous about donor stewardship and generating a feeling of excitement about the NPG’s activities, as research and cultivation.
  • Serve as the main liaison with the Commission’s Executive Committee, and specifically the Vice Chair of
  • Commission. Work with the Director and advancement chairs to set meeting agenda items, record accurate minutes, and establish next steps.

Strengthen Annual Fundraising

  • Working with consultants to complete a feasibility study and set the framework for "raising the bar" in annual and on-going fundraising.
  • Develop a menu of compelling projects that include gallery spaces, named positions, and named programs – and their attending cases for support and recognition.
  • Work closely with the Director, Commission chair, and Chairs of the Advancement Committee on strategy.
  • Go alone, or in the company of the Directors, content staff (curators, historians, educators), or Commissioners to meeting with prospective donors to solicit their support.

Special Events

  • Oversees the special events department that raises visibility and revenue for the NPG’s annual operations, including developing effective ways to retain past clients and market to potential new clients.

Gala Management

  • Manage the American Portrait Gala that takes place every two years and raises both national visibility and funds for the NPG’s endowment.
  • Identify and work with Gala Co-Chairs to identify high profile honorees and their presenters.
  • Manage all aspects of contracting gala production, including design and printing, catering, décor, and public relations.
  • Develop engaging and professional gala sponsorship materials.
  • Actively develop events and activities to promote the gala.
  • Conducts solicitation meetings, independently or accompanied by the Director and/or Gala Chairs, to raise financial and other support for the Gala and the NPG.


  • Attends all weekly meetings with the Director and monthly Executive Team meetings.
  • Attends central Smithsonian Office of Advancement meetings as required.
  • Serves as liaison with the Smithsonian’s office of government affairs.
  • Manages resources efficiently, including professional and support staff, interns and volunteers, and the department’s budget.
  • Promptly replies to all communications with NPG stakeholders including donors, Commissioners, and Smithsonian leadership.

Successful candidates will have:

  • Mastery level skill of fundraising and marketing methods, techniques and practices and the creativity and ingenuity to develop new concepts and approaches is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead fundraising efforts in a major cultural or educational nonprofit organization to secure external financial support exceeding $2.5 million annually.
  • Experience in development of comprehensive strategic plans and execution of strategic plans for an advancement program sufficient to outline communication techniques, program activity, budget requirements and establishment of milestones to achieve the assigned objective.
  • Skill in written communication sufficient to accomplish effective donor communications, grant applications, and sponsorship proposals that secure substantive financial support from foundations and corporations.
  • Ability to communicate orally sufficient to make effective and persuasive oral presentations for support of cultural projects that secure financial support from a wide variety of donors.
  • Ability to lead, develop and supervise a staff of 8 or more advancement and special events professionals, and unpaid staff to include fellows, interns and volunteers.
  • Ability to provide advisory service and expert guidance to board members, officers, and senior staff leadership of cultural or educational nonprofit organizations to achieve multi-million-dollar campaign goals.
  • Ability to analyze the connections between fundraising goals and donor interests to make recommendations about the prospects, and alternatives, for funding sources and possibilities.
  • This position is recognized as an expert regarding all philanthropic and outreach activities in promoting fundraising.
  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion, and multicultural competence in an educational and work environment.
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of the National Portrait Gallery.

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers. The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad.

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits. Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a cover letter to by May 16, 2021. Please include the title of the position and your last name in the subject line of the email.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To best serve our current and future visitors we strive to maximize the diversity, equity, and inclusiveness of our organization. Therefore, we encourage candidates that represent and embody the diversity found within our community to apply.

Part of Cooper Hewitt’s Advancement Department, the Institutional Giving Officer is responsible for the development and implementation of an annual workplan generating contributed revenue from public and private foundations, corporations, and government agencies in support of museum exhibitions, special initiatives, and general operations. The Gift Officer reports to the Chief Advancement Officer and liaises with colleagues in the Advancement Department, at Cooper Hewitt, and across the entire Smithsonian Institution to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward gifts of $25,000 - $1,000,000.


Front-Line Fundraising
Gift Officer maintains an active institutional portfolio and is responsible for participating in prospect qualification, building relationships with funders, developing, writing and editing effective LOIs, proposals and solicitations with supplementary materials as required, and achieving annual contributed revenue goals through new and renewed support. Responsibilities also include execution of gift agreements, general correspondence and invitations, budget oversight, acknowledgements and recordkeeping.

Stewardship and Reporting
The incumbent plans and manages a calendar of stewardship and engagement activity, including activations and benefits fulfillment, which may include the timely submission of interim and final reports, reconciling budgets, and ensuring compliance with policies, guidelines and grant agreements. They collaborate with colleagues and volunteer leaders to elicit information, align proposals with upcoming program offerings and to fulfill reporting requirements.

Other duties as assigned
The incumbent will represent the museum and interact with a wide range of colleagues and supporters, participating in development-related special events that entail some evening and weekend hours.


Five to seven years’ experience in raising funds from and stewarding relationships with leading foundations, corporations and government agencies.
A demonstrated track record of success.
Familiarity with or interest in Cooper Hewitt’s mission and programs.
Effective communication skills, attention to detail and organization.
A team spirit, the ability to take both initiative and direction, and a comfort level with problem-solving and prioritization.
Excellent computer skills (Microsoft Office and relational databases)

SALARY: $ 89,537 - $92,523


A remote work policy is in place through December 31, 2021 (and may be extended); the candidate must be prepared and available to report to work in person at 2 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128 from January 3, 2022.


Life Insurance (including Optional Life Insurance)
Voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
Long Term Disability
Health Insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield)
Dental (Delta Dental)
Vision (Vision Services)
Flexible Spending Accounts
Commuter Benefits
Annual Leave (13 days)
Sick Leave (13 days)
Federal Holidays (10 days)
Family Friendly Leave
Family Friendly Workplace
Telework+Alternative Work Schedules
Historic and landmark offices/library and garden (New York)
Design Library
Curatorial Talks and Tours (Cooper Hewitt)
92Y Fitness Center
Employee Assistance Program
Smithsonian Network
Museum Shop (employee discount)
Free Admission to most NYC museums
Smithsonian Discounts


Thank you for your interest. Please submit a cover letter and resume in a single PDF titled “Institutional Giving Officer” to Veronica Bainbridge, Chief Advancement Officer at