Gift Planning Associate | Lyric Opera of Chicago

Submitted by ttuckett on Mon, 09/10/2018 - 4:29pm

Reports to: Director of Gift Planning

Status: Full-time, Non-exempt

Lyric Opera of Chicago is seeking a Gift Planning Associate.  Under the supervision of the Director of Gift Planning, the Gift Planning Associate will be responsible for developing and implementing systems to ensure:  the appropriate stewardship of multiple levels of planned gift donors; the management, tracking, and status of existing/ongoing planned gifts; and the administration of open estates.  The Gift Planning Associate is also responsible for the management of all gift planning specific communications, event planning (in collaboration with the Development Events Team), and the processing and documentation of new gift plans.

The Gift Planning Associate will enable the gift planning program to run smoothly and seamlessly in support of the Senior Director of Gift Planning and Director of Gift Planning, providing assistance to the team’s ongoing efforts working with gift planning prospects and existing planned givers, addressing estate matters, and building interest in supporting Lyric with a planned gift.

The auditing and corresponding process development responsibilities of this position will be accomplished within the first 6 to 12 months respectively. Within the first 6 months, all the auditing responsibilities of this position should be wrapping up and lead into the development of systems and tracking procedures.  Those systems should be fully functioning within 12 months. After the initial audit and systems set-up, the position will focus exclusively on the on-going operations and refinement of those systems outlined below.


Stewardship of Existing Gift Planning Donors

Stewardship ensures that we do not lose planned gift commitments we have already acquired.  This systematic stewardship of our planned givers (the Overture Society) requires the most immediate attention.  Prior to developing a comprehensive stewardship strategy, a full audit the Overture Society needs to executed.

Audit Existing Overture Society files (Audit accomplished within first 6 months of position)

  • Review all Overture Society files and Tessitura accounts to verify and document each planned gift commitment.  Correct files/Tessitura accounts so that all information exists in each place.  Identify missing information and prioritize files/donors in greatest need of additional information on their planned gift.
  • Develop Tessitura method for pulling the full Overture Society and segmenting it by different information criteria (i.e., type of planned gift; amount; attorney info; birthday; etc).
  • Identify files that need immediate follow up either to ensure planned gift still exists or to get necessary information to ensure the planned gift can be easily facilitated when the donor passes
  • Digitize documents in the physical file for upload to Tessitura.
  • Work closely with Senior Director of Gift Planning to gather historical knowledge about donors within the Overture Society.  Confirm all documentation reflects understanding of the Senior Director of Gift Planning – identify donor files who require clarification due to inconsistency in files or important elements of their planned gift that is not documented.

Stewardship Strategy (Strategy and system developed within first 12 months – executing system on-going)

  • Design a tiered stewardship strategy for the Overture Society.  Segment/tier out the 550+ members into 5 categories based on size of PG, annual gifts, and capacity.  Working closely with the Director of Gift Planning, develop a specific stewardship strategy to each tier – to ensure the planned gift stays or increases.
  • Help ID and assign each OS member to the appropriate tier.
  • Set up automated system to prompt, execute, and log stewardship strategies for each tier
  • Execute OS stewardship strategies for tiers – adjusting strategy/systems as appropriate.
  • Track, report, and evaluate engagement with individual members of the Overture Society.  Identify OS members who may have become inactive and develop personalized stewardship strategy with Sr. Direct of Gift Planning.  Ensure all tracking information is in donors’ Tessitura Planned Giving Page and Plans.

Existing Planned Gift Management

There are certain planned gifts that need ongoing attention to ensure Lyric is fulfilling its obligations to the donor and to guarantee the planned gift is not unintentionally lost.  Below are 4 categories that need systems built around them to facilitate annual review of the status and obligations.  The systems will be built within the first 12 months of position; execution of the systems will be on-going.

Charitable Gift Annuity

  • Coordinate with finance office and Northern Trust to track the health and status of the Charitable Gift Annuity pool.  Update Charitable Gift Annuity report quarterly to reflect status of CGA pool balance.  Track CGA gift outcomes – after a CGA has been established, track how the donor has become more engaged with Lyric.

Insurance Policies

  • Audit existing Insurance Planned Gifts (part of first 6 month audit project)
  • Identify those Insurance plans where Lyric is owner.  Document policy, premiums, and how/when the donor needs to be notified to send Lyric a cash donation to cover the expense of that insurance policy.
  • Coordinate all communication to donors so that they receive notification of the pending premium dues and any past due payments.
  • Set up automated system to prompt, execute, and log insurance premium dues.
  • Track and confirm all other insurance plans still under the ownership of the donor – confirm that policies are still current.  See if donor would like to gift ownership to Lyric.


  • Record planned gifts specifically earmarked for new or existing endowment funds.  Confirm proper documentation for endowment fund has been established. Update endowment records to capture current endowment values and expected future contributions.

Estate Administration

When a donor passes away, the planned gift does not always come to Lyric without proactive outreach from Lyric.  It sometimes takes years for an estate to close.  Therefore, it is necessary to closely track the planned gift donors who have passed away, their executors/attorneys (who close the estate), and the timeline of the closing of the estate.  The systems will be built within the first 12 months of position; execution of the systems will be on-going.

A system needs to be developed to:

  • Track the status of all open estates (date donor passed away, pending planned gift).
  • Identify the name and contact information of the executor, trust officer, or attorney responsible for closing the estate.
  • Build files documenting Lyric’s proactive efforts to receive estate gifts due to it, archive files once estates are closed.
  • Develop report that can be automatically generated that lists all open estates and the estimated value of the planned gift.
  • Work with Donor Records and Operations to develop a system to document, log, and easily pull PG expectancy reports.
  • Track funeral arrangements for deceased Overture Society members, notify Senior Director of Gift Planning, Director of Gift Planning, and other appropriate senior staff and development staff of funeral details for deceased Overture Society members, and arrange for flowers and/or condolences letter if appropriate.

Project Management

The Gift Planning office has a number of projects that require the building of timelines and coordination of efforts with the development office at large.  Below are the projects that need annual management.  The systems will be built within the first 12 months of position; execution of the systems will be on-going.

Processing New PG Commitments

  • Manage the acknowledgment of confirmed planned gifts, including:  draft Overture Society Welcome Letter and determine appropriate signor of letter based on PG policy; prepare acknowledgement packet (confirmation/welcome letter, Authorization for Acknowledgment, Gift Planning brochure, OS luncheon details, and return envelope); confirm documentation of gift (will/trust document; IRA beneficiary page; etc); create physical file for planned giving files including copies of all confirmation letters and planned gift documentation; upload all relevant documentation and communication to donor’s Tessitura account and update with appropriate planned gift constituencies codes.

DAF/IRA Rollover outreach

  • Track list of donors who contribute to Lyric through a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), IRA’s, CGA’s, CRT’s, and other types of palled gifts, sending annual customized communication to inquire if they have considered naming Lyric as the beneficiary of their estate.

Gift Planning Newsletter; Gift Planning section of Season programs

  • Create and implement stewardship communications for gift planning through newsletters, emails, print communication.
  • Coordinate the design of the gift planning section within the Season Program, Annual Report, and Website: coordinate and design gift planning and musical theater endowed chair program advertisements and update/edit Overture Society program listings.  Update and make corrections for each periodic publication.
  • Manage the interoffice proofing/approval of all gift planning letters/publications through approved blue sheet and/or online procedures.


  • Coordinate with Development Events Team to plan out annual estate planning/gift planning seminars, Overture Society Luncheons, and out-of- state outreach events/trips.  Schedule and organize event logistics including: maintain RSVP lists, make follow-up calls to confirm attendance, book location, and other related meeting details.  Provide liaison with event planning personnel for all gift planning special events.


  • Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university
  • 2 or more years of professional experience in non-profit management, fundraising, alumni relations, communications, public relations, marketing, sales, or related professional work experience required.
  • Proficiency in donor relations, fundraising, ticketing, and/or CRM software. Tessitura experience preferred.  Working knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite of products required.
  • Outstanding written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills including the ability to interact effectively in person, by email, and over the phone with a wide variety of constituents.
  • Ability to manage confidential information with discretion, maturity, and diplomacy.                                                                               
  • Excellent organization and time management skills including the ability to work on multiple projects concurrently, set priorities, and successfully complete tasks in a timely manner.
  • Previous high profile customer service experience helpful.
  • Must be available to work nights and weekends during the opera season (September – May), including all opening night performances, special events, and select additional performances as needed.
  • Ability to work and think independently, a motivated self-starter who also works well in a larger team.


  • Ability to oversee evening or weekend functions, deployments, or performances and work occasional nights and weekends to assist with department/company event needs.
  • Seek training necessary to remain current in knowledge of deferred giving issues and vehicles.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and successfully handle shifting priorities.
  • Sitting for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to operate a computer keyboard, mouse, and to handle other office equipment.


Interested Applicants should send their resume and cover letter to

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