Work with UnionDocs
UnionDocs is a Center for Documentary Art that presents, produces, publishes, and educates. We bring together a diverse community of artists, dedicated journalists, big thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future. In doing so, we embrace the broad spectrum of documentary approaches and disciplines; from social-issue to experimental, from personal to archival, from essayistic to observational, all impulses towards “creative actuality” are given space and attention. These efforts spring from the belief that documentary art— when paired with thoughtful context and open debate— is an invaluable tool for understanding the complexities of contemporary life and creating a more just and equitable society.
Growing steadily from grassroots since 2005, UnionDocs operates out of a 3-story building in the Southside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which houses our exhibition and production facilities, administrative offices, and artist residency. We serve a hyperlocal audience, attract people from across and beyond New York City, and increasingly, participants travel internationally to join our singular workshops and labs. International audiences also find us through our energetic social media, online and print publications, live streams, and budding online film distribution. In a typical year, we support over 36 filmmakers in our labs, facilitate 28 workshops, host +100 events and screenings, produce 8 short docs, publish two volumes of the scholarly journal World Records, and direct over $600k to artists in grants, honoraria, commissions, and fiscal sponsorship.
Learn a bit more about what we do…
Director of Development
UnionDocs seeks a charismatic, disciplined and strategic leader to pursue and extend our development goals. Ideal candidates will be motivated to cultivate philanthropic support for visionary documentary artists and inventive projects, and will be passionate about UnionDocs’ mission and programs. They will value our DIY community-based approach and grassroot history, while also being inspired by our ambitious plans, recognizing the largely untapped potential for significant support from individual and institutional donors that will bring the organization’s work to new heights.
The Director of Development will design and implement an annual fundraising plan alongside a multi-year capital campaign; identifying new opportunities and building on UnionDocs’ history of cultivating winning proposals for institutional partnerships, foundation contributions, corporate contributions, government grants, and private donations; maintaining and growing our fiscal sponsorship program; contributing to our budgeting process; providing detailed and persuasive reports to funders, executive leadership and the board of directors; and planning and producing a small set of fundraising events.
This is a new position that is a key member of UnionDocs’s leadership team. It offers the opportunity to make a major impact at a dynamic and growing organization. Reporting to Christopher Allen, Executive Artistic Director of UnionDocs, the Director of Development will lead a small department that includes a Grants & Finance Manager and occasional consultants. This position is based in UnionDoc’s office in Williamsburg.
– Set realistic targets for incremental growth in all categories of contributed income, especially foundations, corporate and private donation. Follow-up with detailed and efficient action and outreach plans that are practical and integrate with our operations.
– Employ creative thinking and problem solving to leverage what we’ve already got going and to unlock new resources we’ve missed.
– Engage with the leadership team in the budget process, understand our accounting procedures, and contribute to an intelligent operations calendar, as well as the long-term vision. We are a small, ambitious team and must coordinate expertly, as much as we multitask.
– Oversee and improve our systems for data collection and program tracking to capture the different ways our programs have meaningful impact that aid in the creation of convincing development narratives based on evidence and testimonial.
– Fine tune our system of donor management and oversee staff responsible for data entry and gift processing.
– Promote and solicit corporate sponsorships for the organization’s activities, special events, and program development initiatives.
– Keep learning. Be aware of useful trends and best practices in philanthropy.
– Maintain established contributed income sources. Oversee and finalize excellently written and persuasive submissions for our calendar of grant proposals, letters of inquiry and award reports with support from the Grants & Finance Manager, program staff, and consultants.
– Find concise and vibrant language and compelling narratives in our proposals, appeals, requests and presentations that express the value of UnionDocs and the foreground the urgency of our mission. Find new ways to speak to potential communities of support we are missing.
– Oversee the planning and execution of all special fundraising events. We’ve never done a big uptown gala, but we have been successful at smaller, repeatable fundraiser events. Marshall the talents on our team to create captivating and profitable experiences, while remaining manageable, efficient and connected to our core values.
& Bold Asks
– Develop a keen understanding of the organization, its programs, priorities, and strategic direction. Confidently communicate our story with enthusiasm, ease and charm.
– Cultivate relationships with existing donors at all levels, from annual members and crowdfunding supporters to donors capable of major gifts. Stay in contact, write email and make meetings to pitch donors and introduce the leadership. Help us remember to write handwritten thank you notes!
– Find unobtrusive ways to access important people, create a map of our most valuable connections, and research where we might find new supporters.
– Serve as principal gifts solicitor, be able to ascertain the appropriate ask, and be fearless in making the request, whether in writing or in-person.
– Integrate with the Board’s Fundraising Committee efforts, support and extend their initiatives.
– 5+ years of experience in fundraising and grants, including strategy development and implementation; preparation of financials; grant preparation and reporting.
– Demonstrated track record in generating revenue from major gifts, government, foundations, and corporations and other sources, and an eye for identifying opportunities for innovation and improvement in our work.
– Experience building long-term relationships with diverse stakeholders to achieve broad, mutually-satisfying goals.
– Exceptional organizational skills and ability to balance multiple priorities and deadlines in a fluid and fast-paced environment.
– Excellent interpersonal communication and communication skills, including public speaking abilities and persuasive writing.
– Ability to work both independently with a minimum of supervision and effectively lead a team, as a detail-oriented self-starter with commitment to excellence, high standards of accountability.
– Ability to travel occasionally and participate in evening and weekend activities for work-related purposes.
– Commitment to UnionDocs’s mission and knowledge of arts and cultural sector opportunities.
– Computer proficiency, including Keynote, Google Drive, Airtable, social media, and fundraising databases.