Job Posting

Chief Development Officer

Chief Development Officer

The Opportunity

The Museum is seeking an enterprising and mission-driven lead fundraising executive to further develop a robust culture of philanthropy in the Museum. The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will possess vision, passion, and strong leadership abilities, and will work closely with the Board, the Director and CEO, and the senior leadership team to further advance the Museum’s mission to foster greater understanding of Muslim civilizations, and to connect cultures through art.

Reporting directly to the Director and CEO, the CDO will provide strategic leadership and operational expertise for all fundraising-related activities for the Museum. Over the first five years of its operations, the Museum has built a strong base of 4000 Canadian and international supporters. This is a loyal base including patron level members who demonstrate their commitment to our mission through a high annual renewal rate of 80%.

The Museum currently raises approximately $9.0 million annually, and seeks a CDO who will work with a Development team of 10 - 15 to strategically raise the sights of this annual goal year over year. The CDO will also manage a new fundraising campaign aimed at building a $150M endowment by securing pledges over the next three years. 

Carrying a portfolio of the Museum’s highest-rated prospects, the CDO will appropriately leverage key volunteers and board members in the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of donors, members, partners and sponsors in support of the Museum’s priorities. The CDO will be the primary staff lead in the Development and Fundraising Committee of the Board, and will work closely with the Board of Directors of the Museum in all development matters, including strategic discussions on fundraising and the endowment campaign. The CDO will also work closely with the Museum’s senior team to set priorities and devise strategies for building an innovative fundraising program to support the Museum.

The CDO will be an experienced fundraising leader who brings a depth of development experience and a global perspective on fundraising. In addition to proven expertise in building development systems and programs, the successful candidate will thrive in a fast-paced environment. With an entrepreneurial spirit, creative mindset, and a collaborative approach, the CDO will be expected to be a significant player in all aspects of the Museum’s operations and strategies as they relate to fundraising, particularly the endowment campaign.

This position will be based in the Aga Khan Museum at 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto.

About The Aga Khan Museum

Art is a powerful tool for changing perceptions. It stimulates new ideas and experiences and inspires us to contemplate our identity, celebrate our history, plan for the future, and see the world through different eyes.

Through art we have the capacity to bring people together of all races, cultures, genders and religions to spark important dialogue, break down stereotypes and foster social inclusivity. According to a recent survey by Business for the Arts, engagement in the arts is helping to improve creativity, empathy, and understanding, and nurture healthier, more integrated communities.

By connecting cultures through the arts, the Aga Khan Museum is opening the eyes of tens of thousands of people each year to the positive truths about Islamic communities that today represent almost one-quarter of the world’s population, include a diversity of cultures, and boast a rich history of contributions to world heritage that have shaped and touched us all.

Few, if any, public institutions in the world are making this kind of outcome a priority today.

Opened in September 2014, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, offers visitors a window into worlds unknown or unfamiliar: the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China. Our mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage, and to connect cultures through art.

Honouring the spirit of collaboration upon which the Museum is built, the Aga Khan Museum is deeply committed to both forging relationships with Canadian institutions and communities, and to preserving an international mandate. It maintains strong global ties with such institutions as the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.

As a vibrant educational institution, the Museum encourages the full spectrum of public engagement with its exhibitions, live arts programming, and diverse Permanent Collection of more than 1,000 objects dating from the 8th to the 21st centuries.

The Aga Khan Museum is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). Founded and chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan, the AKDN is a private, international, non-denominational development organization that works to improve living conditions and opportunities for people in the developing world. His Highness is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, and has received honourary citizenship from Canada.

Development at the Aga Khan Museum

The Aga Khan Museum relies on the generosity of donors and members in Canada and around the globe to sustain its vision of building bridges between cultures through the arts. This support helps to promote the understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the arts of Muslim civilizations and knowledge of their contributions to world heritage.

Donations from individuals, corporations, government and foundation grants directly support the activities of the Aga Khan Museum, necessary to maintain our exceptional Permanent Collection and sustain its roster of exhibitions, education programs, performances, and events.

His Highness the Aga Khan invested generously to construct the Museum and provided the Permanent Collection and we continue to benefit from annual operating grants from the Aga Khan Foundation. While this solid base of support is critical for the Museum’s operations, the community plays an important role in supporting our ongoing efforts to build bridges and strengthen global community ties. Each year over 4,000 Museum supporters contribute approximately $9 million to support the Collection, exhibitions, performing arts and education programs.

Stretching beyond this support to realize our vision for the future will require new investment and additional donors who share our commitment to art and pluralism. We are excited to be moving forward with this vision.

Fundraising Campaign

The Aga Khan Museum has a bold agenda for growth and transformation over the next ten years. Building upon the success of its first five years, it aims to take its educational, research and programming initiatives to a whole new level. It plans to expand its educational footprint to schools both in Toronto and outside, and to use its international partnerships with world-class institutions to create ground-breaking exhibitions and original performances. It seeks to steward and grow its incredible donor base which has supported it enthusiastically from day one and provides more than half of its annual income. Most important, it seeks to deepen its impact on audiences and civil society, demonstrating the power of the arts to change perceptions and change minds.

In order to facilitate this growth, the Museum is embarking on a $250 million fundraising campaign over the period 2020-2029 that aims to bring it financial sustainability and room for growth. The campaign is composed of two key components: a $100 million target in expendable funds raised through annual and project-based fundraising, and a $150 million endowment campaign that aims to secure pledges within three years (2020-2022).

Both campaigns are well on their way and will begin in earnest in early 2020. The Board has approved the campaign, the endowment policy, recognition policy, naming assets and their valuation, and an investment management framework. A Campaign Case for Support and collateral communication materials are being finalized, clearly articulating the Museum’s mission, vision and impact.

To establish a base of support for the campaign, a Fundraising Campaign Cabinet has been established and is in the process of being recruited. The Cabinet Chair has been appointed by the Board and a further 25 members are being recruited to provide representation across Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and the Gulf, South Asia and Africa. To support the campaign, the development team is growing with new staff being hired now and into early 2020.

Additional Background & Resources

Requirements for the Ideal Candidate

Driven and results-oriented, the CDO will be a seasoned fundraising professional with a breadth of development experience and a global perspective in fundraising. This experience will include demonstrated success in the personal solicitation of principal and major donors, and in engaging and leveraging senior volunteers in major gift fundraising. Articulate and passionate, the CDO will inspire both staff and volunteers, and attract others to support the mission.

The ideal candidate must also bring the following professional experience and personal characteristics:

Mission Alignment

  • A deep respect for and ability to articulate the values and mission of the Museum, its programs, and the history it narrates.
  • An interest in and a comfort level with the complexity of the issues of the Museum.
  • An ability to learn the collections so as to be able to give friendly, authoritative tours to key prospects which relay information but also draw out their interests.
  • Contribute to a work environment in which openness and candor are watchwords, and mutual respect the guiding principle.

Fundraising & Donor Relations

  • Demonstrable experience in planning and executing a successful fundraising campaign of at least $50 million in scale, ideally including experience raising funds for endowment purposes.
  • A track record of achieving bold results the candidate and a willingness to take risks, advocate for unconventional ideas, and work as part of a dedicated senior management team.
  • The professional credibility and maturity required to engage and effectively leverage leadership in the cultivation of key prospects.
  • An ease and comfort level with high net worth individuals so as to inspire them to become involved with the Museum; and a likeability factor with said individuals.
  • Considerable experience in working with senior volunteers and major donors.
  • Fully conversant with Canada Revenue Agency requirements as they apply to registered charities in Canada re: fundraising, or able to quickly get up to speed on these requirements.

Engagement & Communications

  • Excellent written, presentation, and communication skills, as well as the experience and inclination to be an effective, outgoing spokesperson for the Museum.
  • An outgoing and positive personality. Strong interpersonal skills, a collaborative working style, and an enthusiasm for building bridges between and among key stakeholders.
  • Integrity, imagination, strong listening skills, and a high level of energy.
  • A sense of humor.

Please note that a Bachelor’s degree is required for this position, and a Master’s degree is highly desirable. As well, candidates must be willing and able to travel locally, nationally, and internationally, and thus must possess a valid passport and driver’s license.

Key Duties & Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

The CDO will be tasked with providing strategic leadership for all fundraising activities on behalf of the Museum, and will:

  • Provide direction for the development and execution of a fundraising strategy over five-year and ten-year horizons with monthly and annual targets for the first five years as a first priority.
  • Provide dynamic and innovative leadership for fundraising efforts, including diversifying the donor base and building an infrastructure for a significant campaign to support its endowment. Craft a strategic plan that includes ways to identify and engage funders and strengthen the case for support.
  • Guide and support the CEO in his role as a chief spokesperson and fundraiser. Work closely with senior leadership and staff to promote public awareness of attractive opportunities for donor investment in the Museum at all giving levels.
  • Work collaboratively with the Director, Collections and Public Programs and the Marketing and Communications Director to develop and narrate compelling stories presenting a cohesive voice to existing and potential donors and patrons.
  • Participate as part of the Museum’s senior management team to build a comprehensive culture of philanthropy within all areas of the Museum’s activities.

Endowment Giving

The planning and implementation of a multi-year $150M endowment campaign is one of the key deliverables of the position. The CDO will:

  • Develop and execute a multi-year $150M endowment campaign to provide a sustainable base of recurrent revenues for the longer-term funding requirements of the Museum.
  • Facilitate the work of Fundraising Campaign Cabinet (FCC) that has been formed to identify and introduce prospects to the fundraising team. Work closely with the Chairman of the FCC and the Vice-chairs and members of the Cabinet to support their efforts and to coordinate activities between members and the professional fundraising team.
  • Oversee endowment contracts, agreements, and fulfilment plans and ensure all stakeholder requirements are met.


To achieve the annual fundraising target of $9.0M which will grow year on year, the CDO will:

  • Identify, recruit, and cultivate an international cadre of leaders, identifying key civic and business leaders with an affinity for the mission and programs of the Museum; build a volunteer structure that encourages a peer-to-peer model of cultivation and solicitation. Work effectively with leadership and other volunteers in ways that inspire them to action and make their experience productive, as well as fun and satisfying.
  • Continue to build a pipeline for major and principal gifts. Identify and target individuals capable of making major financial contributions.
  • Lead activities with individual donors on a broad range of funding opportunities.
  • Provide comprehensive, timely, and innovative stewardship. Elevate the importance of stewarding all gifts and programs in ways that strengthen donor interest in, satisfaction with, and commitment to the Museum.
  • Oversee the maintenance of the database for donors and potentials and the systems for tracking the same.
  • Assess current priorities, workload, and resources, and establish an action plan ensuring that immediate needs are met while longer-term strategies, plans and actions are developed.
  • Plan and carefully manage the development budget, ensuring that dollars are spent efficiently and effectively in support of the Museum’s mission.


  • Maintain ongoing contact with and grow the Museum membership program by developing members and memberships at all levels, and ensure effective stewardship, loyalty, and engagement of the large membership base of the Museum.
  • Target and pursue diversity in new members to ensure a balance in the membership demographics.

Grants, Corporate and Other Sponsorships

  • Establish a firm base of government and foundation grant applications, aimed at raising $1.0 million or more each year.
  • Provide insights and develop new strategies and tailored cases for support to enhance the Museum’s relationships with the corporate, government, and foundation community.
  • Work proactively with the Director, Collections and Public Programs and the Marketing and Communications Director to influence the programmatic agenda, bringing into play the fundraising perspective, specifically for grants and sponsorships opportunities.
  • Secure sponsorships to cover the direct costs of the programmatic agenda for temporary exhibitions, performing arts, educations and park programs ensuring effective collaboration with the stakeholders.
  • Help shape the messaging of the Endowment Campaign.

For More Information

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to lead this search on behalf of the Aga Khan Museum. For more information about the opportunity, please contact Tara George, Partner / Lead Consultant, KCI Search + Talent at

Candidates who are interested in the role are asked to submit a resume and letter of interest to the email address above by December 18, 2019.

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

The Aga Khan Museum is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. The museum is proud to have a very diverse group of staff, members, donors, and volunteers. Candidates of all races, origins, and religious affiliations are encouraged to apply.

This position is open to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and those legally able to work in Canada. Other individuals may be considered, per Canadian immigration laws. Candidates should please include their status when applying for this position.

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Start Date: 
Saturday, February 1, 2020
Type of Work: 
Full Time
Education Level: 
University (Graduate)
Prefered Method(s) of Application: 
By E-Mail

Employer Details

Aga Khan Museum

Marianne Fenton
77 Wynford Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1K1

The Aga Khan Museum (AKM) in Toronto, Canada offers visitors a window into worlds unknown or unfamiliar: the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China. Its mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage. Through education, research, and collaboration, the Museum informs and inspires audiences from all cultures by presenting art created in the Muslim world throughout the past fourteen centuries, along with current paths of artistic practice and cultural development.