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Barbershop Harmony Society

Chief Development Officer

Barbershop Harmony Society


Job Summary

Overview: The Barbershop Harmony Society (also known as “SPEBSQSA”, “the Society”, and “BHS”) is the largest singing organization in North America, and thought to be the largest in the world, with approximately 17,000 members and more than 87,000 identified enthusiasts, in nearly 2,500 active local singing communities and performing groups.

Founded in 1938 as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc., the Society preserves and extends the reach of barbershop music, a unique part of America’s cultural heritage. Barbershop is a close harmony choral singing form which has its roots in African-American communities.

The Society sprang up in the 1930s and expanded rapidly until the late 80s, as a hobbyist organization primarily of white middle class males who sang together for pure joy and fellowship. It then stagnated for two decades as modern times changed how people participated with music and in affinity groups. In the last decade, BHS has enjoyed a resurgence of energy and excitement and the professionalization of its leadership and governing structures.

Headquartered in Nashville, TN, with a staff of 44, thousands of volunteers, and a $7 million annual budget, we: publish thousands of barbershop arrangements; teach barbershop via our Harmony University schools and online courses; produce local, regional and international conventions and contests; conduct outreach into K-12 school programs; produce and post video content of barbershop performances captured in the digital age to a YouTube channel with 135,000 subscribers and 6 million annual views; and, energize a network now estimated at over 90,000 singers and enthusiasts, in thousands of singing communities. Barbershop has, indeed, been preserved as a living, thriving, ever-evolving music that influences many other musics.

The art form itself has advanced to a genre that is now widely recognized by the choral world for superb artistic quality and merit. This is evidenced, for example, by our partnership with the American Choral Directors Association, which regularly features our groups on its concert stages.

Our strategic vision — “Everyone In Harmony” — now points us to a future of exponential growth, radical inclusion and the use of singing as a powerful tool for social impact. In short, our world view has evolved from men singing for their own enjoyment, to everyone singing, because singing improves lives and communities.

For several decades, BHS’s individual philanthropy work was conducted by Harmony Foundation, International (HFI) a related organization tied to BHS through a trust agreement. HFI has raised approximately $2.5 to $3 million annually from a portfolio of several thousand BHS members who express their generosity towards BHS via gifts to HFI, which in turns grants a portion of funds raised to BHS programs, chapters and districts. In 2018, BHS began to directly pursue institutional funders (NEA, NEH, private foundations). In 2020, in consideration of long-held concerns about the efficiency of HFI and a divergence in the missions of the two related organizations, the Society Board of Directors made the decision to build an internal operation for individual philanthropy. This decision has been controversial within BHS and HFI communities. The BHS Development Team was launched on July 1, 2020.

BHS is now seeking staff to join the team in key leadership roles. This is a unique, and will be a very challenging, opportunity to build a first class development operation from the ground up.

Job Responsibilities

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) is charged with directing the Barbershop Harmony Society’s (BHS’) overall fund development strategy in order to achieve BHS’ strategic vision and plan, increase its impact, and advance its financial health.

The CDO is accountable for planning, organizing, implementing, and evaluating all fund development programs, including:

  • Individual donors — annual giving, major gifts, planned giving and endowment giving;
  • Institutional funders — foundations and public sources;
  • Corporate funders — strategic philanthropy programs and corporate foundations.

Reports To: Chief Executive Officer

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Develop and continually refine a keen understanding of BHS’ overall strategic vision and plan; ensure that BHS’ development and fundraising efforts advance its vision, increase its impact and support its financial health. Develop and implement a comprehensive long-range development and fundraising strategy. Such plan shall:
    • Incorporate private individual donors, institutional funders and corporate funders.
    • Result in a healthy mix of funding for operations, programs, capital investments, new initiatives and endowment growth.
    • Advance the mission, impact and financial health both of Harmony Hall and of BHS chapters and districts.
  • Serve as a member of the executive management team.
  • Work closely with BHS program teams to identify, craft and refine fundable programs and projects, both existing and new, with the highest possible funder appeal, impact and budget contribution.
  • Develop and implement an effective annual and long-range plan for identifying, qualifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding individual, institutional, and corporate funders to achieve BHS’ annual revenue goals. Lead a team to execute the plan.
  • See to it that all internal, “back of the house” development operations are professional, efficient, and follow best practices.
  • Establish performance measures, monitor results, and evaluate the efficacy of the fund development program.
  • Build a committed development team. Ensure a high level of team performance by selecting, training, developing and motivating a competent staff. Establish responsibilities and accountabilities for development staff and evaluate performance regularly with measurable performance objectives.
  • With the CMO, raise awareness of the organization and its primary goals, through outreach efforts, regular events in the community, publications, and media relations.
  • Ensure sound fiscal operation of development function including timely, accurate and comprehensive development of charitable contributions income and expense budgets, reporting, monitoring and implementation. Ensure the maintenance of donor and financial records is done in accordance with general accounting and fundraising standards
  • Establish and maintain effective avenues of communication with the Society Board and Executive Team. Appropriately represent and advocate for the Development point of view in all deliberations.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and laws, maintain accountability standards to donors and ensure compliance with code of ethical principles and standards of professional conduct for fundraising professionals.
  • Ensure establishment of and compliance with the organization’s own fund development and philanthropic principles, policies and procedures.


  • Ability to think critically and strategically. Analytical thinking and ability to analyze data in order to build evidence-based plans.
  • Strong, demonstrated commitment to the vision and mission of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
  • Experience implementing and maintaining a culture of accountability through data-driven goals and performance metrics and time frames.
  • Exceptional verbal communication skills, evidenced across written, oral and presentation platforms. Proven ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and build long‐term relationships. High degree of comfort with public speaking.
  • Personally self-directed and able to lead a team by challenging team members to do their best, empowering them with responsibility, and holding them accountable. Ability to act decisively and follow through quickly with communication and plans.
  • Comprehensive management skills and experience, including: short and long-term planning; evaluation; directing and motivating staff; oral and written communication skills; marketing; financial management; values clarification; organizational behavior and development; and governance.
  • Strong financial modeling and analysis skills. Demonstrated ability to develop and manage budgets both for the organization and for specific projects.
  • Demonstrated integrity in words and actions.
  • Keen interest in understanding and crafting the impact and approach to an organization’s substantive work and applying that knowledge in drafting successful fundraising solicitations.
  • Experience as a trusted advisor, able to provide reliable counsel to the chief executive, Board, and team members.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills, including an ability to build and sustain long-lasting and authentic relationships. Excellent listening, speaking, and daily/informal communication skills.
  • Proven commitment to diversity and inclusion; substantial experience building, coaching and valuing diverse teams of staff and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated passion for the vision of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
  • Ability to cope successfully with change and welcome fresh approaches to situations.
  • Well-versed in current relationship-driven fundraising and engagement strategies and tactics. Informed about best practices in development. Active with regional and/or national professional associations.
  • Demonstrated experience in managing and implementing a successful, comprehensive fund development program and preparing an annual development work plan and calendar to achieve goals. Demonstrated experience of at least ten years of leading substantial development teams, divisions and/or organizations.
  • Demonstrated success in major and principal gift cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. Demonstrated success in seeking and obtaining major grants of five figures and up from foundations and public sources.
  • The amount of knowledge and training required would typically be acquired in a bachelor’s degree, at least ten years of fundraising experience, at least twenty years of organizational leadership roles, with an emphasis on nonprofit environments, and at least five years of experience directly in the arts and, preferably, the choral arts field.
  • Ability to travel to meet with potential donors, often on short notice.

Additional Information


What’s in it for you

  • Competitive compensation package
  • Up to 10 days of paid vacation
  • 14 paid holidays, including December 24 – January 1
  • Up to 8 days sick leave per year
  • Health, dental, and vision insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Optional short-term disability insurance
  • 401K plan with 3% safe harbor contribution and discretionary and company matches that could aggregate up to an additional 6% (9% total)
  • Work with one of Nashville’s Best Places to Work
  • High-engagement staff environment with regular team building and social activities throughout the year
  • A chance to make a difference in the lives of others

How to Apply

Interested Parties: Please submit your application, cover letter and resume here.

Application deadline: August 25, 2020

As a key component of our vision of Everyone in Harmony, the Barbershop Harmony Society is committed to building a team with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and skills. We believe that employees who feel valued and encouraged to share their ideas are empowered to foster innovation that leads to both personal and professional growth.

The Barbershop Harmony Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer. This company does not and will not discriminate in employment and personnel practices on the basis of race, sex, age, handicap, religion, national origin or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.


  • Date Posted: July 27, 2020
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Executive Leadership
  • Service Area: Arts / Culture
  • Working Hours: 40 hrs/wk, Mon-Fri 8:00-5:00