Rhode Island Historical Society seeks Director of Development

To further its commitment to honor, interpret, and share Rhode Island’s past to enrich the present and inspire the future, the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) seeks a highly organized, energetic, results-oriented professional who is passionate about connecting Rhode Islanders with their history and heritage.
 The Director of Development will be responsible for the day-to-day activities of the RIHS Development Office. The work of the Development Office includes, but is not limited to, implementing a comprehensive and integrated fundraising program that develops individual and corporate contributed income sources for RIHS, with an emphasis on donor cultivation, program sponsorship, membership, annual fund and planned giving. The Director of Development will supervise an Assistant Director of Development and will also have administrative support provided by the RIHS’s Executive Assistant.

The RIHS Development team, under the direction of the successful candidate, will support the overall organization in its special events and fundraising activities, with attention to high-quality customer service.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Create and implement a dynamic annual development plan and strategy;
  • Oversee and manage membership program; develop and implement invigorated membership models, including expansion of membership at both individual and institutional levels;
  • Manage relationships with Board, donors and prospective donors, as well as fundraising volunteers and staff;
  • Identify, qualify, research, cultivate, solicit, and steward high-level supporters (individuals, corporate, foundation);
  • Meet with and cultivate high-end annual fund and major donors;
  • Work with senior leadership and the Communications Manager to develop and implement a comprehensive marketing and public relations strategy;
  • Work with Executive Director to implement comprehensive and integrated planned giving, endowment, and legacy naming opportunity programs;
  • In concert with the Executive Director, make public appearances/accept speaking engagements to share information about the RIHS with the community;
  • Develop, achieve, and report on key financial and development goals;
  • Manage Development Committee, whose members include RIHS Board members, members of the public, and staff;
  • Work with staff across departments to coordinate grant proposals and reports to corporate, foundation, and government funders;
  • Provide input on training, strategy, and counsel to Executive Director and work with the Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Administration to determine financial impacts;
  • Proficiently use the donor database as a fundraising tool;
  • Oversee the production of print and digital fundraising materials; and
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Minimum of 5 years experience in development with supervisory experience
  • Understanding of how to work with donors and volunteers
  • Conceptual and strategic thinking skills
  • Thorough knowledge of fundraising best practices
  • Strong organizational and communication abilities
  • Keen analytical capabilities


Reports to Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Administration and is member of senior staff

About the RIHS

The RIHS, a Smithsonian Affiliate, holds the largest and most important historical collections relating to Rhode Island. These collections include some 25,000 objects, 5,000 manuscripts, 100,000 books and printed items, 400,000 photographs and maps, and 9 million feet of motion-picture film. Headquartered in Providence, R.I., the RIHS owns and maintains the John Brown House Museum, a National Historic Landmark built in 1788; the Aldrich House, also a National Historic Landmark, built in 1822; and the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center. The organization also maintains the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, devoted to the history of northern Rhode Island. The RIHS offers a variety of educational programs and community activities, including workshops, lectures, films, concerts, walking tours, and more.

The Rhode Island Historical Society is an equal opportunity employer.  We do not discriminate in hiring or employment against any individual on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, citizenship, or any other factor protected by anti-discrimination laws.


Email cover letter, resume/CV, and the names of three references to jobs@rihs.org, attention C. Morgan Grefe, RIHS Executive Director, with “Director of Development” in the subject line. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

No phone calls, please.