Odyssey Networks,
Director of Advancement (Search closed)

New York, NY


Odyssey Networks is a multi-media multi faith non-profit with a social justice focus. They produce long and short form documentary programming that drives impact campaigns, and partners with people and organizations (regardless of faith) to engage the world to nurture compassion, justice, and hope. Their productions feature universal themes common to all people such as transformation, redemption, and inspiration.

Odyssey’s programs encourage people to work together and act towards making the world more humane. They build impact campaigns that bring together coalitions of faith-based and secular change-makers, including (but not limited to) policymakers, academic, and professional experts; to create dynamic change in addressing some of the most pressing social justice issues facing our world.

At the cornerstone of each impact campaign is a documentary that builds awareness around an issue in the most compelling way – through intimate and personal storytelling. In the last year, their documentaries have been screened at the White House and Congress, as well as at some of the world’s top film festivals, including The Sundance Film Festival. Odyssey works with the industry’s leading talent, such as Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker; who executive-produced Serving Life, winner of the prestigious CINE Special Jury Award.

Odyssey Networks is seeking a Director of Advancement to support the revenue-generation efforts of the organization. Are you forward thinking and thrive on working with leaders who are passionate about accelerating the impact of the organization’s mission and strategic position in a creative space? Do you have a proven track-record of developing and implementing philanthropic strategies that lead to significant revenue growth? Are you able to demonstrate capacity to engage high powered key stakeholders?

This is a unique opportunity to apply that skill-set and knowledge to build an infrastructure for long term impact.


Odyssey Networks is an inter-faith, multi-media non-profit that brings together organizations and individuals around powerful programming that supports people of all faiths and common values as they engage the world; they give faith a voice in the public square, showing the civic value of faith in action.

They bring together top talent from the world of filmmaking to create award-winning long and short form content to leverage their established faith-based and educational networks to join with secular organizations in using these films in their work to build a more just and compassionate world. Odyssey’s recent films have explored a wide range of issues including mass incarceration, gun violence, racial justice and military sexual trauma.

Odyssey Networks has used innovative media to tell stories of faith in action. Odyssey was founded in 1987 as a revolutionary cable channel that brought diversity to inter-faith media, giving America’s major denominations a platform to tell their stories. As the world of news, information and entertainment has become available on multiple platforms, Odyssey has morphed into a multimedia organization by distributing content everywhere: the internet, mobile devices, streaming platforms, and conferences. Odyssey has the unique capability to connect people of all religious backgrounds and bridge the divide with the secular world by highlighting the civic value of faith.

Additional information about Odyssey Networks and its wholly owned production entity, Transform Films, can be found on their websites at www.odysseynetworks.org. and www.transformfilmsinc.com.


Odyssey Networks seeks an ambitious, dynamic, and inspiring strategic leader with superior relationship skills and demonstrated success in building capacity and increasing revenue to become its Director of Advancement. The successful candidate must have an authentic passion for the mission, demonstrated success as a revenue builder, and be a highly articulate communicator skilled at making a compelling case for organizational support.

Reporting to the CEO and collaborating with the Board, senior leadership and staff, the Director of Advancement plays a critical role in shaping and implementing the organization’s philanthropic revenue strategy. In this capacity, the Director has day-to-day responsibility for planning, implementing, and managing all annual and major-gift fundraising-related activities; developing new income initiatives; leading and collaborating on all donor-facing marketing efforts; and helping Odyssey to engage a broader, and more diverse audience. A critical priority for the successful candidate will be to achieve or exceed current annual goals and to build a program that ensures transformative growth.

As a member of the executive team, the Director of Advancement is an advisor to senior management regarding optimal philanthropic revenue strategies. In addition to providing internal leadership, the director will expand the reach and influence of Odyssey through interactions with vital public and private philanthropic leaders.

Odyssey’s new director will have the character, dexterity, and creative mindset to lead all advancement functions for Odyssey Networks, including cultivation and expansion of the donor base and other marketing and communications strategies with respect to philanthropy. The Director of Advancement will be a team player who will position Odyssey Networks to help achieve the greatest possible impact for success.



Organizational Leadership, Fundraising and External Engagement Strategy

• Building on Odyssey’s documentary filmmaking success to date, craft a sophisticated multi-year fundraising effort that will generate short-term results as well as deepen and diversify the funding base; increase restricted and unrestricted funds from all constituencies; carefully monitor the costs associated with fundraising by ensuring that internal resources are appropriately utilized;
• Create, lead, and execute fund development strategies that enable growth, including foundation, individual, and corporate donors. Building a substantial major donor base is a primary goal of this position through cultivation of foundation partnerships and the assemblage of a network of individual major donors;
• Working with the CEO, Board, and senior management, shape the organization’s development plan to raise $500,000 in revenue in 2017 and significant exponential growth in future years;
• Lead the philanthropic marketing of the organization, helping to ensure effective overall positioning of Odyssey before the public and within its field;
• Oversee the design, implementation, and management of a campaign to establish Odyssey’s brand recognition, visibility, media, and marketing efforts specifically for philanthropic fund development;
• Work closely with the CEO and executive team to articulate the case for each program’s funding priorities, and match those with specific individual donor and foundation interests to ensure that philanthropy meets targeted needs and goals;
• Partner with the CEO, Board, staff, and other stakeholders to create, build and engender an organization wide culture of philanthropy;
• Serve as an ambassador and spokesperson for the organization and articulate the mission to external constituents;
• Become the champion across the organization for revenue-centric strategies and work with the executive team to understand philanthropic revenue impacts of current and proposed programmatic strategies;
• Lead the use of public relations, community outreach, publications, and other marketing tools of Odyssey to promote growth in revenue and advocacy;
• Evaluate and drive the use of new technology funding vehicles including social media and eGiving, revamping the organization's online tools for supporters;
• Assist with the production of the annual report.

Relationship Management

• Cultivate effective relationships with the Odyssey’s board, principal gift donors, foundations, and others who can positively impact the generation of new revenue streams;
• Partner with and support key organizational leaders offering support on donor prospecting, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship to ensure their efficiency and effectiveness as the organization’s chief spokespersons and fundraisers;
• Enlist senior staff in educating current and prospective donors in ways that raise funders’ insights about the Odyssey mission and impact. Collaborate across divisions and departments to create an environment that nurtures and integrates a major-gift fundraising mindset throughout the organization;
• Identify new Board prospects who are key leaders with an affinity for the mission and programs of Odyssey, with an eye towards building the network; inspire current leaders to strengthen their connection and commitment.

Portfolio Management

• Lead institutional donor cultivation, serving as primary relationship manager for major prospects and donors. Maintain a significant portfolio of principal gift donors while facilitating relationships between donors and the executive team, and program leadership. Personally cultivate and solicit high level gifts from a portfolio of current and prospective donors;
• Systematically identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward new individual and institutional donors capable of making significant contributions to Odyssey;
• Maintain existing donor relationships and deepen those alliances through regular, relevant communications, and stewardship.
Internal Management, Infrastructure, and Team-Building
• Lead all aspects of the development department, including decisions regarding: strategic direction, cross-departmental relationships, and budgeting regarding philanthropy;
• Foster an environment of cohesiveness, collaboration and achievement, and ensure staff accountability for excellence through clearly defined and measurable goals;
• Develop and build Odyssey’s CRM/donor management system and build a best practices infrastructure to support the development and external engagement efforts;
• Focus on agency communications; ensuring consistent messaging and branding in all print and online donor communication vehicles; providing strategic and marketing oversight to all donor materials, and strategic support on the full range of external stakeholder communications;
• Collaborate with the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer to develop and produce regular analytic reports for senior management that synthesize the financial progress and trends of fundraising activities.


The ideal candidate will possess outstanding strategic thinking and communication skills as well as a strong conceptual understanding of the organization’s mission and impact. S/he must be comfortable working across a fluid, unique organization, with hands-on responsibilities. The candidate must be results-oriented and able to work in a fast-paced and competitive environment. The successful Director will bring a command of fundraising best practices, fundraising tools, and enthusiasm for fund development.

A trustworthy thought partner to the CEO, senior management, and the Board; the Director of Advancement will have the vision, capacity, and experience to understand and balance an array of needs. S/he will be an intuitive planner with a demonstrated ability to set priorities, develop and implement thoughtful, clear, action-oriented growth strategies for Odyssey. S/he will have robust analytic skills and the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about Odyssey’s broader goals, while continuing to actively solicit feedback.

S/he will be eager to navigate multiple priorities, knowing when to shift direction and focus, and able to make practical, long-term decisions in a timely, thoughtful way. A superior project manager with clear, well-supported ideas, the Director of Advancement will express his or her opinions thoughtfully and with poise, helping to shift the needle. S/he will be an intuitive planner with a demonstrated ability to set priorities and to develop and implement thoughtful, clear, action-oriented growth strategies for Odyssey.

• An established leader with at least 10 years of relevant senior nonprofit development, including, advancement, grants, and foundation experience; or comparable combination of resource development, marketing, and business development experience;
• Demonstrated record of innovative and entrepreneurial leadership within the nonprofit, philanthropic, private, or public sector; past leadership experience representing an organization to external audiences;
• Proven record of accomplishment of developing successful partnerships with organizations, agencies and/or companies;
• Demonstrated ability to build a comprehensive highly efficient and effective development and communications programs, aligning all aspects of revenue development, including: annual, major, and online giving; corporate and foundation partnerships; and new business development;
• Demonstrated experience building a development program, including individual and institutional philanthropy, in such a way that has been a major step up;
• Proven ability to personally develop strategies, cultivate, solicit and steward major and institutional donors at significant levels. The ability to inspire high-net worth individuals and major foundations to financial leadership;
• Demonstrated experience training and working with executives, senior staff, and board members on development-related activities, providing them with quality support, and increasing their comfort with and success in fundraising;
• Impeccable integrity and a high energy level; ability to inspire trust, to organize people into teams and to motivate team members to work well together;
• A diplomatic problem solver able to build consensus and engender cooperation between lay leaders and professionals from the breadth of interests and perspectives in the community;
• Understanding of, and ability to relate to, the complexities and nuance of a multi-faith environment necessary; understanding of the complexities, players and dynamics of the media, entertainment, documentary film and/or advocacy and social justice sectors a plus;
• Success in increasing the effectiveness of advancement staff through established objectives, performance standards and quantifiable benchmarks;
• Strong interpersonal skills with the intellectual and emotional depth, maturity, and collaborative skills to work effectively across the entire organization and all levels;
• Exceptional communication and influencing skills; persuasive, credible, and polished communicator both written and verbal;
• Strong management skills, both strategic and operational, and a demonstrated ability to build, manage, mentor and motivate a diverse and effective team;
• A strong work ethic, ability to maintain and model high personal, ethical, and professional standards, as well as an outgoing and positive personality. Creativity, patience, a sense of humor and perspective;
• Independent self-starter with strategic inclinations; ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas;
• Authentic connection to the work and mission of the organization;
• Excellent computer skills, including Microsoft Office and database management systems;
• Familiarity with donor and strategic communications landscape a plus;
• A Bachelor’s degree is required; advanced degree a plus.


Steve J. Goldberg, Consultant
Kesley Blagdon Senior Associate
Elise Riffel, Associate

Email: odyssey@drgnyc.com

DRG, Inc.
275 Madison Avenue, 12th Floor
New York, New York 10016
Tel: (212) 983-1600
Fax: (212) 983-1687

This search began in March 2017 and is currently active. This position description is based upon material presented by Odyssey Networks, an equal opportunity employer.