Santa Barbara International Film Festival SBIFF Development Director

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Development Director


The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and educational organization, is a staple of the international festival circuit. Over the past 34 years, it has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States. SBIFF celebrates the art of cinema and provides impactful educational experiences for its local, national, and global communities, drawing an impressive roster of press and industry heavyweights.

Each January, SBIFF attracts 95,000 attendees and offers 11 days of more than 200 films, tributes, and panels— fulfilling its mission to engage, enrich, and inspire people through the power of film. Half of the films shown each year come from submissions, including many premieres. An Oscar-qualifying festival, SBIFF offers several free educational panels throughout the 11-day event. Among the 10 generous awards on offer, the winner of the Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema receives a camera package worth $60,000.

Committed to education and the community, SBIFF provides many yearlong, free educational programs and events. In June 2016 SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theater is now serving as SBIFF’s state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In October 2018 SBIFF opened its own Education Center. Located on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, the space serves as a hub for creativity and learning.

SBIFF is governed by a 16-member board of directors, chaired by President Lynda Weinman. Roger Durling is the organization’s long-standing Executive Director, leading a permanent staff of seven and a large number of seasonal staff members. Additionally, SBIFF is strongly supported by more than 700 volunteers from the community. For the fiscal year ending in 2018, SBIFF reported total income of $4.98 million, with $3 million from contributed revenue.


Santa Barbara, California, has been described as the American Riviera, a playground for the rich and famous, and, quite simply, paradise. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, the city’s beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, colorful culture, great nightlife, and nearly perfect year-round climate draws tourists from around the world. Conveniently located just a two-hour drive north from Los Angeles, visitors can easily access Santa Barbara via the Los Angeles International Airport or the Santa Barbara Airport.

Part of California's south coast—along with the neighboring cities Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria, and Goleta—Santa Barbara County encompasses nearly 3,800 square miles. This includes four of the five islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park as well as the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley, which are home to more than 100 wineries. Downtown Santa Barbara features Mediterranean-style stucco buildings with red tile roofs that reflect the city's Spanish colonial heritage—a motif that is visible throughout the city. Santa Barbara is also the home of Mission Santa Barbara, nicknamed the Queen of the Missions.

While not nearly as large as nearby Los Angeles, Santa Barbara offers its more than 90,000 residents the cultural amenities of a larger metropolitan area. Entertainment and cultural options range from zoological gardens to lectures at local venues to outdoor concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl. The Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show, featuring wares from more than 250 resident artists, takes place every Sunday along Cabrillo Boulevard. Museumgoers can spend the day visiting the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum or Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. Additionally, hundreds of visitors flock to annual events such as the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration, Old Spanish Days Fiesta, and Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Ideal for outdoor activities, Santa Barbara offers premier hiking, biking, and beach and water sports such as kayaking, surfing, and volleyball. Residents can charter a fishing boat or take a water taxi to Santa Barbara Harbor, home to the world-famous Stearns Wharf. This historic wooden pier is dotted with shops and restaurants for the whole family to enjoy. As a premier resort destination with world-class accommodations and dining, Santa Barbara offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Sources: edited from SBIFF 2018 annual report;

Position Summary

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Development Director (DD) will lead in the engagement, identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major donors and corporations, leveraging the potential for significant gifts and corporate philanthropic support and sponsorship. This individual will maintain and expand public and private sector relationships for revenue outcomes to deliver on strategic plan priorities, build other strategic community relationships, and collaborate with the SBIFF team to maximize successful fundraising efforts. The DD will be responsible for developing and implementing the strategic direction in all fund development activities, including sponsorship acquisition, major gifts, annual campaign, donor relations, planned-giving, grant writing, public relations, and fundraising events.

As an integral member of the Senior Leadership Team, the DD will play an active role as a thought-partner in planning for the organization’s overall advancement. Supporting, assisting, and partnering with the Executive Director and other members of the Senior Leadership Team, the DD will operationalize the strategic plan while building a thriving, creative, and diverse culture serving artists and the community. The DD will collaborate with the Executive Director to implement strategic changes that will dramatically increase the board’s fundraising role. This individual will conceptualize and implement a plan to grow SBIFF’s philanthropic support and donor base while leading and motivating a team of one full-time employee, one seasonal staff member, and several interns in devising successful operating fundraising strategies, implementing appropriate delivery and support systems, and evaluating results.

Roles and Responsibilities

Leadership and Accountability

  • Remain current on and adapt to the cultural, economic, and political developments that affect development goals and strategies.Model behaviors that create trust and build confidence, encouraging others to follow suggested paths or approaches.
  • Understand and clearly articulate SBIFF’s programs, history, policies, culture, values, key stakeholders, and financial strategy to ensure the continuing relevance of sponsorship, philanthropic, and grant support.
  • Identify key policy and funding issues of strategic importance and develop a comprehensive approach to address these issues to SBIFF’s benefit.
  • Develop and implement long- and short-term strategies for fundraising with the Executive Director and board.
  • Regularly report on development goals and progress to the Executive Director and board.
  • Proactively mobilize the board, volunteers, and Executive Director to drive fundraising activity and personal engagement with top prospects, sponsorships, and special events.
  • Demonstrate respectful, effective, and appropriate communication to achieve organizational buy-in for a variety of revenue enhancement initiatives.
  • Develop, cultivate, and enhance SBIFF’s relationships in the community.
  • Speak and present in a clear and credible manner, listen for diverse perspectives, and set mutually beneficial expectations with a variety of stakeholders.

Development Planning and Implementation

  • Develop partnerships with all SBIFF departments to support annual giving programs, sponsorships, special projects, and events.
  • Create customized donor stewardship and recognition opportunities to support expanded fundraising activities.
  • Create, implement, and manage a strategic development plan designed to significantly increase contributed revenue.
  • Establish solicitation priorities, manage prospect lists and research, and develop and execute targeted cultivation plans and solicitation strategies for a range of prospects.
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of donors, cultivating and soliciting major gifts for the annual fund, special events, capital projects, special programs, and specific fundraising for an institutional endowment.
  • Ensure that the development area adheres to long-term strategic and operational plan goals, coordinating and presenting regular progress reports to the Executive Director.
  • Direct all aspects of development and the patron benefits program, including stewardship, special events, cultivation, benefits fulfillment, daily donor interaction, and volunteer management.
  • Use the organization’s formal and informal social and technical structures to build relationships, negotiate solutions, and accomplish goals.
  • Guide and mentor the development team’s successful achievement of contributed revenue goals for individual, corporate, foundation, special events, and institutional endowment, with a personal emphasis on identifying, cultivating, and securing new sources of funding.
  • Embrace other development planning and implementation roles and responsibilities as needed.

Administration and Oversight

  • Oversee the development department and supervise its staff by setting clear expectations, motivating the team, and assisting with their professional development.
  • Influence and inspire others to act in an energetic, committed fashion in pursuit of a positive organizational culture.
  • Ensure that the necessary organizational structure, policies, system controls, and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed for effectiveness.
  • Prepare and monitor revenue and expense budgets; provide accurate reporting, analysis, and integration of data; and oversee the maintenance and integrity of donor and prospect records.
  • Guide a regular process of staff review and evaluation that ensures the highest ethical standards in all departmental activities.
  • Lead and mentor the development staff in utilizing available data to analyze and document fundraising needs and opportunities.
  • Assess current technology and refine development practices to ensure maximum efficiency and results.
  • Embrace other administration and oversight roles and responsibilities as needed.

Traits and Characteristics

Proactive, dynamic, and self-motivated, the DD will be a people-oriented leader who values frequent interaction and collaboration with others. An independent, experienced, and entrepreneurial professional, the DD will actively pursue SBIFF’s ambitious goals with creativity and determination. The DD will have a high degree of personal accountability and a commitment to exceeding expectations. This detail-oriented individual will balance tasks and projects with a sense of urgency. They will also possess superlative interpersonal and communication skills that articulate compelling verbal and written messages for support. A self-sufficient and self-managed professional with a highly organized approach, the DD will have the ability to achieve organizational objectives with staff, board members, volunteers, donors, and prospective supporters. This individual will bring highly developed skills, an efficient best practices approach, an affinity for SBIFF’s mission, and a passion to positively impact the organization’s long-term success.

Other key competencies of the role include:

  • Teamwork and Interpersonal Skills – The ability to work effectively and productively with others using effective communication skills to build rapport while relating to many different people.
  • Planning and Organization – The capacity to utilize logical, systematic, and orderly procedures to meet objectives while identifying and overseeing all resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results.
  • Stakeholder Focus and Diplomacy – The dexterity to anticipate, meet, and exceed stakeholder needs and expectations while treating others fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs.
  • Leadership and Influencing Others – The flexibility to organize, mentor, and motivate others to accomplish goals while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among a variety of stakeholders.
  • Goal Orientation and Negotiation– The clarity to establish and achieve specific, measurable, attainable, reviewable, and time-sensitive goals regardless of obstacles or circumstances and the ability to facilitate agreements between many parties.
  • Time, Priority, and Self-Starting – The acuity to develop initiatives and demonstrate self-control in managing time and priorities.


A bachelor’s degree is required. Qualified candidates will have at least seven years of progressive experience with increasing responsibility in a fundraising leadership role, preferably in the multidisciplinary arts, education, or nonprofit sector. A strong track record in corporate sponsorship, events, and donor identification, cultivation, and solicitation at all funding levels (particularly major gifts) is required. Prior experience with endowment campaigns would be an asset. Superior written and verbal communication skills and experience collaborating with high-level, nationally respected volunteers are required. Candidates must possess expertise in and willingness to mentor and develop team members to create a high performing department. Strong computer skills are necessary, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), donor database software, media (traditional, electronic, and social), and advanced tools for donor prospecting and research.

Compensation and Benefits

SBIFF offers a very competitive salary, supportive work environment, extended health and dental insurance, vacation time, and participation in a retirement plan to all full-time salaried employees.

Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a cover letter and resume including demonstrable accomplishments to:

Mr. Martin Bragg, Senior Vice President

Arts Consulting Group

8581 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 406
Los Angeles, CA 90069-4120
Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext 205


Santa Barbara International Film Festival is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes any qualified applicant and values the diversity of all candidates.




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