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Director, Advancement

The purpose of Calgary’s science centre is unwavering. Spark exists to make lives — and the world — better through an affinity for science.

The vision is clear. Through visits to Spark, and encounters with Spark in the community, people are lifted up by the positive power of curiosity, experimentation and creativity.

The outcome is profound. Spark helps people of all ages fuel up for the future because at Spark, science, technology and invention are embedded in cultural experiences. This creates new points of access to the disciplines at the core of innovation.

Join the Spark team to transform lives and inspire the future. Spark is currently accepting applications for a permanent full-time Director, Advancement.

Position Overview

The Director, Advancement is responsible for planning, managing and implementing activities that increase, diversify and sustain support for Spark from individuals, corporations, foundations and the government. This position leads all sponsorship, philanthropy, foundation, government relations and community relations. This includes developing strategic and annual plans, setting and achieving targets, setting and managing budgets, developing and managing partnerships, researching and writing proposals, overseeing databases, stewardship and reporting.

The strategic focus of the position is to deepen engagement with corporate, private, foundation and government funders. This position manages a small development team with the potential to grow as activity level warrants.  This role is the chief fundraiser for Telus Spark and is responsible for cultivating philanthropic relationships with constituents and stakeholders. 

The Director, Advancement reports directly to and works closely with the President and CEO.

Key Responsibilities

  • Set and meet fundraising objectives, evaluate results and adjust strategies as needed to ensure that charitable revenue is an increasing source of revenue to support the Spark’s work in the community. 
  • Provide input to the Leadership Team regarding fund development potential and Spark’s ongoing plans, directions and strategies.
  • Match short- and long-term programming plans with philanthropic and sponsorship opportunities.
  • Monitor, anticipate, adapt, mitigate, and respond to changing conditions in the community particularly as they influence the priorities and performance of Advancement.
  • Lead the philanthropy program including but not limited to major gifts, community giving, internal giving, and special events.
  • Lead the sponsorship program including but not limited to researching, developing and stewarding sponsorships and grants.
  • Provide strategic leadership to the proposal and/or grant application process with all levels of government and foundations.
  • Network/liaise with priority social and corporate circles, president/CEO and the Board to assemble the right solicitation and stewardship teams that will help raise the relevance and reputation of Spark. This includes developing and/or maintaining close connections with government, potential and existing donors and sponsors, the academic community, informal education communities, industrial research communities, business and arts communities and to develop and deliver strong community-driven development opportunities.
  • Develop a strong team of employees focused on prospect research, qualification, cultivation and solicitation. Ensure the Advancement team’s performance effectively supports the purpose, long-term vision, and public brand of Spark, through excellence in annual planning, relationship building and gift solicitation.
  • Supervise the Community Access portfolio, and connect it to the fund development portfolio. Plan and lead community relations and events as they related to advancement.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with other Spark teams to meet objectives, creatively solve issues, anticipate challenges and respond to opportunities.
  • Plan, manage and propose budget requirements for the Advancement office.
  • Establish, monitor, measure and report on performance metrics. Analyze and identify issues that are or will impact operational performance and establish initiatives for continuous improvement.
  • Responsible for the entirety of the investment cycle: from qualification to cultivation to solicitation and stewardship.


The successful candidate will be a leader, strategic thinker, excellent communicator and agent of change whose effectiveness in fundraising stems from:

  • hands-on leadership and ability to earn respect
  • understanding the national and local fund development context and the value proposition of the science centre to the community
  • energy and commitment to developing new systems and methodologies and engaging in research to attain financial results
  • highly developed skills and ability to excel in a growing portfolio
  • a proven track record of face-to-face solicitations

This position requires:

  • 5+ years of progressive fund development experience at a senior level with a proven track record of achieving financial targets.  
  • 3+ years leading a team of fund development professionals to achieve financial targets. 
  • Fluent knowledge of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) guidelines regarding fundraising in Canada and specifically Alberta.
  • Fluent in Alberta Gaming and Liquor (AGLC) regulations.
  • Knowledgeable about the AFP Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and the Imagine Canada’s Code of Ethical Conduct. 
  • Extraordinary communications and presentation skills, ability to both listen and persuasively convey Spark’s value to diverse groups, including donors, corporation, foundation and government leaders, board members, and others critical to Spark’s overall success.
  • Ability to convey the value and opportunity in involving the organization, employees and guests in the fund development process, fostering a giving culture.
  • A proven ability to design, implement and direct fundraising programs with a high level of efficiency.
  • Proven ability to think strategically, creating competitive strategies and plans for the organization.
  • Broad financial responsibility includes setting and meeting fundraising objectives, evaluating results and adjusting strategies as needed.
  • An understanding of legal and tax implications of major and planned gifts.
  • Knowledgeable about fund development databases.


The successful candidate will:

  • Work in partnership with Marketing to ensure donor/sponsor communication is consistent with brand management.
  • Work in partnership with the Program team to ensure donor/sponsor proposals are consistent with program accuracy and management.
  • Work in partnership with Finance to ensure a) revenue is monitored and allocated appropriately, and b) program budgets and expenditures are accurate for the purposes of funding proposals and fulfillment reporting.

To Apply: Interested candidates are invited to submit a cover letter, resume and salary expectations, in confidence, to careers@sparkscience.ca as soon as possible. Please put “Director, Advancement” in the subject line of your email application.

Closing Date: This posting will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found.

We thank all applicants for their interest.  Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.  TELUS Spark is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from all qualified individuals.