Job Details


Jul 21, 2021




> $100,000

Closing Date

Aug 3, 2021

Sydney Writers' Festival

Head of Development

About Sydney Writers’ Festival

Sydney Writers’ Festival is one of the world’s leading and most beloved literary institutions. It is a place for readers, writers and thinkers to share ideas, tell stories and celebrate literature.

Since our first Festival in 1997, we have brought thousands of diverse writers and thinkers from Australia and around the globe together in Sydney. In the company of the world’s best novelists, poets, journalists, public intellectuals, economists, politicians, podcasters and scientists, we’ve discussed some of the most pressing issues of our times. We’ve celebrated prize-winning authors, long-awaited novels from writers at the height of their careers, and introduced debut authors to eager and enthusiastic new audiences.

Readers and writers have exchanged thoughts and opinions, perspectives and philosophies, creating a powerful community based on radical dialogue and respectful debate. The drumbeat of questioning that thrums underneath the Festival is powerful and enlivens Australia’s democratic tradition. 

About this role

The Head of Development is a key member of the core year-round Festival staff of eleven, working closely with the CEO and Development Manager to secure individual and corporate support for the Festival. 

The role is a contract, full time, with the opportunity to renew.


Working closely with the CEO and with members of the Sydney Writers’ Festival Board of Directors, the Head of Development will: 

·     Manage and oversee all aspects of the Festival’s fundraising programs including philanthropy, sponsorship (cash and in kind), and Trusts and Foundations;

·     Develop, implement and lead the strategy that focuses on securing new and existing philanthropic grants and corporate sponsors

·     Identify, secure and manage the acquisition of new patron supporters;

·     Working closely with the CEO, support the development, management and acquittals of government grant funding

·     Devise and deliver strategies to reach and increase department budget targets;

·     Plan and execute a calendar of events to engage key stakeholders including Patrons, Sponsors and Donors year round;

·     Set and monitor expense and income budgets for the department;

·     Maintain and communicate bequest giving;


In consultation with the CEO, the Head of Development will:

·     Develop, manage and deliver all SWF Fundraising events; 

·     Drive and manage the Development Committee;

·     Supervise and manage the performance of other Development staff and interns;

·     Manage all philanthropy, sponsorship (cash and in kind), and Trusts and Foundations income and contacts through the Festival’s CRM database, Tessitura;

·     Maintain strong relationships with team members in other departments and contribute to a positive working environment; 

·     Keep abreast of key issues and developments in the arts and cultural industries;

·     Attend relevant workshops and training exercises, as required;

·     Any other duties as agreed with the CEO.

Selection Criteria  

  • Senior experience working in a high-performance fundraising team managing professional relationships with stakeholders;
  • Demonstrated ability in leading strategic campaigns and achieving performance outcomes
  • Creative thinker and clear communicator with the ability to negotiate mutually beneficial partnerships; and
  • Passion for books and reading;
  • Demonstrable attention to detail


Applications should be addressed to Brooke Webb, CEO, and be sent to They must include:

  •  An outline of your interest in the role, addressing how your experience prepares you for the responsibilities required and how you align with the selection criteria;
  • A current CV, including the contact details of two professional referees. 

Applications close midnight on Tuesday 3 August.

 For a confidential discussion of the role please contact Brooke Webb on 02 9252 7729.

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