DIGITAL: Professional Development: Development Demystified with Jenny Thompson

Dec. 2, 3:00 pm4:00 pm



Development has always been a nonprofit “must have,” but in the midst of this global pandemic, it’s been thrust in the spotlight as a lifeline for many. So what is it, exactly, and how do we do it? In this session, we’ll cover just that. Whether you’re an arts administrator (or aspiring arts administrator!) considering development as a career or an artist inspired to move forward an endeavor that you care deeply about: please join us. Together, we’ll cover the absolute basics of development and types of fundraising, along with the embedded structures of white supremacy that must be confronted daily in this work. You’ll gain a better understanding, plenty of resources, and a foundational framework to take what you’ve learned and put it to action.


Jenny Thompson is a nonprofit fundraising professional with over a decade of diverse experience in the cultural sector. She joined Gibney in 2018 to spearhead its fundraising efforts, later transitioning into an organizational revenue strategies oversight role before stepping into her current position. As Senior Director of Advancement, Jenny is focused on overseeing an integrated resource development and communications strategy with the support of the Development, Rentals, Marketing and Digital Media teams to advance new supporters and rental client relationships all while maintaining existing relationships, communicating Gibney’s impact to a range of external constituents, and fundraising and earning revenue that is critical to fulfill Gibney’s mission.

Prior, Jenny served as Director of Campaign & Major Gifts for Madison Square Boys & Girls Club’s $90M dollar capital/endowment campaign. Her career began at RIOULT Dance New York, where she rose the ranks from Operations & Special Events Manager, to Manager of Institutional Giving, and ultimately Director of Development. She then joined management and consulting firm, DUNCH: Cultural Leadership for a Creative World, working under the mentorship of President Emma Dunch on a range of fundraising, campaign management, and strategic planning projects. Clients included Dorrance Dance, Gallim Dance, Huntington Theatre Company, Madison Square Park Conservancy, Manhattan Theatre Club, Mark Morris Dance Group, The New Group, On Site Opera, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Primary Stages, The School for Strings, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, UrbanGlass, and The Watermill Center.

Since 2008, Jenny has contributed to multiple performance publications including The Dance Enthusiast, Eye on Dance and the Arts,, and Dance Spirit magazine, among others. In 2016, she collaborated with a team of scholars in the field of arts entrepreneurship to develop a course/web-based resource launched by DePauw University’s 21st Century Musician Initiative. Jenny was a longtime volunteer teacher and former Young Professionals Committee member at Groove With Me, a free dance center for girls in East Harlem, and continues to support its mission. She also remains a frequent guest speaker for Pentacle’s Cultivating Leadership in Dance program.

Jenny earned her M.A. in Arts Administration through the University of Kentucky’s online graduate program while working full-time in the field. She also holds a B.A. in Dance Studies, Choreography, and Writing about Performance from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.


Gibney’s Training Department, led by Senior Director of Training, Alexandra Wells, serves the current and holistic needs of adult dance artists, with consideration for the multiplicity of career expressions and entry points. Through the cultivation of an inclusive and positive space, our offerings make space for exploration, risk-taking, personal and artistic growth, connection, and fun. It is our priority to listen to and support our community and to empower the future leaders of the field. Learn more.

Gibney Professional Development supports dance professionals of all backgrounds building (and re-building) a unique and sustainable career through accessible learning, expanding skills, and fostering a diverse and inclusive community.


Classes will be streamed live via Zoom. You need a device connected to the internet, you don’t need camera capabilities. Students must pre-register for class and download the Zoom app to join.

Registration will close 20 minutes before the class time. 15 minutes before class, you will receive an email with the Zoom link. Please make sure your Zoom name matches the name you signed up for class with. The class will close 10 minutes after its scheduled start time so please join the class on time.

Please be advised that if there is more than one class taker on your zoom, all must be registered for the class before starting. If a class taker is not registered, Gibney staff will remove you from the class immediately. You will be allowed to re-enter the class once all participants have registered.

Gibney will provide Live Transcription via Otter Live Notes for this class. To access the live transcript in the Zoom meeting, click the red LIVE indicator and then select “View Stream on Live Notes” in the dropdown. The live transcript will open in a separate browser window.

All classes are in Eastern Standard Time.

Photo by Scott Shaw