Senior Director of Development


The Vision and Mission

The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) envisions an America of shared prosperity, where all working families can access the financial opportunities they need to succeed. CEP helps low- income, working families as a trusted provider of tax and financial services. Everything we do, from direct service to informing public policy, improves the financial stability of those we serve.

The Programs

CEP is one of the nation’s largest organizations providing free tax services to low-income families. Using the power of volunteerism, CEP seeks to measurably impact the financial lives of low-income families. During the 2015 tax season, CEP mobilized over 600 volunteers and prepared over 18,000 tax returns at 14 locations in Chicago and its suburbs. Our services enable clients to claim over $30 million in anti-poverty tax credits and refunds each year.

CEP provides financial capability services to 1,800 clients annually through educational workshops, in-depth coaching, and access to financial products with a focus on building precautionary savings. Our financial capability services go beyond improving families’ bottom lines by teaching financial management skills and empowering clients to make lasting progress.

Through our Tax Clinic, CEP also provides free legal advice and representation to low-income taxpayers, bringing them into compliance with tax code and eliminating costly tax burdens that often lead to long term indebtedness, eviction, utility shutoffs, hunger and unemployment. CEP provides legal representation to 275 individuals each year, eliminating $1 million in costly tax debt. An additional 2,000 individuals benefit from counseling and legal advice, helping them to understand their tax rights and responsibilities.

CEP is unique in its approach of supporting scale through tax preparation, depth through financial coaching, and systemic change through policy. Building on its position as a leading  voice on family economic security, CEP is launching a new program to engage public officials and inform public policy, leveraging its academic research, on-the-ground experience, and data collected from over 25,000 households annually.


In 2014, the Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan calling for a deepening and expansion of programming and a significant increase in operating support. CEP then contracted with Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt to conduct a development audit and feasibility study to determine our ability to achieve the fundraising goal necessary to carry out this strategic plan. Based on the organization’s fundraising track record and the identification of untapped philanthropic resources in the greater Chicago area, Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt found the goal to be achievable, given increased and re-focused efforts on the part of staff and Board.

CEP is therefore adding a position to its development team and embarking on a search for a Senior Director of Development to lead the organization’s efforts to increase its revenue from a variety of philanthropic sources – most significantly through increased corporate sponsorship and the development of a new major gifts program. With stable finances, a strong reputation, and a quantifiable unmet need for programs, now is an ideal time to focus resources on increasing results from corporate and individual donors and building on our record of success with foundations.


The development team of three full time professional employees identifies, develops, and stewards relationships and fundraising activities with individuals, corporations, government agencies, foundations and other funding institutions. The team works with the Board of Directors, Associate Board, President, COO, Volunteer Engagement Manager and Program Directors to create, lead, implement, and evaluate successful development strategies that will bring in $2.9 million in income in 2015, growing to $3.2 million by 2017.

The Senior Director of Development will oversee all fundraising goals, lead and manage the team and drive his/her own revenue results. The Senior Director of Development will be working in a highly collaborative work environment. Reporting directly to the President & CEO, the Director will be a member of the senior leadership team of CEP. The Director must be committed to the goals of the organization and be able to articulate those goals and CEP’s mission.



  • Develop and implement a comprehensive development strategy to include major gifts, special campaigns, special events, individual giving, sponsorship, and corporate, foundation, and government grants. Lead the team in the development of a written annual work plan. Track progress towards quantifiable goals and make mid-course adjustments as necessary
  • Participate in strategic planning. Work with senior staff and the board to translate the vision and strategic plan into achievable steps. Actively promote the mission, vision, and values statements and ensure assigned staff incorporate these beliefs and values into their daily work ethic

  • Working with senior staff, monitor the financial health of the organization. Establish and monitor annual and multi-year department expense budget and income goals. Prepare financial analysis needed for fundraising and evaluation. Communicate regularly to Board and staff the status of fundraising projects; preparing regular revenue forecasts and tracking results against goals

  • Keep abreast of programmatic needs and new program developments by attending program meetings and communicating regularly with Program Directors

  • Hire, train, mentor and supervise assigned staff; review and approve leave; facilitate formal, annual evaluation. Provide professional development opportunities and guidance to each team member to strengthen their skill sets and job satisfaction; meet regularly with the team to identify priorities, discuss strategies and review ongoing projects

  • Follow major trends or changes in local and national philanthropy and position CEP to respond to such trends

  • Serve as an articulate, passionate, and visible spokesperson for CEP and as a prominent fundraising face throughout the organization, among stakeholders, and in the Chicago community

  • Provide staff support to the Board Fundraising Committee

  • Ensure that CEP’s messaging to donors, funders, and prospects is consistent across all channels; ensure that CEP’s case for support is updated

  • Serve as the final authority in approving all donor materials and publications

  • Ensure accurate record‐keeping of contributions and timeliness of donor acknowledgments

Major Gifts

Major Gifts-Individual Relationships

  • Oversee a proactive moves management system for monitoring the prospecting, stewarding, soliciting, and reporting of major individual donors
  • Prepare and schedule President & CEO and Board members for major donor stewardship, cultivation activities, and solicitations
  • Manage a portfolio of individual major donors and projects. Build relationships with major donors through meetings, post-meeting follow-up, stewardship of interests, solicitation of donors, and writing letters, reports, and proposals to major donors

Major Gifts-Corporate Relationships

  • Research current corporate supporters, analyze their giving, and develop plans for strengthening relationships and increasing their support
  • Working collaboratively with program staff, develop new opportunities for corporate partners/sponsorship (neighborhood-based opportunities, sponsoring a specific site, and/or suite of services during tax season, volunteer events, etc.). Develop the prospect list, cultivate and solicit new corporate supporters
  • Work closely with CEP leadership to actively engage with Board members and volunteers who may have access and contacts with corporations and financial institutions
  • Coordinate site visits and facilitate and participate as needed. Ensure CEP staff are adequately prepared
  • Collect, maintain, and analyze evaluative and anecdotal data from outside sources, researchers, marketing professionals, policymakers, etc. to assist with corporate solicitations
  • Keep current on sponsorship, marketing and corporate giving trends

Individual Giving/Annual Fund

  • Create a working relationship with all board members to actively engage them in fundraising. Train and support board, staff, and volunteers to be effective fundraisers
  • Develop and execute a plan for stewarding and soliciting the Board as donors
  • Screen potential prospects in CEP’s database, including volunteers
  • Oversee stewardship of volunteers, board, and committee members to ensure that they are cultivated properly for donor participation
  • Develop and oversee a plan for the stewardship and solicitation of individual annual fund donors. Evaluate, recommend, and implement strategies for increasing income from annual donors. Supervise and support the Development Manager in this work
  • Develop and oversee a plan for the stewardship and annual solicitation of the Associate Board and for the volunteer base. Evaluate, recommend and implement strategies for increasing income from members. Supervise and support the Development Manager in this work

Foundation and Corporate Grants

  • Supervise and support the Director of Institutional Giving to steward and grow existing relationships, while identifying and cultivating new prospects, ensuring the maintenance and expansion of CEP’s existing grants pipeline.
  • Support the Director in targeting local financial institutions, develop a clear case for support as part of a company’s overall Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) strategy. Review prospect list, cultivate relationships, and solicit new partners/supporters
  • Oversee strategies to steward and maintain successful funding relationships with institutional donors, and to transition, when appropriate, new corporate donors into a consistent stewardship model led by the Director.

Special Events

  • Evaluate and assess CEP’s special events strategies, including a review of Counting on Progress annual event, with an eye towards developing innovative ways to expand net proceeds from events
  • Support staff and manage special events consultants responsible for producing and/or assisting with the annual fundraising event. Oversee the timeline, budget, and evaluation for the event
  • Serve as lead staff and coordinate any smaller, major donor events (house party, cocktail party, etc.). Monitor budget, evaluate results


  • Pursue professional development opportunities; maintain required job knowledge and skills and core professional competencies. Actively participate in required educational programs
  • Actively participate in staff meetings
  • Perform other duties as assigned



  • A Bachelor’s degree is required, a Master’s is preferred
  • Demonstrated pursuit of continuing education in the philanthropic sector, a CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Professional) is preferred

Job Experience

  • 10 years fundraising (or related) experience required with a minimum of four years in a supervisory position leading a development team and managing and monitoring fundraising goals
  • Solid knowledge of, and experience with, corporate, individual, and sponsorship giving
  • Verifiable track record of successfully soliciting and closing major gifts ($5,000 and above) from individuals
  • Proven ability to lead a fundraising effort that brings in $2-3 million annually (in addition to other factors, performance is evaluated based on the ability to reach fundraising goals)
  • Experience and proven success developing board and volunteers as fundraisers
  • Knowledge of the local and national funding community; particularly individual philanthropists and the Chicago corporate community
  • Experienced with Microsoft Office. Proficiency with fundraising software required (Salesforce experience is an asset)

Special Knowledge & Skills

  • Excellent managerial skills, experience working cross-departmentally, and building a sense of team
  • Out-going personality with an infectious can-do attitude
  • Excellent verbal communication, public speaking, and interpersonal skills

Demonstrated Competencies

  • Mission‐Driven: Enthusiasm and passion for CEP’s mission
  • Plan: Determine strategies to move the organization forward, set goals, create and implement action plans, and evaluate the process and results
  • Solve Problems: Assess problem situations to identify causes, gather and process relevant information, generate possible solutions, and make recommendations and/or resolve the problem
  • Creativity/Innovation: Develop new and unique ways to improve the finances of the organization and to create new opportunities
  • Communicate Effectively: Speak, listen and write in a clear, thorough and timely manner using appropriate and effective communication tools and techniques
  • Foster Teamwork: Works cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problems, and make decisions that enhance organizational effectiveness
  • Highly organized: Demonstrates ability to manage multiple tasks, establish priorities and meet deadlines

Physical Requirements of Position

  • Position will operate out of a normal office environment
  • Position requires occasional night and/or weekend scheduling


  • Salary is in the $85,000-$95,000 range, commensurate with experience
  • Comprehensive benefits package (with some employee contributions) includes medical, dental, vision insurance, and disability. Employer-matched retirement plan
  • Three weeks paid vacation the first year, and 12 paid holidays. Flexible work hours (37.5 hours per week)

To Apply

  • Submit Cover letter, resume, salary history, and salary requirement to: Please write your name (Last, First) in the subject line of your e-mail.
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted. No phone calls please.
  • Deadline is August 26, 2015. Position begins ASAP