Chief Development Director (GF)


Groundswell Fund is the largest funder of the U.S. Reproductive Justice (RJ) movement. For more than a decade, we have enabled foundations and individual donors to increase the impact of their giving by offering a different kind of philanthropic model. Different in who we are: A program staff of women of color who come directly out of community and labor organizing and have a combined 70+ years of grassroots organizing and civic engagement experience within communities of color; a board comprised of grassroots leaders shaping strategy alongside funders and donors. Different in who we support: Women of color (WOC), low income women, and transgender people who are organizing at the grassroots. Different in how we support the field: not just through grants, but also through capacity-building support focused on boosting grassroots power, and funder organizing that lifts up our grantees to a larger audience of funders and donors who can move resources to their work, whether or not these resources come through our doors. Groundswell moves at least 80 percent of the dollars that come in our doors back out to the field.

Since 2003, Groundswell has moved more than $50 million to the RJ movement in grants and capacity building support to RJ organizations; increased the giving of dozens of national and local foundations; and helped bring thousands of new individual donors into the RJ movement. Today, we support more RJ organizations than any other foundation in the country. Our grantees have moved from trepidation about participating in the political process to mobilizing thousands of voters and even seeing their own members run for office. They have been instrumental in the passage of more than 250 pro-RJ policies at the state and local level and in blocking many regressive policies, and they have built a growing grassroots base of support for RJ across the U.S. In 2017 we expanded our funding to support multi-issue organizing led by WOC and transgender people of color across other social justice movement sectors, from environmental and economic justice, to immigrant and LGBTQ rights, and on. We also launched a 501c4, Groundswell Action Fund, now the largest c4 fund in the country centering WOC-led c4 work.

Fundraising Vision

Groundswell is committed to cultivating a vibrant and engaged, multiracial and multigenerational community of donors and funders who connect their values to their resources. We believe generosity and intention go hand in hand with the success of the RJ movement and that giving at every level empowers individuals, families and entire communities to create a better world. Groundswell’s values around authentic and respectful partnerships undergird our relationships with grantees and donors and funders alike. Our mission to support grantee organizations as they build their grassroots power mirrors our fundraising mission; supporting the power of our donors through learning about RJ, grassroots organizing, the importance of WOC leadership, and collaborating for greater collective impact.  

Position Summary

The Chief Development Director is responsible for leading the Funder Organizing Department and working closely with the Executive Director and key externally facing staff to raise an annual budget of approximately $16M across Groundswell’s 501c3 and 501c4. This is a top leadership position in the organization that serves with the ED, CFO, and Director of Programs on the Guidance Team (Executive Team). The Chief Development Director is focused on supporting the growth and stewardship of Groundswell’s vibrant and engaged individual donor and foundation funder community and leading a high impact and cohesive team. This includes ensuring that measurable goals, clear work plans and calendars, and a budget is in place for the department on an annual basis. The Chief Development Director will supervise staff and consultants to ensure impeccable quality and timeliness of grant proposals and reports, gift/grant tracking and acknowledgement, and all donor/funder correspondence and communications; to execute successful fundraising events; and the maintenance of the donor database. The Chief Development Director will also be responsible for cultivating and expanding a portfolio of high-level individual donor relationships.


Leadership of the Funder Organizing Team

  • Leading a collaborative process with team members to craft annual goals, budget, workplan and calendar.
  • Teaming with staff to craft well designed departmental retreats and regular meetings.
  • Ensuring each staffer has a detailed annual workplan in place.
  • Fostering strong communication, cohesion and morale.
  • Ensure that all team members have a tailored staff development plan in place.
  • Keep department on track to meeting annual Blueprint (strategic plan) goals.

Ambassador for the Organization

  • Represent Groundswell at key donor and foundation meetings and events.
  • Manage a portfolio of the organizations highest net worth donors and key foundations, serving as the primary Groundswell contact responsible for stewarding these relationships.
  • Cultivate new donor and foundation partners, bringing new people and dollars into the organization with a goal of growing the percentage of revenue derived from individual donors from 15 to 30 percent.

Supporting Broader Staff & Board to Engage in Fundraising

  • Provides leadership and training to staff and board on fundraising efforts, including sharing of best practices and providing tools, information and resources to strengthen fundraising efforts.
  • Works directly with Board and builds board support and participation in fundraising efforts.
  • Meets regularly with program staff to receive updates necessary data for grant reporting/writing.
  • Works with the Executive Director and CFO on regular assessment, analysis, reporting, and projections of development and campaign activity, income, and pledges including any significant variances or unforeseen shifts in budget.
  • Supervise the Communications Director to ensure strong cross-department alignment of messaging.

Foundation Relationships

  • Represents the organization in meetings with key program officers and other foundation representatives.
  • Conducts high level review and editing of proposal and report boilerplates and of certain key proposals and reports before they are submitted.
  • Research and identify (and supervise staff to research and identify) new funding opportunities from private foundations, corporations, and state and federal agencies for both the 501c3 and 501c4 organizations.
  • Supervise staff to write high-quality reports and proposals and to manage the calendar to ensure timely submission of all.
  • Team with the ED and program staff to design briefings for foundations.
  • Conduct research on key foundations (prospective and current funders) and provide staff members with concise analysis.

Donor Relationships

  • Conduct and supervise staff to conduct major donor prospect research.
  • Team with the Funder Organizing department members to design/refine effective procedures, processes and systems to support the donor engagement program.
  • Supervise staff to maintain Groundswell’s donor database to ensure all donor information is current and well organized, ensuring data integration and quality control functions in the database.
  • Supervise staff to ensure effective reporting, tracking, acknowledgements, receipts and other correspondence with donors.
  • Team with Funder Organizing staff and ED to design donor engagement activities and campaigns.
  • Supervise staff to accurately code and process all development-related income for accurate general ledger reporting and timely acknowledgement of gifts with a donation acknowledgement letter.
  • Supervise staff to manage direct mail, including the solicitation and procurement of strategic mailing lists, the production of content for mail pieces, and distribution.
  • Supervise staff to make sure that all donors receive quality and timely communications, including thank you letters, quarterly newsletters, and an annual meeting with the Executive Director or the appropriate member of Groundswell’s program staff.
  • Supervise staff to cull and synthesize notes and records in donor database and server and brief Groundswell staff prior to donor visits.

Event Planning

  • Work with the Executive Director and Development Manager to design and formulate fundraising projects such as fundraising events including but not limited to banquets, auctions, receptions, and parties.
  • Supervise the Development Manager to:
    • Maintain mailing lists and coordinate lists for special events.
    • Plan and coordinate special events, including invitations, guest lists, on-site logistics related to event registration and specific event management.

Communications Duties

  • Supervise the Communications Director to ensure strong and integrated communications across the organization towards Groundswell Fund’s mission of galvanizing more resources to our grantees.
  • Write and/or copy edit content for donor communications via mail, email, and social media.

Administrative Duties

  • Document all fundraising campaigns and provide monthly ROI reports to Guidance Team.
  • Generate reports such as dashboards, mailing lists, monthly revenue projections, donor contacts, pledges, and actual v. projected to monitor major gifts and other funding programs.
  • Ensure that development staff is working with CFO on a monthly basis to align all grant and gift data.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Committed to Groundswell’s mission.
  • Experience working in social justice movements.
  • Proven track record in leading fundraising at a multi-million-dollar organization.
  • Knowledge of Annual Giving, Foundation/Corporate solicitations, Deferred Giving, Planned Giving, Communications and Special Events.
  • Strong experience using a race, class, gender lens in verbal and written communications.
  • Ability to write clearly and concisely as well as edit copy for clarity and grammatical accuracy.
  • Strong public speaking skills.
  • Five years or more of managerial experience within a $10M+ organization.
  • Excellent team building and facilitation skills.  
  • Demonstrated ability to engage in strategic analytical thinking and planning.
  • Excellent organizational skills with the ability to work gracefully under pressure.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct research and effectively communicate findings.
  • Ability to work both independently and within a team on multiple projects and across several time zones.
  • Good people skills and an infectious, positive attitude when communicating about Groundswell's work
  • Impeccable judgment and discretion in dealing with sensitive information.
  • Experience serving on an executive or other higher level organizational leadership team.
  • Background Check required

Education/Experience: Undergraduate degree or equivalent and/or training; Minimum 10 years’ experience with fundraising and donor/community relations activities and at least three years at the Director level.

Language Ability: Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with adaptable and persuasive style for different audiences and a keen eye for proofreading and editing. Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, donors, funders and the general public. Must be able to speak, read, write, and understand the primary language(s) used in the workplace.

Math Ability: Use general mathematical skills to read financial statements, create financial reports and create and track budgets.

Reasoning Ability: Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions.

Computer Skills: Experience with Constituent Relationship Management systems (CRM) (experience with Civi preferred). To perform this job successfully, an individual should have proficiency with Microsoft Office suite of programs including Excel, the ability to work within social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and basic web platforms, database software, web browsers, Gmail, Google Calendar and the basics of conferencing software.

Supervisory Responsibilities: Supervises Development Manager, Communications Director, and approximately five to ten consultants and outside vendors. 

Travel: Ability to travel up to 20 times/year, often cross-country, including overnight travel for events, donor meetings and Board meetings. Ability to drive. Valid driver’s license where employee is a resident.

The above job description is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of duties and standards of the position. Incumbents will follow any other instructions, and perform any other related duties, as assigned by their supervisor.


Annual salary $125,000 or commensurate with experience. This is a full-time, exempt position. Very generous benefits include fully paid for employee and family health, dental, vision, and matching 401K plan. Three weeks of vacation upon hire and a generous holiday schedule including the last week of December, as well as a flexible work schedule.

To Apply

Please email a resume, three professional references, two writing samples, and a cover letter that includes your salary expectations and describes why you feel you are a strong candidate for this position to: [email protected] by May 31, 2019. No phone calls, please. Due to the high volume of applications, only those selected for further discussion will be contacted. 

Equal Employment Opportunity: The Groundswell Fund is a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. We are committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and that enables each of us to realize our potential. Our work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of races, ethnicities, national origins, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, beliefs, religions, faiths and ideologies, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and levels of physical ability. A background check is required.

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