Development Director (826Michigan)

Mission + Vision

826michigan provides free high-quality writing programs to students ages 6-18 in Ypsilanti, Detroit, and Ann Arbor. Our mission is to inspire students to write confidently and skillfully in collaboration with volunteers in their communities. We began in 2005 as a small literary arts project, and have since grown to provide critical literacy support to thousands of students every year. Since our founding, we have delivered free youth writing and tutoring programs to over 11,000 students across Michigan.

We believe every student, especially those whose voices have been historically marginalized, deserves to write their truths and to be heard. Our creative writing and literacy programs focus on restoring humanity to young people by actively being anti-racist and trauma-informed. 

Our vision is to create a third space that radically heals and uplifts Black youth and students of color. Support from our community allows students in Ypsilanti, Detroit, and Ann Arbor to receive critical literacy support free-of-charge. For more information about our programs, please visit


Culture & Working Environment 

826michigan is part of 826 National, an award-winning national network of youth writing centers, founded by author Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, McSweeney’s). In addition to being a leading member of the 826 National network, 826michigan is also a vital part of the local community. The Ann Arbor Book Festival honored 826michigan as a “Leader in the Literary Arts” in 2012; Crain’s Detroit Business named 826michigan one of its Best-Managed Nonprofits in 2013; and 826 National was named in GOOD Magazine’s “30 Places We Want to Work.”

826michigan is a creative organization that highly values collaboration and innovative thinking. We encourage a culture of learning and highly value personal development; our organization uses a network-wide competency model, a framework for equitable and transparent professional growth and advancement. Staff are encouraged to pursue relevant learning opportunities both within our national network and beyond. Staff members work both independently and as part of a team. When we can safely return to our physical locations, we work in an open office space. Always, and during the current COVID-19 crisis especially, we strive to be supportive and accommodating to employee needs for scheduling and work styles. While we love robots, we aim to create a humanizing work environment and prioritize work/life balance. 

At 826michigan, we believe in a fundraising model that focuses on channeling resources back into the populations we serve. Our students are at the center of our decision-making. We believe in building strong funding relationships that are transparent, and we believe our donors are important parts of our larger community. We are actively seeking ways to connect with other organizations, as we are advocates of mutual support. 

Commitment to Inclusion

As an organization committed to encouraging youth in their creative expression, personal growth, and academic success, 826michigan recognizes the importance of diversity at all levels and in all aspects of our work. In order for us to serve students in a manner that is respectful, culturally sensitive, and effective, we must collectively and intentionally invest in building a diverse and inclusive organization where all are safe and welcomed. 826michigan prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, nationality, marital status, English fluency, parental status, citizenship, military service, or disability of any person employed by or seeking employment with 826michigan. 826michigan is an equal opportunity employer.


About the Position

826michigan seeks a visionary Development Director who can lead the charge in building a comprehensive fundraising strategy for the long-term advancement and sustainability of our organization and the students we serve. The Development Director oversees all aspects of our Development Department, including the design and execution of a comprehensive fundraising strategy that focuses on securing the resources our students need to thrive. This will include planned campaigns around annual and major gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations, endowments, and special events. 826michigan is looking for a results-focused, committed individual who has a passion for creative writing and educational equity. 

The Development Director reports to the Executive Director, and is supported by the Development Team. The Development team consists of one Development AmeriCorps VISTA member, a volunteer development committee, and the Development & Communications Manager.

Key Responsibilities

  • Build and lead a multi-year fundraising strategy that matches 826michigan’s programmatic and organizational growth goals. 
  • Serve as the principal fundraising strategist on the full fundraising plan, including individual and corporate giving, and foundation and government grants
  • Manage and grow a portfolio of individual gifts by cultivating meaningful, long-term relationships with current and prospective donors
  • Prepare and oversee the research, completion, and submission of high-quality grant proposals and reports
  • Direct the creation and execution of major appeals and fundraising events including cocktail parties, dinners, peer-to-peer fundraisers, benefit shows, larger annual events, and virtual events
  • Coordinate the development and production of collateral materials related to fundraising campaigns, events, programs, and activities (Annual Report, Direct Mail Campaigns, etc.)
  • Build and oversee systems that allow for greater efficiency and productivity. This includes overseeing the donor database and ensuring the accuracy of donor records utilizing technological platforms like Salesforce, Google Applications, and Microsoft Excel
  • Strategize and lead the Development Team through all fundraising activities, supervising development staff, contractors, and volunteers as they support the development department 
  • Participate as part of the organization’s leadership team in the development and management of the strategic direction for 826michigan and integrate the team’s work to support the organizational vision and mission


  • 5+ years of fundraising experience, with a minimum of two years of experience leading a team and managing staff
  • Demonstrated ability to solicit and close major gifts, especially those in the five- to six-figure range
  • Proven experience and proficiency at developing and maintaining a large number and wide range of relationships, both externally and internally in an organization
  • Experience leading development programs at comparable non-profit organizations, preferred
  • Proficient with computer applications—a thorough understanding of the Google Applications, Microsoft Office Excel, and donor development software (Salesforce and basic data analysis experience preferred)
  • Ability to travel between 826michigan’s primary offices in Detroit’s Eastern Market and downtown Ann Arbor as well as  program and community sites for donor meetings and events, when it is safe to do so again

Compensation & Benefits

  • This is a full-time position. For the 2020-21 school year it will be primarily remote. Our hours of operation are generally 10-6 Monday through Friday, though some flexibility in scheduling can be accommodated, especially during this year. Some evenings and weekends will be required for special events 
  • The starting salary range for this position is $65,000 to $75,000 annually. Salary offer will be dependent on experience.
  • For this position we offer a compensation package that includes medical and dental insurance with 826michigan contributing $500 per month to the cost of premiums. It is our policy, when an employee is eligible for benefits, to provide the opportunity to purchase benefits for spouses, children, and domestic partners.
  • We provide two weeks of vacation time and one week of sick time per fiscal year (July-June) as well as a summer break week in August and limited office hours the last week of December. After two years of service, employees earn three weeks of vacation time. 



Please complete our application form, including uploading the following materials. The application deadline is September 19, though we will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis so you are encouraged to submit your application soon!

  • Resume
  • Detailed cover letter answering the following questions:

o What in particular about 826michigan interests you?

o What special skills do you possess that would help you in this job?

o Tell us one thing about you that we can’t learn from your resume.


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