Development Director (SYA)

A Shared Vision

Service Year Alliance believes that a service year should be a common expectation and opportunity for every young American, and works everyday to realize that vision. The force of service years at scale can repair broken cities, uplift and educate children at risk, and empower communities struggling with poverty. It could unite the most diverse nation in history, binding people of different backgrounds through common cause. It can inspire young Americans to serve for a year, and in the process, forge them into the leaders for life our nation needs.

Our Vision

A service year becomes a common expectation and common opportunity, and within a generation, every year, one million young Americans engage in a service year, solving important problems while transforming their own lives.

Why Now: Broken Citizenship and Pressing Challenges

Today, the need for a common experience of citizenship in our country is more poignant than ever. We are drifting apart. Contrary to the illusion of constant connectivity, Americans are isolated from one another—geographically, ethnically, economically, religiously, and culturally. Traditional forms of civic participation have atrophied. Many Americans’ sole contribution to the country is through paying taxes—not nearly enough to bind people to their communities. Only one in three eligible voters turned out in the last election. Less than one percent of Americans serve in the military. There’s a chance—right now—to inspire a renewed sense of citizenship capable of solving our biggest challenges and creating the leaders our nation needs.

Neither the idea of national service nor our vision are new, but this moment in time tells us they are both deeply needed and never before more achievable.   

Position Description

We are seeking an entrepreneurial Director of Development to support the development of our fundraising strategy and lead day-to-day fundraising execution. Specifically, the Director will be responsible for contributing towards and executing a strategy that allows us to fund the ongoing work across a range of needs including: the state-of-the art technology platform, advocacy/policy, marketing and recruitment, place-based and issue-area growth, and more. As a Director, you will be one of the organization’s key leaders. You will also provide critical guidance and support to organizational leadership, our board of directors, our biggest investors, and other key partners.

We are attempting to raise $40-$50 million between 2016-2019 in order to execute our four-year business plan. This is more money for this type of work than has ever been raised previously. If that scares you more than excites you, this isn’t for you. If it excites you more than it scares you, this will be an amazing experience and a highlight of your career. Most importantly, you will play a key role in impacting millions and millions of lives, and redefining what it means to grow up in America.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Play a leading role in the development and management of SYA’s fundraising plans, from big picture strategy to the details -- executing, refining, expanding, and doing whatever needs to get done in order to meet our very ambitious goals
  • Support major individual gifts, foundation grants, and corporate partners
  • Identify and generate leads for new individual major donors, foundation prospects and corporate partners
  • Develop a sophisticated cultivation and stewardship plan that deploys the right mix of strategies, tactics, and people
  • Plan and attend meetings with current and potential supporters, and accompany leadership at high-level fundraising meetings
  • Write fundraising letters, appeals, grant proposals, and progress reports
  • Staff and support meetings with prospects, preparing materials and handling subsequent action items and follow-up
  • Continue improving the systems and processes necessary to support our partners and board members who are actively helping to secure resources
  • Ensure all development activity is tracked and used to improve development operations


  • An unrelenting belief that service years transform individuals, communities, and the nation
  • 5-8 years of relevant experience, including experience at a startup, helping a small organization expand, or launching new initiatives within larger organizations
  • Strong manager with ability to get the most out of your team, not by micromanaging but by empowering them and giving them room to lead
  • A track record of raising five, six, and seven figure investments from a variety of funding sources
  • Outstanding communication skills: you can deliver a powerful pitch, write a compelling concept paper, and confidently facilitate strategy sessions with high level investors and partners
  • Funders you’ve worked with would say you have unquestionable trust, you’re a valued thought-partner and strategic thinker, and you execute at a high level
  • Creative and clear thinker -- you can generate new ideas, quickly work through strategic challenges, and turn rough ideas it into compelling funding opportunities
  • Bias for taking initiative
  • You thrive in an entrepreneurial environment where there is a lot to figure out, systems to put into place, and evolving strategies

About Service Year Alliance

Service Year Alliance is working to make a year of paid, full-time service — a service year — a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans. A service year before, during, or after college — or as a way to get back on track — gives young people the chance to transform their lives, make an impact in their community, and become the active citizens and leaders our nation needs. Expanding service years has the power to revitalize cities, uplift and educate children at risk, and empower communities struggling with poverty. It can unite the most diverse nation in history, binding people of different backgrounds through common cause. Service Year Alliance is asking nonprofits, higher education institutions, cities and states, companies and foundations, policymakers of both parties, and people of all ages to join the movement.

Apply Here

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