Director of Development (IJS)

About Us

The Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) seeks to revitalize Jewish life by teaching spiritual practices that cultivate mindfulness on the individual and communal levels, so that we can act with enriched wisdom, clarity, and compassion. We teach the core practices of Jewish mindfulness meditation, tikkun middot (the cultivation of ethical character traits), Torah study, prayer, and singing and yoga as embodied practices. These practices provide participants with valuable skills for effective leadership while creating opportunities to deepen their inner lives and connect meaningfully with the Divine. We utilize traditional and contemporary forms of authentic Jewish practice to enrich everyday life with Jewish wisdom, link the search for inner wholeness with tikkun olam (repair of the world), and create a vibrant, enduring Judaism now and for generations to come.

Founded In 1998, IJS now directly impacts the lives of hundreds of Jewish leaders annually through our immersive, cohort-based programs, and reaches thousands more through our online offerings and open retreats. Participants routinely describe the Institute’s work as “life-changing,” and many alumni are motivated volunteers and supporters.


About the Role

Reporting to and working closely with the Executive Director, the Director of Development leads the Development Team, which includes the Foundations Relations Manager and the Development Associate, to engage individual and institutional funders in supporting the work of IJS. The Director of Development also provides staff support for the Board of Directors of the Institute, and works in close partnership with the Board Development Committee. 

IJS’s current development budget is $1.2 million, divided roughly evenly between individual and foundation support. The organization also generates $1 million per year in program revenue. By FY23, the development budget is anticipated to include at least $1 million in annual fundraising from individual donors, with a significant increase in donors at the twenty-five, fifty- and one hundred thousand dollar levels.

This position is both strategic and tactical, as it is responsible for updating, managing, and executing the IJS annual development plan. The ideal candidate has a clear grasp of all core components of development, with particularly strong experience in individual giving, including major gifts, stewardship and annual giving campaigns (direct mail and digital). This role requires experience with development operations, including CRM management and budget-building.  The Director of Development will interface frequently with donors, will be the primary steward for gifts below $10,000, and will be a partner to the Executive Director in prospecting, developing, and stewarding all major gifts.

This position is geo-flexible with a preference for candidates located in New York or Chicago. IJS offers a competitive benefits package. Salary for this position will be $110,000-$120,000 commensurate with experience.

The Director of Development can expect her/his/their work to include:

Leadership and Development Strategy:

  • Contribute positively to organizational culture and reflect the Institute’s values
  • Actively engage with IJS staff and program participants to truly understand IJS’s mission and vision and to gather stories from participants for development communications
  • Manage and execute the IJS development and stewardship plans to achieve annual revenue goals
  • Update existing development and stewardship plans with new ideas, industry best practices, and data-driven analysis
  • Ensure a robust gift pipeline big enough to hit annual revenue goals by actively managing prospective and current individual donors and working with the Foundation Relations Manager on foundation pipeline
  • Oversee preparation, execution, and follow-up for board meetings, and serve as the staff leader and liaison to the Board of Directors’ Development Committee
  • Monitor and report regularly on the progress of the development program, provide actionable analysis for the Executive Director, Board, and Development Committee
  • Use a savvy approach to data and outcomes assessment to inform the strategic priorities of the development program
  • Maintain a collaborative partnership with the Development Committee and ensure that volunteers are effectively engaged in donor cultivation and stewardship efforts
  • Participate in strategic planning for IJS to ensure development plans align with and are in service of evolving organizational goals
  • Supervise the Foundation Relations Manager and Development Associate

Fundraising and Donor Relations

  • Working closely with the Board and Executive Director, dramatically strengthen the Institute’s major gifts program
  • Research and design moves management plans for major individual donors and support the Executive Director in execution of the plans
  • Energetically and proactively cultivate and nurture relationships between the Institute’s donors and donor prospects, Board members, volunteers, and other key constituents
  • Manage and develop existing initiatives, appeals, and campaigns focused on targeting new donors and stewarding existing donors
  • Coordinate and staff a robust schedule of development activities (parlor meetings, other events) in major cities where IJS has significant alumni presence
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for small and mid-size donors
  • Help develop creative and mission-focused fundraising messaging that effectively articulates the Institute’s impact
  • Project manage the ED’s fundraising work, directing him where and how best to spend his time and efforts on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis

Foundation Funding

  • Work with the Foundation Relations Manager to ensure IJS has a robust pipeline of local, regional, and national grant opportunities to pursue
  • Assist the Foundation Relations Manager and Executive Director in building personal relationships with foundation funders

Development Operations and Revenue Tracking

  • Establish and monitor annual and long-term revenue goals and budgets
  • Design a regular progress-to-goal report and development dashboard for the Executive Director and work with the Development Associate on regular updates
  • Spearhead development-focused data input and ensure accuracy in all records and development reports in the organization’s CRM
  • Work closely with Development Associate to ensure data integrity

Consistent and Creative Donor Stewardship

  • In partnership with the Development Associate, manage the execution of the Institute’s donor stewardship plan
  • Think creatively about the donor stewardship plan and update it annually with new and meaningful ways to connect donors and foster a sense of community
  • Collaborate with the Director of Marketing and Operations on the optimal design and content for a donor-focused annual report

About You

To be maximally successful in this role, you need to be:

  • A dynamic and poised professional who will represent IJS’s work with enthusiasm and authenticity
  • A natural people person who appreciates that everyone has an important story to tell
  • A practiced public speaker who can think on your feet
  • A stickler for details and quality
  • A creative thinker willing to test out new ideas
  • A strong self-motivator
  • An exceptional communicator and networker
  • Ready to work in an environment that is ambitious and fast-paced while simultaneously rooted in contemplative practice
  • Dedicated to data and systems and ready to utilize IJS systems to project manage all development work for the team
  • Prepared to travel several days a month (during the Coronavirus epidemic, travel suspended)


You need to have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree and 8-10 years of nonprofit development experience
  • Experience working remotely and independently
  • Demonstrable experience in major gift fundraising, with hands-on practice at special events, direct mail, and online giving campaigns
  • Experience managing and improving development operations, ranging from CRM management to budget monitoring to gift processing
  • Enthusiasm to propose fresh ideas without prompting by leadership, openness to feedback on those ideas, and a persistence to bring those ideas to life
  • A passion for doing transformative work with exceptional people while not taking yourself too seriously

How to Apply

Candidates should send the following to [email protected]:

  • Current resume
  • A cover letter with salary range expectations and available start date
  • A writing sample that is authored solely by the candidate and relevant to fundraising work, such as a thank you letter or a follow-up email after a donor meeting

Hours of Work, Holidays, and Other Benefits

  • Full-time, 40 hours per week, with a flexible work schedule and generous PTO
  • Federal and Jewish holiday schedule
  • Full coverage of health insurance for the employee
  • 1% SIMPLE IRA match after first year
  • Funding for professional development
  • Free tuition to all IJS online courses and 1 IJS retreat as a student


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