VP & Chief Development Officer

February 23, 2016
Based at GRAD office, Houston
Job Type


DEPT: Development

REPORTS TO: Chief Executive Officer

Project GRAD's mission is to improve lives in low-income communities by helping students develop and achieve their educational aspirations.

The Chief Development Officer is responsible for generating new and sustaining current philanthropic gifts on behalf of the organization and is the administrative leader responsible for the planning, implementation, management, and oversight of all fundraising and donor relations activities on behalf of Project GRAD. The Chief Development Officer is responsible for the work of GRAD's development and communications staff and for the successful coordination of development and communications efforts with GRAD's executive team, board of directors, and program leaders.

As a result of the work of the Chief Development Officer, the organization will strengthen its capacity to achieve its mission through the successful development of new donors and increased engagement of existing donors.


  1. Develop and execute annual and multi-year fundraising goals for foundation, corporation, and individual donors, prioritizing efforts for maximum benefit and identifying necessary resources, reporting, and responsibilities.
  2. Execute GRAD's outreach and communications efforts, working with board members and others as appropriate to achieve goals within approved timelines and budgets.
  3. Direct and support all development and communications functions including: prospect research, identification & cultivation, proposal development, writing, submission and tracking, grant reporting, major gift solicitations, donor stewardship, volunteer engagement, special events, any future fundraising campaign responsibilities.
    Manage the stewardship, gift accounting, and reporting functions, ensuring that all donors receive personal and timely acknowledgment of gifts and are informed on a regular basis of the work and achievements of the organization. Oversee the maintenance of a current database of all donors and prospective donors.
  4. Develop, recommend, and secure approval for the implementation of new or improved systems related to the work of development and communications.
  5. Engage and clearly communicate with all stakeholders (GRAD leadership/staff, Board of Directors, funders, and partners) related to fundraising, donor stewardship, and program outcomes.
  6. Develop and execute collaborative communication efforts with strategic partners including other community-based organizations, school systems, and community colleges and universities


  • Report to the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director and manage a staff of 2 full-time employees while facilitating and coordinating communications with the board of directors, the development committee of the board, and others to plan, execute, and facilitate fundraising strategies.
  • Serve as the primary staff liaison with the development committee of the board to coordinate fundraising meetings, prospect identification and research, prospect cultivation and solicitation, and donor stewardship activities.
  • Serve as a resource to the board of directors on all matters related to fundraising, making periodic reports to the board on the progress of the development efforts.
  • Issue regular progress reports to stakeholders including periodic results, recent activity, priority contacts to be made, and next actions.
  • Facilitate communications with media to represent GRAD to the community.

The Chief Development Officer will be a “fundraising generalist” with a minimum of five years of experience overseeing multiple concurrent development programs and activities.
The successful candidate will have a personal record to demonstrate:

  • a proven history of successful leadership in the field of development, working with integrity and judgment;
  • a passionate commitment to the overall mission of the organization;
  • ability to develop and steward relationships with major donors;
  • ability to work alongside and to communicate effectively with board members, external consultants, and GRAD staff;
  • personal relationship skills to work with a broad universe of individuals and institutions who have an interest in the current and future operations of Project GRAD;
  • capacity to balance planning and execution to address the immediate and long-term priorities of the organization;
  • exceptional communications skills for both verbal and written presentations;
  • leadership skills to direct, support, and motivate staff, members of the board, major donors, volunteers, community leaders, and other individuals interested in development programs;
  • a working knowledge of the psychology, principles, and techniques of volunteer recruitment and management, major gift solicitation, and non-profit management;
  • proficiency in grant writing and an understanding of the process of foundation, corporation, and individual prospect research, cultivation, and solicitation;
  • desire and ability to work in team environment with a highly collaborative work style;
  • management and administration skills for successful execution of multiple concurrent plans and programs;
  • familiarity with computers and fundraising software, as well as a knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software;
  • history of positive working relationships within Houston area philanthropic communities.


  • B.A., B.S. or equivalent degree;
  • Experience in professional fundraising with major gift program accomplishments;
  • A working knowledge of grant solicitation for government, foundations, and corporations;
  • Experience in professional administration, or appropriate transferable professional experiences in business development, sales, program promotions, public relations communications, or project managerial administration;
  • Excellent verbal, visual, and written communication skills.
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