Director of Development, National Book Foundation

National Book Foundation
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
May 25, 2021
Jun 23, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

The National Book Foundation is seeking an experienced development professional to join a small, dynamic team in the full-time, senior-level role of Director of Development. The Director of Development will lead all aspects of the Foundation’s fundraising and cultivation efforts, while working closely with the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and Board of Directors. The National Book Foundation is in a period of both evolution and growth, and we are seeking a strategic leader who can help access the resources that enable the Foundation to reach a new level of impact, with a heavy focus on individual giving and donor cultivation. The Director of Development will provide intellectual support and leadership for all development efforts and activities, including: the launch of the National Book Foundation Leadership Circle, a giving society/advisory group designed to strengthen the Foundation’s network of and engagement with high-level individual donors; annual giving campaigns; management of existing Foundation and government grants, and research of new opportunities; high-level management of the Foundation’s donor database and tracking / communication systems with operational support from the Administrative Assistant; and maintaining the Foundation’s Book Council (junior committee). This position is based in New York, though may begin remotely as needed during the Covid-19 pandemic.


About the National Book Foundation

The National Book Foundation is building a nation of readers. We believe books have a unique capacity to help people learn, grow, and engage critically with the complex world around us. Our goal is to make literary culture welcoming and accessible to everyone.

The National Book Foundation emerged out of and continues to present the National Book Awards, one of America’s most prestigious literary prizes with a record of helping to shape and expand our literary canon. For readers and writers alike, the Awards are a major annual event that focuses national attention on books of the highest quality and relevance. While the Awards remain central to our work, they are embedded in a rich mix of programs that collectively encourage all people to participate in a radical and transformative act: reading. The Foundation believes that reading help us recognize the humanity of others and meaningfully address the defining issues of our times. What books embody – nuance, empathy, deep reflection and analysis, storytelling that gives meaning to our varied lives – are precisely the values we want to elevate. 

In a typical year, the National Book Foundation raises between $1.5 and $2 million, primarily from Foundation grants, government support, and corporate sponsorship of the National Book Awards, with individual giving remaining a largely untapped resource.

Primary Responsibilities: 

Leadership Circle

  • Work closely with the Executive Director and Fundraising & Development Committee on the launch of the Leadership Circle and implementation of the accompanying individual giving strategy, with an eye towards ambitious growth, including: donor prospecting, stewardship, and in some cases solicitation
  • Coordinate and oversee donor cultivation efforts, including special events; manage donor benefits, including identifying opportunities within the Foundation’s existing slate of activities; oversee twice annual meetings of the Leadership Circle

Grants & Fundraising

  • Collaborate with Deputy Director and relevant program staff on all new and existing government and foundation funding applications, renewals, and reports, including meeting with local government representatives and program officers, when appropriate
  • Oversee the logistics of year-round fundraising campaigns
  • Maintain the Foundation’s grant calendar and ensure all deadlines are communicated and met
  • Identify and cultivate new foundations and avenues of support
  • Manage individual appeals and end-of-year mailings, with support from Administrative Assistant
  • Ensure external materials (web, print) are up-to-date and funder-friendly

Development & Organizational Planning

  • Help develop and implement the next phases of a holistic fundraising plan, as part of the Foundation’s forthcoming strategic plan
  • Contribute to the development and execution of strategies around potential endowment or capital campaigns, in collaboration with the Executive Director and Board leadership, leveraging Leadership Circle support

Board of Directors, Councils, and Committees

  • Support the planning of, attend, and document meetings with the Board of Directors and Board Committee meetings, when appropriate; maintain up-to-date information on Board Members (contact info, professional activities)
  • Staff the Fundraising & Development Committee to ensure Board participation in relevant fundraising efforts; staff the Board Development Committee, with a focus on recruiting new Board members who can effectively support fundraising efforts
  • Oversight of Book Council (junior committee) including scheduling meetings, nomination process, and supervision of all Book Council activities, including reinvigorating the group after a period of inactivity during the pandemic

Database Management

  • Advise and develop the creation and implementation of any high-level systems related to development activities; supervise the Administrative Assistant’s use of the eTapestry database for coding, tracking, tagging, and list-pulling for all development activities
  • Coordinate with Manager of Marketing and Communications and other staff to ensure lists from special events and other organizational activities are synchronized with development efforts


We are looking for applicants with at least 5-10 years of managing development activities, preferably within an arts or cultural organization, and a proven track record that blends major institutional fundraising with the capacity to grow an organization’s individual giving base. Candidates should possess: excellent verbal and written communication skills; exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail; ability to handle multiple, simultaneous tasks and work under deadlines; comfort interfacing with new and potential donors; and enthusiasm about working and collaborating with a small, passionate team. Applicants should be proficient with the Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite, and database programs (preferably eTapestry). A passion for reading and literature is a must. Some evening and weekend work, as well as some travel, is required.


This is a full-time exempt position with a generous benefits package. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

To Apply:

Send resume and cover letter to with the subject line “Director of Development”. Review of applications will begin in mid-May 2021 and continue until the position is filled. Position begins in summer 2021. No phone calls, please.

The National Book Foundation is committed to inclusivity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, nationality, marital status, parental status, military service, or disability.

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