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Director of Development (Job ID: 2021-2682)

The Brookings Institution
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Sep 16, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Donor Relations
Other Fields
Employment Type
Full Time
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The Brookings Institution

Equal-Opportunity Employer: It is Brookings policy to provide equal employment opportunity for all of its employees and applicants without regard to their actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, personal appearance, citizenship status, family responsibilities, gender identity or expression, genetic information, matriculation, political affiliation, veteran status, or any other prohibited basis of discrimination as required by law.

Director of Development (Job ID: 2021-2682)


Job ID: 2021-2682
Type: Regular, Introductory
# of Openings: 1
Category: Development
1. Resident Employee


Join one of the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tanks!

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.

We bring together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world, rooted in open-minded inquiry and representing diverse points of view, who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis. Research topics cover a full range of public policy issues in economics, foreign policy, development, governance and metropolitan policy.

With fair and transparent business practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that offers both professional and personal development opportunities, Brookings offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors.

The Office of Development manages the Trustees, institutional partnerships, leadership giving, the International Advisory Council, the Brookings Council, the Brookings Society, and overall fundraising strategies for the Executive Office and Institution at large.

Brookings Central Development Vision Statement: In Brookings Central Development, we aim to:

  • Build and nurture relationships with donors and prospects to raise critical financial resources in support of the institution’s fiscal health and advance the mission of Brookings.
  • Safeguard Brookings’s institutional values of Quality, Independence, and Impact.
  • Support our Board of Trustees in carrying out its fiduciary and governance responsibilities to protect and sustain the institution.
  • Amplify the impact of our scholars’ research through compelling and innovative programming for our donors and associated groups.
  • Collaborate closely with our colleagues across Brookings by providing best practice development counsel and services to benefit Central and all research programs.
  • In everything we do, strive for excellence, act with integrity, communicate with honesty, show respect and collegiality, be proactive, collaborative, creative, and solutions oriented.

Please note: This position is based in Brookings' Washington, DC office. In response to COVID-19, Brookings staff are temporarily teleworking. The person hired for this position must be willing to move to or currently reside in Washington DC, Maryland, or Northern Virginia by their date of hire.


Ready to contribute to Brookings success?

Reporting to the Managing Director of Development, the Director of Development is charged with managing the strategy, activity, and staff of Brookings Central Development's regionally focused fundraising team. As a member of the Central Development leadership team, the Director will bring a strong data and analytical orientation to shape goals and metrics for the immediate and longer-term sustainable growth of the core needs and President’s Special Initiatives Fund revenue streams. The Director will build and implement an integrated, well-coordinated, donor-centric approach to individual and corporate gift strategy that increases resource generation across Brookings to meet ambitious goals. S/he will be experienced in volunteer management and work closely with and support current donors, including trustees, to identify new prospects and build and grow the overall donor base and prospect pipeline.

The Director will lead and mentor a team of three and personally manage a fundraising portfolio of major gift donors and prospects, including members of the International Advisory Council (IAC), a marquee donor group comprised of international business and thought leaders who support the President’s Special Initiatives Fund. S/he will work closely with the Vice President of Development to staff the President and the IAC co-chairs on IAC strategic planning and have responsibility for IAC activities, including meetings and programming and new member recruitment. The Director will be responsible for leading, developing, and implementing best-in-class engagement strategies to cultivate and steward IAC members as well as the Brookings Associates, Society, and Council (individuals and corporations) in close collaboration with the Associate Director of Donor Engagement and Special Events and the Associate Directors of Development. S/he will ensure strategic alignment between frontline fundraisers, donor engagement and special events, and donor communications and relations to create a holistically meaningful experience for donors that provide critical unrestricted and flexible funds to Brookings.

The Director will be a sophisticated and action-oriented fundraising leader and relationship builder who combines high emotional intelligence and a data-driven, analytical approach to meeting and exceeding goals and motivating staff and key volunteers. S/he will be committed to creating a positive and productive work environment that strives for excellence, collegiality, and strong results.

Development (70%)

  • In close partnership with the Vice President of Development and Managing Director of Development, employ a data-driven approach to set annual fundraising goals and create and implement sound strategies for increasing revenue for core needs, the President’s Special Initiatives Fund (PSIF), and key institutional research priorities.
  • Build and maintain a personal portfolio of major gift prospects and donors with the capacity of making gifts of six-figures or more. Working closely with the VP of Development, provide strategic direction for the International Advisory Council and PSIF fundraising, and work with the Vice President of Development to staff the President and the IAC co-chairs. Ensure robust and compelling programming working in close coordination with the Director of Board Relations and Associate Director of Donor Engagement and Special Events.
  • Lead the fundraising team in developing and executing strategies to secure and renew annual core needs and PSIF gifts while also moving donors through the pipeline toward larger major gifts. In addition to achieving core needs and PSIF goals, set expectation for fundraisers to be donor-centric and opportunistic in raising larger scholar- or project-focused gifts.
  • Lead a comprehensive effort across the development team—leveraging best practices in prospect research, peer solicitation, donor engagement, and stewardship—to build a robust prospect pipeline of individuals and corporations. Partner with the Vice President of Development, Managing Director of Development, and Director of Board Relations to continually identify new prospect leads through trustee and other donor engagement. Proactively seek leads from volunteers and provide robust support and timely follow up to drive prospect qualification and peer solicitation Establish and track individual fundraiser and team productivity and fundraising goals and coach and support staff toward meeting these goals. Work closely with the Director of Development Services to ensure timely updates of fundraising activity, proposal data, and movement of prospects and donors through the fundraising cycle. Closely monitor monthly revenue and fundraiser activity reports and track progress to goal. On a monthly basis, in partnership with the Managing Director, brief the VP on fundraising progress and key activities.
  • Work with the Vice President of Development and Managing Director ofDevelopment to amplify the work of the research programs, with the goal of strategically coordinating activity for the maximum benefit of Brookings. Build and sustain strong working relationships with the research program senior directors of development through thoughtful communication and engagement and proactive coordination.

Strategic Leadership and Management (30%)

    Manage, coach, and mentor the two Associate Directors of Development and Development Coordinator on the Central Development fundraising team toward program and individual success by establishing clear performance metrics. Guided by data and metrics and qualitative awareness of fundraising staff activity, drive toward strong fundraising performance and meet and exceed established goals. Partner closely with the Director of Development Services on prospect research and management, data and reporting, and donor communications and stewardship to align on strategy and execution across shared goals and objectives. Mentor fundraising team and proactively create opportunities for staff training and professional development. Serve as a visible and effective spokesperson for Central Development to build trust and effective partnerships across Brookings. As a member of the Central Development leadership team, help shape the strategic direction and long-term vision of the program. Stay up to date on philanthropic, social, and policy trends related to fundraising,policy research, and think tanks that may impact comprehensive and diversified giving at Brookings.


Ready to make an impact? In this role, you will support Brookings values of collegiality, respect, inclusion, diversity and community, and bring the following qualifications:

Education/Experience Requirements:

The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 8 years of successful fundraising experience in a complex and dynamic institution, preferably in a university, research institution, or similar organization, that includes a proven history of successful solicitations and understanding and appreciation of fundraising from annual fund-level gifts and five-, six- and seven-figure gifts. This experience will include leadership and management experience, developing and overseeing professional staff, as well as directing day-to-day activities and operations. A demonstrated ability to develop and execute strategy with a strong data-driven and analytical orientation is critical. Must be authorized to work for any employer in the U.S.

Knowledge/Skills Requirements:

The Director will be a sophisticated, proactive, and diplomatic individual, possessing high emotional intelligence, professional maturity, credibility, patience, good judgment, honesty, and integrity. Must have a commitment to teamwork, accountability, and collaborative decision-making. Affinity for the mission of Brookings with the ability to serve as a compelling ambassador for the Institution. Comprehensive understanding of institutional development, including campaigns, annual giving, major gifts fundraising, planned giving, and corporate and foundation fundraising. Keen understanding of the strategic planning and execution of donor engagement and special events that are coordinated with development staff and activities, while also being highly complementary to an overall fundraising, cultivation, and stewardship strategy. Experience successfully leading and managing a diverse team.

The Director will possess the ability to conceptualize, plan, and implement a strategic approach to building relationships and securing philanthropic support from individuals, corporations, and foundations, including setting ambitious, realistic, and measurable goals, developing strategies for prospects, prioritizing activities, soliciting gifts, and orchestrating the involvement of volunteers and institutional leadership. Demonstrated strong and persuasive oral and written communication skills, with the ability to successfully interact with high-level individuals in diverse settings in a polished and persuasive manner. Strong analytical, organizational, and planning skills. A forward-thinking, thoughtful leader who can design and build successful, well-designed fundraising and donor relations strategies for Brookings and its programs. Excellent project management, analytical, and organizational skills including influencing, leading, negotiating, and delegating abilities. Ability to manage multiple projects, stakeholders, and deadlines and maintain disciplined adherence to program goals.

Additional Information:

What can we offer you? Brookings provides a generous benefit package that is comprehensive and includes both traditional benefits and unique offerings.

Brookings requires that all applicants submit a cover letter and resume. Please attach your cover letter and resume as one document when you apply. Please note: if you have applied to more than one Brookings job opening you should add a position-specific cover letter as a separate attachment.

Successful completion of a background investigation is required for employment at Brookings.

Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms. We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.


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