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Chief Development Officer

Challenged Athletes Foundation
California, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Dec 9, 2021

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Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Major Gifts
Employment Type
Full Time
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Job Description: Chief Development Officer


Reports to: Chief Executive Director


The Organization


The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports and fitness.  CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence, and enhances quality of life.  Since 1994, more than $134 million has been raised and over 35,000 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact another 60,000 individuals each year. The CAF is headquartered in San Diego with regional offices in New York City, San Francisco and Boise, Idaho.  This is a full-time, exempt position based out of the San Diego office.


Position Overview 


Working in partnership with the Chief Executive Director and the Development team, the CPO will conceive, plan and implement CAF’s national major gift program with strategies for individual major and legacy gifts to support the work of CAF.  S/he will lead the implementation of strategies for the cultivation and solicitation of a portfolio of major gift donors & prospects consisting of individuals and family foundations with a giving capability of $100,000 over three years. The CPO will also identify and pursue opportunities for gifts of assets or other non-cash gifts, such as planned gifts and real estate.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Conceive, plan, and implement a major gifts program for CAF that ensures an achievable strategy and timeline in support of the organization’s campaigns/programs, planned giving, and other giving programs.
  • Qualify and manage an active portfolio of approximately 125 donors and prospects, including individuals and family foundations; manage CAF’s Southern California and Idaho prospect lists as well as key donors outside of regions.
  • Lead the creation and justification of CAF’s cases for support, integrating our organization’s current funding needs and opportunities, CAF data, relevant industry statistics and societal influences.   
  • Create and implement personalized cultivation/stewardship plans and gift requests for each donor within portfolio, based on their philanthropic focus and maximizing their giving to CAF.
  • Coordinate major gifts plans and solicitations with CAF’s ongoing campaigns and event activities.
  • Actively engage in all aspects of the gift cycle:
    - Initiate contacts with potential leadership and major gift donors
    - Develop appropriate cultivation strategies for each donor

- Move potential donors in an appropriate and timely fashion toward solicitation and closure

- Make solicitations when appropriate

-Design and implement donor recognition strategies and events

- Maintain stewardship contacts with donors

  • Work with development staff on organization wide stewardship program, wealth screening and preparing profiles of current and prospective donors; establish and refine benchmarks for department research processes.
  • Engage with CAF’s System Administrator to maximize donor records for quality, accuracy, and screening for prospects.
  • Support the fundraising efforts of high-level volunteers, including members of the Board of Directors and senior staff in securing new and renewed gifts.
  • With the Chief Executive Director, create and manage budgets, track, and report on progress to goal, including contacts, gifts, pledges and planned gifts.
  • Set and meet fundraising objectives, evaluating results and developing corrective strategies as needed.
  • Work in partnership with the Northeast and Northern California Development staff.
  • Lead the effort to create gift-related policies and procedures and ensure ethical compliance, as defined by the Association for Fundraising Professionals.




  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 7 years major gift experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to initiate major gift fundraising strategies, including individualized cultivation, solicitation and recognition strategies resulting in gifts of $50,000 or more
  • Knowledge of fundraising concepts and techniques, including gift planning and procedures, as well as current trends in charitable giving, particularly in the areas major gifts and legacy gifts.
  • Successful experience in building and maintaining long-term relationships with fundraising constituents, including donors.
  • Proficiency with CRM databases (preferably Salesforce) as a central tool to development tracking and efficiency.  
  • Proficiency with software tools including Microsoft office programs and ability to create presentations/packages for donor solicitations
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with teams, cross functionally with Board members and volunteers.
  • Ability to manage projects, establish and monitor priorities, maintain flexibility and meet deadlines with little direct supervision in a fast-paced environment.
  • Successful experience in managing and tracking multiple prospects and donors.
  • Exceptionally strong internal communicator, with strategic thinking, analytical skills and attention to detail.
  • Ability to present and persuasively convey the mission of CAF to diverse groups including donors, prospects, corporate executives, board members and others who are important to the organization’s overall prosperity.
  • Willingness to travel and be available for work in the evenings or weekends related to events or site visits.
  • Personal commitment to health and fitness and an understanding of its positive influence.
  • Ability to interact with physically challenged persons and be an advocate of disabled athletics.
  • Ability to use constituent engagement software to achieve desired results. 



All applicants are required to provide their 1. salary requirements when submitting a 2. cover letter and 3. resume to

CAF offers a competitive compensation package, commensurate with experience. Offer of employment is contingent upon successful background check.

Diversity and inclusion are a critical component of our business strategy, mission and vision. We welcome candidates from an array of backgrounds and experiences to join our team. Learn more about our commitment here: 

CAF is an equal opportunity employer (EOE) and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion,  gender, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, marital status, amnesty, or veteran status.

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