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Direct Response Fundraising Manager

Helen Keller International
New York, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Jan 5, 2022

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Position Type
Fundraising, Donor Relations
Social Services
Employment Type
Full Time

Helen Keller Intl

Job Announcement


Direct Response Fundraising Manager

(NYC metro area preferred; other locations may be considered.)



Helen Keller Intl is a global health organization dedicated to eliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition and diseases of poverty. Co-founded by Helen Keller – and guided by her fierce optimism and belief in human potential – the organization delivers life-changing health solutions to vulnerable families where the need is great but access to care is limited. In Africa, and Asia, and the US, Helen Keller’s proven, science-based programs empower people to create opportunities in their own lives and build lasting change.



The Core Donor Communities unit is an integral part of Helen Keller Intl’s entrepreneurial External Relations department, which is responsible for raising highly flexible unrestricted funds, and restricted support, for the organization’s nutrition, health and vision programs in Africa, Asia, and the United States. The External Relations Department shepherds thousands of individual donors, whom we view as partners in our life-saving work.


The Core Donor Communities unit solicits, cultivates and stewards individuals comprising the largest cohort of Helen Keller donors, i.e., those giving up to $5,000 annually. The Direct Response Fundraising Manager is a newly developed position on the team and is particularly relevant for candidates who have a background in building a direct response donor portfolio and wish to advance their experience by engaging philanthropic individuals more deeply.


Functional Relationships

Reporting to the Director, Core Donor Communities, the Manager will work closely with all External Relations colleagues, including the Vice President for External Relations, as well as programmatic and other staff. The External Relations department is structured so that the work of each unit supports and reinforces the work of every other unit. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally are essential to making this structure thrive.


Scope of the Position

As strategic partner to the Director, the Manager will spearhead cultivation, solicitation and stewardship efforts focused on one or more segments within the Core Donor portfolio. By interacting with donors in those segments (to determine their behaviors, preferences and desire for impact), the Manager will contribute to developing the effective outreach needed to convey Helen Keller’s value proposition, to be good stewards of donors’ continued philanthropy, and to inspire them to increase their giving. The Manager will also be responsible for sustaining fruitful relationships with key vendors and overseeing day-to-day flow in the development and production of a large set of engagements that serve the full Core Donor Communities portfolio throughout the year (via direct mail, email, and website).




  • Develop Strategies:
    • Partner with the Director to build and refine strategies for Core-level donor and prospect cultivation and fundraising campaigns; identify and monitor metrics that effectively gauge progress toward goals.
    • Serve as deputy lead in the development of department-wide, multi-channel fundraising campaigns that touch donors (and prospects) at all giving levels.
    • Maintain and apply thorough knowledge of industry trends in donor-centric fundraising strategies


  • Execute Strategies:
    • Engage and inspire giving among donors in at least one segment within the larger Core Donor Communities portfolio; develop the portfolio(s) in alignment with the departments’ strategic goals of retaining and upgrading donors’ giving.
    • Monitor and refine the intersection of distinct Core-level campaign efforts with departmental efforts targeting other constituent portfolios (e.g., major donors, non-donor subscribers).
    • Spearhead Core-level campaign follow-up, including developing and/or compiling performance reports; scheduling and leading internal campaign debriefings; and surfacing department feedback to incorporate into future plans.


  • Manage Partner and Staff Relationships:
    • Serve as primary contact for key external vendors, as well as internal partners, to sustain the day-to-day execution of 14 to 16 Core-level mail and email campaigns per year; monitor all stages of production and trouble-shoot.
    • Oversee internal schedules for producing campaign deliverables (mail plans, data queries, written copy, images, etc., for multiple platforms) that maintain alignment with vendor schedules and department calendars.
    • Ensure completion of procurement processes needed to hire vendors that serve the Core Donor Communities unit.
    • Mentor, supervise, and evaluate the Direct Response Officer as s/he contributes to achieving the strategic goals of the unit and the department as a whole.
    • Foster an atmosphere of professional growth and development by providing ongoing feedback to staff in a context of mutual respect that ensures accountability to beneficiaries, partners, colleagues, and donors.


  • Develop Content:
    • In partnership with Marketing and Communications colleagues and external vendors, help to develop well-branded communications that cultivate, solicit and steward Core-level donors and prospects.
    • Draft donor-facing copy as needed (e.g., donation forms, acknowledgment letters, components of appeals and cultivations); review, revise, and proofread vendor-generated copy.
    • Liaise with key Program and External Relations colleagues to implement and refine a pipeline that provides the most effective content (stories, photos, videos, etc.) for use in conveying the positive impact of Core donors’ support.


  • Manage additional projects as assigned.




  • Education: College degree in a related field; master’s degree a plus.
  • Experience: 6-8 years’ professional experience in building donor relationships and fundraising strategies; solid experience in direct response marketing a plus.
  • Experience managing vendor relationships; facility with the production of direct mail and email communications a plus.
  • Track record of working as a team player among colleagues and external partners; experience managing direct reports preferred.
  • Ability to work independently, moving multiple, complex projects through all stages, often amid competing deadlines.
  • Exceptional organizational skills that show a talent for, and appreciation of, project planning, scheduling, and adherence to timelines.
  • Solid writing, editing and proofreading skills, including experience in developing messaging for a diverse constituency of individuals across several outreach media (direct mail, email, donation platforms, etc.).
  • Excellent verbal communication skills, including diplomacy, patience and flexibility in managing diverse external and internal relationships.
  • Demonstrable respect for all persons, regardless of religion, ethnicity, class or gender with a high comfort level working in a diverse environment with a commitment to high professional, ethical standards.
  • High proficiency in Microsoft Office 365, experience with project management software (e.g., Basecamp, Asana), and facility with CRM software (Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge preferred).
  • Passion for Helen Keller Intl’s mission and institutional goals; knowledge of international development and global public health a plus.
  • Helen Keller Intl requires all staff who work in our offices and/or who provide services to beneficiaries of our US programs to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they have had COVID.
  • For the time being, Helen Keller also requires all staff to wear masks while providing program services and when in any open or public space in the office and to observe social distancing.


To Apply: Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to .  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.



In the spirit of our founder and namesake, Helen Keller is dedicated to building an inclusive workforce where diversity is fully valued.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer where all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities.  If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need to request an accommodation during the application or interview process, please contact us at the email above or call: +1 646-356-1789.

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