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Assistant Director, Development

Big Shoulders Fund
Illinois, United States
Competitive Salary
Posted Date
May 17, 2023


Big Shoulders Fund is an independent tax-exempt charitable organization that serves lower-income schools which provide a values-based education for children, thereby contributing to stronger communities.  We serve students in 92 schools in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. Each school is a vital resource for students, families, and communities, with research showing that when a Big Shoulders Fund school closes, the surrounding area experiences an increase in violence and a decrease in social cohesion.  

For more than thirty-six years, Big Shoulders Fund has helped Chicago’s children achieve their dreams through access to high quality education. We accomplish this by investing more than $40 million annually in scholarship support and enrichment programming for students; operational improvements for schools; cultivation of talent pipelines for school personnel from new teachers through veteran principals; and professional development and support for educators and leaders – all with the goal of not just strengthening schools, but whole communities, while preparing students for life-long success.  A recent survey of a sample of alumni of Big Shoulders Fund schools showed African American alumni graduated from college at a rate more than twice the national average and Hispanic alumni graduated at a rate more than three times the national average. 

The Assistant Director, Development is a key member of the development team, helping to meet fundraising goals to carry out Big Shoulders Fund’s work in the city of Chicago. The individual in this role is responsible for developing, managing, and growing partnerships and contributing to the overall fundraising efforts and growth of Big Shoulders Fund.   

The AD, Development serves as a solicitor for individual supporter gift commitments, helping donors accomplish philanthropic goals and ambitions through a long-term relationship with our organization. The AD is responsible for executing a comprehensive donor stewardship, cultivation and solicitation program that supports partnerships with Big Shoulders Fund’s donors, fostering their lifetime engagement.  

The AD, Development must demonstrate a proven track record of soliciting gifts. Additionally, this individual should have experience in gift agreements, donor recognition, stewardship activities/events, and segmentation of a donor base in order to identify donors whose commitment could be encouraged to grow. 


The AD, Development will need to effectively utilize Salesforce to maintain records, analyze donor research material to target appropriate givers, and track, evaluate and present giving information to the Development Team. The AD will additionally work closely with the Big Shoulders Fund Communications and Marketing team to develop collateral materials. 



  • Participate as both a frontline fundraiser and a strategic manager of relationships for a portfolio of 100-150 donors and prospects. 
  • Manage and execute the annual giving and donor stewardship calendar. 
  • Collaborate with colleagues across teams in the identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of assigned prospects and donors. 
  • Solicit gifts at the $1,000+ level to contribute to the development program's goals as defined by leadership and annual development plan. 
  • Work with the Director, Donor Stewardship, Cultivation, and Major Gifts in positioning the leadership giving program for Big Shoulders Fund’s current and future campaign priorities. 
  • Coordinate donor stewardship and recognition activities including donor visits, events, and appropriate recognition of major gifts. 
  • Provide administrative support for the development team including ensuring moves management data integrity. 
  • Assist the Director, Donor Stewardship, Cultivation, and Major Gifts and other development leaders with the preparation of reports, collateral, and proposals for use by staff, administration, trustees, and volunteers. 
  • Provide consistent tracking, monitoring, and reporting of engagement and fundraising progression to achieve leadership giving goals. 


  • This role requires availability to work some evenings and weekends for Big Shoulders Fund events. 
  • As a member of Big Shoulders Fund staff, the Assistant Director, Development will attend and support the facilitation of fundraising events, service days, and other programs that further the mission of Big Shoulders Fund through its outreach to donors, communities and schools. The AD, Development must also work cooperatively with Big Shoulders Fund staff in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, and perform other duties as assigned. 


  • Bachelor’s degree required 
  • 5+ years of demonstrated experience in a development, donor relations, non-profit, sales, or customer-service-oriented role 
  • Basic understanding of non-profit development and constituent relationship management 
  • The ability to establish and nurture partnerships with high level prospects, donors, and friends  
  • Clear, concise written and verbal communication skills to assist with drafting and editing 
  • Exceptional organizational, problem solving, and time management skills; ability to multitask and set priorities among competing activities  
  • Strength in establishing and maintaining cooperative and effective working relationships with others 
  • Cultural sensitivity and ability to work collaboratively with diverse groups of people  
  • Commitment to and passion for improving access to high-quality, values-based education options for all children  
  • Highly motivated and adaptable with a strong work ethic; operate with honesty, integrity, and a positive attitude  
  • Ability to work some weekends and evenings for Big Shoulders Fund events 


NOTE: This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Employees may perform other related duties to meet the ongoing needs of the organization and the students/schools it serves. 


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