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Director of Development

Chicago Humanities
Illinois, United States
$135,000.00 - $145,000.00
Posted Date
May 24, 2023


For over 30 years Chicago Humanities has hosted compelling conversations, engaging events, and powerful performances with some of the leading authors, artists, scholars, policymakers, and thought leaders of our time.

Chicago Humanities (CH) has established itself as a vital member of Chicago’s cultural community with a core belief that the arts and humanities play a fundamental role in understanding and addressing the pressing civic, social, and cultural issues of our time. Our events deeply reflect on the past, explore the present, and consider the future through the multiple lenses of the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Insightful, entertaining, and interactive, Chicago Humanities brings audiences together around the ideas of notable figures and thinkers—Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize-winners, MacArthur Fellows, and Oscar, Tony, and Grammy Award-winning artists. In other words, individuals at the forefront of their fields sharing new insights into our human condition.

We present thoughtfully curated festivals (Fall and Spring) in the Loop and neighborhoods across Chicago (from the South Shore to Pilsen, Bronzeville to Hyde Park, Old Town to Evanston), partnering with dozens of longstanding and evolving partnerships with cultural, educational, and civic organizations (local and national).



Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Development oversees Chicago Humanities’ individual giving fundraising efforts—major gifts, member/donor cultivation, and annual benefit. The position is responsible for developing and executing an integrated fundraising strategy to raise $3+ million annually to support Chicago Humanities programming.

The Director is a member of Chicago Humanities’ senior leadership (which defines overall institutional strategy) and works closely with the heads of the Programming, Marketing & Communications, Operations, and Finance teams. The Director of Development partners with the Executive Director and Chicago Humanities’ Board on fundraising initiatives, as well as serving as a primary liaison to the Board Governance & Nominating and Development & Special Events Committees.

The ideal candidate has meaningful team management and development experience, with an emphasis on effectively growing individual giving, major gifts, and endowment campaigns. Experience with producing and managing events and audience engagement is a plus. The position supervises a staff of four full-time development professionals, plus external contractors (as appropriate) and seasonal part-time staff and interns.



Within the first 12 to 18 months, the Director of Development will achieve the following major objectives:

  • Design and implement an ambitious, multi-year strategic development plan that returns the organization to its pre-COVID-19 giving levels of $3.5M+ annually
  • Hire and establish a strong, engaged, and committed Development team with high morale that works collaboratively toward shared goals
  • Build trust and confidence with Board of Directors; actively engage members in fundraising efforts, strategically leveraging individual members’ personal networks in support of Chicago Humanities
  • Lay the groundwork for a gift planning program



The Director of Development will have the following primary responsibilities:

  • Lead Development team in creating and implementing annual contributed income strategy to achieve individual and event-based financial goals (growing to $3 million+ annually)
  • Manage departmental and annual benefit budget of $350,000+ (excluding staff)
  • Train, mentor, and supervise a high-performing Development team, providing support and guidance on all aspects of their work and setting ambitious but achievable goals to ensure accountability
  • Actively foster a productive and collaborative working environment aligned with organizational values
  • Guide and support Executive and Co-Creative Directors in their development activities, including strategy, preparation, and execution with donor prospects
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of 50-75 major donors and prospects for personal cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship; includes the deepening of long-standing partnerships as well as the identification and cultivation of new donors, including planned giving prospects
  • Lead Board Governance & Nominating and Development & Special Events Committees to advance Board development and institutional fundraising goals
  • Engage full Board in fundraising initiatives, providing counsel, timely support, and accurate financial reporting
  • Collaborate with other organizational leaders to ensure fundraising strategies and communications align with Chicago Humanities brand voice, visual standards, and broader strategic goals
  • Work with Marketing to guide and continually refine the organization’s case for support, ensuring the Chicago Humanities brand remains consistent and that institutional storytelling is aligned with the strategic priorities
  • Ensure best practices are followed in development operations, including its donor database (currently Raiser’s Edge), acknowledgement process, prospect research, and moves management system
  • Work with Development team to generate weekly dashboard reports to keep Board, Staff, and organizational leadership apprised on fundraising progress
  • Lead Annual Benefit & Celebration development strategy (with support of external contractor and Development team) which nets ~$600,000+ annually



The ideal candidate will possess most of the following qualifications:

  • At least five-to-seven years of development/fundraising experience with expanding responsibilities, including demonstrated success in annual fundraising and endowment/capital campaigns
  • Strong strategic thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills
  • Significant experience soliciting and securing major gifts from private and public sources, institutional planning, and experience working with Board leadership
  • Experience managing staff, and capacity to mentor, guide, and professionally develop employees
  • Natural communication skills (written and verbal), and ability to concisely communicate complex stories about the institution and its programs
  • Excellent organizational and planning skills, with ability to clearly analyze data, set priorities, and guide a team in successfully implementing a plan
  • Ability to manage intimate details without losing focus on larger overall objectives
  • Broad understanding of Chicago’s philanthropic and cultural communities would be an advantage
  • Strong prioritization skills with the ability to balance multiple projects and lead in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
  • Excellent listening and relationship building skills, with the ability to nurture and maintain a strong rapport with internal and external stakeholders
  • A highly collaborative, team-based approach to leadership with the ability to develop and implement a vision while also valuing the input and opinions of others
  • A high level of energy with self-motivation and confidence
  • Experience with budgeting and P&L
  • Knowledge and experience with fundraising management systems (e.g. Raiser’s Edge, Patron’s Edge, Tessitura) is required; deep experience with Raiser’s Edge is an advantage
  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent relevant experience is required; an advanced degree in a related field would be an advantage

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