Director of Development

Development · Chicago, Illinois
Department Development
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Experienced

This position has a unique opportunity to design and build a robust development program for a fast-growing organization on the cutting edge of criminal justice reform. As a respected resource, thought leader and service provider partnering with government, advocacy and community, CGLA is well-positioned to take its growth and development to the next level. Over the past three years, its budget and staffing size have doubled (to $4 million and approx. 40 staff annually), and we project significant growth as criminal justice reform efforts expand across our state, particularly in light of the social equity provisions of the Illinois Cannabis Act. The Development Director will play a critical role in enabling the organization to strengthen its capacity and infrastructure to ensure its long-term role in eliminating the collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement for individuals and families throughout Illinois. The Development Director will also play a role in shaping communications strategies which position CGLA to external audiences as it plays a greater role in raising public awareness around expungement and other critical issues.

Key areas of expertise:

  • Significant relationships and connections among Chicago funders; relationships with national funders is a plus.
  • Experience in prospecting and revenue generation from new foundations.
  • Experience with individual donor cultivation, stewardship and moves management.
  • Expertise in Board relations and training.
  • Communications experience -- writing, messaging, and creation of promotional communications (ex: e-blasts). Social media and design experience a plus.
  • Strong DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) lens and knowledge, particularly experience in supporting stewardship among diverse communities and seeking diverse funding partners for work with a social justice lens.

Position Overview

The Director of Development serves as a key executive team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s long-term fundraising strategy consistent with the mission and vision of the organization. Reporting to and working in close collaboration with the Executive Director, this position is responsible for overseeing all fundraising and development activities. The successful candidate will help forge new relationships to build CGLA’s visibility, impact, and financial resources. The DOD will design and implement a comprehensive plan for developing key external alliances by cultivating individual and philanthropic support. An innovative leader will work to expand and diversify CGLA’s donor base/pipeline and work closely with team members to secure funding for new and existing initiatives. This person will collaborate with the board of directors, particularly the Board’s Fundraising and Development committee as well as the Finance committee, to actively engage in and support fundraising efforts and long-term financial strategies. Lastly, the Director of Development will direct the work of two Development Managers to secure and strengthen CGLA’s financial health and support the expansion of the organization’s network, capacity and continued programmatic success.

Essential Duties

Development & Fundraising

  • Establish a comprehensive fundraising strategy to increase and diversify CGLA’s portfolio, with specific targets to grow beyond the current $3M budget through the solicitation of public and private foundations, federal and state grants, major gifts, special events, and corporate and firm support.
  • Establish annual and long-term fundraising targets, while implementing and monitoring progress towards fundraising goals.
  • Increase and diversify CGLA’s overall existing development portfolio.
  • Manage CGLA’s marketing, website, social media and mass communications; coordinate all formal media and public relations; and ensure fidelity to the organization’s brand guidelines.
  • Oversee production of all fundraising communications, including annual appeals and thank-you letters and ensure timely execution of the mailings/correspondence.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Finance to develop and implement CGLA’s financial strategy, budget planning, the identification of CGLA’s budgetary needs and the implementation of the fundraising strategy to meet those needs.
  • Manage and ensure accuracy of fundraising systems, and reporting. This includes, writing department reports for all board meetings, generating financial queries and reports to analyze fundraising strategies and coordinating with the Finance Director to ensure accurate accounting.
  • Participate in Board Meetings.

Management of Foundation & Government Grants

  • Monitor philanthropic trends as they relate to CGLA’s work and analyze impact to suggest programmatic and fundraising modifications as appropriate.
  • Review and track all existing and potential commitments/proposals, including grant submissions and contracts to ensure timely completion of obligations and submission of written and financial reports.
  • Oversee and manage foundation and corporate relationships, and use appropriate tools and strategies to maintain historical information, such as giving history, streams of funding, and CGLA programming goals to ensure success.

Donor Management & Cultivation

  • Work with Executive Director and Board of Directors to plan and implement fundraising initiatives focusing on increased giving from individuals, law firms, and corporations, through events, and major donor solicitations, as well as planned gifts.
  • Develop and implement a stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors; cultivate, solicit and steward major donors and actively cultivate lower level donors to increase giving levels.
  • Build a robust donor base; Develop and maintain key long-term relationships with donors and prospects; Implement and execute a high-quality donor experience through correspondence, volunteer engagement, events, mailings and acknowledgements.
  • Work with the Pro Bono Manager and Executive Director to inspire our large cadre of skills-based volunteers to become donors.
  • Oversee appropriate staff to manage data base and data entry relative to donor information and gift processing; provide and present statistical analysis to board and executive team;
  • Maintain accurate records in database of donor history and cultivation efforts.
  • Work with Development staff to ensure all pledges are fulfilled in a timely manner.

Events Management

  • Oversee all CGLA fundraising events, including the annual Benefit & Wine Tasting, and development cultivation events.
  • Develop and implement “friend-raising” and outreach efforts that make effective use of the Executive Director, Board of Directors and staff/clients (as appropriate) to advocate for the organization’s work and engage in fundraising pitches.

Personnel Management 

  • Serves as a member of the Executive Team providing leadership in developing agency-wide priorities for the strategic plan and monitoring performance of service delivery methods.
  • Provides leadership, coaching, and accountability for all direct reports; Builds positive departmental culture.
  • Ensures that timely, consistent, and detailed performance feedback is provided to each direct report. Responsible for ensuring direct reports are performing at a satisfactory level.
  • Supervises and cultivates the program leadership team to ensure the organization is agile and responsive to changing conditions, new programs, and unexpected challenges impacting clients and low-income communities.
  • Responsible for program onboarding and providing oversight of department hiring processes.
  • Provide resources and support to address staff’s needs, identifies and secures professional development opportunities for staff, provides coaching and supervision, and manages and resolves conflict.
  • Monitor and report regularly on the progress of the department.

Budget Management

  • Collaborates with the Executive Director to create and implement annual department budget and strategic plans.
  • Responsible for oversight and management of overall program budget, including monitoring program spending and variances.
  • Collaborates with Program and Admin team to provide timely content for grant applications, funding proposals, and grant reports.
  • Ensures compliance with funders’ reporting requirements.
  • Responsible for managing department contract renewals. vendors and billing submissions.

Other Responsibilities

Performs other duties as assigned.

Required Education
Bachelor's degree (required).


  • 10 years of professional experience in a nonprofit organization; demonstrated success in a development/ fundraising function (managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources). Track record of success in raising major gifts and writing complex proposals for various audiences.
  • Knowledge of and connections to funding in the Chicago Philanthropic Community
  • 5 years of technical writing, grant writing, fundraising and event planning experience.
  • 5 years of supervisory experience.
  • Experience developing fundraising budgets and preparing financial reports.
  • Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time.
  • Flexible and adaptable style; a leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives.
  • Experience working in donor tracking systems required. Strong knowledge of Salesforce is preferred.
  • Intermediate to Advanced experience in utilizing mail chimp.
  • Experience in Sales or Marketing a plus.
  • Comfortable using various Social Media platforms.
  • Basic knowledge of criminal justice reform or experience working in a legal aid a plus.

Required Skills:

  • Development/Fundraising: Proven success in development for a small nonprofit. Experience running capital campaigns and success fundraising from multiple donor channels. Proven track record in obtaining private resources through major individual gifts, corporate sponsorships, foundation support, and government grants; Ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and build long-term relationships. Able to work independently without close oversight.
  • Project Leadership: Experience in planning, leading, delegating and managing development projects, including coordinating with peers to achieve desired outcomes, and tracking and reporting on progress to executive team and/or board of directors. Strong organizational skills; Flexible and adaptable style; A leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives; A multi-tasker with the ability to wear many hats in a fast-paced environment and manage multiple projects and deadlines while producing quality results; Possesses exemplary attention to detail: Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Takes initiative and actively seeks to deepen current donor relationships and to forge new ones.
  • Communications: Skilled in creating powerful, compelling written and oral communications for fundraising; Ability to convey complex ideas through brief, simple materials; Experience and credibility when presenting materials to external audiences; Excellent communication skills, both written and oral. Comfortable making pitches in person and personally asking people for money.
  • Influencing: Gets others to accept ideas by using convincing arguments, creates a win-win situation and responds appropriately to key stakeholders both internally and externally; Possess ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports.
  • Collaboration: Effective at working with others to reach common goals and objectives.
  • Relationship Building: Skilled at establishing and cultivating strong relationships with peers, across different levels of the organization and externally; Excellent people skills, with experience collaborating in a multi-disciplinary, diverse, and dynamic team environment; A proven ability to hire, coach, and lead employees as an effective team of closely coordinated, highly professional, self-accountable team players.
  • Technical Experience: Strong computer skills including proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel & PowerPoint; Have a keen interest in creatively using state of the art technology to meet the organization’s development goals.

Supervisory Responsibility
Supervises two consultants, 1 Development Manager & 1 Development Associate. 

Physical Requirements
Sit for long periods of time.
Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
Must be able to handle working in a stressful work environment.
The employee is regularly required to sit, walk, talk, read, see and hear. The employee is frequently required to use hands and fingers to type, handle, or feel and reach. The employee is regularly required to stand and walk. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.

Working Conditions
Work is performed in a typical office environment. Due to Covid-19 related restrictions, all work will be performed remotely at the employee’s home or approved “off-site” work location. Upon reopening of the CGLA offices, must be able to work in an open office setting with moderate noise levels and any social distancing guidelines. Employee must have reliable internet access. Development staff will be required to go into the office for certain tasks and special events.

Required Hours
Monday through Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm, 40 hours per week. Occasional weekend and evening work will be required relative to events and cultivation opportunities. Some in state travel and out of town travel will be required.

We offer a generous benefits plan that includes Blue Cross Blue Shield - Health insurance, Vision Service Plan – Vision insurance, Principal Dental insurance and 100% employer paid life insurance, (EAP) Employee Assistance Program, Dependent Care, Pet Insurance and Medical Flexible spending accounts, Pre Tax Programs for parking, local transit for Ventra and Metra and UberPool, and Vanguard 403(b) retirement account. Additionally, CGLA offers generous Paid Time-off, Floating Holidays and 14 paid holidays per year. During the summer months we celebrate Summer Fridays by closing the office early.

In-Person Interview

If selected for an in-person virtual interview, in addition to answering formal interview questions, candidates will be required to deliver a presentation to an interview panel that will consists of 4 people. Interviews will be conducted via Webex.

**A writing sample will also be required**

How to Apply 

Go to

Note: Please mention how you heard about the job announcement in your cover letter


CGLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages qualified candidates of all backgrounds to apply for this position.

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  • Location
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Department
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience