Chief Development Officer

Groundswell Fund
Mission Statement: 

Groundswell Fund is the largest funder of the US Reproductive Justice (RJ) movement and a leading funder of grassroots organizing efforts led by women of color (WOC) and Transgender people of color across the US. For more than a decade, Groundswell has enabled foundations and individual donors to increase the impact of their giving by offering a different kind of philanthropic model. Different in who they are: A program staff of WOC and TGNC (Transgender and gender non-conforming) people of color who come directly out of community and labor organizing and have a combined 200 years of grassroots organizing and civic engagement experience within communities of color; a Board comprised of grassroots leaders shaping strategy alongside funders and donors. Different in who they support: Groundswell Fund strengthens US movements for reproductive and social justice by resourcing intersectional grassroots organizing and centering the leadership of WOC – particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, and Transgender. Different in how they support the field: Through grants and capacity-building resources focused on boosting grassroots power, and funder organizing that lifts up grantees with a larger audience of funders and donors who can move resources to their work, whether or not these resources come through Groundswell’s doors.Since 2003, Groundswell has moved more than $50M to the field, with 90% going to WOC-led organizations. Groundswell has been a leading force in increasing the number of dollars moving to WOC-led organizing in the US from a wide community of foundations and individual donors.The grantees at Groundswell have moved from trepidation about participating in the political process to mobilizing thousands of voters and even seeing their own members run for office. They have been instrumental in the passage of more than 250 pro-RJ policies at the state and local level and in blocking many regressive policies, and they have built a growing grassroots base of support for reproductive and social justice across the US. In 2017, Groundswell launched a 501c4, Groundswell Action Fund, now the largest c4 fund in the country centering WOC-led c4 work.To learn more about Groundswell Fund, please visit

Position Description: 

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Chief Development Officer will be instrumental in the organization’s continued growth and opportunity for impact. As a member of the Guidance Team (Groundswell’s executive leadership), the Chief Development Director will be responsible for leading the Funder Organizing team and working closely with leadership and key external-facing staff to raise an annual budget of approximately $16M across Groundswell’s c3 and c4, with a plan to increase to $25M by 2025.The Chief Development Officer will be focused on supporting the growth and stewardship of Groundswell’s vibrant and engaged individual donor and foundation funder community, and will directly supervise a Foundation Relations Manager, Donor Community Manager, and Communications Director, as well as a group of consultants and outside vendors. This full-time position is location-flexible. The Chief Development Officer’s primary responsibilities will include:Organizational Leadership and Team Management

  • Leading a collaborative process with team members to craft annual goals, development plans, budgets, workplans, and calendars that align with broader organizational strategic plan goals
  • Fostering strong communication, cohesion, and morale across departments, ensuring cross-department alignment of messaging and collaboration on the crafting of reports, proposals, and other key external deliverables
  • Providing leadership and training to the staff and Board on fundraising efforts, including sharing of best practices and providing tools, information, and resources to strengthen fundraising efforts
  • Partnering with the Executive Director and CFO on the regular assessment, analysis, reporting, and projections of development and campaign activity, income, and pledges, including any significant variances or unforeseen shifts in budget

Ambassador to Individual and Foundation Partners

  • Representing Groundswell at key donor and foundation meetings and events, and partnering closely with the Executive Director and program staff to design briefings for foundations and other external stakeholders
  • Managing a portfolio of the organization’s highest net worth donors and key foundations, serving as the primary Groundswell contact responsible for stewarding these relationships
  • Cultivating new donor and foundation partners, bringing new people and dollars into the organization with a goal of growing the percentage of revenue derived from individual donors from 15% to 30%
  • Partnering with the Executive Director and Donor Community Manager to design and execute fundraising events, including but not limited to banquets, auctions, receptions, and parties

Funder Organizing Systems

  • Managing the process of researching and identifying new funding opportunities from major donors, private foundations, corporations, and state and federal agencies for both the c3 and c4 organizations
  • Supervising staff to maintain Groundswell’s donor database, ensuring donor information is current and well organized; overseeing effective reporting, tracking, acknowledgements, receipts, and other correspondence with donors
  • Designing/refining effective procedures, processes, and systems to support the donor engagement program
  • Leading the design of donor engagement activities and campaigns in partnership with the Executive Director and Funder Organizing team, including oversight of direct mail

Ideal candidates for the Chief Development Officer role will possess the following skills and attributes:

  • Demonstrated personal/professional commitment to Groundswell’s mission and model; experience directly supporting WOC, low income women, and Transgender people highly preferred
  • Proven track record in leading fundraising within a $10M+ organization, with preference for combined c3 and c4 experience
  • Knowledge of annual giving, foundation/corporate solicitations, deferred giving, planned giving, communications, and special events
  • Strong experience using a race, class, gender lens in verbal and written communications
  • Ability to write clearly and concisely as well as edit copy for clarity and grammatical accuracy; strong public speaking skills
  • Excellent team building, facilitation, and organizational skills, with the ability to work gracefully under pressure
  • An expert relationship-builder, with the EQ to support and coach staff at all levels
  • Impeccable judgment and discretion in dealing with sensitive information
  • Experience serving on an executive or other higher-level organizational leadership team
  • Undergraduate degree and/or equivalent training
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience with fundraising and donor/community relations activities, and at least three years at the Director level
  • Ability to travel up to 20 times/year, often cross-country, including overnight travel for events, donor meetings, and Board meetings
Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Application Instructions: 

Molly Brennan and Melissa Madzel of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your cover letter and resume here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Country/US Territory: 
United States