Senior Director of Development (Job ID: 2021-2591)

Posted Date 3 weeks ago(9/23/2021 12:01 PM)
Foreign Policy
Job Function
Job ID
Commensurate with experience


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The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.


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Foreign Policy at Brookings is a leading center of policy-relevant scholarship exploring the rapidly re-ordering geopolitics of the major powers, and the disordering relations among states and transnational actors. In line with Brookings’s core values of quality, independence, and impact, our scholars provide concrete policy recommendations for how U.S. strategy, the international security architecture, and leading states should adapt to changing threats and opportunities.


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Please note

Position Location: This position is based in Brookings' Washington, DC office. The person hired for this position must be willing to move to or currently reside in Washington DC, Maryland, or Northern Virginia by their date of hire.  


Operating status: Brookings eligible employees are currently authorized to work remotely but will be moving towards a hybrid plan later this year, which will require working both in the office and remotely. All vaccinated Brookings employees who wish to work from the office can do so. Brookings policies on masks and other pandemic mitigation measures will continue to be informed by DC and CDC guidelines.  


Vaccine Policy: Brookings has made the safety of our staff and our surrounding community a top priority. As part of that commitment, Brookings recently announced that staff on Brookings campus this fall are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Brookings will require all staff and visitors to submit proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19 to be in Brookings buildings.  


As a visitor and/or a new employee at Brookings, you will be required to comply with the vaccination policy. Individuals invited for an in-person job interview or hired as an employee that (i) have a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination, or (ii) who object to being vaccinated based on a sincerely held religious belief, may request a reasonable accommodation.


Ready to contribute to Brookings success?


Working as a member of the Foreign Policy (FP) program’s senior management team, and in close coordination with Brookings Central Development, the Senior Director of Development plans, manages, executes, and adapts comprehensive annual and multi-year fundraising strategies for the program. The Senior Director works collaboratively with the Vice President and Director of FP (VP FP), scholars, research center staff, and development staff with a primary focus on with a primary focus on identifying, securing, and stewarding external gifts and grants across multiple funding sectors—foundations, foreign and domestic governments, individuals, and corporations. The Senior Director leads the FP Development team in proactively identifying prospects, cultivating and stewarding relationships, and developing written proposals and materials for donor support and stewardship. Working with VP FP, project scholars and center staff, and, where appropriate, Central Development, the Senior Director ensures successful completion of grant objectives and cultivates and maintains relationships with current and potential donors, the Foreign Policy Leadership Council (FPLC), select Board of Trustees members, and other stakeholders. The Senior Director will build, manage, and lead a professional fundraising team with responsibility for sustaining funding to meet annual revenue targets and long-term program objectives. The Senior Director serves as the principal liaison with development staff throughout Brookings, including staff and leadership in Central Development.  


Strategic Fundraising, Planning, and Stewardship (55%)

  • Maintains strong and effective working relationship with FP Vice President and Director (VP FP) and Vice President of Development and partners with them to set fundraising goals and to create a comprehensive, sustained fundraising strategy across all sources of institutional and individual giving. Serves as a trusted fundraising advisor, with the knowledge, experience, and confidence to empower, guide, and support VP FP to ensure the maximum value of her fundraising engagement.
  • Works creatively, tactfully, and persistently to continue driving culture change toward broader fundraising engagement and greater collective success across the program. This will include establishing clear roles for FP leadership, Development staff, scholars, and center staff, as well as building strong, collaborative, and service-oriented relationships across the FP program to demonstrate, lead, and support creative and best practice approaches to productive fundraising and engagement activities.
  • Maintains existing and seeks new and expanded funding opportunities. Provides guidance to FP leadership, scholars, and staff on the development and execution of strategic approaches to current and potential donors to FP programs and priorities. This will include creating and leading a process for principal gifts that will fully engage both FP leadership and center scholars and staff. Coordinates proactively and closely with Central Development on principal giving prospects and donors who have multiple Brookings affiliations, including Trustees and International Advisory Council members.
  • Works with VP FP, scholars, and Assistant/Associate Directors to establish and implement development goals and strategy, which includes raising funds from foundations, corporations, individuals, international organizations, governments, and others.
  • Works with the VP of Development and other senior leaders in Central Development and the Brookings Executive Office to build and strengthen relationships with institutional donors with multiple Brookings affiliations and helps create opportunities for FP to engage in larger Brookings initiatives that also provide support to FP programs and scholars.
  • Identifies and qualifies new prospects for general, project, and/or center support; supports the fundraising efforts of VP FP, the Brookings President, trustees, and other institutional donors as they relate to FP’s goals and strategies in close coordination with Central Development. 
  • Grows and manages an active pipeline of FP donors and prospects, building strategies to qualify, engage, solicit, and steward donors at all levels of giving—annual, major, and principal—and from both individual and institutional sources.
  • Maintains and actively manages a personal portfolio of donors and prospects focused on either individual or institutional fundraising, depending on professional experience and background, while also overseeing and coordinating the work of a second senior development professional focused on the complementary fundraising portfolio.
  • Represents FP in meetings with prospects and donors; prepares VP FP and/or scholars for donor/prospect meetings and organizes, manages, and supports timely follow-up. Understands and communicates institutional and program policies, priorities, and objectives where appropriate.
  • With input from FP scholars, Center Directors, and Assistant/Associate Directors - and in cooperation with FP Communications staff - conceptualizes and drafts compelling letters of interest, concept papers, proposals, and reports to ensure high quality, readability, a consistent voice, and adherence to funder guidelines, interests, and agreed-upon deliverables; prepares and monitors theories of change, performance frameworks, metrics, and annual reports to evaluate progress toward achieving goals and objectives.
  • Maintains understanding of FP’s research portfolio and geopolitical issues and how they may affect and provide fundraising opportunities for the program. Monitors philanthropic trends as they relate generally to FP’s work. Maintains an overview and understanding of research projects within FP, and keeps Central Development apprised of program priorities and research areas.
  • Serves as a senior development officer on the Brookings Development team; manages collaboration with Central Development office and other research programs on the development of joint fundraising strategies, approaches, follow up, and materials; and participates in Central Development Office staff meetings and serves in the Development Cabinet.

Management (30%)

  • Oversees and manages all fundraising activity within FP, working closely with scholars and program staff on their priorities, research areas, and fundraising objectives.
  • Directs and manages day-to-day activities of a high-performing FP Development team, including delegating responsibilities and ensuring accountability among the team, developing work plans, providing regular check-in meetings, monitoring and evaluating performance, establishing ambitious and achievable metrics to grow FP’s fundraising results, and promoting inclusivity, mentorship, and professional development.
  • Guides staff in research, identification, and vetting of new prospects in order to expand FP’s donor pool and account for donor attrition. This will require the creation of a collaborative relationship between Central Development research staff to provide a higher level of prospect research, rating, and analysis.
  • Oversees FP Development organization and maintenance of comprehensive fundraising systems and partners with Central Development’s data and reporting staff on data and gift management, analytics and reporting, prospect development and management. Ensures adherence to fundraising policies and procedures across all functional areas of development—prospect management, gift acceptance and counting, grant administration, gift agreement, endowment, etc.
  • Leads FP Development staff to develop fundraising and activity reports for VP FP, VP of Development, and other Brookings staff as needed.
  • In collaboration with FP communications staff, devises and implements outreach strategies for current and prospective donors regarding FP events and publications to ensure maximum fundraising impact.
  • Provides VP FP, Development VP, Brookings President, and other members of Brookings Senior Leadership with donor information, analysis, and briefings as needed or requested.
  • In collaboration with the FP Finance team, manages the FP Development budget.
  • Serves as a member of the senior management team of Foreign Policy, with counterparts in FP Administration, Communications, Finance, and VP FP’s office. Keeps senior team apprised of fundraising activities including proposals in the pipeline, status of current grants, and grant deliverables and expectations.

Gift, Grant, and Proposal Management (15%)

  • Oversees the writing, review, and submission of concept notes, solicitation letters, and proposals. Coordinates the creation of letters or proposals with scholars. Edits concept notes and proposals drafted by scholars to ensure high quality content, including readability and a consistent voice, as well as adherence to Brookings’s policies and funder guidelines and interests.
  • Coordinates or delegates the review and approval of funding proposals, concept notes, agreements, and other documents through internal systems and engage with Brookings offices of Grants Administration, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Financial Services, and Central Development to ensure best practices and adherence to policies, and to obtain relevant approvals.
  • Oversees tracking of existing and potential commitments in conjunction with Foreign Policy management team; oversees tracking and coordination of fundraising efforts and contacts undertaken by VP FP and individual FP scholars.
  • Directs the production of grant reports and ensures satisfactory completion of grant deliverables. Submits reports to donors, as appropriate. Works with finance and communications team to track deliverables and manage grant modifications or special reporting needs. Liaises with funders to obtain grant modifications and extensions, as needed.
  • Supervises the timely compilation of donor database information in Raiser’s Edge and comprehensive donor profiles documenting correspondence with donors, meeting notes, proposals, and background information; leads and manages the creation of reports and queries for gift and donor-specific tracking and analysis.
  • Maintains up-to-date list of likely and possible funding opportunities and communicates relevant updates to Finance Director and VP FP.


Ready to make an impact? In this role, you will support Brookings values of collegiality, respect, inclusion, diversity and community, and bring the following qualifications:


Education/Experience Requirements:


A Bachelor’s degree is required; Master’s degree in non-profit management, international relations, political science, history, or a related field is preferred. Ten years of proven major gift fundraising experience and leadership is required, with demonstrated success in raising major gifts of at least $500,000 or more and writing complex proposals for various audiences. Team and project management experience in a nonprofit organization is required. 


Knowledge/Skills Requirements:


Fundraising and technical expertise: Deep knowledge of best practices, tactics, and resources to support fundraising in the non-profit industry is required. Proven ability to raise six-figure gifts from individuals, corporations, and/or foundations is also required. Candidates must demonstrate an ability to conceptualize, plan, and implement a strategic approach to building relationships and securing philanthropic support; setting realistic goals; developing strategies for prospects; prioritizing activities; soliciting gifts; and orchestrating the involvement of scholars and program leadership. Knowledge of international relations and foreign policy organizations and stakeholders is preferred. Knowledge of and a network among key academic, business, foundation, and/or community leaders is preferred. Budgeting and financial management and reporting experience is also preferred.


Leadership and management: Candidates must be proactive and goal-oriented, with an entrepreneurial spirit and an ability to lead a team of direct reports and manage lateral relationships. Discretion and mature judgment are critical for the successful candidate, as are decisiveness, resourcefulness and an ability to anticipate and act on events and opportunities in an appropriate manner. A collegial style and an appreciation for the work of Brookings scholars and the vital policy questions their work addresses is required.


Communication: Outstanding written and oral communication skills, and an ability to adapt rigorous foreign policy research to philanthropic audiences, are required. Superior interpersonal skills and ability to cultivate new relationships and work effectively with various constituencies, including immediate team members, high net worth individuals, corporate leaders, foundation staff, Board members, and scholars, and other institutional colleagues are a necessity.


Organization: Ability to prioritize, manage, and accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously and on deadline is required, along with strategic thinking. Candidates must be energetic and willing to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of fundraising activities ranging from the routine to the innovative. Familiarity with utilizing an electronic relationship management system is required, experience with Raiser’s Edge is preferred.


The position requires occasional domestic travel. Current authorization to work for any employer in the U.S. is required.


Additional Information:


What can we offer you? Brookings provides a generous benefit package that is comprehensive and includes both traditional benefits and unique offerings.


Brookings requires that all applicants submit a cover letter and resume. Please attach your cover letter and resume as one document when you apply. Please note: if you have applied to more than one Brookings job opening you should add a position-specific cover letter as a separate attachment.


Successful completion of a background investigation is required for employment at Brookings.


Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms.  We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.


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