Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Posted Date 1 week ago(10/6/2021 9:33 AM)
Job Function
Job ID
Commensurate with experience


This search is being managed by the search firm Lois L. Lindauer Searches (LLLS). Please send cover letter and resume to Libby Roberts,  or Omar Bell,

Join one of the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tanks!

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.


We bring together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world, rooted in open-minded inquiry and representing diverse points of view, who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis. Research topics cover a full range of public policy issues in economics, foreign policy, development, governance and metropolitan policy.


With fair and transparent business practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that offers both professional and personal development opportunities, Brookings offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors.


The Brookings’ culture of philanthropy can be described best as major-gift centric. In a typical year, Central Development and the five program areas raise over $60 million from approximately 800 donors. About 80% of these funds are raised within the five program areas — principal gifts are often raised in close partnership with Central Development. The remaining funds are core needs/unrestricted support and flexible research support from a range of donors.


The new VPIA must have the ability to influence how Brookings thinks about philanthropic impact and develop new opportunities for giving with an eye toward advancing new initiatives and workstreams, as well as raising revenue that sustains the Institution over the longer term. There is a strong pipeline of major donors and principal giving prospects.


The Institution is financed in part by an endowment of $450 million and additionally through the support of philanthropic foundations, grants, corporations, and individual donations. These funds are devoted to carrying out Brookings’ research and educational activities. The Institution also provides services through the Brookings Press, executive education, and its audio/visual capabilities (TV and radio studio).


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?


The Vice President of Institutional Advancement (VPIA) provides philanthropic strategy, vision, leadership, and guidance to the President and the Institution and serves as the catalyst for enabling Brookings to achieve its ambitious financial goals. The VPIA will help Brookings support its research and programmatic activities through solicitation of new annual and sustainable sources of private funds.


Reporting to the Executive Vice President, the successful candidate will serve on the Executive Leadership team, lead a team of approximately 20 employees and must be able to oversee a central development office that partners closely with research program leaders, development staff, and scholars, adroitly navigating a hybrid development operation.


Key attributes include strategically leveraging the President’s time to steward top donors and cultivate high[1]level prospects including new Board of Trustee candidates. The President is committed to dedicating a significant portion of his time to development; therefore, the VPIA must be skilled at laying the groundwork for successful interactions and conversations, including preparing the President with strong written and verbal briefings.


The VPIA must be a strategic thinker and doer with the ability to take great ideas from conception to execution. They will enhance efforts to generate significant gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, and other organizations and will ensure that all areas of the development operation are strategically organized and managed to achieve maximum success. This will require that the VPIA initiate cutting-edge and best practice strategies that maximize Brookings’ presence in the marketplace now and well into the future.


Leadership and Strategy

  • With the President and Executive Vice President, create a development strategic plan aligned with Brookings’ long-term strategies and priorities.
  • Establish strong working relationships with the President, the Executive Vice President, and the Executive Leadership team, including the research program and business unit Vice Presidents so that, in partnership, sound fundraising strategies that benefit the entire organization are developed and implemented.
  • Identify and approach donors from all constituency groups; steward and cultivate existing relationships, and counsel research program directors on their fundraising strategies and opportunities. 
  • Develop a close working relationship with Board of Trustees, leadership, and members, and with fundraisers across Brookings in the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major contributions.
  • Provide leadership and staff support for active board committees and task forces, including the Development Committee, and the Nominations & Governance Committee, working closely with the Chief of Staff and Board Relations Manager.
  • Build a close working relationship with the Executive Office staff and support and sustain seamless operations between the Executive Office and Central Development.
  • Oversee the organization and planning of the Board of Trustees meetings and the International Advisory Committee (IAC) meetings, working closely with the President and the Executive Vice President, with substantive input from the Research Vice Presidents.
  • Sustain and grow annual core needs and flexible research funding from Trustees, IAC, and Council and Society members.
  • Engage Trustees in fundraising and outreach on behalf of Central Development and the five research programs.
  • Work closely with the Research Vice Presidents to understand their work and amplify their fundraising efforts, especially in principal giving; strategically direct the approaches to common funders to ensure that all solicitations are coordinated and seamless.
  • Maintain a visible and effective role as a spokesperson for Brookings to reinforce and build positive understanding of the organization with its many audiences.
  • Assist in gaining visibility for Brookings and help build the Brookings’ brand. Broaden the national and international scope of Brookings’ impact and its ability to attract funding.
  • Communicate to staff, external constituents, and supporters throughout the country and abroad the overall need, purpose, and impact of support for Brookings.


Development Operations and Management

  • Develop clear short-term and long-range plans for the Central Development Office that are data driven, realistic, and ambitious.
  • Prepare annual fundraising forecasts and budget.
  • Ensure that all fundraising goals are met; create appropriate best-practice metrics unique to Brookings to help meet these goals.
  • Partner closely with the Managing Director of Development to support Development staff in reaching its goals and nurture professional development and growth. Evaluate and optimize systems and processes to streamline Development operations and ensure clear communication with all stakeholders. Collaborate effectively with research program Development teams and support their work and success. 
  • Promote and ensure a high-performing, respectful, and inclusive work culture. Seek, and be responsive to, staff feedback and ideas.
  • Actively participate as a member of the Institution’s Executive Leadership team and in Senior Management Team meetings.
  • Stay abreast of philanthropic, economic, social, and educational trends related to fundraising; ensure that board and staff are informed of changes in legislation and other trends and initiatives that might impact giving.



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:


Experience, Knowledge, and Skills

  • Ability to be a team player who welcomes and models transparency and collaborative decision making.
  • Appreciation of the work of Brookings scholars and the vital policy questions their work addresses.
  • Successful track record of soliciting and closing seven- and eight-figure gifts/pledges.
  • Bachelor’s degree and at least 15 years of successful experience in fundraising, preferably in a large, complex institution.
  • Polish, sophistication, and articulation to interact comfortably with high-level individuals and groups; possess comfort level for interaction with persons of high wealth and intelligence. Experience developing solid working relationships with trustees and other high-level volunteers and donors.
  • Diplomacy and ability to engage individuals in a variety of social and business settings.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with and quickly gain the respect and support of various constituencies. At Brookings, this will include the President, the Executive Vice President, the development staff, Trustees, Vice Presidents, scholars and donors.
  • Proven leadership and management experience to develop and oversee staff and day-to-day activities and operations.
  • Demonstrated commitment to and experience with championing diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities.
  • A comprehensive understanding of institutional development, including campaigns, annual giving, major-gifts fundraising, planned giving, corporate and foundation fundraising, and advancement services, encompassing the management of fundraising information systems, prospect research, stewardship, and related activities.
  • The ability to conceptualize, plan, and implement a strategic approach to building relationships and securing philanthropic support, including setting realistic goals, developing strategies for prospects, prioritizing activities, soliciting gifts, and orchestrating the involvement of institutional leadership.
  • A record of success in organizing and implementing financial goals and strategies, analyzing and identifying problems, and formulating creative solutions.
  • Superior communication skills to share information readily and concisely; listen, as well as give advice, and respect the abilities of others. A track record as an effective communicator who is articulate and persuasive in written and verbal communications.
  • An ability to influence and motivate people even if they are not direct reports.
  • Demonstrated ability to multitask, be organized and flexible, and meet deadlines and prioritize job responsibilities.
  • Strong analytical, organizational, and planning skills. Decisive and resourceful with the ability to anticipate and act on events and opportunities in an appropriate manner.
  • Excellent project management skills, including influencing, leading, negotiating, and delegating abilities.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines and maintain disciplined adherence to program goals.
  • Able to work effectively across cultures, particularly with the Institution’s International Advisory Committee.
  • Energy and willingness to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of fundraising activities ranging from the routine to the highly creative and visible.

Must be authorized to work for any employer in the U.S.


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.


For additional information about this opportunity, contact Libby Roberts,





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