Development Director

  • Full Time
  • Anywhere

Website Peoples Action Institute


People’s Action Institute (501c3), and sister organization People’s Action (501c4), are national progressive organizations supporting the mobilization and leadership of the grassroots in support of an agenda that reflects people over profits. People’s Action/Institute builds the power of poor and working people in rural, suburban, and urban areas to win change through issue campaigns and elections.


With offices in Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL, and remote staff across the country, we support and advance state-based and national fights for progressive policies on the environment, decarceration, health care, economic security, housing, education, and more. Our member organizations, nearly 40 organizations across 30 states, improve lives by running local- and state-level issue and electoral campaigns, leading statewide tables, and collectively coming together to change national policy and politics.


People’s Action/ Institute has a track record of leadership in coordinating field mobilization and advocacy in advancing an array of issues at the local, state, and federal levels. Our member organizations have won important victories at the national, state, and local levels, including health insurance for millions and the reversal of health care laws that discriminate based on citizenship, stopping Wall Street banks from selling predatory payday loans to their customers, and historic legislation like the Community Reinvestment Act to victory and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


For more information on PAI, please visit

The Opportunity

The Development Director will design and execute a comprehensive development strategy for People’s Action/Institute. They will help forge new relationships to build People’s Action/Institute’s visibility, impact, and financial resources.


Overview of the Position

The Development Director will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow a $15-20M annual budget through the solicitation of major gifts, special events, and corporate and foundation support. They will expand and diversify People’s Action/Institute’s donor base and work closely with other team members to secure funding for new initiatives while also implementing a comprehensive plan for developing key external alliances by cultivating individual and philanthropic support.

As Development Director, your typical day will include (but isn’t limited to):

Fundraising Strategy Development & Implementation

Develop and implement a comprehensive development strategy and plan to meet the organization’s financial goals for programmatic and operations support.
Oversee research on funding sources and trends to help position People’s Action/Institute ahead of major funding changes or trends.
Continue increasing funding in future years while systematically and effectively strengthening the organization’s fundraising capacity.


Cultivate, Identify, and Steward Prospective Donors

Systematically engage, solicit, and steward current and new foundation and major donor relationships, targeting those who share the goals of People’s Action/Institute’s mission.
Work with People’s Action/Institute’s Senior Leadership team to identify opportunities with corporations and foundations that might provide additional philanthropic support to the organization.
In conjunction with the development and programming teams, develop and write grant and funding proposals, concept notes, and letters of inquiry.


Support Grant Management & Compliance Procedures

Monitor and regularly report on the progress of the development program to senior leadership.
Direct all aspects of fundraising operations at the organization working with development staff, from tracking expenses to fully spending out grant awards.
Work with the finance team to manage grant modifications and financial reporting to donors; liaise with donors to obtain grant modifications and extensions as necessary.
Work with policy staff to draft grant reports to donors; submit timely reports and updates to donors as appropriate.


Supervision & Training

Mentor, coach, and lead a team of professionals toward success.
Direct production of written material related to fundraising, including compelling proposal narratives, letters of intent, program descriptions, emails, other correspondence, and annual reports.
Partner with and provide guidance, training, and direction to key policy leads on best practices related to fundraising and proposal processes related to program development and strategy.
Provide overall guidance and support to executive staff and board members on overall revenue projections and stewardship activities.


The ideal Development Director should have the following experience and qualifications:

Strong commitment to racial, gender, and economic justice and their intersections, both inside and outside the organization
Ability to work with diverse people and organizations
Demonstrated ability to build strong relationships grounded in trust and shared self-interest
Demonstrated ability to lead and move people into action with excellent communication skills (written and oral) that influence and engage donors
Demonstrated ability to think and plan strategically and to construct, articulate, and implement an annual strategic development plan.
Minimum of 7 years of professional experience in a nonprofit organization; demonstrated success in a development function with experience managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources.
Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time.
Flexible and adaptable leadership style; a leader who can positively impact strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives.
Ability to work independently without close oversight and as a team player who will productively engage with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside People’s Action/Institute.
High energy and passion for People’s Action/Institute’s mission are essential.
Strong organizational and time management skills with exceptional attention to detail.
Ability to lead with a professional and resourceful style; take the initiative and manage multiple high-stakes tasks and projects simultaneously.
Experience working with a CRM, e.g., Salesforce, Raiser’s Edge, or EveryAction is preferred


Compensation and Benefits:

Status: Full-time, Exempt, benefits-eligible

Union Position: No

Salary Range: Level G – $115,000 – $148,000, commensurate with experience

Location & Travel: Can be based in our Chicago, IL or Washington, D.C. office but remote locations may be considered anywhere within the continental United States. Supervision and most communication will be over video conference.

Reports to: Chief of Strategy and Partnerships

Supervises: Deputy Director of Development

Travel Requirements: Need to be able to travel within the U.S on an as-needed basis

Benefits include: Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance, Medical, on the first day of employment, and Dependent Care Flex Spending Account after 90 days, 401(k) plan after 30 days, Long-Term Disability Insurance, Life Insurance, 11 paid holidays plus the last two weeks of the year that include Christmas Eve/Christmas Day as well as, New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, and you accrue two weeks of vacation your first year of employment.


Commitment to Disability, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

People’s Action is an Equal Opportunity Employer; women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQIA people are strongly encouraged to apply.


Vaccination Transparency

Due to travel requirements and in-person interactions during employment, candidates will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated (Two Doses of either Moderna or Pfizer Vaccines or One Dose of J&J as well as all appropriate booster doses)  against COVID-19 before commencing employment. Reasonable accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis for exemptions to this requirement in accordance with applicable law.

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