People in conversation

Now Hiring: Director of Development

Founded in 1989, Essential Partners (EP) is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that helps people build relationships across differences to address their communities’ most pressing challenges. EP has empowered people around the globe with its Reflective Structured Dialogue approach, a proven, adaptable, scalable framework with the power to transform the way people engage differences of identities, values, and perspectives wherever they live, work, worship, and learn.

EP seeks a collaborative, creative, independent Director of Development. The right applicant will join our small, talented, impact-driven team of full-time staff members as well as our pool of project-based expert practitioners and a dedicated Board of Directors. This role will work collaboratively to meet short- and long-term strategic goals and to advance EP’s transformative vision of change in the world.

The ideal person for this role will have hands-on experience managing and executing an organization’s fundraising plan as well as a big-picture strategic mindset. Applicants who also have experience with the facilitation of major funder relationships, grant writing, and foundation relations are highly preferred.

The position's responsibilities, applicant qualifications, and instructions for how to apply can be found below the interview with our exiting Director of Development, Damien Lally. You can also download the complete job description as a PDF.

Essential Partners embraces diversity of identity, belief, and background in every aspect of our organization and is committed to co-creating an inclusive workplace for all.

Position Summary

Job Title: Director of Development
Reports to: Co-Executive Director
FSLA Status: Exempt, Full-time
Salary Range: $80,00–$90,000 DOE

Oversees all aspects of comprehensive fundraising program and strategic initiatives in partnership with the Executive Director(s) toward achieving Essential Partner’s Strategic Plan goals.

Core Responsibilities

  • In close partnership with the Co-Executive Directors and in collaboration with key stakeholders across the organization, develop and implement Essential Partners' strategic fundraising program to expand the organization’s funder pool and steward relationships with individual donors, institutional grantmakers, and corporate sponsorship prospects
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donor prospects, particularly for leadership giving, planned giving, and capital giving opportunities
  • Establish annual revenue goals and budgets for EP’s fundraising program in alignment with short- and long-term strategic goals
  • Maintain CRM database and fundraising platforms, and maintain consistent protocols for data entry, gift processing and acknowledgment, and grant reporting
  • Conduct targeted background research and analysis on prospective donors, grantmakers, and sponsors to assess capacity and likelihood of support
  • Create and execute strategies to expand and retain the organization’s base of low- and mid-level annual fund donors (e.g., through annual appeals)
  • Produce relevant and persuasive fundraising literature and messaging for donors, funders, and EP’s broader audiences in coordination with the Director of Marketing and Communications as well as the program team
  • Oversee and manage application pipelines, reporting requirements, and on-time submissions for grant opportunities in collaboration with the Manager of Operations and Finance as well as the program staff 
  • Plan and oversee organization of fundraising events in partnership with program and communications staff
  • Supervise development interns and consultants
  • Coordinate fundraising activities with, and report progress to the Board of Directors and its Marketing and Development Board Committee (as well as staff) to engage the Board and other stakeholders in an organization-wide culture of philanthropy and achievement

Effective implementation of these responsibilities will result in:

  • Increased impact and accessibility of EP’s work and program partnerships through funding of pro bono projects by grants, donors, and sponsors
  • Increasingly robust and diversified funding streams from growing networks of individual and institutional funders
  • Strong relationships with donors and funders leading to consistent and increasing contributions
  • Transparent reporting and communication across stakeholder groups in a way that mobilizes the organization towards fundraising goals

In addition, this position is expected to participate in organizational life via regular staff meetings, occasional in-person gatherings and events, as well as any other meetings necessary to support effective collaboration across teams and roles. The position will also support reporting and documentation requirements to maintain effective and reliable organizational systems as necessary and appropriate.

Applicant Qualifications

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills to effectively engage a variety of diverse audiences (this includes but is not limited to individual donors, grantmaking officers, corporate sponsors, strategic partners, and public audiences)
  • Expertise in project management and maintenance of organizational systems using a variety of software and tools (including, at minimum, Salesforce and Google Suite)
  • Highly knowledgeable with the landscape of nonprofit fundraising best practices and their appropriate application
  • Foundation relationship management experience with grant writing and grant reporting experience strongly preferred
  • Experience cultivating, stewarding, and making 5+ figure asks of major donors 
  • Experience creating and successfully implementing an annual development strategy and action plan in alignment with the organization’s annual budget and goals
  • Ability to manage a variety of fundraising campaigns – including (but not limited to) major donor engagement plans, end-of-year appeals (direct mail and email), events, matching campaigns, social media campaigns, and peer-to-peer campaigns
  • Ability to strategically direct collaborative, multi-stakeholder efforts to qualify for, apply for, and write reports for grant-funded projects within deadlines
  • A desire to grow the organization’s fundraising profile and achievements and support the increased scale and sustainability of its mission and impacts
  • A commitment to cultivating a culture that values and invites diverse identities, worldviews, and perspectives
  • At least 5 years of experience in advancement or development within nonprofit organizations, with a Bachelor’s Degree and development leadership experience preferred
  • The ability to remain in a stationary position for at least 50% of the time; to operate a computer and other office productivity machinery; and to travel locally and nationally

Compensation & Workplace

Essential Partners is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. This position is a full-time position with competitive benefits including sick leave, new parent leave, four weeks of PTO, paid company holidays, retirement matching after 1000 hours and one year of work, and medical and dental insurance. The approximate salary ranges from $80,000-$90,000 annually depending on experience.

Essential Partners is a fully remote organization; all employees are required to be residents of the United States of America and are able to work remotely from anywhere. Essential Partners does not currently base salary rates on location, and offers both initial funding as well as monthly connectivity stipends to ensure all employees have access to a safe, secure, healthful, and comfortable work environment with the equipment and tools required for their role. EP also hosts regular in-person retreats, which are scheduled in coordination with employees to ensure all staff are able to gather together regularly. 

This role requires work hours predominantly in the US Eastern Time zone with occasional travel (especially throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast US) and time outside of normal business hours to meet with donors, host events, pursue relevant professional development opportunities, or build strategic relationships. As such, applicants working from the Eastern Time zone are strongly preferred.

Essential Partners is an equal opportunity employer. We embrace diversity of identity, belief, and background in every aspect of our organization and we are committed to co-creating an inclusive workplace for all.

How to Apply

Please submit a resume or CV with two relevant writing samples to The subject of your email should be “Director of Development - [Your Name]”.  Applicants are invited to provide more details and texture about their relevant experience and interest in the form of an optional cover letter. The priority deadline to submit applications is March 20. Staff will review application materials then reach out to schedule 3 rounds of interviews. Finalists will be asked to share 2-3 references. We will continue to accept applications until the position is filled.