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511 West 165th Street, Unit 309
New York, NY 10032-0309
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Chief Development Officer (CDO)

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As the executive focused on developing sustainable support for the Foundation, the Chief Development Officer will report to and work most intimately with the Chairman, CEO & Founder, President & COO, and the Executive Vice President to drive fundraising efforts. Succeeding in this environment will require taking a hands-on approach to connecting with a broad array of donors through the internet and using traditional development methods, while implementing the infrastructure required for developing sustained annual stewardship and support.

This person must be process oriented, yet have a dealmaker’s creativity and speed. A deep passion for the mission will align this development role with the urgency and creativity of the Veterans Development Initiatives, Inc. culture. The challenge of the position will be to balance development of sustainable and repeatable best-fundraising practices with a rapid expansion of the current base of support.

The Chief Development Officer will be based in Veterans Development Initiatives, Inc. World Headquarters in New York City. The VDI has had its main fundraising success inside the United States; however, this is an national organization serving both nationally and internationally distributed audiences. A strong perspective with personal experience in cross-cultural communication is extremely important in this position.

This is a provisional position that will be evaluated and assessed by clear, concise and accurate writing and communications skills to executives, senior management as well as the Board of Directors on an as needed basis. It is imperative for the CDO to work with all level of management and provide updates to the Chairman, CEO & Founder and President on a continuum.

The Chief Development Officer will also help the organization’s leaders, staff and board members to integrate a fundraising perspective into all aspects of the VDI's Foundation programs and operations. Reporting to the Chief Development Officer will be a current development staff of five including the Heads of Community Giving, Major Gifts, and Partnerships & Foundation Relations, a Stewardship Associate and a Development Associate along with the Director of Development (DD).


  • The Chief Development Officer’s immediate priorities are to:
  • Thoroughly understand the VDI Foundation–its values, history, culture, traditions, communities, programs, personalities, constituencies and governance structure; understand its base of financial support and the short and long-term funding requirements of all segments of the organization;
  • Develop strong relationships with, and secure the trust and confidence of the Chairman, CEO & Founder, key funders, board members, staff, influencers, community members, fundraising and marketing consultants, and others critical to individual and institutional fundraising efforts;
  • Actively engage in co-creating the strategic plan, a pivotal effort for the VDI Foundation and arguably the number one priority for its growth and health. This plan is expected to be completed September 2012;
  • Assess and evaluate the development department; ensure that the department is well-structured and able to support annual fundraising goals;
  • Immediately assess the “state of play” of in-process fundraising efforts and provide support for those efforts as needed; assume a hands-on, creative leadership role in the identification, cultivation and solicitation of major individual and institutional gifts; personally cultivate and solicit as appropriate.


  • Implement a fundraising plan that triples contributed and other revenue within 5 years from $8.7m to $25m through enlarging and diversifying the donor base, with a primary focus on increased community giving, and a secondary focus on increased major gifts, increased private foundation, corporate and corporate foundation support; enhanced long term stewardship and donor recognition; and a focus on working towards an endowment while also continuing to raise funds for annual operations;
  • In collaboration with the Foundation’s technical team, ensure that special attention is paid to in-kind giving, particularly to build out the Foundation’s infrastructure;
  • Strengthen the Veterans Development Initiatives, Inc. brand among donors and prospective donors internationally, with particular attention to the United States and Europe, which currently provides the preponderance of funding support, utilizing the internet and other low cost, high visibility methodologies;
  • Organize and deploy organizational resources to actively broaden and deepen support for VDI's Foundation, among all current and prospective donors nationally and internationally;
  • Grow an appropriately lean fundraising team scaled to the results and requirements of the overall fundraising effort.

The Chief Development Officer will execute the following responsibilities on an on-going basis:

  • In collaboration with the Chief Executive Officer, develop a systematic fundraising plan that includes both individual (community and major gift) and institutional (business and foundation) targets:
    • Donor segmentation (individual, business, foundation), level (community giving, various major gift levels, planned giving), and fund (in kind, capital projects and infrastructure build-out, annual operating fund, restricted gifts for specific purposes, education, endowment);
    • Objectives for individual and institutional fundraising and success metrics;
    • Identification of staff, board and community members who will be actively involved in fundraising and definition of roles;
    • Targets for development team members and appropriate collaboration with team members to help the organization reach its fundraising goals.
  • Ensure that the Development Department has a strong fundraising infrastructure, and that its staff is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and effective, including:
    • Evaluate current processes and systems that support fundraising initiatives, donor recognition, and campaign management for the various kinds of campaigns and events; ensure that information systems are scaled to need, are properly maintained and used, and build on sustainable open source solutions (e.g. CiviCRM) where possible;
    • Retain, recruit and manage a team of development professionals and consultants with appropriate internet-based and traditional donor cultivation, marketing/sponsorship, individual giving and institutional giving skills and experiences; establish work plans, performance objectives, and goals for each team member and regularly review performance; provide professional development and training required to cultivate staff skills and professionalism;
    • Establish clear standards for stewardship, donor recognition, and institutional sponsorship, with particular emphasis on the proper use of logos, brands, naming and other recognition opportunities;
    • Ensure successful adherence to grant and restricted giving agreements.

Manage day-to-day fundraising at the Veterans Development Initiatives, Inc. including:

  • Undertake direct individual donor solicitations as appropriate with the support of the Chairman, CEO & Founder, other Foundation staff, members of the Board and other community members;
  • Establish an institutional giving programs for national sponsorships, corporate gifts, foundation solicitations for restricted and unrestricted giving;
  • Aggressively implement a structured program for fostering strong, long-term relationships with targeted individual and institutional donor constituencies; develop annual special events that boost institutional and individual fundraising efforts, which are also aligned to VDI's egalitarian values; specifically strengthen the stewardship and donor recognition program for individual donors, with the objective of establishing a life-long, planned giving relationships with major donors;
  • Oversee the involvement, identification, training and support of fundraising volunteers, providing community members with opportunities to be involved in raising money for the Foundation; guide the efforts, and strategies for key campaign volunteers, Board members, community advisors and committees in the solicitation process;
  • Assist the Head of Communications in the development of materials (on-line and published, text and multi-media) that tell the Foundation story to donors and individual prospects, ensuring that these materials are segmented and distributed in a targeted, regular, timely and consistent fashion;
  • Collaborate with the senior leadership of the Foundation in the preparation of annual operating plans and budgets, incorporating fundraising projections into the budget of the organization.


Candidates should have the following type of experience and qualifications:

  • A record of personal success in raising money for a high-growth, rapidly changing and evolving entrepreneurial organization through the internet and mass outreach, major gifts from individuals and annual giving campaigns, and from businesses, foundations and corporations; experience building relationships through mission-supporting ventures; comfort and experience in a technology-driven environment;
  • Broad-based knowledge of various development campaign activities including: internet, direct mail, proposal and grant development, annual fund and planned giving, event planning and management, direct solicitations, leveraging fundraising databases and support systems for donor segmentation, research and volunteer management;
  • A track record as an exceptional communicator, in writing as well as verbally; adept at writing solicitation letters, donor correspondence, proposals and other kinds of material for publication; experience preparing and making effective presentations to diverse groups large and small;
  • Demonstrated skills in motivating, coordinating and supporting the fundraising activities of others.


The successful candidate should be:

  • A mission-driven individual with an understanding of, belief in and commitment to the open source movement, net neutrality, the benefits of the free exchange of information; a passion for communicating how these principles are important in the development of civil societies; an ability to communicate that passion without losing focus;
  • An independent and open-minded individual who values and appreciates diversity, input and collaboration from various constituencies; has the ability to make unpopular decisions when necessary;
  • A charismatic communicator, both in writing and speaking, and particularly able to recognize the alignment of a donor’s interests with the value of Veterans Development Initiatives, Inc. Foundation programs, communities, services and events; ability to be the public face of fundraising when appropriate;
  • A good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources, and able to act on information to develop increased support;
  • A strong manager who will advocate for the development team and its needs.
  • A hard worker with a high energy level; a “doer” with a willingness to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of development and advancement activities;
  • A person who is emotionally mature and self-reliant; someone who will thrive working in a medium to large growing office;
  • A person who has an ability to tolerate a high degree of ambiguity, and to negotiate with people having sharply defined opinions while maintaining positive, respectful relationships;
  • A person who has a sense of humor.

Superior management skills; ability to engage direct and indirect reports, peers, stature, gravitas, and confidence to the credibility and respect of high-performing Board of Directors; self reliant, good problem solver, results oriented. Ability to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs; excellent and persuasive communicator; passion for the VDI's mission; ability to operate as an effective tactical as well as a strategic thinker.

Must have 8-10 years of progressive senior and executive management experience in medium to large organizations. Share insights in reaching pinnacle results, acknowledge and train staff as well as establishing liaisons with all division heads in obtaining successful financial goals.


Please e-mail your resume to Dr. Works with the word "Resume" on the subject line and the position you are applying for. All positions are for current and former military veterans only.


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