Chief Development Officer

Institute for the Study of War
Location Washington, D.C.
Application deadline 20 February 2023
Contract type Fixed term
Hours Full-time
Salary Commensurate with experience
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As the world continues to witness the devastating impact of armed conflict, the need for objective, real-time, unbiased analysis has never been greater. When decision-makers need information—from policymakers to humanitarian aid organizations to military leaders on the ground—time and time again, they turn to the Institute for the Study of War.

ISW has a unique, dual mission: provide real-time intelligence to help leaders make informed decisions in conflict zones around the world and educate the next generation of national security leaders. This work is carried out through the General Jack Keane Center for National Security and the General David H. Petraeus Center for Emerging Leaders.

This is an exciting moment to join a growing organization that has profoundly shaped the world’s understanding of war. ISW insights and analysis are featured every day in the largest and most influential news outlets. ISW is the most frequently cited think tank globally. The CDO will play a pivotal role in leveraging ISW’s reach and impact to grow and diversify our philanthropy and help ensure we can continue to inform policymakers, military leaders, and humanitarian aid organizations around the globe.

Brief description of role

Reporting to the founder and President, the Institute for the Study of War’s (ISW’s) Chief Development Officer (CDO) serves as a key member of the leadership team and will be responsible for all fundraising and development activities. The CDO will set the strategy for and manage all fundraising efforts, including principal and major gifts, annual giving, corporate and foundation support, volunteer management, special events, and development communication. The CDO will also be charged with increasing the department’s capacity for successful fundraising and expanding and diversifying ISW’s donor base/pipeline. The CDO will support existing programs and new initiatives, initiate and build strong donor relationships, work closely with the Board of Directors, and collaborate with ISW leadership to achieve philanthropic goals.

Key duties and responsibilities

• Developing and implementing a comprehensive development plan, building on existing programs and working strategically to support new and evolving opportunities.

• Supporting ISW’s mission, strategic plan, and organizational priorities.

• Managing a portfolio of 30-50 top prospects and donors at the major and principal gift levels, developing strategies to move them from engagement through solicitation and stewardship.

• Supporting the President’s engagement with her portfolio of prospects.

• Engaging regularly with prospects, emphasizing one-to-one interaction, either in person or virtually, depending upon each donor’s unique preferences.

• Working with members of the Development team and ISW staff to ensure that prospect engagement strategies are tailored in alignment with both donor interest and key ISW initiatives.

• Leading regular prospect management meetings with Development staff and other ISW staff who may be engaged in prospect-facing activity.

• Providing feedback regarding fundraising initiatives and programs based on professional knowledge, as well as insights gleaned from donors and prospects.

• Developing and implementing a comprehensive stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors and acknowledging their gifts through both public and private vehicles.

• Establishing a development communications strategy, including appeals, updates, individual outreach, and stewardship via ISW publications.

• Maintaining donor files and giving statistics and presenting statistical analysis to board and senior leaders in alignment with their oversight responsibilities.

• Collaborating with staff on the management and planning of fundraising and awareness events.

• Managing systems and software to track and cultivate donors and prospects, including ISW’s CRM and wealth screening tools.

• Overseeing research on funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position ISW in front of major funding changes or trends.

• Streamlining and overseeing departmental processes for prospect identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship to ensure that ISW’s fundraising goals are met.

• Filing timely reports documenting prospect interactions to ensure seamless moves management.

• Attending key ISW events to interact with donors and prospects.

• Advocating for ISW and serving as the lead ambassador for its philanthropic mission.

• Leading and managing other staff directly reporting to the CDO.

Experience and qualifications

• Bachelor’s degree and 7-10+ years’ experience in professional non-profit fundraising.

• A clear understanding of and ability to communicate ISW’s mission, vision, and value proposition.

• Proven ability to lead a team with confidence, collegiality, and integrity.

• Strong leadership qualities, initiative, and ability to work closely and collaboratively with board members, staff at all levels, donors, and prospective donors.

• Ability to think strategically, prioritize activity, steward existing fundraising programs, and implement new ones in alignment with ISW’s strategic plan.

• Mastery of gift vehicles, major gift fundraising techniques, and industry best practices.

• Strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills.

• Working knowledge of fundraising CRMs, Word, Excel and PowerPoint highly preferred.

• Proven experience working with and managing volunteers.