Employment Opening: Vice President for Development

Reports to:                      President

Location:                         New York, NY

Salary and Benefits:       Highly competitive salary, full medical and dental coverage, and generous vacation time.

Closing Date:                  Tuesday, September 11, 2018

FLSA Status:                   Exempt


Seeking a visionary, hands-on development professional to join the Executive Leadership team and, as part of the team, play an active role in mapping the organization’s future direction and strategies.

The Opportunity Agenda was launched in 2006 to seed the social justice movement and build support for greater and more equal opportunity in the United States.  We arm activists and advocates fighting on the frontlines for progressive change with the means to influence public opinion on immigration, racial equity, economic opportunity, criminal justice reform, and other urgent matters. 

With the media and popular culture becoming crucial battlegrounds for social progress, our polling and research, message development, communications strategies, and media trainings are the weapons of choice for communities working to elevate issues that are all too often undervalued and sidelined. The voices we are lifting up include the fearless young people who are speaking out and putting their bodies on the line for a roadmap to citizenship; leaders from Sacramento to St. Louis to Florida who are advocating for alternatives to incarceration and ending police violence; and workers who are fighting for decent wages and respect in the workplace. The Opportunity Agenda has trained and equipped thousands of these rising leaders and activists and placed hundreds of their stories in broadcast, print, and digital media, reaching tens of millions of Americans. Our partners and collaborators include social justice groups across the country and a growing cadre of artists, performers and athletes, helping us reach new audiences and tell new stories to advance social justice causes.

The Opportunity Agenda’s annual budget is currently $4.2 million, supported by a mix of leading foundations, corporations, law firms, and individuals. To preserve its independence and impartiality, The Opportunity Agenda does not accept government grants or contracts. A project of Tides Center, The Opportunity Agenda expects to establish itself as a fully independent entity by 2020.


The Opportunity Agenda’s Strategic Plan calls for increasing the annual budget to $6+ million over the next several years in order to more effectively meet the challenges presented by the current political climate. This is an opportunity for an ambitious and visionary senior development professional to help take an essential social justice organization from an early growth stage to maturity and sustainability.

The Vice President for Development will be a strong conceptual and strategic thinker who will partner with the President and Executive Leadership team to chart the organization’s fundraising future.  S/he will develop and direct a long-term resource generation plan, based on an assessment of the organization’s potential for growing various revenue streams; and build the capacity of the Development Department – currently consisting of three staff – to execute the plan and meet the organization’s growth targets.

An initial priority for the Vice President for Development will be to ensure that the organization continues to build on its successful track record of raising money from private foundations. Current funders include The Open Society Foundations, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, JPB Foundation, Ford Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation, among others.   

S/he will continue developing the fundraising potential of the current Steering Committee and help guide its transition to a Board of Directors, when the organization becomes fully independent from the Tides Center.  S/he will set the parameters for investing in the organization’s other funding constituencies. And s/he will serve as a member of the Executive Leadership Team, with responsibility for helping steward the organization, as well as leading the fundraising operation.

The ideal candidate will be a passionate social justice warrior who excels in foundation fundraising, donor communications and messages, Board development, and face-to-face interaction with funders.  Also essential is a familiarity with Annual Fund, major gift, and corporate fundraising.  


Fundraising strategy and implementation

  • Develop and execute The Opportunity Agenda’s annual fundraising plan.
  • Evaluate the potential for, and likely return on investment from, new revenue streams, e.g., an expanded Annual Fund, a Major Gifts Program, and/or corporate support, in line with the growth trajectory and revenue assumptions outlined in the Strategic Plan.
  • Craft a long-term resource generation strategy and plan, pointing the way to developing the new revenue streams the organization prioritizes.
  • Develop and direct a robust prospecting operation for all relevant constituencies.
  • Develop the Steering Committee’s potential for giving and fundraising; build out a strategy for increasing membership and transitioning to a Board of Trustees.
  • Direct the expansion of the Development Department in line with the demands of the long-term plan.
  • Manage and mentor the Development team.
  • Work with the President and/or finance team to develop and track revenue projections, and prepare budgets and forecasts related to all fundraising activities (should be comfortable with setting annual fundraising goals and have systems in place to benchmark and track activities and progress).
  • Report regularly to the organization’s leadership on fundraising progress against stated goals.
  • Strengthen development infrastructure and systems.
  • Lead work with colleagues to develop appropriate messages and communications channels for various donor audiences.
  • Lead the entire organization to excel in donor/funder cultivation and stewardship and continue to build out our culture of philanthropy across staff and leadership.

Foundation Fundraising

  • Identify and pursue untapped sources of foundation support.
  • Oversee and analyze research to identify new sources of institutional giving.
  • Oversee drafting of proposals and reports in close collaboration with Grant writer and with President and VP for Strategy; ensure timely submission of acknowledgements, reports and proposals.
  • Assist with strategic positioning of programs and mission and development of new lines of work in concert with VP of Strategy.
  • Ensure regular interstitial communication is in line with organizational storytelling plan and VIP outreach plan with institutional donors.
  • Work closely with senior leadership to nurture and develop new relationships with program officers and other foundation personnel.

Other Fundraising

  • Direct the implementation of the Annual Fund, primarily through the year-end appeal and annual gala.
  • Manage the donor database, and ensure data hygiene, and best practices.  
  • Work with Fundraising sub-committee of Steering Committee to facilitate achievement of Steering Committee fundraising goals.
  • Keep all Steering Committee members updated, informed, and engaged on fundraising progress and impact stories, including reporting back at Steering Committee meetings.


  • Strengthen the case for support across all messages and vehicles, including the organization’s website.
  • Play an active role in implementing organizational Strategic Plan, as well as annual organizational planning, metrics setting and tracking, and priority setting.
  • As a member of the Executive Leadership team, play a central role in decision making about the focus and direction of The Opportunity Agenda, helping the team make sound decisions and navigate an important transitional phase.


  • Development generalist with 8-10 years of fundraising experience in progressively senior positions, preferably in an advocacy/social justice organization.
  • Proven track record of cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding various donor constituencies, and ease relating to influential, well-known individuals and high-dollar donors.
  • Experience managing fundraising and cultivation events.
  • Familiarity with the landscape, priorities, and methodologies of private foundations.
  • Experience with fundraising, organizational and program budgets.
  • Experience managing, supporting and developing staff.


  • Excellent written and oral communications skills.
  • Commitment to social justice and to the vision, mission and values of The Opportunity Agenda.
  • Project management skills, preferably in a growing organization.
  • Excellent interpersonal and team-building skills.
  • Ability to maintain effective working relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to maintain high standards of ethics, integrity, and professionalism, and to handle sensitive and proprietary financial information.
  • Anticipatory and strategic thinker.
  • Systematic approach to tasks and overall development operation.
  • Excellent time management skills, and attention to detail.
  • Computer skills:  Windows operating, MS Office, knowledge of and facility with donor management databases (Raiser’s Edge, in particular.)
  • Willingness to travel on occasion.
  • A sense of humor, humility, and collegiality.
  • Desired but not necessary: Familiarity and experience with social justice, human rights, and/or civil rights issues and organizations; Spanish language skills


The incumbent will work closely with the President and the Steering Committee and will be an integral part of the executive leadership team. S/he will interact with internal departments such as: Finance, Communications, Human Resources, and Operations. S/he will also interact with other colleagues, staff, funders and partners


Lift up to 10lbs. Sit up to 8 hours a day at computer.


Indoor office environment. Some travel required.


Salary range will be determined based on experience and skills. Health, dental and vision insurance are provided as well as life insurance, short-term and long-term disability, flexible spending, and a 403(b) retirement account. A generous vacation package is also included.


Applicants should send a cover letter and resume to jobs@opportunityagenda.org.  No phone calls please.

The Opportunity Agenda is an equal opportunity employer. We value a work place that is diverse in terms of gender, race, class, age, geographic origin, sexual orientation, and other differences that enrich our society. We encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.