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Director of Institutional Giving

Merit America

Merit America

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The Organization: Merit America

The American economy is broken. Today 53 million working adults–nearly half of the U.S. workforce–do not earn a living wage. And these talented workers have few options to advance: college is too long and expensive, full-time bootcamp programs don’t offer enough flexibility, and online courses don’t have the structure or support to translate learning into a new career. The result? Talented workers, disproportionately people of color and women, get stuck in low-wage roles with no way to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Merit America is a national nonprofit that creates pathways to family-sustaining careers for Americans stuck in low-wage work. Our fast, flexible solutions are built for working adults: We start by analyzing tens of millions of job postings to identify in-demand, high-paying tech careers and then work with industry-recognized partners to train for these roles with part-time programs that combine flexible online learning with best-in-class coaching. Finally, we support our learners in their job search, helping them connect with a broad constellation of local and national employers such as JPMorgan Chase and Infosys to land higher-earning, family-sustaining jobs, driving an average wage gain of $24k three months or more after completing the program. Merit America is on a mission to build a scalable pathway for workers to join the middle class through merit, not money. We’re on track to generate $1B in wage gains by 2025.

About the Role:

Merit America empowers low-wage workers to build family-sustaining careers through innovative training programs and supportive coaching. As the Director of Institutional Giving, you'll play a pivotal leadership role in fueling this mission by stewarding and securing transformative gifts from foundations and corporate partners.

The Director of Institutional Giving will actively work with Merit America co-CEOs, the executive team, and the Vice President of Development to expertly manage and thoughtfully cultivate relationships with new and existing funding partners and ensure their support for the organization's mission.

A successful candidate will:

  1. Thoughtfully and strategically own relationships and manage a robust portfolio of existing partners with annual grant sizes between $50,000 and $1M+ (with most of the grants at $250K+).
  2. Develop and present strong, compelling cases for support to attract new six-, seven-, and eight-figure corporate and foundation funding partners to our mission and impact.
  3. Manage, coach, and develop two full-time staff members.

The Director of Institutional Giving is an exempt role and will report directly to the Vice President of Development and work primarily with Merit America’s co-CEOs and the Development Team, which is part of the broader Growth Team.

What You’ll be Doing:

Alongside the VP of Development, the Director of Institutional Giving will create and implement a comprehensive fundraising strategy focused on foundation and corporate funding partners. This leader will manage all relationships and opportunities with foundations and corporations that support Merit America or are likely to do so in the future. The 2024 fundraising target for this role is ~$4M ($500k of which has already been secured) in funding opportunities directly led by them and their team. This leader will also contribute to a broader org-wide 2024 fundraising goal of $27M with strategy and execution in close coordination with Merit America co-CEOs and the VP of Development.

The responsibilities of the Director of Institutional Giving will include, but are not limited to, the following:

Pipeline Development (30%):

  • Design outreach strategies and streamline systems to increase Merit America's visibility among potential funding partners at the right time, leveraging the right resources. This work may include:
    • Working with the Development Coordinator to conduct thorough prospect research and relationship mapping to help identify paths to connect with new prospective partners.
    • Establishing relationships with and embedding Merit America within aligned funder communities via meetings, networking, conferences, events, speaking engagements, and more.
    • Collaborating with the Sr. Development Manager to fully manage the grant reporting calendar and prospect pipeline, executing action items aligned to internal and external deadlines.
  • Partner with Finance, Growth, Product, Policy, and Program teams to craft compelling proposals to prospective funders and meet the needs of Merit America’s mission and strategy.
  • Create well-written, engaging, and strategic grant proposals and reports that position Merit America for success according to all submission and reporting deadlines.
  • Prepare co-CEOs/executive leaders for external meetings with current and prospective funders.
  • Manage the Institutional Giving pipeline, identifying which prospects are in which stage, which prospects may need additional cultivation, and coordinating with other team members to execute those actions and close gifts to hit fundraising targets.

Portfolio and Relationship Management (50%):

  • With the team’s support, manage the relationship with each funding partner’s primary point(s) of contact, including producing all grant applications, proposals, and reports; interacting via regular meetings or presentations; and handling all communications.
  • Execute creative and authentic quarterly stewardship or cultivation touchpoints for all institutional funders and prospective funders.
  • Successfully position the organization for renewed and increased investment from partners at the end of their grant cycle.
  • Draft impactful, smart, engaging correspondence, including for co-CEOs and others, to engage with current and prospective donors and ensure leaders receive timely reminders to engage prospects.
  • Understand and leverage Merit America’s impact data platform (Hex) and donor management system (Salesforce) to drive accurate reporting and decision-making.
    • Maintain accurate records in the Salesforce database to enable reporting to the team and stakeholders.

Leading a Collaborative Team (20%):

  • Manage a talented team of two (Sr. Development Manager and Development Coordinator), providing mentorship, coaching, and performance management.
  • Strategically grow the team over time, aligned to fundraising success and increased goals.
  • Engage the team in identifying and addressing pipeline gaps with a solutions-oriented approach.
  • Assist with and/or consult on any activities related to donor identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, or stewardship. Examples include:
    • Events
    • Website experience
    • Reporting
    • Surprise and delight experiences for donors (thoughtful, unexpected stewardship)
    • Assisting in donation processing, recognition, and database accuracy

What Makes a Successful Candidate:

We recognize that individuals from marginalized backgrounds, including women, people of color, and those with disabilities, are often less likely to apply when they don’t meet 100% of the job qualifications. Don’t let that be the reason you miss out on this opportunity! We want to emphasize that your unique skills, experiences, and perspectives are valuable, and we encourage you to apply if you can demonstrate many of the skills and competencies. Below are the skills that are relevant for thriving in this role:

Must Haves:

  • Proven experience working within a nonprofit development team, including directly managing an institutional giving portfolio which includes multiple six- seven and eight-figure gifts
  • Demonstrated ability to build and lead a small strategic team of fundraisers to meet or exceed fundraising targets
  • Exceptional relationship-management skills, strong, poised and inspiring communication and presentation skills, and ability to draft communications on behalf of co-CEOs
  • Phenomenal writing skills, with an emphasis on clear, concise narrative; a knack for aligning the organization’s mission to the funder’s goals and interests; and a keen eye for detail
  • Proven ability to effectively and independently correspond and engage with influential funders in writing, on calls, and in person
  • Comfort with impact data and leveraging that data to shape external narrative with funders and prospects
  • Strong cross-functional coordination ability
  • Committed to Merit America’s mission to pave pathways to family-sustaining careers, break the poverty cycle, and create upward mobility for low-wage workers
  • Demonstrated history of embodying our values, which inform our work and drive our organization's culture
  • Shared sense of responsibility and ownership for our collective work in making a positive impact on the community we serve, true to our value of Win & Lose Together
  • Committed to continuous learning and growth in understanding and addressing issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice
  • Passionate about fostering a workplace culture that embraces and values individual differences, aligned with our core value of inclusivity

Nice to Have:

  • Experience with Salesforce
  • Experience with iWave or similar wealth prospecting tool
  • Familiarity with the workforce development sector
  • Comfort working with ChatGPT or similar AI tools

Other Logistics

  • This position is full-time: 4-day work week (Fridays are an operating day if there is a holiday closure during the week)
  • Location: Remote
  • Salary: Base salary of $151,100, along with the potential to earn an incentive bonus of up to $20,000
  • Application Deadline: Sunday, May 19th at 11:59 pm ET

Our goal is to have competitive and equitable compensation. We have a market-based compensation approach, which means we benchmark each role from reputable data sources. We compare our benchmarks against similarly sized non-profit organizations with comparable annual budgets and geographical areas. We pay the same rate for the same roles and adjust to comply with statutory mandates.

We take care of our employees by providing the following perks and benefits:

  • 4-day work week (Fridays are an operating day if there is a holiday closure during the week)
  • Medical, Dental and Vision insurance (100% Paid Employee Only Coverage)
  • Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account
  • Dependent care Flexible Spending Account
  • Health Reimbursement Account fully funded by Merit
  • Education reimbursement & personal development stipend
  • Short and long-term disability
  • Unlimited vacation (after a 90-day introductory period)
  • Paid Parental Leave and Adoption benefits (after 1 year of employment)
  • 11 federally recognized holidays
  • 1 week office closure in July (week of July 4th)
  • 2 week holiday office closure in December/January
  • 401(k) retirement plan with automatic Merit contribution
  • Wellness Benefits/Wellness Resources
  • Discount perks at work program
  • Phone/technology stipend
  • Home office setup stipend

Remote Work & Sponsorship

Candidates must reside within the 50 states or District of Columbia and have full authorization to work in the 50 U.S. states & the District of Columbia (international work abroad, including the U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and other islands are excluded). In addition, Merit America doesn't offer employment visa sponsorship.

Equal Opportunity Statement

Building an inclusive, high-performing team that is diverse across lines of personal identity is integral to our success and we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

This means we do not discriminate against any job applicant or employee because of their race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This applies to all terms and conditions of employment.

We actively strive and evolve to develop and maintain workspaces that are fully inclusive. We encourage candidates from underrepresented groups to apply.

Still excited about our work? You can learn more about our work in this video we made with our founding partner, Google.

E-Verify Statement

This employer participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S. If E-Verify cannot confirm that you are authorized to work, this employer is required to give you written instructions and an opportunity to contact Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) so you can begin to resolve the issue before the employer can take any action against you, including terminating your employment. Employers can only use E-Verify once you have accepted a job offer and completed the I-9 Form.