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Development Director



Software Engineering, Sales & Business Development
Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2023

ABOUT PLAYWORKS, at Playworks we believe in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid. We are changing the school climate by leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. We create a place for every kid on the playground to feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills by partnering with schools, districts, and after-school programs through services including digital engagement, on-site coaches, professional training for school staff who support play, and consultative partnerships.

ABOUT THE POSITION, in the role of the Development Director (DD), you will have both internal and external facing responsibilities, primarily focused on leading the creation and execution of a comprehensive development strategy to ensure the required multi-regional fund development targets are met annually (currently 1.3M and growing).

This role will report to the Hub Vice President of Field Operations but will work in partnership with the regional leaders in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. The DD is responsible for the direct management of other development staff, including an Engagement Specialist. As the development target expands there is potential for the team to do so as well. The DD will collaborate with development team members across the HUB and Playworks nationally, including the Chief Development Officer.

This full-time, exempt position will be based out of Chicago, Illinois and will require some travel (less than 25%), mostly to Indianapolis and Milwaukee.

Specifically, this role will have the following responsibilities:

Business Development & Sustainability:

  • Create (in collaboration with regional leadership), direct, implement, and assess an annual development plan to ensure more than $1,300,000 in operating support is generated annually.
  • Responsible for building and managing a foundation, corporate and individual donor pipeline that is three times the fundraising goal to achieve philanthropic and relationship management goals, including managing revenue projections. Oversee pipeline development for regional leaders with development staff support.
  • The DD will be responsible for researching, preparing and submitting assigned grant applications and funder reports working in concert with other regional staff.
  • Attend, assist and represent Playworks at various key fundraising events/functions, speaking engagements, tours, and other programs.
  • Host or set regional leaders up to host program visits and seek new relationships in the philanthropic community.

Relationship Management:

  • The DD is one of the primary relationship managers for current and prospective philanthropic partners, including a portfolio of annual donors, and will help lead and execute growth strategies for other relationship managers as well (i.e. regional leaders, Engagement Specialist, VP)
  • Identify, cultivate, and deliver significant gifts from a diverse base of supporters (corporations, foundations, individuals) working in collaboration with the regional leader and Regional Boards. Personally secure and deliver significant gifts (four and five figures).
  • Maintain an active schedule of solicitations, cultivation visits, events and stewardship activities, performing and making at least 50 personal solicitations per year.

Board Partnership & Development

  • In collaboration with regional leadership, support the work of the Regional Boards and board members’ individual fundraising plans.
  • Manage the development committee and use the board for strategic gift solicitations.

Organizational Leadership & Staff Management

  • Serve as a strategic thinking partner to regional and HUB leadership.
  • Help to streamline regional development practices for efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Oversee the regular reports on development progress against targets and work with regional leadership and Regional Development Team to ensure revenue and fundraising targets are met.
  • Oversee major donor stewardship for sponsors and donors for fundraising events including, but not limited to the annual Get in the Game Gala, Rock Paper Scissors Tournament, and Corporate Kickball.
  • Provide coaching, strategic guidance and critical feedback to staff on prospect research, individual and major donor cultivation, stewardship and ask, with a practice of mentorship and respect for the skills, strengths, contributions and challenges of individual team members.
  • Collaborate with regional staff to cultivate, develop and mobilize the Playworks network – stakeholders, volunteers, donors, Fellows, etc.

Administration & Operations

  • Manage the development, communications and events budget and work with regional leadership to develop monthly reports.
  • Oversee Salesforce implementation and database troubleshooting with staff.
  • Work closely with Development staff to ensure that all operational functions run smoothly.
  • Cultivate and steward the Playworks brand, ensuring consistent communications across the organization.
  • Manage staff to ensure development and communications deadlines are met.

Required Skills & Experience

  • 5-7 years of fundraising and development experience
  • Experience with direct solicitation required, the strongest candidate will have demonstrated experience in Chicago, Indianapolis or Milwaukee.
  • Experience leading and managing staff in an innovative, entrepreneurial culture.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, and interpersonal skills, with the ability to build trust within a team, as well as lead group presentations.
  • Requires flexibility to readily adapt to a changing environment.
  • Strong knowledge of effective fundraising strategies including grant seeking, individual donor cultivation, corporate employee volunteer programs and event production.
  • Possess excellent organizational and analytical skills and the ability to multitask and meet aggressive deadlines.
  • Proven track record of success in fundraising.
  • Tech savvy and familiarity with donor management/engagement systems and online social networks.
  • Experience as a collaborative and innovative leader, with an understanding of strength-based organizational culture, passionate about Playworks’ mission and committed to education and health reform work.
  • Flexibility to work nights and weekends as needed.

Compensation & Benefits:

Playworks offers the full package - great benefits, a fun place to work and an opportunity to grow professionally. We offer:

  • This is a full-time, exempt position that reports to the Hub Vice President of Field Operations and is based in Chicago, IL.
  • At Playworks, our starting salary takes into consideration internal pay equity, geographic pay differential and robust external market data. We highly value transparency and equity within compensation and therefore are committed to adhering to established compensation pay points. The starting salary for this position is $104,000
  • A comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, disability, 401(k) plans with employer match of up to 3% of salary, life insurance, employee funded pre-tax health, and child care spending accounts.
  • Generous Flexible PTO policy with paid sick and holiday leave

This is a hands-on, creative, playful and fun-loving place to work, all while contributing to the success of our nation’s youth. So if you're ready to immerse yourself in the education sector, working on a rewarding set of challenges and if you've got the skills, experience, passion, and a team spirit, apply!

Please include:

  • A cover letter describing your interest in Playworks and how your experience has prepared you for this role.
  • Resume.
  • References will be requested.

We are committed to racial equity, and we make a particular effort to recruit people of color, indigenous people, gender non-binary people, and people with historically more marginalized identities to apply for open positions. Our core values of cultivate play, center equity, continue learning and collaborate within communities are the foundation of our organization and are infused in all aspects of our work.

Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they meet every one of the qualifications as described in a job description. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. If that is you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself!

As an equal opportunity program, Playworks encourages applications from all individuals regardless of age, gender, gender identity/expression, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, faith, marital status, physical ability, or any other legally protected basis. Playworks evaluates all candidates for employment, volunteering opportunities or board service on a merit basis.