Director of Development


The Director of Development oversees Openlands’ development staff and annual fundraising campaign, which includes individual, foundation, corporate, and event giving. The Director of Development is responsible for developing, tracking, and meeting ambitious team revenue targets annually. This position carries a small prospect portfolio and is responsible for front-line fundraising that includes meeting quarterly and annual fundraising metrics. The position reports to the Vice President of External Affairs and manages three or more development staff and interns.

The Director of Development will work closely with Openlands’ senior management team as a partner on a variety of fundraising initiatives and campaigns.

Essential Functions

  • Oversees the goal setting, strategy, and execution of a comprehensive fundraising program totaling $5M+ in annual support from board members, individuals, foundations, corporations, and events.
  • Supervise and set goals for a creative, energetic, and high-performing development team in carrying out annual and quarterly development objectives.
  • Execute meaningful and customized fundraising plans for a defined portfolio of prospective and existing individual and foundation partners, including arranging site-visits, workdays, or tours; making appointments for leadership and program staff with potential funders; and working with staff and board members to ensure donor retention and upgrades, and effective stewardship.
  • Draft high-quality competitive proposals, grant and impact reports, and other fundraising communications to support the best practices of corporate and foundation engagement.
  • Develop proposal budgets along with the accounting staff and program staff leads.
  • Lead the strategy and fundraising activity for Openlands’ annual luncheon that raises approximately $.5M in annual support.
  • Foster productivity, accountability, and professional growth for direct and indirect reports through the regular use of performance metrics, portfolio reviews, and donor strategy meetings.
  • Understand organizational and project goals and financials and best practices for charitable giving, as well as trends in the philanthropic landscape.
  • Liaises effectively with various internal and external partners, including program staff, donors, corporate and foundation leadership, C-suite executives, board members, and/or external consultants.
  • Oversee the process of defining fundraising revenue goals for the organization and has accountability for the oversight of monthly and quarterly tracking and forecasting, including fundraising progress reports to the Board of Trustees.
  • Prepare reports about development activities for board and executive committee meetings. Attend development committee meetings and identify thoughtful ways to engage members in fundraising programs.


  • Demonstrated experience soliciting from the Chicago philanthropic community, particularly individual and institutional donors, and development information systems.
  • Ability to identify, recruit and support fundraising volunteers.
  • A strong track record as an implementer who thrives on managing a variety of key fundraising activities concurrently.
  • Highly collaborative style; experience developing and implementing fundraising strategies and proven record of meeting fundraising goals.
  • Externally focused relationship builder with the flexibility and finesse to listen well and to manage by influence.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Exceptional planning and organizational skills.
  • Sincere commitment to work collaboratively with all constituent groups, including staff, board members, volunteers, donors, program participants, and other supporters.
  • Maturity and leadership with the ability to serve as a decision maker and strategist for fundraising activities at both the strategic and tactical levels.
  • Self-starter, able to work independently, and entrepreneurial; enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives.

Job Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • At least five to seven years of fundraising experience, ideally with expertise in individual and/or institutional giving, with a proven track record of closing five- to six-figure gifts within a complex (number and variety of constituents) nonprofit organization
  • The ability to take program goals and translate them into exciting annual giving opportunities, matching them with funder goals.
  • Prior staff and development budget management is required.
  • Responsible for fundraising, therefore near-constantly working with program staff, development staff, communications staff, President/CEO, and board of directors.
  • Flexibility and ability to successfully work from home and office. Occasionally need to attend evening and/or weekend events and donor meetings.
  • Must be comfortable setting staff goals, including fundraising metrics, and setting strategy for annual fundraising plan.
  • Must handle confidential donor information with the utmost discretion and tact.


Salary range is market competitive. This is a full-time exempt position. Openlands is an equal opportunity employer. Openlands’ policy is to provide equal employment opportunity as required by law. Openlands will not discriminate on the basis of race, gender or sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, or physical or mental handicap unrelated to ability to perform the assigned tasks, marital or parental status, ancestry, military service or veteran status, or any other legally protected category. This equal employment opportunity refers to all applicable company practices, including employee recruiting, hiring, assignments, working conditions, compensation, transferring, training, promoting, disciplining, terminating, and all other conditions of employment.

To Apply:

Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position to JobApps@Openlands.org. Please include “Director of Development” in the subject line.

About Openlands:

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.