Development Director | popular action



The People’s Action Institute (501c3) and sister organization People’s Action (501c4) are national progressive organizations supporting grassroots mobilization and leadership for an agenda that reflects people rather than profits. People’s Action/Institute empowers the poor and working people in rural, suburban and urban areas to achieve change through campaigns and elections.

With offices in Washington, DC and Chicago, IL, and remote staff across the country, we support and advance national and state struggles for progressive policies on the environment, decarceration, health care, economic security, housing, education, etc. . Our member organizations, nearly 40 organizations in 30 states, improve lives by organizing campaigns and issues at the local and state level, leading tables statewide, and coming together collectively to change national policy and politics.

People’s Action/Institute has a proven track record of leadership in coordinating grassroots mobilization and advocacy to advance a range of issues at the local, state, and federal levels. Our member organizations have won important victories at the national, state and local levels, including health insurance for millions of people and the repeal of health care laws that discriminate based on citizenship, preventing banks of Wall Street from selling predatory payday loans to their customers; and historic legislation like the Community Reinvestment Act to victory and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

For more information on PAI, please visit

The Opportunity

The Director of Development will design and execute an overall development strategy for People’s Action/Institute. They will help forge new relationships to strengthen the visibility, impact and financial resources of People’s Action/Institute.

Job Overview

The Director of Development will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure necessary to grow an annual budget of $15-20 million through solicitation of major gifts, special events and corporate support. and foundations. They will expand and diversify the People’s Action/Institute donor base and work closely with other team members to secure funding for new initiatives while implementing a comprehensive plan to develop key external alliances by cultivating individual and philanthropic support.

As Director of Development, your typical day will include (but is not limited to):

Fundraising strategy development and implementation

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive development strategy and plan to achieve the organization’s financial goals for programmatic and operational support.
  • Oversee research on funding sources and trends to help position People’s Action/Institute ahead of major funding changes or trends.
  • Continue to increase funding in future years while systematically and effectively building the organization’s fundraising capacity.

Cultivate, identify and manage potential donors

  • Systematically engage, solicit, and manage current and new relationships with foundations and major donors, targeting those who share the goals of the People’s Action/Institute mission.
  • Work with the People’s Action/Institute leadership team to identify opportunities with corporations and foundations that could provide additional philanthropic support to the organization.
  • In collaboration with development and programming teams, develop and write grant and funding proposals, concept notes and application letters.

Support grant management and compliance procedures

  • Regularly monitor and report development program progress to senior management.
  • Lead all aspects of fundraising operations within the organization working with development staff, from expense tracking to total grant spending.
  • Work with the finance team to manage grant changes and financial reporting to donors; liaise with donors to secure grant modifications and extensions as required.
  • Work with political staff to write grant reports to donors; submit timely reports and updates to donors as required.

Supervision & Training

  • Supervise, coach and lead a team of professionals towards success.
  • Direct production of fundraising-related written materials, including compelling proposal narratives, letters of intent, program descriptions, emails, other correspondence, and annual reports.
  • Partner with and provide advice, training and guidance to senior policy makers on best practices related to fundraising and proposal processes related to program development and strategy.
  • Provide general advice and support to management staff and board members on overall revenue forecasts and stewardship activities.

The ideal development manager should have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Strong commitment to racial, gender and economic justice and their intersections, both inside and outside the organization
  • Ability to work with various people and organizations
  • Demonstrated ability to build strong relationships based on trust and shared personal interest
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and move people to action with excellent communication skills (written and oral) that influence and engage donors
  • Demonstrated ability to think and plan strategically and to build, articulate and implement an annual strategic development plan.
  • Minimum of 7 years of professional experience in a non-profit organization; demonstrated success in a development function with experience in managing and building relationships with multiple donor sources.
  • Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing relationships with donors over time.
  • Flexible and adaptable leadership style; a leader who can positively impact strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives.
  • Ability to work independently without close supervision and as a team player who will engage productively with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside of People’s Action/Institute.
  • High energy and passion for the mission of People’s Action/Institute is essential.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills with exceptional attention to detail.
  • Ability to lead with a professional and resourceful style; take initiative and manage multiple high-stakes tasks and projects simultaneously.
  • Experience working with a CRM, e.g., Salesforce, Raiser’s Edge, or EveryAction is preferred

Benefits and compensation:

Status: Full-time, exempt, eligible for benefits

Union position: Nope

Wage scale: Level G – $115,000 – $148,000, depending on experience

Location and travel: May be based in our Chicago, IL or Washington, DC office, but remote locations can be considered anywhere in the continental United States. Supervision and most communications will be via videoconference.

Reports to: Head of Strategy and Partnerships

Supervise: Deputy Director of Development

Travel requirements: Need to be able to travel to the United States as needed

Benefits include: Health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, medical, first day of employment and flexible spending account for care of dependents after 90 days, 401(k) plan after 30 days, long term disability insurance, life insurance , 11 paid holidays plus the last two weeks of the year which includes Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, and you accrue two weeks of vacation during your first year of employment.

Commitment to disability, diversity, equity and inclusion

Popular action is a Equal Opportunity Employer; women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA people are strongly encouraged to apply.

Vaccine transparency

Due to travel requirements and in-person interactions during employment, applicants will be required to present proof that they are fully immunized (two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one dose of J&J plus any appropriate booster doses) against COVID-19 before starting employment. Reasonable accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis for exemptions to this requirement in accordance with applicable law.

Closing date: September 29, 2022

Please apply here!

No phone calls, please.


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