Reader Institute for Community Journalism, Inc Chief Development Officer Chicago, IL · Full time Company website

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) is responsible for scaling the development function of the Reader Institute for Community Journalism to support the mission and expand the reach of the institution. The CDO leads the organization's fundraising operations' strategic direction and overall management. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, this person works 40 hours per week and manages the Grants Manager and consultants.


Strategic and Organizational Leadership 

  • Serve on the leadership team, collaborating with the CEO and other senior leaders to help drive the organization's vision, strategy, and operational direction 
  • In partnership with the CEO, lead the development of fundraising strategies that shape and fuel the organization's existing and new initiatives 
  • Serve as an external face of the organization to enhance RICJ’s revenue generation, impact, visibility, brand recognition, and credibility 
  • Act as a liaison to the Board of Directors and Development Committee, presenting fundraising updates and ensuring that the board has the information necessary to meet its fiduciary, fundraising, and oversight responsibilities 
  • Support the CEO and board chair to expand the Board of Directors, including a focus on diversifying the representation 

Individual Giving 

  • Create structure for and ensure execution of individual giving programs for major giving, mid-level donors, and annual giving/membership 
  • Work with other staff to maintain a grants calendar and ensure execution of solicitations via email, social media, and direct mail, including generating donor segmentation and prospect lists 
  • Ensure that stewardship is appropriate, consistent, and timely for every gift and every donor 
  • Work with Board Development Committee to expand giving from the Board of Directors and their networks 
  • Evaluate new opportunities, such as capacity for creating and supporting Auxiliary Board(s) 

Institutional Giving

  • Reports and collaborates with CEO and grant writing staff to develop grant strategies 
  • Provide grant management support as needed, including collecting information, participating in site visits/calls, providing funder updates, etc. 
  • Leverage the depth and breadth of the Reader community to generate contributions through partnerships with advertisers, Best of Chicago community and other businesses 
  • Assess inbound philanthropic partnership requests for revenue potential and lead those identified through closure 

Development Operations 

  • Supervise staff and consultants as described herein 
  • Manage, develop, and grow a team. 
  • Work with Grants Manager to configure Salesforce to maximize utility for development, marketing, and sales teams 
  • Oversee the maintenance and improvement of fundraising systems and processes to ensure donors and partners are properly stewarded and reporting is timely and accurate 
  • Monitor and ensure data health 
  • Manage costs and budgets to ensure that the cost per dollar raised is within industry norms 
  • Maintain departmental policies and procedures 


  • Prepare donor communications, including but not limited to case for support, donor reports, emails, website content, and annual reports in collaboration with program staff and organizational leadership

This is a hybrid work position. Living in the Chicago/Chicagoland area is preferred, as attendance at in-person meetings and events will be required. This position may require up to 25% travel for work-related responsibilities and philanthropic needs. 

Diverse candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. The Reader is committed to creating a collaborative environment that celebrates the diversity of our staff. We are proud to be an equal-opportunity employer.


$100,000 - $120,000 per year