Chief Development Officer

June 2023 | Remote, USA
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Groundswell Fund seeks a Chief Development Officer to steward unprecedented funding growth to double Groundswell Fund’s impact.

About Groundswell Fund

For nearly 20 years, Groundswell Fund has put intersectional grassroots organizing led by women, transgender and gender expansive people of color, at the center of its giving. Groundswell Fund has provided an essential irrigation system for social justice movements – a channel into which individual donors and foundations can pour resources to reach vital work at the grassroots.

Groundswell’s agile general operating support has and continues to work to remove the greatest barriers facing the success of grassroots power-building for reproductive justice organizations: inadequate funding and lack of access to the tools and technologies needed to “skill and scale”. Groundswell Fund works with grantees to move Integrated Voter Engagement and Grassroots Organizing campaigns forward. Their grantees have moved from trepidation about the public policy process to enthusiasm, organizing, and successful impact. They have been instrumental in the passage of more than 345 progressive policies, in blocking many regressive policies, and have seen exponential growth in the number of people and voters they are engaging and mobilizing.

They have become one of the largest funders of women of color-led organizing in the United States and the Reproductive Justice Movement itself. Groundswell’s approach is thoughtful, sound, and well-aimed at the most promising and impactful organizations. They are living proof that when a foundation is run by women of color and transgender people of color who come out of grassroots organizing, giving looks different.

About Philanthropy at Groundswell Fund

Groundswell models a remarkable kind of philanthropy – proving that building solidarity and beloved community across lines of race, class, and gender is possible.

group of people and a sign tat says defend the sacred protect the arcticAs evidence, they currently have 800 individual donors and 40 national foundations that support Groundswell’s mission; a leadership team of women of color and trans and gender-expansive people of color with a background in grassroots organizing who determine where those resources are invested; and more than 200 grantees led mostly by women of color and trans and gender-expansive people of color and engaged in transformative social justice work.

Building on a 17-year track-record of success ($100M in grants and capacity-building moved to the field thus far), in December 2020, Groundswell launched a new 2020-2025 Blueprint to move another $100M to the field (through their c3 and c4 entities) by 2025. The Blueprint offers a pathway for Groundswell to stay the course in its existing successful strategic direction and to innovate in response to new learnings and the unique needs of this historic moment.

Groundswell views its fundraising as organizing and has a track record for educating, politicizing, and mobilizing donors toward the greatest benefit of our movements.

About the Position

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) will be instrumental in the organization’s continued growth and opportunity for impact. As a member of Groundswell Fund’s executive team, the Chief Development Officer will be responsible for leading the Funder Organizing team (development and communications) and work closely with leadership and key external-facing staff to raise an annual budget of approximately $30M across Groundswell’s c3 and c4 entities.

The CDO will be responsible for guiding Groundswell’s overall fundraising strategy, co-creating a plan for reaching annual revenue goals, and managing a team of 12 full-time staff including a Director of Donor Organizing, Director of Funder Organizing, and Communications Director.  The CDO will also manage various consultant relationships and vendor partners. This full-time position is location flexible. 

Key Responsibilities

group of people posing for the photoOrganizational Leadership and Team Management

  • Contribute to guiding overall organizational strategic direction, decision-making, prioritization, and goals and ensure all development activities are operating in lock step with the rest of the organization.
  • Manage and support the performance of a projected 12-member team, providing a clear team vision, inspire and motivate team members to perform well, and collaborate excellently.
  • Providing leadership and training to the staff and Board on fundraising efforts, including sharing of best practices, and providing tools, information, and resources to strengthen fundraising and funder organizing efforts.
  • Partner with the Executive Director (ED) and Chief Finance Officer on the regular assessment, analysis, reporting, and projections of development and campaign activity, income, and pledges, including any significant variances or unforeseen shifts in budget.
  • Serve as a thought partner and support to the ED to ensure their time is best leveraged in fundraising, primarily around donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Partner with ED in coaching and guiding the Board of Directors, helping to set policies and practices for Board members involved in fundraising, overseeing the training and support of Board members in outreach and solicitation.
  • Lead yearly development strategy and planning for individual donors and foundations, including overarching narrative for donor and funder collateral.

Solicitation and Stewardship

  • Manage a seven-figure portfolio of the organization’s highest net worth donors and key foundations; serve as the primary Groundswell contact responsible for stewarding these relationships.
  • Represent Groundswell at key donor and foundation meetings and events and collaborate with the Executive Director and program staff to design briefings for foundations and other external stakeholders.
  • Increase departmental capacity to cultivate new donor prospects and steward existing donor relationships, with a goal of growing the percentage of revenue derived from individual donors from 15% to 30% (this goal is part of multi-year plan, which we are mid-way through).
  • Oversee integration of strategic communications within the development strategy.

Systems and Operations

  • Develop prospecting strategy in collaboration with the Funder Organizing department; oversee the process of researching and identifying new funding opportunities from major donors, private foundations, and corporations for both the c3 and c4 organizations.
  • Build and strengthen systems and processes for departmental operations and the full donor lifecycle, and document best practices for Groundswell’s fundraising manual.
  • Oversee the design of donor engagement activities and campaigns in partnership with the Executive Director and Funder Organizing and communications teams.
  • Design and execute organization-wide training to staff, including sharing of best practices and providing tools, information, and resources to strengthen fundraising efforts.

Key Qualifications

  • four omen holding signs that say go green and save the earth no plasticDemonstrate personal/professional commitment to Groundswell’s mission and model; experience directly supporting women of color, low-income women, and transgender people highly preferred.
  • Proven track record in leading fundraising within a $10M+ organization, with preference for combined c3 and c4 experience.
  • Organizing experience/background in grassroots labor, restorative justice, electoral or other applicable area preferred but not required.
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience with fundraising and donor/community relations activities, and at least three years at the Director level.
  • Knowledge of annual giving, foundation/corporate solicitations, deferred giving, planned giving, communications, major gifts, and special events.
  • Strong experience using a race, class, gender lens in verbal and written communications.
  • An expert relationship-builder, with the emotional quotient to support and coach staff at all levels.
  • Impeccable judgment and discretion in dealing with sensitive information.
  • Experience serving on an executive or other higher-level organizational leadership team.
  • Ability to travel up to 20 times a year, often cross-country, including overnight travel for events, donor meetings, and Board meetings.
  • Racial equity and inclusion (REI) experience, skills, and values
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving ability
  • Ability to write clearly and concisely as well as edit copy for clarity and grammatical accuracy, strong public speaking skills.
  • Excellent team building, facilitation, and organizational skills, with the ability to work gracefully under pressure.


The salary range for this position is $185,000-$225,000. Final offers for the role will be based upon several factors including the position requirements, candidate’s experience level, and capabilities.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy: Groundswell Fund Non-Discrimination Policy   

Groundswell Fund is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides grants and capacity building resources to the U.S. reproductive justice movement. We are committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and that enables each of us to realize our potential. Our work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of races, ethnicities, national origins, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, beliefs, religions, faiths and ideologies, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and levels of physical ability.

Groundswell Fund Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement 

Groundswell continues to be a sector leader in this area, often called upon to share best practices with peer institutions who look to us as a model for centering the leadership of those most affected, particularly women and trans people of color. Groundswell staff and governance structures continue to reflect the diversity of both our philanthropic partners and the communities we support—including foundation partners, grantmaking partners, and WOC-led reproductive justice organizations. 

We believe that diversity in representation alone is not enough. At every level of our own organization—and throughout our wider circles of influence—we will continue to advocate for racial and gender justice and to champion women of color, as well as LGBTQ leaders of color, immigrant leaders, and leaders of different class and faith backgrounds.  

Groundswell has rooted itself in diverse perspectives and identities since our inception. As we grow to meet this moment, we will continue to advance intersectional, holistic, and justice-based diversity approaches in our own work, while supporting the innovative thinking and practices of our grantee organizations in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

If you are interested in being considered for this search, please use the form below or email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Kat Landa

Senior Vice President, Executive Search

Development Guild DDI

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