Director of Institutional Relations

March 2023 | Boston Area, MA
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The Christensen Institute seeks a proactive, strategic, and entrepreneurial Director of Institutional Relations to grow institutional philanthropy.

About The Christensen Institute

The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, Inc. (the “Institute”) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the world through Disruptive Innovation. Founded on the theories of Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, the Institute offers a unique framework for understanding many of society’s most pressing issues around education, health care, and economic prosperity. The Institute works to influence the way policymakers, community leaders, and innovators address these problems by distilling and promoting the transformative power of Disruptive Innovation.

clayton christensen institute research areas include education, healthcare, global prosperity and emerging research

The Institute was founded in 2007 when the founders were writing Disrupting Class and The Innovator’s Prescription. The books articulated powerful, predictive theories for transforming our world. They knew that as books alone, their research would not have the needed impact. They needed a team to share their ideas with the world, and a team that would help them extend and refine their research.

Now, led by Ann Christensen, President, the Christensen Institute is poised to lead in this new decade and expand its impact across the globe. With the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world—now more than ever—needs actionable, original, and sound paths forward to tackle the complex issues facing society.

The Institute utilizes a three-pronged approach to tackle these complex issues:

  • Research: The Institute leverages sound theory to analyze trends in innovation and offer new insights into seemingly intractable challenges.
  • Educate: The Institute synthesizes the research into books, research papers, presentations, and other media to equip stakeholders with powerful frameworks to better understand innovation.
  • Connect: The Institute actively engages with industry leaders and innovators to elevate the conversation and together build a more equitable and prosperous future.

The work of the Institute has a far-reaching impact and influence including 9 published books, over eighty published research papers, and their work has been highlighted in prestigious platforms such as Harvard Business Review, PBS, and The Economist.

About Philanthropy

Philanthropy at the Christensen Institute has been growing steadily over the last few years. The Institute currently has major institutional and individual partners as a solid foundation upon which to build. With a base of prestigious foundation support, the Institute recognizes an opportunity for increased institutional funding and broader corporate partnerships to include executive education courses, visiting fellowship opportunities, and cosponsored management development programs. The Institute is eager to build upon this momentum to bring the fundraising program to the next level.

About the Opportunity

The Christensen Institute seeks a proactive, strategic and entrepreneurial Director of Institutional Relations to build upon existing funding and grow institutional philanthropy and partnerships. This is an exciting opportunity to shape the development program in a nimble and collaborative organization with a reputation for quality research and a track record of securing funding from prominent foundations.

Reporting to the Institute’s President, the Director will work to build a formal institutional philanthropy program, developing the strategy and tactics to successfully identify, cultivate, solicit, steward, and report on contributions that advance the Institute’s mission. The Director will serve as an internal subject matter expert on foundation and corporate relations throughout the organization and will regularly interact and collaborate with senior leadership, researchers, and staff to identify fundraising and grant opportunities, ensure grant fulfillment, and cultivate institutional relationships.

The right candidate will have experience building an institutional relations program, the knowledge and skills to manage relationships with grant-making foundations and corporations, and the ability to identify and secure 5- and 6-figure grants and gifts from these organizations. They will also have the capability to develop and manage corporate partnerships that go beyond financial support. Prior experience securing and stewarding funding from major national foundations, governmental agencies, and corporations is highly preferred for this position.

Essential to success in this role is comfort in implementing processes and procedures to support development efforts, exceptional interpersonal and relationship-building skills, strong verbal and written communication skills, analytical and critical thinking skills, and the ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with colleagues and external organizations. Sensitivity in maintaining confidentiality is required.

The position must be deeply committed to The Christensen Institute’s mission to improve the world through Disruptive Innovation.

Key Responsibilities


  • group of people on a stage speaking Work to formulate and execute plans to increase support from foundations and corporations in alignment with the Institute’s strategic goals.
  • Secure in-person and phone/video meetings with grant officers, held alone or with Institute leadership and/or researchers.
  • Coordinate with research teams and finance to prepare and submit grant proposals, budgets, and reports, as well as ensure benefit fulfillment.
  • Develop cultivation strategies to secure 5- and 6-figure grants to meet defined research goals.
  • Prepare periodic analyses and reports (Executive Summaries) of fundraising activity.
  • Conduct prospect research and attend related events to grow networks and identify new prospects for key programs and initiatives.
  • Track foundation and corporation outreach activity and successful grant awards on Salesforce CRM software.
  • Support transition to CRM Software and develop CRM protocol.
  • Develop collateral material to support fundraising initiatives including case statements, one-page overviews, grant requests, and program reports.
  • Monitor target foundation publications, communications, and strategies.
  • Prioritize professional development by participating in educational opportunities; reading professional publications; maintaining personal networks; participating in professional organizations.


  • Build and sustain relationships with foundation/corporate funders.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, internal teams and external audiences to engage donors and prospects strategically in the Institute’s research and events to enhance engagement and the value proposition.
  • Manage calendar of grant reporting and grant application deadlines; collaborate with colleagues on programmatic teams to produce high-quality program reports.

Key Qualifications

  • 7+ years of experience in a fast-paced, high volume development operation with a proven track record of successful proposal writing and grant management.
    • Experience raising funds for complex research a plus
  • clayton christensenExperience and continued interest in operating as a self-starter in an entrepreneurial environment.
  • Deep commitment to the Institute’s mission to improve the world through Disruptive Innovation, including a desire to learn more about the research conducted by the Institute.
  • Proven record of directly soliciting and securing 5- and 6-figure corporate & foundation gifts.
  • Experience building a fundraising program around institutional support, including developing processes and protocol.
  • Demonstrated record of collaboration and diplomacy with a wide range of stakeholders on complex projects and proposals.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion with the ability to work effectively in a diverse community.
  • Cross-functional capacity with the ability to think strategically while maintaining strong attention to detail and operational efforts.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills.
  • Comfortable with prospect/donor research and moves management.
  • Experience in Salesforce database management software a plus.

The Christensen Institute provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. The Institute complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leave of absence, compensation, and training.


The salary range for this position is $125,000 – $140,000; the successful candidate’s starting salary will be determined commensurate with experience, competencies, and skillset.

Apply to this position using the form below or email your resume and cover letter in confidence to:


Mary Plum

Senior Consultant

Development Guild DDI

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Please complete this form to be considered for this role.

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