Chief Development Officer


NPR is seeking a Chief Development Officer who will lead the design and execution of a comprehensive national fundraising program that matches NPR’s reputation for innovation and excellence. The CDO will provide expert direction for the adoption of benchmark best practices and the development of creative strategies that continue to expand NPR’s major donor base and national revenue. The CDO will embody the highest standards of professionalism in developing fundraising systems and in executing high-touch frontline fundraising: s/he will serve as an influential member of the executive management team, an effective partner to NPR’s Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors, a mentor and role model for a team of development professionals and support staff, and a lead ambassador to high-level partners and donors. The CDO’s work will build partnerships that advance NPR’s and its member stations’ ability to provide high-quality independent content that plays a critical role in the lives of the American public and of people around the world.


Strategy and Direction


  • Understand and become an authoritative voice on NPR’s mission, history, values, culture, policies, programs, and finances.
  • Serve as a key member of NPR’s executive team, ensuring alignment of development initiatives with NPR’s vision, mission, and strategic plans.
  • Evaluate the organization’s internal and external environment to design and implement short-and long-term fundraising plans and program.
  • Maintain well-designed, integrated major and planned giving programs for all constituencies, including individuals, families, foundations, and corporations.
  • Develop processes and relationships to ensure that fundraising strategies are mutually beneficial to NPR and its Member Stations, accomplishing both national and local goals and lifting the entire NRP system to new levels of giving.
  • Take a lead role in organization-wide and division planning for a near-term national capital campaign, including the development of case statements, gift pyramid with targets, gift mechanisms, and volunteer structure.
  • Produce annual and periodic written plans for major gift initiatives.



Essential Duties Include


  • Lead all efforts to meet annual and capital campaign goals for NPR’s operations, programs, and endowment.
  • Take a prominent role in personally cultivating and soliciting high-level and high-potential prospects.
  • Design broad best practice-as well as prospect-specific strategies for all stages of donor pipeline management, including identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, with the objective of broadening the prospect pool, increasing the number of active NPR donors, and growing annual revenue.
  • Create strategies to diversify prospects among new donor segments, including strategies to build relationships with a next generation of millennial donors with unique relationships to modern media.
  • Analyze donor motivations among all constituencies and oversee the development of a wide range of gift mechanisms that encourage and facilitate giving at the 6-, 7-and 8-figure level.
  • Maximize a rich database through the adoption of sophisticated approaches to donor pipeline development and moves management techniques.
  • Engage and leverage NPR’s President and CEO and Board of Directors in the fundraising process through relationship mapping, personal visits, events, and regular communication.
  • Collaborate with, guide, and support NPR’s legal, financial, and programming staff to ensure the effective design and execution of back-end and frontline fundraising processes.
  • Design ways to deepen volunteer engagement in the identification and cultivation of new volunteers and donors to NPR.
  • Act as a high-level ambassador for the NPR brand in all interactions with external supporters, volunteers, partners, and donors.



  • Provide direction and oversight for 6 direct reports, including specialists in Institutional Giving, Individual Giving, Planned and Principal Giving, Collaborative Fundraising, Donor Relations, and Database Analytics
  • Build and retain a world-class fundraising team capable of exceeding NPR’s financial goals.
  • Lead, manage, and develop a geographically distributed 40-person development staff, with the joint goals of exceeding performance targets and elevating skills.
  • Generate, monitor, and manage the annual development budget.
  • Ensure best-in-class development operations and stewardship to ensure cost-effectiveness of all fundraising activities.
  • Perform ongoing evaluations of team performance and share results.
  • Provide training, guidance, and support to the Board, Board Committees, and staff as needed regarding development activities.
  • The ideal Chief Development Officer will excel at building and leading all aspects of highly successful fundraising programs. The CDO will be accustomed to using these skills to successfully manage and grow a large national major gifts program executed by a highly effective and diverse staff. The CDO will be able to work effectively with people from all backgrounds and at all levels, from Board members and corporate executives, to journalists and artists, to major gift officers and interns. S/he will be committed to NPR’s mission and to becoming a key contributor to it.


Key Qualifications:

  • 15 years of progressively responsible experience in a complex non-profit organization; experience in an organization with an affiliate structure is highly desired.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement a comprehensive set of innovative fundraising strategies that lead to diversified funding and sustainable growth.
  • Experience designing and/or implementing world-class fundraising operations and donor stewardship programs with demonstrated impact on revenue.
  • Record of personally securing 6-, 7-, and 8-figure gifts (including major and planned gifts) from a national and/or international pool of individuals and institutions.
  • Experience planning for, leading, or participating in a large fundraising campaign is highly preferred.
  • Keen understanding of the evolving nature and dimensions of philanthropy, including motivations for giving and for volunteering.
  • Current knowledge of best fundraising practices, including research, qualification, cultivation, and stewardship as well as face-to-face solicitations and proposals. 
  • Evidence of the ability to balance creative thinking, strategic planning, and tactical execution.
  • Ability to anticipate opportunities and to act quickly and resourcefully to take advantage of them.
  • Record of building and leading a high-performing fundraising team that has achieved success and continuous growth.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with senior management teams, Board members, volunteers leaders, staff, donors, prospects, and other key stakeholders.
  • Exceptional communication skills, including listening, writing, and public speaking skills, with the ability to deliver compelling presentations to internal and external audiences
  • Ability to anticipate opportunities and to act quickly and resourcefully to take advantage of them
  • Good judgment and integrity necessary to serve as an internal role model and brand ambassador
  • Strong business and fiscal management skills.
  • Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree or record of continuing education is preferred.


Questions, resumes and CVs should be sent to [email protected]


All first round interviews for this position will take place at Development Resources, inc.at 1820 N. Fort Myer Drive, Suite 702, Arlington, VA 22209, (703) 294-6684, or via telephone/video conference.

Back to top