Vice President, Development

Job Type

Full Time




Minimum: $100,000



Application Deadline



United States


Position: Vice President, Development

Status: Full Time, Exempt

Location: Anywhere in the U.S. convenient to regular travel

Deadline: Open Until Filled (Resume review will begin October 5th)


With 90,000 alumni and 400 partner organizations in all 50 states, Wellstone is the progressive movement's premier center for public and political leadership development, supporting frontline organizations, movement leaders, activists, candidates, and campaigners across the country. We lead with a race-forward and gender-forward analysis in our work, and we prioritize partnering with communities who have been historically excluded from our current public and political leadership structures.


Headquartered in Minnesota, with staff and trainers anchored across the nation, we bring the hard skills and necessary strategies that help progressives build stronger organizations and run smarter campaigns to win immediate change and build enduring governing power.



As Wellstone’s Vice President, Development you get the excellent job of supporting the growth and health of our organization’s charitable revenue streams. You will guide an inclusive, values-based, collaborative, and highly effective fundraising strategy and team, and you will steward our donor and funder relationships and resources so that we can build power with and for our communities and have the impact we seek to have in the world – creating an inclusive politics where everybody’s in, nobody’s out, no exceptions.


In this role, you will lead the vision and strategy for our fundraising work, partnering with a team of experts who care deeply about building relationships and stewarding our resources to support our values and our impact on the ground. You’ll recruit, retain, and develop staff, drive our organizational commitment to supporting a talented and high-performing national team, and ensure the sustainable growth of our resources from individuals and institutions across the country. And you’ll be joining a highly strategic, results-driven, and good-humored organization that cares as much about our people as we do about the work (so: a lot).


This is a senior leadership position and part of the organization’s Executive Team. You will report to the Acting Executive Director and supervise the Leadership Giving Officer, Foundations and Sponsorships Manager, and Grassroots Giving Manager.


Primary Responsibilities

1.    Vision and Strategy – Align fundraising with organizational and programmatic goals, providing strategic direction for each major fundraising program

§ Set vision and strategic direction of the development program, in collaboration with the Acting Executive Director

§ Apply a strong race and gender equity and inclusion lens throughout all aspects of our fundraising program – so you will set the tone organization wide through the seat you hold, proactively prioritizing equity and inclusion in the functions you manage directly and partnering with staff across the organization to also integrate and prioritize this work

§ Work with executive leadership and the board of directors to ensure fundraising strategy aligns with vision and direction of organization

§ Identify internal and external fundraising trends and shift the organization’s overall fundraising strategy to maximize growth and sustainability

§ Identify areas of opportunity for new revenue, design plans to secure new revenue, and implement plans in partnership with the development team

§ Guide foundations and institutional giving strategy, including general operating and restricted funds

§ Guide annual major donor strategy, including prospect research and data analysis to identify new supporters

§ Guide annual grassroots giving strategies, including annual donors and monthly sustainers and the direct mail program

§ Guide annual sponsorships strategy, and ensure it aligns with program and training goals

§ In partnership with Communications and Marketing, guide online giving strategy and maximize opportunities to develop and implement a robust digital fundraising program

§ Evaluate opportunities to develop and implement an alumni giving program.

2.    Management and Leadership – Manage a high-performing development team, the work of the board development committee, and collaborate effectively with Program, Communications, Finance, and Operations teams to implement all aspects of a successful Development program

§ Lead development team: support a highly functioning team that is motivated and continuously learning, and whose members own their respective roles and provide team and organizational leadership

§ Develop goals, budgets, and plans that meet strategic objectives and ensure ongoing evaluation, learning, and improvement towards greater programmatic excellence

§ Manage three direct staff to ensure strong day-to-day execution of the work, guiding implementation, troubleshooting, budgeting, workflow, and other questions

§ Manage vendors as appropriate, including direct mail, fundraising and events consultants, donor software consultants, and constituent relationship management database (Blackbaud)

§ Provide support to and manage work of board fundraising committee

§ Ensure development team coordinates regularly and well with the communications, program, operations, and finance teams

§ Attract, hire, develop, and retain great people (whether staff, partners, or consultants), and give clear and actionable feedback that helps people get better at what they do

§ Participate and demonstrate leadership in all relevant organizational spaces, including executive team meetings, leadership team meetings, staff meetings, and retreats.


3.    Budget and Resource Development and Partnership with the Finance Department - Ensure appropriate resources and that the Development department meets its financial objectives.

§ Regularly monitor revenue projections versus actuals, adjust fundraising programs as needed to meet goals, and determine whether to pursue new fundraising programs or discontinue underperforming ones

§ Rigorously analyze revenue to assess and adapt fundraising programs as needed to maximize revenue and maintain a diversified revenue portfolio for both the 501c3 and the 501c4

§ Assess potential for new revenue streams and implement as indicated.


4.    Messaging - Ensuring fundraising communications are similar in tone and integrate seamlessly with organizational messaging as developed by our Communications department

§ Write fundraising pieces that reflect our message and identity, and provide oversight of writing by others including staff and vendors

§ Determine materials needed to increase the potential to raise more money (planned giving, legacy fund, special appeals, etc.)

§ Partner with Communications on all mass and branded materials, adapting topline messaging to meet the needs of specific donor and funder audiences.


5.    Relationships - Develop and maintain key organizational relationships that enhance our ability to raise money

§ Identify key people and institutions with whom we should develop and maintain strong relationships

§ Build and hold relationships with existing and prospective donors and funders – prospecting new individual and institutional donors and funders is a key function of this role

§ Enhance relationships with existing donors and funders

§ Identify key stakeholders (existing and potential) to cultivate as gatekeepers or fundraisers for Wellstone – board, donors, alumni, partners, institutional, external, etc.


Required Qualifications

Who You Are:

§ Approach

o  Organizational leadership: Lead by example by modeling a high bar for performance and living our values; operate with the best interests of the organization in mind, and not simply the best interests of your team

o  Ownership: You care deeply about getting results in your realm, and you do what it takes to get them, including paying attention to even small details, anticipating problems, offering creative solutions, driving work forward, and course-correcting when needed

o  Sustainable growth mentality: You’re consistently developing strategies to sustainably grow the amount and type of support from donors and funders and up for trying out new initiatives to bring more folks into our giving program

o  Committed to progressive, inclusive leadership, including valuing and prioritizing work with diverse coalitions and communities

o  Highly relational, with a strong belief in the importance of relationship-building for success, both internally and externally

o  Tenacious and flexible, with a “getting to yes” attitude and a propensity for working through roadblocks and achieving your goals

o  Anticipatory and data driven: you look ahead, alerting staff to trends, deadlines, and upcoming opportunities and using data to make decisions about where to best direct our time and attention in stewarding this work

o  High standards and peak performance: a drive toward ambition and delivering excellent work, including the ability to manage and successfully execute multiple projects simultaneously, both directly and through your team

o  Strong self-initiative and the ability to work independently; able to own significant projects and follow through to completion without heavy day-to-day supervision

o  Thoughtful, strategic leadership combined with energy to do the day-to-day work of program delivery

o  Openness to giving and receiving feedback for continuous learning, evolution, and improvement: you’re committed to building your own skills as well as building the skills and capacity of your colleagues

o  Deep and demonstrated commitment to racial, social, economic, and gender justice

o  A great sense of humor – we’re serious about not taking ourselves too seriously

§ Experience and Skills

o  7+ years of combined experience in fund development, donor relations, foundations, online fundraising, development operations, and/or resource development;

o  Demonstrated ability to work and lead in a multiracial organization, including work that actively addresses habits of white supremacy and other ways that dominant cultures interfere with the dignity and humanity of workers in the workplace and experience developing and leading strategies that promote race and gender equity and inclusion

o  Direct experience supervising and developing staff and managing toward excellence in outcomes, including planning, budgeting, goals setting, financial management, and evaluation

o  Experience managing confidential and sensitive information with a high degree of discretion and accountability

o  Exceptional verbal, written, digital, and interpersonal communications skills, as well as deep listening and intuitive skills – you hear what donors and funders aren’t saying as much as you hear what they are telling you outright

o  Demonstrated innovation and creativity: having imagined and built something new in the world

o  Experience with change management that includes strong project management skills and ability to take ownership and build broad support for new and emerging initiatives

o  Experience managing a remote team and working within multi-state or remote staff cultures preferred but not required

o  Willingness to work non-standard hours, including weekends, and travel when required


Compensation and Benefits


Compensation for this position is highly competitive, with a starting salary of $100,000. Wellstone offers a comprehensive benefits package with excellent health/dental/life/disability insurance; exceptionally generous and flexible paid time off; 401k retirement benefits; FSA enrollment; and more. Check out our full benefits summary, and more about our organizational culture, at

Wellstone offers a lively and rewarding environment, one grounded in community and continuous learning. We are headquartered in Minneapolis, MN and half of our staff are based here with the other half based out of their homes in states across the country. This position may be based anywhere in the U.S. convenient to regular travel.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Application Deadline and Instructions


This position is open until filled. We’ll begin reviewing resumes on Friday, October 5th.


Please email your letter of interest and resume to Please be sure to specify “VP, Development” in the subject line.


Wellstone is an equal opportunity employer. And we’re also an organization that’s guided mostly by people of color, women and gender nonconforming folks, immigrants, queer people, and working-class people. We eagerly invite people of color, Native American and Indigenous people, immigrants, women, genderqueer and gender nonconforming people, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized communities to apply for all open positions at Wellstone. For more about our work, check us out at