Chief Development Officer

Job Type

Full Time


Details: Salary is commensurate with experience within the guidelines of Lambda Legal scale.




120 Wall Street
19th Floor
New York
United States


Lambda Legal seeks a creative and experienced Chief Development Officer (CDO) to lead their Development Department and national fundraising. This position will work very closely with Lambda’s Chief Executive Officer to fund the expansion of the organization’s unparalleled impact litigation work for the LGBTQ Community and people living with HIV. The successful candidate will be ready to roll up their sleeves to lead and restructure a dedicated national team to expand giving in the years ahead.

Based in New York, this position is responsible for managing a robust fundraising program that raises over $20 million annually through a combination of direct response, major gifts, events, corporate and foundation giving, and a fast-growing planned giving program. The CDO will direct a team of 25 fundraising staff across six offices nationally, and serve as a key connection to a range of internal and external stakeholders. This position serves on the Senior Leadership Team and works in close alignment with the COO, Regional Directors and Marketing team to achieve aggressive fundraising goals.

Additionally, the CDO leads the creation and implementation of a comprehensive fund development plan to meet Lambda’s program goals. They will oversee all Development operations and signature events. The CDO will also be instrumental in designing and implementing an in-person meeting plan to ensure that the CEO meets with donors and funders throughout the next year.

Lambda Legal is a national, nonprofit organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Since 1973, Lambda Legal has used impact litigation and other advocacy tools to decriminalize same-sex relationships, fight HIV discrimination, win marriage equality, and advance the rights of transgender people, among other key issues impacting the lives and wellbeing of LGBTQ people. Clients are not charged for legal representation or advocacy, and Lambda Legal receives no government funding. Headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Washington DC.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Lambda Legal’s fundraising program is ambitious, and works with funders of varying size across the United States. The CDO must bring excitement and energy to their work with donors as the organization begins its next chapter in the fight for the rights of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community. Besides having a proven track record in fundraising, the next CDO must have experience in the following areas:


Leadership and Team Building: The successful candidate will be a leader that motivates and leads staff and volunteers by example. Provides leadership and mentoring to the development team to ensure strong results and continued staff growth. Critical will be leading a national team to raise and sustain more than $20 million annually for Lambda Legal. 


Individual Giving: The successful candidate must a have a strong background in cultivating, soliciting, and closing 5, 6, and 7-figure gifts from high-net-worth individuals and families. The CDO will need to travel at least 30% of the time to meet and solicit donors. The position is expected to conduct 6 to 8[RBT1]  high-impact personal donor visits per month to cultivate positive and purposeful relationships. The CDO also will work closely with the CEO and Board on individual gift cultivation and solicitation.


Creativity: The CDO will be fearless in their fundraising and be willing to test and implement new giving strategies and new messages to diversify and increase Lambda’s fundraising portfolio.


Collaboration: The CDO will also be skilled at working internally across departments in a highly matrixed organization to maximize resources and development income. This position will work in tandem with Lambda’s Chief Communications Officer to be sure that Development and Communications are collaborating to expand the organization’s visibility. The Legal and Policy teams also are partners in developing program and presentation materials and participating in major donor events and calls. 

Board and Volunteer Management: This position works closely with both Lambda’s Board of Directors and National Leadership Council on various fundraising projects. The CDO must have a strong background working with these types of high-level stakeholders, and staffing Board Development Committees.


Budgeting and Systems: The CDO must be comfortable creating and implementing expense and revenue budgets, and systems that support revenue tracking and generation. A high degree of data analytics for understanding where to invest and deprioritize in national Development activities is preferred.


There may be other additional duties as assigned, and the CDO must be comfortable with Raisers Edge. Familiarity with Salesforce is also a benefit.


  • Minimum of 10 – 15 years of fund development leadership experience; capital campaign experience preferred.
  • Leadership experience within a sophisticated fundraising operation of similar complexity.
  • Fundraising achievements in major gifts cultivation and solicitation, corporate and foundation grants, direct mail, planned giving, corporate sponsorships and special events.
  • Experience working with and coaching diverse teams.
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and collaboratively to maximize teamwork. 
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. 
  • Excellent organizational skills, with experience working in data-driven and process-driven organizations. 
  • Entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to attracting new stakeholders. 
  • Analyze fundraising activities and benchmark with peer organizations to ensure the organization is on track.
  • Communicate the value of the organization's mission at all times.


Excellent employer paid benefits package including medical, dental, life and long-term disability insurance and generous employer contribution to retirement account. Generous vacation.

Lambda Legal is committed to building and maintaining a diverse staff and is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, transgender and gender-nonconforming people, people with abilities in multiple languages, immigrants, and people living with disabilities, including HIV, are encouraged to apply.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

The position is open until filled. Send resume and a cover letter to Hiring Manager at  Include the words “Chief Development Officer” in the subject line of your email