Director of Development- Distinctive Schools Network

Posted on: July 31, 2023 | |

Position Title: Director of Development
Location: Network Office – Chicago, IL
Reports To: Chief Strategy Officer
F.T.E: 1.0

Distinctive Schools creates diverse, joyful, welcoming communities rooted in social justice and rigorous learning. We support all learners to be engaged, curious, and to achieve their full potential. Our students become confident advocates, creative problem-solvers, and collaborative leaders.

Distinctive Schools has achieved a healthy, positive, and joyful learning and working culture which fosters a real sense of community and belonging among members of the organization. Rich school-wide programs and events enhance the student experience, and robust school-family-community partnerships contribute to the development of problem-solvers and critical thinkers of the future. A positive, school-wide behavior intervention and support system is in place at each DS campus to effectively convey shared values and common expectations. Distinctive School’s positive culture and explicit emphasis on developing and nurturing the whole child contributes to students’ learning and character development. DS was also named one of Crain’s Chicago Best Places To Work 2021!

Position Description:

The position is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring a comprehensive fundraising plan to meet or exceed annual revenue goals while also expanding philanthropic support of the organization. Duties include: planning and implementing fundraising events; cultivating new, current and former donors to encourage ongoing contributions; and, seeking out opportunities for financial support through grants and sponsorships. The Director of Development collaborates with the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer to execute relationship development and solicitation strategies, manages a contract Grant Writer, partners with the Marketing and Communications team, and works with staff members across the organization. This person will be responsible for:

Fundraising Strategy 60%

Design and implement a comprehensive Fundraising Plan annually which maintains the fiscal health of the organization and provides future financial resources for growth and expansion

Establish fundraising objectives for the organization, setting one year, five year, and longer-term goals. Establishes tracking tools and monitors progress monthly

Oversee individual, corporate and foundation giving, as well as third party or internal special events

Implement appeals and solicitations to donors in order to meet budgeted goals

Work collaboratively with internal teams to execute fundraising needs, including development and management of production timeline, budget, and evaluation

Design, write and produce fundraising materials in collaboration with Marketing and Communications Team

Deliver presentations on programs to various community and corporate groups as needed

Plan and implement special fundraising events, including DS Annual Gala

Plan and implement fundraising campaigns and appeals

Identify, apply for and manage grants in partnership with contract Grant Writer

Identify and Cultivate Prospects/Donors 20%

Represent Distinctive Schools at public events and in other contexts as needed

Identify ways to diversify funding base to increase funds

Identify and connect with prospective ideal donors

Manage donor database and accurate donor files

Support CEO and Board of Directors engagement in donor cultivation and solicitations

Identify and strengthen relationships with community stakeholders and participate in selected community and leadership events

Foster strong donor and sponsor stewardship

Administration 20%

Monitor and report on fundraising progress monthly

Process and track donations, and issue gift acknowledgements and tax-receipts for monetary and in-kind donations

Participate and lead the DS Board of Directors Advancement committee


Education: Bachelor’s degree


At least 8 years of nonprofit or education fundraising experience, with at least 3 years of management experience

Demonstrated success in individual giving, corporate giving, grant writing and event planning and management

Experience in a “small shop” fundraising environment

Existing professional network of relationships with foundations and corporate donors interested in education

Technology demands

Proficient with cloud based software solutions (Google Suite)

Familiar with Little Green Light

Ability to learn digital tools and programs as needed for the position

Physical demands

Occasional lifting, carrying, pushing, and/or pulling; some climbing and balancing; some stooping, kneeling, crouching, and/or crawling; and significant fine finger dexterity. Generally, the job requires 80% sitting, 10% walking, and 10% standing

Travel as required for training, professional development, and collaboration
Ability to travel to and work out of our 910 W. Van Buren Office

Distinctive Schools is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other personal characteristic protected by applicable law.