Chief Development Officer

Chief Development Officer

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Washington, DC   |   October 25, 2019

About Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a national nonpartisan educational and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure freedom of religion, including the right to believe or not believe, for all Americans.

Founded in 1947, Americans United is a diverse and dynamic organization composed of people from all walks of life: lawyers and lobbyists, students and activists, religious leaders and impassioned Americans.  Americans United includes people of faith and people who don’t profess any particular faith.  It is a community that includes and welcomes people of all genders, races, ethnicities, religions or beliefs, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, classes and abilities.

Americans United uses high-impact litigation, powerful lobbying and grassroots advocacy to ensure that:

  • Religion does not dictate public policy.
  • The government does not tell Americans what to believe or how to practice their faith.
  • Discrimination is not justified under the guise of religious beliefs.

Through a strong, diverse national supporter network of over 300,000, both on the ground and online, AU defends the separation of church and state and protects religious freedom for all in communities across the country. Americans United has over tens of thousands of members, with a national network of independent state affiliates. It is a 501(c)(3) organization. Americans United is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Building a National Fundraising Program

Americans United welcomed current President and CEO Rachel Laser in spring 2018. With a new, dynamic leader, AU has recently completed a robust strategic planning process and is preparing for a more prominent role in light of the issues that have taken center stage in the national conversation: discrimination in the name of religion, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, religious freedom, government support of religion, school prayer, vouchers and churches and elections. There is a need for a pro-active, dynamic fundraising leader to take the program to the next level.

AU is building a fundraising program to match the ambitious scale of its programs. It has considerable strengths to draw on in building this fundraising program, including:

  • Tens of thousands of members, from which it raises in excess of $4 million annually;
  • A number of members who are making unsolicited, significant, five-figure annual gifts with valuable connections to prospective donors outside the current membership;
  • Engaged, energized senior staff, with a mix of long-standing and new members;
  • Strategic planning that was completed in early 2019 to ensure a goal-oriented roadmap with which to increase engagement;
  • Current fundraising assessment by outside counsel to provide guidance to the President and CEO, Board and incoming CDO;
  • Persuasive public message, focused in an intelligent, non-partisan way at one of the most compelling issues facing the nation today: church-state separation; and
  • Board members who are eager to define and solidify a more prominent fundraising role for themselves and the organization.

Americans United aims to combine these strengths with the abilities and experience of a skilled development professional to create a development program of national reach, securing support far beyond the present levels — enlisting the aid of donors of all backgrounds as well as foundations, corporations and other funding sources.

For more information on Americans United, please visit

The Opportunity

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is seeking a Chief Development Officer to lead the expansion of a comprehensive fundraising program. The immediate task of a new Chief Development Officer will be to assume strategic, management and tactical roles within the organization in support of current fundraising and funding the new strategic plan. This includes building a robust major gifts program.

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Chief Development Officer will manage all integrated fundraising strategies, including membership/annual giving, major and planned gifts, corporate giving, foundation giving, gift processing/acknowledgement, data management and events.  She/he will work closely with the senior staff team and board members on fundraising strategy and high-level donor cultivation, donor engagement activities and lead a seven-person development team.

The responsibilities of the Chief Development Officer include:

Strategy and Direction

  • Provide strong, energetic, strategic leadership by setting ambitious but attainable goals that will increase annual operating funds;
  • Determine vision, direction and execution of plans to build and manage a full-scale development program, both near- and long-term;
  • Manage the expansion of the major gifts program, implementing systems and processes to build an effective pipeline;
  • Coordinate and integrate all fundraising strategies and tactics in such a manner that every component aligns with and advances AU’s Strategic Plan;
  • Enlist the senior staff and senior volunteers to help craft effective messages and build an effective system of prospect identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship; and
  • Manage the current development team to achieve or exceed their revenue targets.

Donor Outreach

  • Manage a portfolio of high-level donors and prospects at all times and personally solicit and close significant major gifts; and
  • Act as an effective ambassador to external supporters, partners and donors.

Board and Staff Role

  • Staff the Development Committee of the Board and Partner with the Chair of the Development Committee;
  • Serve as a member of AU’s senior management team;
  • Manage a team of seven people – including revenue targets, personnel and budgets – to ensure high-performing department;
  • Cultivate strong working relationships with senior staff, volunteer leaders and consultants; and
  • Promote a collaborative and positive work environment aimed at elevating skills and exceeding targets.

The ideal candidate for this position is a confident and creative fundraiser with a strong interest in the constitutional principle of church-state separation; a development professional who recognizes the value of education and advocacy organizations and relishes the opportunity to take on a major role in shaping the future of an organization in the national spotlight; a professional who is comfortable working with the President and CEO, staff and volunteer leaders to develop and implement strategies for AU to meet and exceed its goals; and an experienced manager to lead the team of seven development professionals.

A successful candidate will have earned a bachelor’s degree.  An advanced degree, while not required, is preferred. The candidate should possess the following additional qualifications:

Experience and Skills

  • At least ten years of progressively more responsible fundraising experience; work experience with an advocacy organization, while not required, would be very useful;
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement a comprehensive set of development strategies that lead to diversified funding and sustainable growth in organizations without an organic donor base, including both long-term and of-the-moment opportunities;
  • Experienced in developing and implementing world-class major gift fundraising operations, including major donor pipelines and cultivation and stewardship programs, with a clear impact on revenue;
  • Established track record of personally securing six- and seven-figure gifts from a national pool of individual donors;
  • An important role in at least one major fundraising campaign, including responsibility for engagement of volunteer and leadership committees;
  • A history of successfully working with senior staff and organization volunteers in fundraising activities;
  • Demonstrated ability to motivate and manage a team of development professionals; and
  • Polished communication abilities, including listening, writing and public speaking skills, including the ability to craft and articulate a persuasive case for support.

Personal Characteristics

  • Equal parts smart, savvy and fun to work with. Culture and leadership both matter;
  • Advocate for church-state separation issues with a worldview that aligns with AU’s mission;
  • Inspirational, equitable and effective as a manager and leader;
  • Meets high personal standards while fostering a deep sense of employee engagement;
  • Ability to manage up and work effectively with high-level principal as well as other senior colleagues in the organization;
  • Tact and diplomacy in building strong working relationships with colleagues;
  • Capacity to manage multiple tasks and negotiate several priorities simultaneously; and
  • Ability and willingness to work a flexible schedule, including weekends, evenings and to maintain a travel schedule necessary to visit donors, prospective donors and constituent groups.

Americans United has engaged Liz Lombard and Angie Sessoms of Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

Americans United is an equal-opportunity employer and places strong emphasis on a diverse environment in which individuals are valued regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, cultural background, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit