Organization: Make-A-Wish America

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Express Interest

About Make-A-Wish America:

One of our nation’s leading nonprofits, Make-A-Wish America (Make-A-Wish) serves a unique and vital, role in helping strengthen and empower children battling life-threatening medical conditions.

Founded in 1980, Make-A-Wish has inspired a nation. In 2016, more than 270,000 children in the United States and its territories have benefited from the hope, strength and joy of experiencing a child’s one heartfelt wish. Make-A-Wish granted over 15,000 wishes last year alone – on average, one every 35 minutes. But for every wish granted, another child is diagnosed with a potentially qualifying condition: a child who needs a wish.

Make-A-Wish America is a federated network of sixty-two Chapters throughout the United States and its territories. The organization establishes guidelines for wish-granting standards, raises funds at a national level, provides legal support, develops strategies to advance awareness and establishes the overall direction for the organization.

Chapters throughout the United States serve every community across the nation and its territories. Each Chapter has its own Board of Directors, staff and volunteers. Chapters are the force bringing the Make-A-Wish mission to life. For most wishes, it is local staff members and volunteers who meet wish kids and their families, are told of the child’s one true wish and devote their energy to make each wish come true.

The Make-A-Wish mission is too inspiring for just one country. Today, Make-A-Wish International, also based in Phoenix, is the hub for wish-granting activities in nearly 50 countries, outside of the United States, on five continents and counting. Affiliates in each country bring the mission to life in communities around the globe.

Accelerating its vision, Make-A-Wish is dedicated to making every eligible child’s wish come true. By 2020, Make-A-Wish has a clear vision to grant 17,000 wishes. In order to achieve this bold vision, a strong component of the organization’s plan is to focus efforts on revenue generation. Currently Make-A-Wish boasts a $300M budget and has set an ambitious growth plan to increase this by $100M in order to fulfill the 2020 vision. Ultimately, the objective is that the organization is in the best position to ensure its ability to sustain the mission of continued growth until every eligible child is reached.

We all look forward to the day when no more children have life-threatening medical conditions. Until that time, Make-A-Wish remains committed to a vision of granting a wish to every eligible child. Because wishes make very sick kids feel better – and sometimes, when they feel better, they get better.

For more information on Make-A-Wish America please visit

The Opportunity:

At this important moment in its history, Make-A-Wish America is seeking to add an innovative fundraising and marketing leader and strategist to serve as the Chief Development and Marketing Officer to advance the organization’s efforts and realize its vision.

The Chief Development and Marketing Officer (CDMO), working with the Board of Directors, President & CEO and senior leadership, will be responsible for setting the large-scale strategy for development and brand efforts and executing on that plan. S/he will oversee national and Chapter engagement initiatives, which strengthen constituent relationships, create awareness and build constituent support for Make-A-Wish. The CDMO will lead and oversee all development, corporate alliance and brand initiatives, pioneering new strategies and tactics for collaboration and financial growth.

A bold thinker and a strategic yet ‘hands-on’ executor, the CDMO will lead best-in-class development and marketing programs. As a member of Make-A-Wish’s Senior Leadership Team, s/he will bring a genuine passion for Make-A-Wish mission coupled with deep experience driving fundraising success in a large complex organization.

S/he will oversee and manage the team of nearly 100 development and marketing professionals. Direct reports include the Vice President of Development, Vice President of Corporate Alliances and Vice President of Marketing.

The CDMO will be instrumental in helping to achieve Make-A-Wish’s aspirational objectives. S/he will be an influential thought leader who will work closely with the federated network of sixty-two Chapters, which includes over 300 marketing and development staff to lead, plan and execute organization-wide fundraising capacity building and best practice sharing initiatives.

The CDMO will actively manage a donor portfolio by personally participating in cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. As a national leader and member of the Senior Leadership Team, s/he will have a comprehensive, highly collaborative and quantitative approach to deliver sustainable revenue to enable growth in wishes.

Key success factors of this new senior-most development and marketing role include:

  • Establishing a state-of-the-art development capability by building high-performing development and brand organizations with a high level of professionalism and dedication;
  • Facilitating collaboration and enhancing resource sharing among Chapters in order to maximize Make-A-Wish contribution in the field;
  • Collaborating and leveraging relationships of the President and CEO, Board Members, senior leaders and Chapter leadership ensuring they are effectively supported to achieve fundraising goals; and
  • Increasing the effectiveness and productivity of the team by serving as a coach and mentor, motivating team members with energy and passion, and ensuring clear expectations and accountability.

Candidate Profile:

The CDMO will enhance Make-A-Wish’s overall approach to advancement – one that creates a true culture of philanthropy and collaboration throughout the organization, improves and develops sustained success in contributed revenue and ultimately fulfills Make-A-Wish’s mission and achieves its vision.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal qualities and characteristics:

Development and Marketing Expertise

The CDMO will be an innovative and energetic leader with a measurable track record of fundraising success within a large, complex environment. S/he will have demonstrated expertise with a wide range of fundraising channels. The CDMO will have the capacity to develop and execute on large-scale development and brand strategy, with experience raising significant funds. S/he will implement national fundraising initiatives and strategies, including identification, cultivation, and stewardship. S/he will work in close partnership with Make-A-Wish national and Chapter leaders to collaboratively achieve fundraising goals. A tactical leader, s/he will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives.

Strategic Thinking, Planning, and Implementation Skills

The CDMO will have a proven record of converting strategy into effective execution. S/he will be a detail-oriented individual who functions well in a complex environment. The CDMO will exhibit intellectual curiosity, including the ability to listen to and learn from multiple voices. S/he will have strong analytical skills and the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about Make-A-Wish’s development goals while remaining focused on details and follow-through. The CDMO will have experience affecting change in a large organization, strong organizational and process management skills and a strong ability to coordinate across departments and understand the implications of decisions on areas throughout the organization. The CDMO will be a builder with the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability and allocate resources to ensure results.

Leadership and Management Acumen

S/he will be a strategic leader who, along with the President and CEO, sets and articulates a vision for the organization’s next advancement chapter, builds and executes clear development and marketing plans, and evaluates outcomes with a metrics-based approach. The CDMO will be an approachable leader who supports a culture of collaboration among the national office and the Chapters. S/he will be an innovative and energetic individual who functions well in a fast-paced, team environment, which includes national coordination. A diplomatic and supportive professional, the CDMO will enhance the Development, Corporate Alliance and Brand departments’ culture of collaboration. S/he will offer creative, yet practical, ideas to achieve the strategic direction of both the team and the overall organization. An engaging and supportive expert, the CDMO will offer credibility both internally and externally.

Skilled Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The CDMO will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships at multiple levels with varied constituencies, including Make-A-Wish’s Board of Directors, senior leadership team, Chapter leadership, donors, and the Development, Corporate Alliance and Marketing teams. S/he will have a motivating approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support from stakeholders. S/he will be able to establish rapport and open communication with all constituents and successfully convey Make-A-Wish’s mission and objectives. S/he will have a strong working relationship with key national leaders, both internally and externally and will be a proactive communicator at all times.

A Passion for the Mission

The CDMO will have a passion for the Make-A-Wish mission and a commitment to grant every eligible child’s wish. S/he will embrace Make-A-Wish’s culture, while continually innovating to help expand its brand and reach. The CDMO will be an empathic, charismatic leader who has strong faith in humanity and treats others with respect. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.


Marissa Martin and Trisha Sutrisno of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Marissa and Trisha directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Make-A-Wish Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits 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 about Koya Leadership Partners, visit