Organization: charity: water

Location: New York, NY

Express Interest

about charity: water:

663 million people in the world live without clean water.  That’s nearly 1 in 10 worldwide.  Or, twice the number of people who live in the United States. The majority live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family. Not only does walking for water keep kids out of school or take up time that parents could be using to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make them sick. But access to clean water means education, income and health – especially for women and kids. charity: water’s mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in need around the world.

100% of public donations fund clean water projects. We depend on private donors, foundations and sponsors to cover everything from staff salaries to basic office systems to rent and supplies. These donors are some of our most dedicated. Their investments fuel our long-term mission, our ability to scale as an organization and our commitment to using 100% of public donations for water projects.

charity: water invests the money we raise into organizations working on the ground with years of experience to build sustainable, community-owned water projects. Our team works closely with our partners to ensure that every dollar is accounted for and then we report back to our donors when the work is complete.

To date, charity: water has fund water programs in 24 countries around the globe – in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. Today we are actively working in more than a dozen countries. charity: water’s focus is on providing rural communities with their first access to clean water. Water scarcity, poverty, political stability and strong partner organizations all play a part in where we choose to work

The Stats: To date, charity: water has raised $260.2M combined revenue for water and operations. And $183.2M specifically for water projects, from more than 1 million supporters to fund 24,537 water projects which will bring 7,347,032 people clean water.

To learn more about charity: water, please visit:

The Opportunity:

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will serve as the most senior fundraising leader for charity: water, overseeing global major giving that will exceed $25M in 2017. Due to the organization’s unique 100% model, this leader will be responsible for raising major donor revenue for both water projects and operations funding. Operations fundraising will exceed $13M in cash and pledges for Operations in 2017, almost entirely funded through a private membership program called The Well; in addition to $12M for water programs in cash through Water Projects Sponsorships and the annual gala.

He/she will lead the development staff in the US and UK, work closely with our Founder-CEO and partner with our board of trustees in the US and UK.

In partnership with these stakeholders, the CDO will design, lead and implement a sustainable development strategy to increase philanthropic revenue from a diverse portfolio of high net worth supporters across the United States, the UK, Europe and across the globe.

The CDO will manage charity: water’s major gifts development staff locally and in the UK to lead development strategies and ensure that staff are equipped with the tools, resources and insights to meet their goals.

Reporting directly to the Founder-CEO, the CDO will serve as a member of the Executive Team, contributing to overall organizational strategy.

The ideal candidate will possess the ability to thrive in a high-energy, fast-paced and entrepreneurial and design-centric organization as part of a collaborative, cross-matrixed and committed team. He/she will have a positive, “can-do” attitude; practice innovative thinking and will be flexible and team-oriented. He or she will possess a high degree of initiative, will take calculated risks, measure performance and demonstrate an overall drive to build lasting fundraising success for the organization.

A successful Chief Development Officer will achieve the following philanthropic outcomes:

  • Water Project Sponsorships Funding
    • Grow charity: water’s revenue from $8M from major supporters in 2017 to $25M by 2020 by increasing retention (currently ~40%) and building a healthy donor pyramid.
  • Water Funding: The Gala (charity: ball)
    • Grow charity: ball revenue from $3M+ from major supporters in 2017 (held in NYC) to exceed $3M in 2018 (to be held in San Francisco)
  • Operations/ Overhead Funding: The Well
    • Raise a minimum of $13.5M for The Well in 2018, while also achieving a minimum of 12 months cash and 12 months receivables for operations ($12.5M / $12.5M)
    • Maintain 12 months cash and accruals in perpetuity
  • Successfully renew a minimum of 85% of Well Members annually
  • Ensure a comprehensive and cohesive strategy for all event and communications activities for the major donors and Well Members
  • Work in collaboration with the Corporate Partnerships Team to maximize lifetime value of major donors and support business development opportunities
  • Foster an organization-wide culture of respect and excellence working with major supporters

General Responsibilities:

The ideal candidate will be a dynamic strategic thinker, communicator, connector with superior people, great manager and have a proven record of results. He/she will be responsible for:


  • Developing, managing and delivering a clearly defined fundraising strategy, including short and long-term measurable key performance indicators and growth goals
  • Managing and growing a diversified portfolio of major individual and foundation funders
  • Leading the creation of annual revenue pipeline, working closely with major gifts staff to create a cohesive and integrated plan that includes a robust plan in strategic markets
  • Guiding the vision, planning and executing fundraising events, including the annual gala, charity: ball
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of new fundraising initiatives based on sound business intelligence and data
  • Designing and overseeing development systems and structures that provide both support and accountability, as well as ensuring appropriate balance between standardization and flexibility across all fundraising activities

Supporter Acquisition, Stewardship & Communications

  • In collaboration with the Marketing & Creative teams, managing brand awareness and marketing strategies for major supporter audiences
  • Supervising compelling cross-platform communications (e-communications, direct email marketing messages, online experiences and other content, including the annual report)
  • In collaboration with the Marketing & Creative teams, developing creative and impactful content connecting supporters to charity: water’s work
  • Assessing the donor experience of Well Members and Water Project Sponsorships and implementing improvements that result in increased renewal rates and gift size


  • Partnering with the CEO and other key staff members to leverage fundraising activities, with a special focus on major donor cultivation and solicitation
  • Motivating, coaching and managing the Development team, employing a coaching mentality to support team members’ goal attainment and ongoing professional development
  • Serving as a member of Senior Staff, participating in setting organizational priorities and fostering the organization’s values
  • Providing inspiration, leadership and guidance to the Major Gifts Team
  • Serving as a brand steward, advocating, evangelizing and protecting charity: water
  • Collaborating closely with leaders across the organization to bring creative content strategies to life for major donors
  • Collaborating with the Executive team on meetings and reports to the Governing Board


The ideal candidate will have:

  • Passion for the mission and vision of charity: water
  • 10+ years of professional experience, including success in nonprofit development roles and experience in supervising staff with a focus on major gifts, including a proven record of securing funding from a diverse mix of individual donors and foundations
  • Demonstrated experience raising a minimum of $30 million+ annually and would prefer someone who has experience raising $50 million annually
  • Experience in building and managing a development department and mentoring development staff and/or regional fundraisers toward increasing levels of success
  • Proven track record of creating and executing effective fundraising strategies for diverse revenue streams, with success in soliciting and closing 6 and 7-figure gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations
  • Track record of building long-term, productive relationships with donors and philanthropic institutions
  • Demonstrated ability for handling multiple, complex fundraising initiatives simultaneously in a fast-paced environment
  • The ability to drive innovation, change and growth, and be a detail-oriented implementer who can mobilize small teams to translate strategy into results
  • Superb relationship management, interpersonal, and communication (written and oral) skills, including the ability to inspire and hold accountable diverse internal and external stakeholders (including funders, peers, direct manager and reports, board members and supporters)
  • Strong understanding of technology and information systems pertinent to the role (Salesforce a plus)
  • Strong understanding of international development concepts
  • Strong understanding of social media platforms and communication
  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree in relevant field of study preferred
  • Ability to participate in evening and weekend events
  • Ability to travel at least 25% of the time (domestically and internationally)


Liz Lombard and Turner Delano of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

charity: water 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 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