Chief Development Officer

Chief Development Officer

International African American Museum

Charleston, SC   |   September 8, 2021

About International African American Museum

The International African American Museum (IAAM) honors the untold stories of the African American journey at one of our country’s most sacred sites. The museum is about a journey that began centuries ago in Africa, and still continues. It is about the journey of millions of Africans, captured and forced across the Atlantic in the grueling and inhumane Middle Passage, who arrived at Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina and other ports in the Atlantic World. Their labor, resistance, and ingenuity and that of their descendants have shaped every aspect of our world.

The museum will sit on the shoulders of 18 strong columns, 13 feet above the sacred grounds of the Gadsden’s Wharf site. On the ground level, the African Ancestors Memorial Garden will highlight the original shoreline—the exact spot where so many captive Africans first set foot in America. There will be gardens for quiet contemplation, as well as space for performances and programs.

The museum’s exhibitions will share untold stories using classic techniques as well as new approaches driven by innovation, technology, and digital interactivity. Themes will include connections across the African diaspora, the spread of African American culture and influence, the history and preservation of the Gullah-Geechee culture, and the movements – past and present – for justice and equality. Core exhibitions will neither shy away from telling the story of the horrors and tragedy of slavery, nor omit the stories of skilled craftsmen and women who built the foundations of wealth, artistry, and infrastructure of America. The Center for Family History will enable visitors to trace their genealogy, while changing exhibitions and special events will keep the museum energized. Educational programs will provide life-long learning opportunities for visitors both young and old.

The museum strives to foster empathy and understanding, empowering visitors with the knowledge of the past. The journey will challenge, illuminate, inspire, and ultimately, will move people to action.

For more information on IAAM, please visit the website.

The Opportunity

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) for the International African American Museum will provide critical leadership and strategic direction in building out the development infrastructure to help fulfill the organization’s mission. A seasoned and proven leader, the CDO is responsible for assembling and directing the organization’s development enterprise, which includes fund development, special events, and membership; they will conceive, implement, and hone processes and procedures to ensure success. This individual will emphasize transparency and accountability in managing the team, and will create a culture of support, collaboration, and professional development for staff.

The CDO will provide oversight for all elements of philanthropic development in addition to carrying their own fundraising portfolio. In close collaboration with the CEO and Major Gifts Officer, the CDO will identify, cultivate, and steward major donors. In addition, the CDO works closely with senior leadership, promoting a collaborative and cohesive team that advances the work of the organization and enhances IAAM’s culture of philanthropy.

Reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Tonya M. Matthews, and partnering with the executive leadership team, the CDO will provide strategic counsel across the organization with regard to development strategy. The CDO will work closely with the Chief Financial Officer in the development and preparation of revenue projections and the compilation of financial documents for grant reports. The CDO will also support the fundraising activities of the IAAM Board of Directors. The CDO will bring a range of experience in development strategy and tactics, communications, and expertise in working with IAAM’s internal and external communities and constituencies.

Keys for success include:

  • With great professionalism and dedication, providing comprehensive and strategic leadership to develop a multifaceted approach to growing and enhancing an organization in its “start-up” mode.
  • Building a high-performing team and establishing the processes and procedures to support its work.
  • Catalyzing IAAM’s commitment to explore the journey of millions of Africans captured and forced across the Atlantic in the Middle Passage, and to honor their labor, resistance, and ingenuity and that of their descendants as it shapes every aspect of our world.
  • Overseeing fundraising and developing sources of revenue necessary to support IAAM’s mission and annual budgets.
  • Setting vision and direction for membership retention, recruitment, and stewardship. IAAM has nearly 20,000 charter members, approximately half of whom are non-local. Working collaboratively with the Director of Marketing, the CDO will strategize building out benefits and stewardship plans for charter members both local and non-local, member affiliate organizations, and general membership post-opening – as well as the recruitment and renewal campaigns that support them.
  • Fulfilling the organization’s mission in collaboration with the Board and CEO and acting as a professional advisor to the Board on all aspects of development.
  • Collaborating and leveraging relationships of IAAM’s leadership including the CEO, Board and senior team, ensuring they are effectively supported to achieve fundraising goals.
  • Fostering a healthy organizational culture to encourage teamwork and effective conflict management.
  • 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.
  • Confronting the complex realities of the environment by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to IAAM colleagues and team.
Candidate Profile

The CDO of the International African American Museum will possess the following attributes and competencies:

An Expert in Development and Fundraising

The CDO will be a results-driven and experienced leader in the field of development with a measurable track record of success within a complex environment. This leader will be energized by the prospect of building and leading the development department, devising and implementing processes and best practices. It is paramount for this candidate to have a broad and deep knowledge of development with a proven track record of securing significant gifts and evidence of exceptional cultivation and stewardship. This leader will grow and enhance the organization’s pipeline to support donor prospecting, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship and relationship management. Through strong written, oral and presentation skills, this leader will be a natural partner to IAAM’s internal and external communities and constituencies. The CDO will be able to work effectively with culturally and politically diverse populations. A tactical leader, the successful candidate will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives. The CDO will oversee the maintenance of donor management tools, employ online fundraising tools, and identify new prospects, trends and tactics to meet fundraising objectives.

A Strategic and Influential Leader

With a proven record of converting strategy into effective execution, the CDO will be a builder with the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability and allocate resources to ensure results. This leader will be a detail-oriented, analytical individual who functions well and follows through in a complex environment. The CDO will partner with the CEO and act as a professional advisor to the Board of Directors on all aspects of development, special events, and in meeting their annual fundraising obligations. The CDO will exhibit intellectual curiosity and creativity, including the ability to listen to and learn from multiple voices, particularly when it applies to IAAM’s development goals. The CDO will be driven by a mission of strengthening the capacity and success of the development team through effective delegation and shared responsibility.

An Action-Oriented Partner to the CEO

The CDO will work closely with the CEO to advance strategic partnerships. A task-driven leader, the CDO will support the CEO in creating and executing the organization’s strategy, including assessing strategic initiatives to be in line with the organization’s standards and objectives. This leader will develop a synergy with the CEO, helping her to think through decisions. The CDO will call upon the power of the development team to support and staff all efforts.

A Passion for the Mission

The successful candidate will embody IAAM’s values and mission to explore cultures and knowledge systems retained and adapted by Africans in the Americas, and the diverse journeys and achievements of these individuals and their descendants in South Carolina, the United States, and throughout the African Diaspora, and, as a result, will inspire and motivate those around them. An engaged leader, the CDO will be charismatic with a collaborative spirit and sense of humor. Leading by example, the CDO will call upon a strong faith in humanity, understanding that empathy is an essential quality and treating others with respect. Deeply invested in fostering a sense of belonging for all staff, the CDO will understand the importance of the integration of equity throughout policies, practices, management and culture. In particular, this leader will be passionate about policy and advocacy in the African American community. The CDO will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values – someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Compensation & Benefits

The salary and benefits package is competitive and commensurate with experience.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Naree W. S. Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners are leading this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials to Tenley directly at [email protected]. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


The International African American Museum provides equal opportunity to all employees and applicants without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), parental status, national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or other non-merit based factors.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit