Communications/Editorial, Development and Foundation
4 Year Degree
The Development department conducts a range of activities to advance the fundraising goals of Forefront, primarily by seeking grants and securing sponsorship from foundations and corporations, and expanding the donor base through prospect identification, research, and cultivation. Development staff work to develop and implement appropriate strategies for engaging donors and building positive and sustainable relationships.
General Job Description:
The Vice President, Development and Communications is the senior-level professional responsible for the development and implementation of Forefront strategic fundraising and communications plans. The position brings strategic insight, organizational ability, attention to detail, and effective relationship skills to Forefront development and communications programs, maintaining a clear perspective of the organization’s high-level goals while simultaneously understanding the tactical needs of execution. The Vice President, Development and Communications reports to the President and CEO, is a member of the senior Leadership Team, and acts as staff liaison to the Resource Development Committee. S/he works cross-departmentally and collaboratively with members of Forefront staff and leadership
Essential Job Duties and Expected Outcomes:
Leads Forefront fundraising and communications plans to achieve the annual $2.0 million general operating support goal. Provides leadership in increasing contributed revenue and enhancing communications and marketing initiatives.
Ensures that proposals, reports, sponsorship solicitations, and correspondence are submitted in a timely fashion and that all deadlines are met. Works to ensure that materials are persuasive and compelling, and of the highest professional quality. Oversees prospect research.
Works closely with the President and CEO and other staff in designing, planning, and managing the fundraising plan and coordinates cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies. Staffs the President and CEO as needed, and attends select donor meetings.
Supervises and oversees the work of the Director, Communications, Development Coordinator, and Development Associate. Motivates and mentors staff and encourages teamwork.
Articulates the case for support of Forefront in clear and compelling language that reflects the ideas and actions within the strategic plan and builds awareness about the organization. Ensures that communication vehicles — including print, web, e-communications, and social media — articulate and demonstrate clarity and consistency to reinforce uniform messaging.
Develops and manages the ongoing implementation of the fundraising plan to support annual operating needs, as well as incremental support for strategic initiatives. Guides staff in grant proposal development and creative sponsorship opportunities. Implements new tactics such as expanding the organization’s donor base, establishing an individual giving program, and engaging new donors in other areas of the state.
Staffs the Development Membership Committee (DMC) and galvanizes members of the DMC and the Board of Directors to leverage their networks to identify potential donors and engage them in successful cultivation and solicitation strategies.
Plays a key, cross-functional role, collaborating across service departments and bringing leadership and insight to strategic discussions about Forefront growth and evolution.
Coordinates with the organization’s Finance department, monitoring departmental and grant project budgets, projections, and results.
Attends external meetings in the philanthropic community, effectively serving as a representative and advocate for Forefront.
Attends key Forefront events, programs, and meetings to support external relations with donors, volunteers, stakeholders, and key leaders in the social sector community.
Participates as a member of the senior Leadership Team and attends meetings of Forefront Board of Directors.
Keeps abreast of current trends in philanthropy — both locally and nationally — and communications and marketing. Maintains required job skills and core professional competencies. Attends and participates in educational programs and conferences to ensure professional development.
Accepts feedback from supervisor and implements it into practice on a consistent basis.
Performs other duties as assigned.
Deadlines are met for submissions of proposals, reports, and sponsorship solicitations.
Annual fundraising goals are achieved, strategies to secure increased support are implemented, and new donor relationships are developed.
Forefront overall communication vehicles and strategies are enhanced.
Forefront identity and visibility as a leadership organization for Illinois’ philanthropic and social sector community is increased.
Leadership and contributions to a respectful, effective, and collaborative work environment are demonstrated.
Bachelor’s degree is required and Master’s degree or fundraising certificate is preferred. Ten to twelve years of progressively responsible experience in the development and communications field and nonprofit administration.
Experience in managing a team, as well as engaging with senior leadership and various groups of Members, funders, Board and Committee members, staff, and others across a broad spectrum. Excellent interpersonal skills.
Proven ability to drive fundraising results in a complex, fast-moving, and changing environment. An entrepreneurial spirit with a high degree of creativity, flexibility, and initiative.
A mission-oriented development and communications professional, with commitment to the growth of the Forefront while maintaining a steady focus on quantitative goals.
Strong communication and presentation skills with the ability to command the respect of those in the philanthropic and nonprofit community. Knowledge of the local, state, and national philanthropic landscape.
Ability to engage and contribute to high-level conversations about the organization’s strategy and growth, while maintaining a clear understanding of the tactics and details that support it.
Impeccable writing and editing skills, with the ability to develop clear and meaningful written materials, both independently and in collaboration with other staff members. Understands various communication vehicles and strategies to convey information.
Personable demeanor, with the natural ability to cultivate honest and open long-term relationships with stakeholders.
Knowledge of nonprofit finance, budgeting, and accounting processes with the ability to navigate restricted, unrestricted, and multi-year gift arrangements.
Forefront builds a vibrant social impact sector for all the people of Illinois.
Forefront is the nation’s only statewide membership association for nonprofits, grantmakers, public agencies, advisors, and our allies. We provide education, advocacy, thought leadership, and facilitate collective action around issues that are important to our Members and to the sector.
Forefront is building a vibrant social impact sector for all the people in Illinois through four key strategies: Attracting Investment to the Sector, Developing Top Talent, Improving Systems and Policies, and Promoting Collective Action and Strategic Partnerships.
We provide education, advocacy, thought-leadership, and project management, working closely with our Members and collaborating with government, business, social enterprises, and other allies.