Join the CLA team.

Director of Development



The Director of Development will plan, lead, and manage institutional fundraising strategy for the Chicago Literacy Alliance. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director will oversee the development of a comprehensive program of individual giving, as well as the successful growth of foundation and corporate grant activity.

The Director of Development will work with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to grow the CLA’s donor base, and cultivate a culture of philanthropy in support of operations, organizational growth, and strategic priorities. The Director will assist the Executive Director in managing the Board of Directors’ engagement in fundraising; and will identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major gift prospects. The Director will manage a comprehensive annual giving program to build the CLA’s philanthropic constituency, and inspire and steward regular annual giving. Furthermore, The Director will lead and manage the growth of institutional grant solicitations in support of general operating and strategic growth priorities.

The Director of Development will serve as a member of the CLA’s Senior Leadership Team and coordinate closely with the Program, Public Engagement, and Finance departments. The position currently manages two direct reports. The Director will also serve as liaison to development officers of the CLA’s member organizations. As an organization with many member agencies that are themselves non-profits, effective coordination of outreach to prospective donors, both individual and institutional, will be essential.

Organizational Background

The Chicago Literacy Alliance improves literacy in Chicago by driving collaboration and increasing the impact of our community’s literacy organizations. We envision a 100% literate Chicago, where the transformative power of literacy is accessible to all. We serve a network of over 120 literacy-focused organizations, driving improvements in literacy through capacity building, alignment, and advocacy. The CLA promotes collaboration and coordination of their efforts in order to help them become more efficient and effective. To promote collaboration, the CLA manages the nation’s first co-working space dedicated to literacy organizations and their cause, the Literacenter. In addition to fostering creative, productive, and fun physical space, the CLA sustains a suite of programs and activities aimed to disseminate best practices, grow new partnerships, and increase effectiveness among our member organizations.

We value a workforce that is as diverse in thought, perspective, and culture as the residents of Chicago. We are looking to add amazing changemakers to our team who will bring diversity across many lines. The CLA is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law.


  • Plan, coordinate, implement, and evaluate strategies to broaden and deepen donor support of the CLA and its mission.
  • Ensure that the CLA’s philanthropic programs are carried out consistently with the organization’s values, mission, vision and plans.
  • Recommend short- and long-range fund development plans and programs that support the CLA’s values, mission, and objectives–working with leadership on comprehensive cases for philanthropic investment in the CLA and the Literacenter.
  • Maintain accountability and compliance standards for donors and funding sources. Ensure systems support for the smooth administration of gift processing and acknowledgment.
  • Participate in short- and long-term strategic and operational planning for the CLA.
  • Support the work of the Executive Director, members of the Board of Directors, and other high-level volunteers in cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding Major Gift support.
  • Manage a fundraising team, optimizing staffing to meet fundraising goals.
  • Provide reporting to the Executive Director and Board of Directors to inform decision-making on strategic investment in fundraising and related programs.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, graduate degree preferred
  • 7 years of experience in advancement work in a non-profit setting; previous management experience preferred
  • Commitment to the mission of the CLA in promoting literacy among all ages and communities in Chicago
  • Entrepreneurial and collaborative mindset, prepared to act creatively and proactively to build new funder constituencies at all levels
  • Working knowledge of best practices in donor-centric fundraising
  • Experience across a range of development activities and functions, including but not limited to: annual giving, major gifts, events, stewardship, Board development, volunteer management, strategic planning, and grants
  • Detail-oriented, organized, flexible, and able to multi-task effectively
  • Strong interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.
  • Candidate must be responsible, dependable, and committed to upholding the highest levels of confidentiality, integrity, and ethics.
  • Experience with Salesforce, Raiser’s Edge, or comparable CRM system. Facility with common office software, including project management and team communication systems.
  • Benefits & Perks
  • Health/Dental/Vision/Life insurance plan
  • 401k retirement plan
  • Unbelievable PTO plan
  • Chance to work at the Literacenter, the country’s first nonprofit shared workspace dedicated to literacy, and use of its facilities (including the LitLounge, Literascooters, free coffee, frequent snacks, and more)
  • Discounts at local businesses and partners, from acupuncture and climbing gyms through delicious lunches and used books