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Chief Development Officer

Institute for the Study of War
Washington D.C.
Commensurate with Experience
Posted Date
Feb 14, 2023

Reporting to the founder and President, the Institute for the Study of War’s (ISW’s) Chief Development Officer (CDO) serves as a key member of the leadership team and will be responsible for all fundraising and development activities.  The CDO will set the strategy for and manage all fundraising efforts, including principal and major gifts, annual giving, corporate and foundation support, volunteer management, special events, and development communication.  The CDO will also be charged with increasing the department’s capacity for successful fundraising and expanding and diversifying ISW’s donor base/pipeline.  The CDO will support existing programs and new initiatives, initiate and build strong donor relationships, work closely with the Board of Directors, and collaborate with ISW leadership to achieve philanthropic goals.


  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive development plan, building on existing programs and working strategically to support new and evolving opportunities.
  • Supporting ISW’s mission, strategic plan, and organizational priorities.
  • Managing a portfolio of 30-50 top prospects and donors at the major and principal gift levels, developing strategies to move them from engagement through solicitation and stewardship.
  • Supporting the President’s engagement with her portfolio of prospects.
  • Engaging regularly with prospects, emphasizing one-to-one interaction, either in person or virtually, depending upon each donor’s unique preferences.
  • Working with members of the Development team and ISW staff to ensure that prospect engagement strategies are tailored in alignment with both donor interest and key ISW initiatives.
  • Leading regular prospect management meetings with Development staff and other ISW staff who may be engaged in prospect-facing activity.
  • Providing feedback regarding fundraising initiatives and programs based on professional knowledge, as well as insights gleaned from donors and prospects.
  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors and acknowledging their gifts through both public and private vehicles.
  • Establishing a development communications strategy, including appeals, updates, individual outreach, and stewardship via ISW publications.
  • Maintaining donor files and giving statistics and presenting statistical analysis to board and senior leaders in alignment with their oversight responsibilities.
  • Collaborating with staff on the management and planning of fundraising and awareness events.
  • Managing systems and software to track and cultivate donors and prospects, including ISW’s CRM and wealth screening tools.
  • Overseeing research on funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position ISW in front of major funding changes or trends.
  • Streamlining and overseeing departmental processes for prospect identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship to ensure that ISW’s fundraising goals are met.
  • Filing timely reports documenting prospect interactions to ensure seamless moves management.
  • Attending key ISW events to interact with donors and prospects.
  • Advocating for ISW and serving as the lead ambassador for its philanthropic mission.
  • Leading and managing other staff directly reporting to the CDO.


  • Bachelor’s degree and 7-10+ years’ experience in professional non-profit fundraising.
  • A clear understanding of and ability to communicate ISW’s mission, vision, and value proposition.
  • Proven ability to lead a team with confidence, collegiality, and integrity.
  • Strong leadership qualities, initiative, and ability to work closely and collaboratively with board members, staff at all levels, donors, and prospective donors.
  • Ability to think strategically, prioritize activity, steward existing fundraising programs, and implement new ones in alignment with ISW’s strategic plan.
  • Mastery of gift vehicles, major gift fundraising techniques, and industry best practices.
  • Strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills.
  • Working knowledge of fundraising CRMs, Word, Excel and PowerPoint highly preferred.
  • Proven experience working with and managing volunteers.
  • Availability to travel as required; and
  • Dynamism and ability to work and adapt in a fast paced and fluid environment.

ISW will consider applications on a rolling basis. 

Compensation will be commensurate with work experience.

To apply, please submit:

  • a CV/resume
  • a letter of interest/cover letter
  • a writing sample

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