Reports To: Chief Executive Officer

Location: Oakland, CA

Schedule: Full Time

Compensation: Commensurate with Experience

Job Summary:

The Chief Development Officer serves as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting First Place for Youth. The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will be instrumental in engaging the Board, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and the executive management team in the creation and implementation of a long-term private fund development strategy that can sustain and strengthen all fundraising and development needs for the entire organization.

The CDO will help forge new relationships to build the organization’s visibility, impact, and financial resources. Additionally, the Chief Development Officer will design and implement a comprehensive plan for developing key external alliances by cultivating individual and philanthropic support. They will lead and manage the communication and marketing strategy for the entire organization to rigorously engage new foundations, corporations, and individual donors, growing resources both in California and nationally, and securing funders to provide a deep investment in program expansion, as well as policy and evaluation efforts.

The CDO will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow a $27M budget through the solicitation of major gifts, federal and state grants, special events, and corporate and foundation support. The annual private development target will range between $5-8M, annually.

This position reports to the CEO, supervises all Development Team staff and serves as a development resource throughout the organization. The CDO is responsible for fundraising efforts statewide, including Los Angeles, and provides support to Affiliate national partners in developing fundraising plans and strategies. This position requires a results-oriented leader whose passion for First Place’s mission is matched with strong tactical leadership, outstanding interpersonal skills, crisp decision-making in the face of complex challenges, and a proven track record of non-profit fundraising.


Strategy and Organizational Leadership (25%)
• Provide leadership and guidance while working closely with CEO, the Executive Team, and the Board of Directors on comprehensive long-term planning that supports sustainable growth of the organization and develops and implements First Place’s fundraising strategy.
• Serve as a knowledgeable and wise steward of institutional advancement, providing expertise in such a way as to enroll support, create ownership, and encourage active participation in achieving First Place’s goals. Provide expertise in all development matters, working with the CEO to build fund development strategies that secure the financial health of First Place. Actively participate in regular schedule of leadership meetings, agency staff meetings, and individual weekly supervision with the CEO, providing recommendations regarding various courses of action.
• Develop, articulate, and oversee implementation of a strategic direction and development of comprehensive annual plans for First Place’s private fund-development activities. Analyze fundraising results, evaluate effectiveness of fundraising programs, and forecast annual and long-term fundraising projections for use in organizational financial planning.
• Professionally and effectively, represent the agency to external resources, including individual and organizational funding sources and the broader philanthropic community. Utilize external meetings, conferences, and speaking engagements to build the brand visibility and financial support that advances First Place’s mission.
• Successfully launch private fundraising in new geographic areas as determined by First Place’s Strategic Plan. Establish Regional Advisory Councils as needed to support the development of fundraising and community relationships.
• Effectively engage Board members and ambassadors to communicate First Place’s message effectively and to assist in identifying foundation, corporate, and individual donor contacts. Provide written and verbal reports as appropriate. Engage First Place staff as needed to advance First Place’s development goals.

Funder Relationships (20%)
• Provide strategic and logistical support for the CEO to raise monies from national and statewide foundations.
• Work with the CEO to ensure that First Place is on-target with its aggressive local and regional fund-raising goals.
• Manage foundation relationships for long-term success. Provide strategic oversight of Development Team’s monitoring of relevant sources for funding announcements and conduct proactive research to identify and then pursue prospective state and national foundation sources. Ensure submission of effective and timely proposals and reports to secure funding. Maintain strong relationships with local and regional funders while targeting new national funders. Maintain a thorough and current knowledge of First Place’s programs, successes, and strategies; produce and/or review all foundation and corporate communications.
• Ensure that the department has a strong corporate giving plan, including a corporate giving pipeline and opportunities for corporate volunteers.

Board Stewardship and Major Gifts (25%)
• Gets the best thinking and involvement of each member of the Board to organize and manage cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of gifts. Serve as senior staff liaison to Fund Development Committee.
• Ensure growth for First Place’s individual donor base through comprehensive individual donor retention and cultivation strategies such as fund drives for special projects and First Place’s annual campaign, providing avenues for donor acquisition, renewal, and upgrading.
• Work closely with the CEO, Board of Directors, and the Development Team to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major donors and prospects. Keep abreast of federal and state tax laws that may be relevant to major donor gift prospecting.
• Produce and/or review all major donor communications including major gift proposals (for gifts over $10,000). Create customized communications to prospects, including appropriately personalized acknowledgements.
• Establish and maintain relationships with new and existing donors, securing and coordinating pertinent information, meetings and events. Create and manage a robust pipeline of potential donors. Oversee successful development activities such as donor cultivation events. Maintain a thorough and current knowledge of First Place’s programs, successes, and strategies. Facilitate volunteer engagement of major donors as desired. Oversee best practices and ensure excellent customer service to all donors.

Communication and Marketing Strategy (20%)
• Oversee development and implementation of agency’s communications and marketing strategy, ensuring excellence and mission/brand alignment in all agency collateral. Oversee the preparation and distribution of effective development communications, including annual report, donor solicitation materials, newsletters, and other publications to support development goals. Collaborate with staff and consultants to ensure that website includes donor-focused content. Provide quality assurance that all materials, proposals, and reports meet standards of excellence established by First Place.

Management and Cross-Functional Collaboration (10%)
• Create and manage the annual development budget, including events, outreach, cultivation, solicitation, personnel, and operations.
• Hire, train, manage, develop, and supervise Development Team staff with an emphasis on succession and professional development. Lead team members in setting work goals and maintaining accountability for goal achievement. Ensure that staff members are resourced with individual professional development plans. Conduct annual reviews of direct reports.
• Provide Development support as needed to the Southern California Region.
• Oversee effective and accurate use of Raiser’s Edge software.
• Collaborate with the Program Team to ensure that the organization’s revenue goals are being met. Provide training for staff as needed to ensure consistent brand messaging.
• Collaborate with the Policy and Evaluation & Learning Departments to identify and pursue funding sources for advocacy and evaluation activities.
• Support the Finance Team in the work to ensure that all administrative requirements for funders, such as state registrations and audit reports, are completed in a timely fashion. Development of three-year budget projections and oversight of private revenue reconciliation.

Qualifications and Positional Competencies – required for our Chief Development Officer

• ACADEMIC QUALIFICATION – the amount of knowledge required would typically be acquired in a bachelor’s degree and membership in a professional fundraising association.

• ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE – At least five years of experience serving as a member of the executive leadership team, providing guidance on organization’s development strategies and successfully implementing the overall vision, strategy, and organizational development priorities. Ability to manage multi-site, statewide organization. Experience developing creative structures of support/accountability among peers and teams. Strong administrative skills. Ability to multi-task, see many sides to complex issues, and perform at high standards with a collegial team.
• FUND DEVELOPMENT – At least 10 years’ nonprofit development experience with demonstrated success securing $500K+ grants from local and national foundations and corporations. At least five years’ experience managing Individual and Major Donor relationships. Experience matching funding sources with program need. Considerable experience creating, leading, and aligning development strategy with finance/budget, human resources, program development, organizational development, etc.
• PEOPLE, PROJECT, AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT SKILLS – Exemplary people management skills, strategic leadership abilities, and the ability to link the development of people with achievement of organizational outcomes. Effective team leadership skills. Cross-functional collaborative capacity. Ability to either take direction or work independently as the situation requires. Strong supervisory skills and proven success supporting staff development and empowerment. Demonstrated experience organizing, managing, and evaluating events, campaigns, or productions.
• FIELD KNOWLEDGE – Understanding of social service systems, with particular emphasis on the foster care system and services for young adults and young parents.
• LEADERSHIP – Flexible, energetic, and outcomes-oriented self-starter who brings a creative approach to solving problems. Capacity to interact effectively with First Place’s many constituencies including staff, Board members, community partners, individual and institutional donors, and community supporters. A leader who can positively influence both strategic and tactical fundraising.
• CULTURAL COMPETENCIES – Model a responsibility to self-awareness and awareness of others to recognize that individuals bring unique backgrounds, beliefs, values, and world-views. View racial and cultural differences as assets to the organization.
• DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION – Committed to First Place for Youth’s dedication to thread accountability across all efforts to support and sustain a racially equitable organization. Demonstrate a passion of advancing organizational DEI objectives and influencing others to approach all work with an equity lens. Promote processes and communication that encourage organizational cultural competence and inclusion.
• STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Exceptional oral and written communication skills including the demonstrated ability to research, assimilate, and analyze information, compose reports and correspondence, and present proven data in a clear and inspiring manner.
• DECISIVE NATURE – Well-honed ability to independently anticipate and analyze situations, define problems and objectives, recognize viable alternatives and formulate rapid solutions, with understanding of the inherent risks and the implications of making tough decisions.
• COMPUTER SKILLS – Strong capacity for using Raiser’s Edge. Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, including MS Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Project, and Outlook. Experienced with database systems.
• AVAILABILITY – Maintain a flexible work schedule to meet the demands of executive management.

Core Competencies

Required of all staff for successful performance at First Place


  • Intentional use of data to improve performance
  • Possesses strong drive, initiative and motivation
  • Detail and Results orientation
  • Demonstrates good work habits
  • Resiliency in persisting through setbacks
  • Demonstrated success, with the ability to think strategically while executing tactically within a resource-constrained environment.


  • Seeks and utilizes resources to inform and contextualize own work
  • Thinks interdependently, framing the goals of one department/project within the entire vision
  • Synthesizes information to make astute recommendations and/or decisions
  • Prioritizes goals for success.


  • Creates an environment that maximizes the return on investment in others
  • Collaborates to set and achieve goals that comport with First Place’s mission, strategic plan and desired measurable outcomes
  • Creates and utilizes development opportunities to address individual needs and capacity to accomplish performance objectives
  • Creates and identifies opportunities for recognition of success
  • Provides supportive environment to learn from mistakes.


  • Courageous, strategic, clear and direct communication that resolves discrepancies and overcomes challenges and obstacles to organizational success
  • Ability to respectfully ask questions, challenge, and communicate both positive and difficult messages to subordinates, superiors, peers and youth
  • Sound judgment regarding the appropriateness of guarding confidentiality to protect the privacy rights of colleagues or youth
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.


  • Asks questions in order to learn and encourage dialogue
  • Willing to make mistakes and to be accountable for own work
  • Speaks about issues truthfully and without blame
  • Leads by example, displaying behavior that respects the mission, youth and First Place
  • Holds high expectations for self, one another and for our youth.

To apply for this position, please submit your cover letter and resume in ONE document to: