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Chief Development Officer: Job Description & Salary

Chief development officers assist organizations with their capital development or annual giving campaigns. Read on to learn the key job duties, educational requirements, and job outlook for chief development officers.

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Career Definition of a Chief Development Officer

A chief development officer specializes in overseeing an organization's fundraising campaign, including daily operations and securing new revenue, either through donations or grants, for strategic initiatives. Chief development officers may work for non-profit agencies, such as civic, social, or religious organizations. They usually work full-time in an office environment, but may travel to meet with donors.

Specific job responsibilities for chief development officers may vary depending on the organization. General job responsibilities can include creating financial goals and a strategic plan to achieve them, conducting outreach programs to attract donors, and engaging with current donors via social media or events to increase the frequency and amount of donations. Chief development officers can prepare progress reports for executive board meetings. They can also provide training and support to the executive management team on effective ways to foster donor relationships and solicit donations. Chief development officers may evaluate volunteers' performance and provide suggestions on potential candidates for the executive board. They may also create fundraising materials, such as direct mail campaigns, and oversee the completion and submission of grant proposals.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Excellent communication skills, strong technical abilities, and project management skills
Median Salary (2017)* $111,450
Job Outlook (2014-2024)** 7% (for all public relations and fundraising managers)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Individuals will need a bachelor's degree to work as a chief development officer, with some employers preferring candidates with the CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Professional). Relevant work experience in managing fund development campaigns will be beneficial. In addition to the CFRE, individuals can also join a professional organization like the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Required Skills

Excellent oral and written communication skills are an essential asset for a chief development officer, as essential duties include interacting with donors and preparing grant proposals. Chief development officers should have strong technical abilities in order to manage donor databases and track donations. Relevant technical skills and knowledge can include donor software like Raiser's Edge and DonorPerfect, Quickbooks, and Microsoft Office. Chief development officers should also have strong project management skills in order to oversee staff and volunteers and effectively manage fund development campaigns.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect information on chief development officers; however, they reported a 7% growth for the category of public relations and fundraising managers during 2014-2024, which is as fast as average for all occupations. In October 2017, PayScale reported a median annual salary of $111,450 for chief development officers.

Related Careers

Individuals considering a career as a chief development officer might also be interested in one of the related careers profiled below. They offer candidates the opportunity to utilize their skills in other development or fundraising positions.

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