Chief Development Officer Vs. Director of Development

Those interested in a career as a chief development officer or as a director of development can learn the similarities and differences between the focuses, degrees, earnings, and job growths of both careers.

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Comparing Chief Development Officers to Directors of Development

Chief development officers may work with directors of development to write government grants and raise money for their philanthropic organization. Though they share educational levels, there are also subtle differences between their annual earnings and career projections.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Chief Development Officers Bachelor's Degree $109,348 -3% (Chief Executives)
Directors of Development Bachelor's Degree $106,727 (Senior Directors of Development) 10%
(Public Relations and Fundraising Managers)

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

Responsibilities of Chief Development Officers vs. Directors of Development

These professionals are tasked with bringing in revenue from various fundraising activities. Chief development officers come up with policies related to raising money for the organization's philanthropy. Directors specialize in actually soliciting funding from private and public donors. Both meet with board members to keep the fundraising efforts cohesive throughout the fiscal year.

Chief Development Officers

Chief development officers make suggestions for the company's strategies and specifically develop procedures and a business culture that supports fundraising activities. They also make plans for securing a variety of donors, including major donors and those who will give online or in stores. To accomplish this, they study donor trends from recent years. Additionally, these professionals set a company's annual funding goals. By supervising the activities of the area director, these executives can be sure fundraising policies are being met and soliciting is being done in a way that fits the organization's ethical values, as well as federal law.

Job responsibilities of a chief development officer include:

  • Supporting organizational development by administering changes
  • Measuring the effectiveness of certain funding campaigns
  • Overseeing the budget for fundraising projects
  • Maintaining the technical infrastructure and staffing resources for projects

Directors of Development

Directors of development work with the board of directors to create a fundraising plan that fits the organization's goals. While developing this annual plan, they also determine where funding resources should come from. This may require contacting regular donors, and this means the directors may create a system to remind these donors about their donation pledge. They are also responsible for identifying new donors and soliciting funds from charitable foundations and individuals. These professionals may also oversee special events that take place after regular office hours, including fundraising events where they can appeal to new donors.

Job responsibilities of a director of development include:

  • Writing grant proposals for fundraising events
  • Tracking donations through organized databases
  • Boosting attendance at fundraising events through advertising
  • Hiring fundraising staff

Related Careers

Before solidifying your path to becoming a chief development officer, you could research a future as a financial manager, since both help a company manage its earnings. Additionally, if you are serious about a career as a director of development, you could look into a position as a public relations manager, because both attempt to bring the company's goals to the public's consciousness.

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