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Director of Development

Posted: Jun 25, 2019
The Heartland Institute’s Director of Development has responsibility for helping to create and overseeing the implementation of Heartland’s development plan.
To apply: Please send your resume and related materials to
  • The Position

    The position reports to Heartland’s Executive Director of Development.  The position requires an experienced, diligent, self-managing individual committed to advancing the mission of The Heartland Institute.

    Qualified candidates will have the ability to oversee direct mail, email, direct solicitation, planned giving, foundation fundraising, events, database management, gift acknowledgement, other donor communications, and new prospect identification.  They must be able to manage staff specialized in these areas and work with other departments at Heartland.

  • Background

    Founded in 1984, The Heartland Institute is an independent national nonprofit research organization.  Heartland’s mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.  Three things make Heartland unique among free-market think tanks:

    • It communicates with more national and state elected officials, more often, than any other think tank in the United States.  Heartland contacted elected officials 812,789 times in 2018.
    • Heartland produces four monthly public policy newspapers—Budget & Tax News, Environment & Climate News, School Reform News, and Health Care News—which present free-market ideas as news rather than research or opinion.
    • Heartland promotes the work of other free-market think tanks on its websites, in its newspapers, at its events, and through its extensive government and media relations efforts.

    In 2018, a telephone survey of 500 randomly selected state elected officials (no staff) found 78 percent of state legislators read at least one of Heartland’s newspapers “sometimes” or “always.” Forty-five percent reported a Heartland newspaper “influenced my opinion or led to a change in public policy.”

    The Leaflet, government relations’ weekly e-newsletter, was read by more than half (58 percent) of all state legislators in the country in 2018. That equates to more than 4,200 state legislators.

    In 2018, Heartland appeared in print and online, and on television or radio, nearly 5,200 times and its podcasts were downloaded 3.2 million times. Heartland’s Facebook page has more than 100,000 fans, and it uses Twitter to promote its free-market mission to more than 74,000 followers every day.

    Heartland’s annual budget of approximately $6.5 million supports a full-time staff of 39. More than 500 academics, legal scholars, and professional economists participate in Heartland’s peer-review process, and more than 300 elected officials serve on its Legislative Forum. Heartland is supported by the voluntary contributions of thousands of supporters, and it does not accept government funding.       

  • Objectives
    • Work with the Executive Director of Development to produce a comprehensive annual fundraising plan that specifies fundraising targets, expected revenue sources, and activities that include direct mail, planned giving, annual renewal programs, events, database management, and new prospect identification
    • Oversee the donor communications plan development, execution, and evaluation
    • Work with the development team to manage the development and execution of solicitation campaigns, including direct mail and email
    • Manage a portfolio of major donors
    • Cultivate donor relationships and solicit gifts through in-person visits, phone calls, and correspondence
    • Grow the donor prospecting program including identification, cultivation, and solicitation
    • Manage execution of the anniversary Benefit Dinner and other events advancing fundraising goals
    • Manage at least one staffer for gift acknowledgement and database management
    • Collaborate with the communications staff to create development and marketing materials
    • Represent the organization at national, state, and community functions
    • Manage the donor database to provide accurate and timely reporting, automate fundraising processes, and host donor data such as contact information and giving capacity
    • Oversee programs for giving clubs, planned giving, and lapsed donor re-engagement
  • Required Skills
    • At least four years (preferably more) of dedicated, professional experience as a fundraiser, including thorough knowledge of foundations processes, individual donors, and donor communications
    • Extremely strong organizational skills, drive to succeed, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and the ability to produce excellent work on tight deadlines
    • Alignment with Heartland’s core values and mission; ability to articulate the critical role Heartland plays in expanding freedom
    • Experience in the free-market nonprofit sector/public policy space preferred but not required
    • Outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal; excellent presentation skills and high attention to detail are essential
    • Integrity in managing sensitive and confidential information
    • Ability to identify audience needs and tailor messages to those needs
    • Collaborative spirit, works well with colleagues and leadership in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment
    • Executive mindset, demonstrated ability to think through problems, plan for success, evaluate outcomes, and continuously learn
    • Experience with Donor Relationship Management or Customer Relationship Management platforms required (preferably with Salesforce)
    • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, internet-based research, and social media
    • Willingness to travel when necessary and frequently meet with donors, up to 25% of the time
    • Bachelor’s degree in relevant area of study or commensurate experience
  • Salary & Benefits

    Salary: Competitive and commensurate with experience, payable biweekly or monthly.  Performance reviews are conducted annually by the Executive Director of Development.

    Hours and location of work:  40+ hours per week is expected at The Heartland Institute’s Northwest Chicago office, plus weekly senior staff meetings and biweekly all-staff meetings.

    Benefits: Health insurance currently provided by Aetna available to full-time employees.  The employer pays 60 percent of premiums and offers a choice of two plans, a low-deductible plan and a high-deductible plan with health savings accounts (HSAs).  Employees who choose high-deductible plans also receive annual cash deposits into their HSAs of $1,500 for individuals and $3,000 for families.

    Employer pays for life and disability insurance and fees for a 401(k) plan.  Employer does not match employee contributions to 401(k) plans at this time.

    Vacation days: During the first year of employment, full-time employees earn 10 paid days off after their 90-day probationary period.  During years two and three, employees earn 12 paid days off each year.  During years four, five and six, employees earn 15 paid days off.  During years seven, eight and nine, employees earn 17 paid days off. During year 10 and above, employees earn 20 paid days off each year.  For the purposes of counting paid time off, full-time employment is considered to have commenced when an employee started serving Heartland at least 40 hours per week in any capacity, including as a contractor.

    To Apply

    Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF document:

    • Resume
    • Cover letter detailing your interest in the position and the Heartland’s mission, as well as your salary requirements

    Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via this link:

    Questions can be directed to Claire Kittle Dixon, Executive Director of Talent Market,  who is assisting with the search:

    While we thank all applicants in advance for their interest in this position, we are only able to contact those to whom we can offer an interview. Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.

    Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide free consulting and recruiting services to free-market think tanks, policy organizations, research centers, and capacity-building institutions dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government and free enterprise.

General Careers Information 

Join a full-time staff of 35 dedicated men and women discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems!

Please read our Reply to Critics for the truth about our funding, tactics, and positions on controversial issues.

This position requires adherence to The Heartland Institute's Quality Standards for Heartland Publications.

We actively recruit graduates of colleges and universities that receive a grade of “A” from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA).


For questions about applying for this opening, please contact 

2018 By the Numbers

See what sets Heartland apart:
82% of state elected officials read Heartland publications
of state elected officials read one or more Heartland newspapers "sometimes" or "always."
45% of elected officials say Heartland led to a change in policy
of state elected officials say a Heartland publication influenced their opinions or led to a change in public policy.
3.2 Million
the number of times Heartland's six podcasts were downloaded in 2018
184 issues
of weekly e-newsletters sent to subscribers across the country
158 events
that Heartland hosted, attended, or spoke at, reaching over 34,000 guests in 2018.
100,000 fans
on Facebook posting and reposting over 1 million times a week