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Director, Development

Fundraising | New York, NY | Full Time

Job Description

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD). The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest global funder of Parkinson’s disease research outside the U. S. federal government, having funded over $300 million in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.

We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today—we therefore deliberately have no endowment or reserve. We instead start our fundraising from zero each year and seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. At year-end 2012, MJFF has over 60,000 donors and raises over $60 million annually. Today, the Foundation has approximately 70 full-time employees who are based in New York City.

MJFF’s sole focus on funding research (as opposed to providing direct services to the PD community) and the deliberate choice to forego a traditional, national chapter-based infrastructure results in a somewhat unique challenge for building donor networks and raising needed research funds.
MJFF receives support from a broad base of constituents who come to know the Foundation and its work through a variety of channels. Today a good portion of our donor volume includes supporters making gifts under $1,000. This significant group of donors currently support MJFF through annual gifts made directly to the Foundation and also through fundraising activities such as Team Fox events (Team Fox is the Foundation’s grassroots program for local community-based fundraising). At year-end 2012, total revenues from this group of constituents totaled approximately $12 million (about half from Annual Giving and half from Team Fox).


Position Description:
This newly created role will oversee the strategic engagement of these key revenue lines where the majority of donors under $1,000 currently make their gifts to MJFF. One goal is to grow this revenue base. Success entails a better understanding of the engagement and stewardship activities that lead to critical revenues from Annual Giving and Team Fox. Please note that these revenue lines do also contain some donors over $1,000.
Leading the evolution of how we think about such important constituents presents an exciting opportunity for a dedicated, results-oriented relationship-builder to make a significant impact at an innovative not-for-profit. The Director will manage a current team of five professionals whose responsibilities include but are not limited to: direct mail, online giving, tribute/dedication giving, recurring gift programs and third-party donations as well as Team Fox-sponsored athlete initiatives, Team Fox member-driven community fundraising events and community outreach. This position reports to the VP, Development and will require periodic travel (including weekends). The Director will also work closely with the Co-Founder & Executive Vice Chairman, the CEO, the Director of Advancement (who oversees major gifts), and select members of the leadership team and Board of Directors.


Position Responsibilities:
An outstanding Director exhibits excellent judgment, demonstrates an ability to navigate macro and micro challenges in the day-to-day management of the team’s operations, confers a sense of confidence and calm with constituents, teammates, and colleagues, brings analytic and data-based thinking to decision-making, and possesses strong written and verbal communication skills as well as an innate sense of pace and urgency. Equally important is the ability to work productively, both independently and as part of the team.
Revenue line responsibilities include:

• Conceive of strategy to expand the donor base and revenues for this core group of constituents
• Establish and implement best practices for cultivation, fundraising and stewardship.
• Identify opportunities to further engage constituents/connect them to other development team activities in service of matching a donor’s capacity with the right stewardship and cultivation
• Achieve a high-level donor satisfaction and engagement. Be mindful of the donor experience and implement cost-effective strategies for improved donor stewardship
• Coordinate efforts with other departments (Research, Digital Strategies, Marketing and Communications) on fostering the Foundation’s goals and key messages
• Employ analytics and data for making evidence-based decisions and analyzing effectiveness/success
Running the business/responsibilities include:
• Forecast revenues, develop and oversee the expense budget. Maintain relevant reports
• Effectively manage a portfolio of activities, assessing tradeoffs when allocating resources (staff and expenses) to ensure highest possible outcomes and impact
• Proactively participate in management efforts within functional area and throughout the Foundation
• Aspire to improve team’s effectiveness, foster innovation, and balance cost/benefit of investments versus status quo
Managing the team responsibilities include:
• Effectively communicate an inspired vision and sense of core purpose to team and key constituents
• Mentor, teach and motivate team members to develop their job skills and career aspirations within the Foundation and recognize their achievements
• Lead by example. Maintain a high level of ethical standards and performance
• Maximize effective utilization by team of the Convio Luminate CRM as well as Convio’s TeamRaiser product
• Prioritize and anticipate challenges to projects/initiatives. Work with team members to problem-solve
• Encourage open communication and create team and cross-team cohesiveness


Experience and skills:
The ideal candidate must have at least five years professional fundraising experience and demonstrated success in the leadership and management of a revenue line at a not-for-profit. A minimum of three years direct supervisory experience and the ability to lead a professional staff towards the accomplishment of individual and team goals is required. Experience with community-based or chapter-based fundraising is preferred. Strong sales instincts and analytical skills are a must. Nuanced appreciation of message and experience in optimizing various channels of giving (direct mail, social media, etc.) for various constituents and calls to action are valued.


Interested candidates should send resume and thoughtful cover letter. We ask that you do not contact our staff directly and no phone inquiries please. Applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.