Vice President, Development Operations

Obama Foundation, Washington, DC; Chicago, IL

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About the Obama Foundation

At the Obama Foundation, we are guided by a core belief: that ordinary people working together can change history. Our mission is to inspire those people to take action, empower them to change their world for the better, and connect them so they can achieve more together than they can alone.

That approach begins at home, on the South Side of Chicago, where we are building the Obama Presidential Center (OPC). The Center represents a historic opportunity for Chicago: a chance to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates our nation’s first African American President and First Lady, steps away from where he began his career, where she was raised, and where—together—they made their home.  But that approach extends to all our work, whether it’s holding leadership training sessions in communities throughout the U.S., bringing local leaders together in countries around the world, working to support the global education of girls, or ensuring young men of color have pathways to opportunity.

As we advance in our programmatic initiatives and move closer to the actualization of the OPC, we are investing heavily in fundraising and development talent that can serve as drivers of our mission-critical work.  The key to success in these roles is a commitment to philanthropic excellence and leveraging our community-at-large to support our cause in transformational ways. As President Obama has said, “we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together.” 

For more information, please visit www.obama.org

About the Role

A member of the Development Department’s senior management team, the VP of Development Operations (VPO, Management Level - Director) will report directly to the Chief Development Officer and will work closely with the Vice President of Fundraising & Development (VPD) to build and maintain the systems that support and accelerate all revenue generating activities, and to ensure effective implementation of the department’s development plan. This key position will manage the department’s operational functions, including: Donor Relations, Prospect Research, Donor Analytics & Gift Processing, and Special Events. This is an ideal opportunity for a proven nonprofit fundraising professional with leadership experience at a complex nonprofit organization or institution, but who’s seeking an opportunity to build systems and teams during a time of rapid growth for the Foundation. The ideal candidate will be entrepreneurial, solution-oriented, and motivated to work collaboratively in pursuit of big goals.


  • Develop and implement an annual operating plan for Development Operations and hold teams accountable for deliverables.  Teams include:
    • Donor Relations, which includes Communications and Stewardship – Responsible for implementing an annual stewardship calendar that ensures donors at all levels receive the appropriate communications, event invitations, recognition and touch points.  Additionally, this team is responsible for translating the case for support to a donor-facing audience, which includes the creation of proposals, annual reports, newsletters, presentations and e-communications.
    • Prospect Research – Responsible for supporting the frontline teams by identifying and qualifying new prospects through research, producing prospect briefings, and – in partnership with the VP of Fundraising & Development – organizing and prioritizing fundraiser portfolios.
    • Special Events – In conjunction with the principal gifts team, responsible for developing and executing the annual special events strategy for the Development Department, which includes the execution of regional cultivation events (dinners, receptions, etc.), donor events at annual BOF gatherings, and eventually one or more annual fundraising events.
    • Donor Analytics & Gift Processing – Responsible for building a culture of Salesforce utilization and ensuring the integrity of gift/donor data entry, as well as creating and producing moves management systems and fundraising dashboards from Salesforce that monitor progress against goal.
  • Manage the creation of the annual Development Department budget and closely monitor budget-to-actuals throughout the year
  • Oversee contract process with current and new vendors
  • Serve as lead for all Development Department new hires, including partnering with hiring managers and recruiting firm to recruit, hire, and onboard all new hires
  • In partnership with the VP of Fundraising & Development, support the preparation of all materials required for Board Meetings 


Education and Experience

  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in nonprofit operations, including at least five years in a leadership position.  Ideal candidate will also have experience as a Director of Development or frontline fundraiser with expertise in the areas of donor stewardship, communications, and special events
  • Experience creating systems, dashboards and reports utilizing online fundraising platforms
  • Database experience required with preference given to candidates with knowledge of Salesforce
  • Experience training, coaching and managing teams

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Strategic thinker with strong analytical skills
  • A firm believer in the importance of quality data and systems management and an appreciation for how data and analytics support the frontline fundraising team
  • A donor-centric perspective in all activities
  • Team player with a can-do attitude 
  • Ability to effectively organize and coordinate multiple priorities
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to develop productive internal relationships and work collaboratively across teams and departments
  • Proven success within a highly flexible, visible, entrepreneurial culture; comfort working under tight timelines in fast-paced environment
  • Demonstrated passion for civic engagement
  • Committed to our mission of inspiring, empowering, and connecting people to change their world

Equal Opportunity Employer

The Foundation is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. The Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. If you are a qualified candidate with a disability, please e-mail us at [email protected] if you require a reasonable accommodation to complete this application.

About Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation was established in January 2014 to carry on the great, unfinished project of renewal and global progress. Officially established as an operating, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors chaired by civic leader Martin Nesbitt. In the near future, the Foundation will oversee the design and construction of the Obama Presidential Center to be designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Interactive Design Architects in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. When it’s complete, the Center will include a library holding the Presidential archives, a museum focusing on the Obama Presidency and issues of our time, and space for ongoing programs and initiatives that advance our mission.

Obama Foundation

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