Director of Development

Founded in 1923, The Better Government Association (BGA) is Illinois’ only non-partisan, investigative and watchdog organization. BGA is a nonprofit 501c3 that utilizes investigative journalism, legal actions, advocacy and civic engagement to promote better government accountability in Illinois. BGA is seeking a Director of Development, a dynamic, goal-oriented professional responsible for designing and implementing a comprehensive philanthropic program. The successful candidate will have a passion for good governance, an understanding of the importance of a free and vibrant press and a track record of successfully securing substantial philanthropic investment. The Director of Development will lead BGA’s $4 million annual fundraising efforts in collaboration with a talented development staff, highly committed leadership team and BGA Board of Directors.


The BGA’s history goes back to 1923, when a small group of clergymen, lawyers and businessmen created the organization to fight corruption in government. For 95 years, the BGA has supported high impact investigative journalism, fulfilled an essential fact-checking role and advocated on behalf of good governance. The BGA’s mission is to promote transparency, efficiency and accountability in Illinois government by exposing waste, fraud and corruption, advocating effective public policy and informing and engaging the community.

The BGA’s unique structure allows our team to maximize impact—to both expose problems in government and work toward lasting solutions—and involve residents to demand better from their government.

  • The Investigate Team produces objective, high-impact stories through interviews, public records and data to expose structural failings in government.
  • The Policy Team defends the First Amendment, open records an open meetings—through advocacy and litigation—and promotes policies that lead to ethical, responsible and accountable government.
  • The Civic Engagement Team empowers residents with the tools they need to hold government accountable.

Together, these three teams make the BGA an essential part of improving government across Illinois. In fact, the year 2019 has demonstrated the vital need for the BGA and our potential to have an unprecedented level of impact. A wide-ranging federal investigation shows the depth of corrupt activity in our state, while the election of a reform-minded mayor of Chicago—a former BGA board member—shows the potential for positive change. This is the BGA’s moment for proactive, positive action, and we intend to seize it.


The Director of Development is responsible for creating and overseeing a comprehensive development strategy, managing the development team, securing major gifts from new and existing donors, and cultivating and stewarding existing donors and board members.

While the Director of Development will have individual responsibility for securing major gifts, they will also oversee the development staff’s efforts to grow foundation grants, corporate donations and support successful annual fund raising events. The Director of Development reports to the CEO and is a key member of the senior management team responsible for creating the BGA’s long-term strategy. He or She will manage and mentor two full-time staff members, the Development Associate and the Grant Writer, along with a part-time Development Assistant.

Responsibilities include:

  • Achieving annual fundraising goals ($3.2 million in FY 2020) to support BGA operations.
  • Ultimate responsibility for all contributed revenue-generating activities, including major gifts, foundation and corporate giving.
  • Working with the Board of Directors to maximize giving potential of individual members and develop targeted strategies to engage their relationships with other potential new donors to BGA.
  • Supporting the CEO in fundraising activities, including developing strategies and tactics for cultivation, solicitation and stewardship efforts.
  • Managing fundraising-related special events, including the $1.7 million Annual Luncheon, to ensure that events are well executed and financial goals are met.
  • Directing the preparation of all annual development budgets to ensure expenditures are within budget scope.
  • Ensuring that all administrative development tasks including gift acknowledgement, grant reporting, and updates to the development database are completed in a timely manner.


The ideal candidate should enjoy working in a dynamic, results-oriented environment in which expectations are high for both the quality and speed of work. In addition, they should have the following:

  • 7+ years of experience in individual fund raising and grant writing, campaign experience a plus;
  • Success in achieving a multi-million dollar campaign goal including securing multiple individual gifts in excess of $500K;
  • Excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively with different constituencies (subordinates, managers, peers, donors and Board members);
  • A goal-oriented personality who is resilient and creative when faced with shifting challenges and opportunities;
  • Exceptional work ethic and track record of personal initiative and achievement;
  • Knowledge of development processes and the analytical skill to use metrics and data to support fundraising strategy;
  • Demonstrable interest in the mission of the Better Government Association, and;
  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.


Compensation: Commensurate with experience. Excellent health and dental benefits, 401K plan and group life insurance.

Start Date: The position is currently available.

Send cover letter and resume to Ernest Crowder at No phone calls.

The Better Governance Association does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, handicap, age, religion, sexual orientation or national or ethnic origin.

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