Chief Development Officer

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law | Washington, DC


The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (“Lawyers’ Committee”) invites applications for the position of Chief Development Officer (CDO). The Lawyers’ Committee is seeking an ambitious, dynamic, and experienced fundraiser to serve as our Chief Development Officer. This position presents an opportunity for a skilled fundraising professional to shape and direct a major gifts program at a national non-profit racial justice organization – an organization that is playing a critical role in combating unprecedented attacks on the civil rights of Americans. 

The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, non-profit civil rights legal organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to provide legal services to address racial discrimination and racial injustice.  The Lawyers’ Committee enjoys a reputation as one of the nation’s preeminent civil rights legal organizations and, as such, is uniquely situated to use litigation strategies and the courts to confront current threats to civil rights.  The Lawyers’ Committee has and continues to play a central role across the country in the nationwide struggle for racial justice, and is at the forefront of the fight against efforts to undermine Americans’ civil rights.

This is an incredibly momentous time to join the Lawyers’ Committee team. While we are experiencing grave threats to civil rights in nearly every aspect of the organization’s work, we are also undergoing a period of growth and expansion.  In the past year and a half, the Lawyers’ Committee has launched new projects in the areas of economic justice, criminal justice and hate crimes. These new projects reflect the organization’s strength, responsiveness and ability to evolve to deal with modern day threats to civil rights.

A successful candidate for the Chief Development Officer position will be prepared to act quickly, think creatively, and work nimbly to maximize development opportunities within the current environment and to leverage the Lawyers’ Committee’s track record of success, current impact litigation and expanded agenda to support the organization’s continued growth.

Job Summary

The Chief Development Officer will also oversee outreach to Foundations and work to cultivate new relationships with a broad range of traditional, family and corporate-based foundations.  In addition, the Chief Development Officer will work to generate successful online fundraising appeals, and help to cultivate and grow the organization’s list of prospective supporters. The Chief Development Officer will also play a key role in working with the organization’s Communications team to implement the organization’s strategic communications agenda for members, donors and prospective donors.

This is a unique opportunity for the candidate who is eager to lead and drive a growing development program and elevate it to the next level—all within an exciting and collaborative work environment that values racial justice, diversity and inclusion. 

Reports To

Working closely with the Executive Director, the Chief Development Officer is responsible for designing and managing the Lawyers’ Committee’s fundraising program. The Chief Development Officer will supervise a talented development team and will work to significantly broaden our major donor base and bring new prospects into the organization. The Chief Development Officer will collaborate with the Executive Director to build and manage a portfolio of major donors and prospects and work with the Board of Directors and staff to nurture a culture of philanthropy. 


The Chief Development Officer will manage all aspects of the Lawyers’ Committee’s fundraising program. Responsibilities include:

  • Developing and managing a comprehensive, strategic, donor-centered fundraising program that includes specific fundraising goals and targets for major gifts, annual support, grants, and planned giving. 
  • Managing relationships with individuals, including a significant personal portfolio of Board members, major gift donors and prospects.
  • Cultivating relationships with foundations, including traditional, family-based and corporate foundations focused on civil rights, racial justice and social justice.
  • Overseeing planning and execution of special events including the organization’s annual gala in New York City.
  • Managing Development department staff on grant preparation, proposal submission, and grant reporting.
  • Supervising effective systems for accurate, secure and confidential data and donor records, including donor recognition.
  • Preparing monthly development plans and reports of all fundraising activities for the Executive Director and Board members
  • Collaborating with the Communications team to develop and implement a communications plan, including development of messages, preparation of high-quality collateral materials and online appeals.


Experience and Qualifications

To be considered for the position, you must have:

  • At least 5 years of experience in a complex, non-profit development program including significant experience in major donor fundraising, planned giving, event management, and grant writing, or equivalent experience with clearly transferrable skills. Knowledge of the social justice philanthropic community is a plus.
  • B.A. (required), M.A. (a plus).
  • A deep, passionate commitment to racial justice and to the Lawyers’ Committee mission
  • A confident and professional work style and the ability to work independently as well as cooperatively, exhibiting patience, good will, good judgment and a commitment to excellence and accuracy.
  • A faculty for handling stressful situations with grace and maturity and the ability to maintain a professional demeanor at all times.
  • Superb leadership, management, interpersonal, oral, and written communication and presentation skills. A demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, comfortably, and respectfully with donors, staff, and community leaders, including the ability to synthesize and present complex themes and activities in a digestible and compelling way.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills, with the ability to juggle and prioritize many concurrent tasks, manage a high-volume workload, pay extremely close attention to detail, adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and meet moving deadlines.
  • Experience and comfort with donor database management and systems for tracking donor history, interests, and activity. Proficiency with online campaigns and appeals, Microsoft Office applications, database management, and various web platforms.
  • A personal approach that values individuals and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance, and the ability to work with diverse individuals within the organization and the broader community.
  • Knowledge of budgeting and financial management principles.
  • Ability to effectively supervise staff and collaborate closely with Board members.
  • Ability to work occasional irregular hours.


Salary and benefits are competitive for a non-profit legal organization. 


The position is full-time, based in Washington, D.C. and may require periodic travel.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume and writing sample to No calls will be accepted. The position will remain open until filled and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law


Organization: Nonprofit Organizations