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Chief Development Officer

United Way of Rhode Island
Providence, RI

Relocation expenses:

C-Suite/Vice President
Full time
$141,000 to $160,000 per year

Published on 5 Aug 2022

Expires on 5 Sep 2022

Chief Development Officer

About United Way of Rhode Island: Our vision is a Rhode Island where every individual in each community has an equal opportunity for justice and prosperity. Since our inception in 1926, United Way of Rhode Island has effectively moved people from crisis to stability while working to shore up the systems that provide support across the community. When called to action in the face of a global pandemic, we proved that we were built over the last 95 years to be the best organization in the state to effectively harness resources from government, corporations, nonprofits, and individuals to address the many significant crises affecting all of us.

The pandemic also spotlighted how the war on poverty for the past 50 years has been ineffective in creating opportunity and prosperity for all members of our community. In particular, where you live, and the color of your skin continues to be the most powerful determinant of your ability to live, learn, and thrive here in our state. That is why, when launching our Live United 2025 strategic plan, we committed to a new mission of uniting our community and resources to build racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders.

To deliver on the goals of Live United 2025, we must go "deep, rather than wide," with investments and partners to target the root causes that have thwarted Rhode Island's ability to thrive. While we serve all Rhode Islanders in need, our work today will tackle Rhode Island's great challenge, reversing the racial inequities that have plagued Rhode Island's Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities for generations.

That means we are applying all our assets and approaches, including delivery of direct services, strategic community investments, advocacy, and coalition building to build a better Rhode Island for all. We are applying these tools in the following areas of need:

Lift United: Through our Lift United pillar, we're investing in affordable housing, improving care coordination, and expanding access to adult education and job training. We're also supporting the growth and stability of women- and minority-owned businesses.  

Achieve United: Through our Achieve United pillar, we're working to ensure that all Rhode Island children walk into the classroom with the tools to learn. This includes increasing literacy levels and expanding access to afterschool and summer learning programs.  

Invest United: We're building nonprofit resiliency and leadership development through our Invest United pillar. We also empower donors, engage corporations, and connect Rhode Islanders with volunteer opportunities.  

Advocate United: We're driving systemic change through our Advocate United pillar through public policy and research. And, because democracy isn't a spectator sport, we're training Rhode Islanders to be advocates and working to increase voter turnout. 


The Chief Development Officer (CDO) serves as the head of the Resources and Engagement Department with a focus on building a community of support for the work of United Way of Rhode Island. The CDO will lead the development and implementation of integrated fundraising, marketing, event, and volunteer strategies that ensure organizational capacity to deliver on the ambitious goals of our Live United 2025 plan. In addition, they will continue the diversification of our revenue streams with an emphasis on establishing, sustaining, and growing quality relationships with our supporters. Finally, the CDO will lead our efforts to build a culture of philanthropy in Rhode Island.

This position leads a team of 20 talented professionals across four departments: donor relations, corporate relations, resource operations, and marketing and communications. The CDO will provide strategic leadership for the department and serve as a strengths-based manager for their team.

Organizational Leadership

As a member of the organization's senior leadership team, the CDO will work collaboratively with the President and CEO, Chief Impact and Equity Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and Executive Advisor for Strategic Initiatives to build alignment, secure necessary resources, and execute annual work plans that deliver on the goals of Live United 2025. 

The CDO will serve as primary staff to the organization's Resources and Engagement Committee and will engage and leverage the skills and knowledge of the committee members. In addition, the CDO will provide regular updates to the Board of Directors on the work and goals of the Resources and Engagement Department.

Philanthropy and Action

The CDO, in collaboration with the Resources and Engagement directors, will guide the development of annual equity-centered fundraising plans that continue to diversify and strengthen the foundational resources of the organization. This includes:

  • Strengthening our direct-to-donor fundraising and communications strategies to provide a strong complement to our workplace giving campaign revenue.
  • Building relationships with corporations to serve as the state's leading partner for corporate social responsibility programs, including sponsorships and volunteer engagement.
  • Personally stewarding a portfolio of approximately 30 individual major donors. Help develop high-trust relationships with major corporate and foundation donors. Ensure that all staff provides excellent stewardship to their donor portfolios.
  • Increasing our ability to leverage data to ensure the organization responds quickly, effectively, and contextually to client needs and donors' interests.
  • Maintain and improve the infrastructure, approaches, and database so that every fundraising activity follows consistent processes for cultivation, stewardship and solicitation, donor-tracking, and recognition.
  • Leverage the power and promise of supporter affinity groups such as Women United and Young Leaders Circle and oversee the development of new affinity groups that build connection and camaraderie among supporters.
  • Guide the creation of a best-in-class volunteer engagement operation that responds to changing markets, evolving organizational and community needs, and emerging opportunities. Create innovative programs, projects, and relationships that extend our long-term reach within the community it serves.
  • Provide leadership on the organization's efforts to increase philanthropy in the state, including overseeing 401Gives, Rhode Island's biggest day of giving.
  • Marketing and Communication

    The CDO will collaborate with the Senior Director of Marketing and Communication on developing and delivering a multi-channel communication and engagement strategy that inspires donor loyalty and supports quality relationships with supporters. At the core will be a clear articulation of the impact that donors, volunteers, and advocates have in the community through their relationship with United Way of Rhode Island.

    In addition, the CDO and Senior Director of Marketing and Communication will oversee a robust schedule of high-quality events that deepens the relationship with existing supporters and introduces new audiences to the work of United Way of Rhode lsland. This includes donor stewardship events (Thank You Celebration, Power of the Purse, Annual Celebration, etc.) and community impact events (Community First Conversations, Equity Challenge, etc.).

    Serve as a steward of the organization's brand identity, helping to ensure that United Way of Rhode Island's messaging, voice, and tone are consistent and fully integrated across channels.

    Division Management

    The CDO will lead the full Resource & Engagement Department team to accomplish the goals outlined in United Way of Rhode Island's strategic plan and yearly operational plans. They will directly supervise the Director of Corporate Relations, Director of Donor Relations, Director of Resource Operations, and the Senior Director of Marketing & Communications.

    In alignment with United Way of Rhode Island's strengths-based approach to staff engagement and development, the CDO will ensure that training,coaching, support, and resources are in place to leverage the team's strengths to achieve individual and organizational goals.

    The CDO will develop yearly and multi-year budgets for the department and ensure we generate value with our investments and expenditures. Working with the finance department, the CDO will track and provide regular updates on department revenue and expenses.

    Finally, the CDO will actively recruit and retain top talent while providing meaningful professional development and growth opportunities.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:


Staff at the United Way of Rhode Island strive to embody the organization's five core values; impact through equity, respect and value all, lead with a growth mindset, be a legendary partner, and strive for excellence. The organization will be looking for Chief Development Officer candidates who can demonstrate their ability to carry out these values as follows: 


Impact through equity – able to meet ambitious resource development goals while centering racial equity in our work. This includes clearly demonstrating donor impact in a way that celebrates the agency and resilience of those we serve. In addition, can articulate a clear case statement for why racial equity is at the center of our mission. 


Respect and value all – is an organizational leader and chief fundraiser that builds trust among colleagues as well as with donors and with corporate partners. Can build consensus where possible and can respectfully make definitive decisions when needed.


Lead with a growth mindset – will be committed to continual growth as a fundraising professional and organizational leader. Will seek and celebrate the lived and learned experience of colleagues and community members and will empower RED Team members to grow professionally.


Be a legendary partner – able to build relationships across the organization to ensure that fundraising strategy is integrated with the organization's impact and operational strategies. In addition, is able to make donors, volunteers, corporate partners, and community members feel like true partners in achieving the goals of Live United 2025.


Strive for excellence – should demonstrate a drive to make United Way of Rhode Island a nationwide leader in fundraising and community

engagement centered in racial equity. They will demonstrate an attention to detail, adherence to best practices and will utilize data and evidence to continually improve our resource and engagement work. 


In addition, an effective Chief Development Officer will also be able to demonstrate the following skills and competencies: 


Relationship building – building effective and durable relationships with internal and external partners based on trust, understanding, and action.  


Engaging communication – can effectively communicate the organization's value proposition through various formats and channels.


Leadership – demonstrate leadership as defined by their willingness to hold responsibility and their skill at supporting success in others. 




  • This job description is intended to convey the essential functions of this position; it is not intended to be an exhaustive list of skills, duties, responsibilities, or working conditions associated with the position. 



●    Mission-Focused: Catalyze others’ commitment to mission to create real social change that leads to better lives and healthier communities.  This drives their performance and professional motivations.
●    Relationship-Oriented: Understands that people come before process and is astute in cultivating and managing relationships toward a common goal.
●    Collaborator: understands the roles and contributions of all sectors of the community and can mobilize resources (financial and human) through meaningful engagement.
●    Results-Driven: Dedicated to shared and measurable goals for the common good; creating, resourcing, scaling, and leveraging strategies and innovations for broad investment and impact.
●    Brand Steward: Steward of the brand and understands his/her role in growing and protecting the reputation and results of the greater network.