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Chief Development Officer

Physicians for Human Rights seeks a passionate, dynamic, and experienced chief development officer (CDO) who will play a key role in engaging new funders while maintaining deep and meaningful ties with the organization’s long-­standing generous donors. In concert with the executive director, who came to PHR with a strong background in nonprofit management and extensive development experience, the CDO will design, articulate, and implement a comprehensive fundraising strategy for the organization. This individual will fully explore PHR’s fundraising potential, with the understanding that fundraising will play a vital role in the organization’s ability to increase its impact.

The CDO will manage an experienced development team charged with developing new and creative approaches to increase individual giving (major donors, membership) and ensure ongoing philanthropic support from foundations, corporations, and governments. This individual will not oversee institutional giving, but will be responsible for a $25M campaign and, in that respect, will play a convening and collaborative role in the organization’s work with foundations. Institutional fundraising and governments and foundations will be under the direction of the director of institutional development and budget director.

The chief development officer is a member of the Executive Management Team (EMT) and works closely with the board of directors and senior staff. This position is based in PHR’s New York City headquarters. This role is currently focused on the east coast region, but PHR is eager to expand its influence on the west coast and in Europe.

The ideal candidate is passionate about Physicians for Human Rights’ mission, has a strong personal commitment to human rights issues, and understands how to successfully build and engage a membership constituency and synchronize fundraising initiatives with the core mission of the organization. Such an affinity for PHR’s mission will be essential in successfully developing a vision for the development program.

Reports to: Executive Director

Location: New York, NY


  • Partner with the executive director and senior staff to establish priorities and strategies for PHR goals and objectives, implementing a comprehensive and strategic development plan aimed at supporting the organization’s mission and activities, building upon the strengths of existing development efforts, and aggressively pursuing new opportunities for funding and engagement.
  • Provide strategic leadership for PHR’s upcoming $25M capital campaign (of which one-third has already been secured).
  • Oversee a staff of four or more in the areas of individual giving (including major gifts), events, membership, and development operations.
  • Provide dynamic and innovative leadership for PHR's fundraising efforts, building an infrastructure that supports short-­ and long-­term goals, including the implementation of major gifts and membership programs.
  • Manage the individual giving programs, including the direct solicitation of major gifts, the planning and execution of fundraising events (including the gala), and the pipeline planning and development of a large portfolio of contributors and members stewarded personally or by other senior staff or direct reports.
  • Inspire and engage a group of elite donors interested in promoting human rights.
  • Initiate a major acquisition drive to develop a membership program and ultimately expand the pool of major gifts and individual donors.
  • Deepen relationships with current donors while launching initiatives to identify and target other avenues for major financial contributions, both for restricted and unrestricted purposes.
  • Reinforce a culture of philanthropy among all stakeholders, from staff to volunteers to donors.
  • Guide and support programmatic staff who are engaged with fundraising. Utilize key leaders’ time and talents appropriately with respect to cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship efforts.
  • Sit as staff liaison on multiple board committees.
  • Oversee development department operations, including gift accounting and acknowledgement, computer system operations, the tracking of gifts and grants, planned gift distributions, donor stewardship, and integration with PHR’s data systems.
  • Work in close collaboration with the communications department to enhance messaging at all levels of the organization, keeping donors and the public informed, thanked, and involved;; providing vehicles for more effective Board and staff fundraising communications;; and ensuring increased online giving opportunities.
  • Foster an environment that rewards new ideas and entrepreneurship, creating a culture that celebrates innovation, builds confidence, encourages teamwork, promotes diversity, and sets clear expectations for future success.
  • Plan and carefully manage the development budget, ensuring that funds are spent efficiently and effectively in support of PHR’s mission.
  • Liaise and collaborate with the director of communications on all advancement-­related activities, ensuring PHR’s public face is consistent with achieving the organization’s mission and fundraising goals.
  • Work collaboratively and in coordination with other departments, including through active participation in the work of the entire EMT. Conduct effective interdepartmental communications and provide regular summaries of all development activities to PHR directors.
  • Develop and implement strategies to take advantage of PHR’s strategic plan and campaign initiatives.
  • Report regularly to the EMT and executive director on outcomes, efforts, and progress toward PHR’s fundraising goals.


  • At least eight years of managerial experience with exposure to strategic planning, board relations, and formulating/executing successful, comprehensive multi-­million dollar fundraising programs, including campaigns, major giving, direct mail, and planned giving.
  • Bachelor's degree required; relevant master’s degree preferred.

Skills and Experience

  • Proven ability to cultivate, solicit, and steward individual gifts. Experience with donor acquisition is preferred.
  • Ability to build a low level donor/membership program through traditional and social media channels.
  • Goal orientated with strong internal direction and motivation.
  • Strong management skills, both strategic and operations, and a demonstrated ability to build, manage, mentor, and motivate an effective team.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with senior leadership, Board members, staff, and volunteers, providing strong support and inspiring them to productive action.
  • Thoughtful and creative problem-solving skills.
  • Superior writing skills, as well as strong presentation and communication skills, with the ability to deal with sensitive human rights issues, directly and passionately, and to translate PHR's mission and programs into fundraising initiatives that garner financial support.
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a fast-­paced, diverse, and demanding environment with constantly changing priorities due to newly emerging opportunities.
  • Willingness to travel less than 15 percent.
  • Familiarity with and demonstrated commitment to international human rights is essential.

Salary and Benefits:

Salary is commensurate with experience. PHR offers comprehensive employer-paid benefits, including medical, dental, disability, and life insurance, a retirement savings plan, and generous paid time off.


Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled.

How to Apply:

Molly Brennan and Liz Lombard of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

PHR is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. PHR encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.

Date Posted: April 4, 2017