Chief Development Officer

The VII Foundation
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Mar 07

Position description

Chief Development Officer, The VII Foundation

Status: Consultant

Location: This is a remote position, with the possibility to join our teams in our offices (France, Bosnia & Herzegovina).


Background story

The VII Foundation was founded by two veteran war photographers who met during the civil wars in former Yugoslavia. With five friends, they created the storied VII Photo Agency, which has since documented the most important events and issues of the new century.

Our mission

The VII Foundation’s mission is to transform visual journalism by empowering new voices and creating stories that advocate change. In a world where beliefs and actions are increasingly out-of-sync with facts and realities, transforming visual journalism is an urgent task.

The education wing of the VII Foundation – VII Academy – was created to level the media playing field and offer tuition-free education to a new generation of media practitioners in countries and communities where they are needed the most, and where media education doesn’t exist or is poorly resourced. The academy has trained over 900 people across 80 countries in 9 languages in the last three years.

From mission to action

The VII Foundation provides a platform to initiate long-form media projects that address complex human rights and political issues. We use journalism as a tool to create meaningful change through education and advocacy. We have executed several high-profile projects which have been published as books in multiple languages, exhibited worldwide, and reviewed in leading media.

At VII Academy we promote, teach, and foster high-quality journalism in the majority world and in underrepresented communities in G20 countries. Many of our students live and work under regimes that suppress the media and extinguish the free flow of information and other fundamental human rights. Our students’ bravery and their existences are essential; they are the ones bearing witness firsthand to invasion, violence, corruption, the impact of climate change, and the pillage of natural resources. Their work informs all of us.

Through real-world training and practice, we teach and mentor emerging professionals and students in media practice, visual journalism, ethics, and media entrepreneurship. We aim to democratize the information narrative and give communities in the majority world the tools to tell their own stories and build a more resilient and robust global media environment.

Our organization

The VII Foundation is a 501(c)3 funded by prominent philanthropists that works in partnership with governments, NGOs, supra-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and corporations. We have two European non-profit entities, one in Arles, France, and the other in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. We are a unique organization operating in a space that no other occupies. We have 13 members of staff in Bosnia & Herzegovina, France, the UK, and the USA.


You are a consummate professional with extensive experience in cultivating and stewarding major donors, developing an effective fundraising strategy, and closing six-figure gifts.

You are an individual with a global perspective who understands and appreciates the importance of impartial, truthful journalism as a key component of any healthy society. You are invested in the development of equality in journalism around the world, regardless of gender, race, color, or creed.

Your mission

Your mission is to grow our donors base with an initial target to double our current funding, and a medium-term target (2 years) to increase annual funding by $2-3 million per annum on a recurring basis.

Funding targets

  • Private donors – including younger donors as well as well-established ones. 
  • Family offices.
  • Institutional donors.
  • Governmental organizations.
  • Supra-national organizations. 
  • Corporations.

With a primary focus on the Americas, Europe, and Asia.


Major duties & responsibilities

The candidate will:

  • Develop a portfolio of major gifts donors.
  • Consistently add prospects to the portfolio: develop, plan, and implement a comprehensive prospects strategy to achieve successful cultivation, engagement and solicitations, including but not limited to moving prospects from one giving level to the next. This will include developing a pipeline of VII Foundation donors/donations at all levels.
  • Guide and support the CEO in developing his major gifts strategy.
  • Establish an aligned set of goals and KPIs, as well as standards of practice.
  • Identify, create, and implement cultivation/volunteer opportunities, visits, and tours – as needed – to increase involvement for current and prospective donors.
  • Create small-scale engagement and event opportunities to educate, inspire, and uplift major gifts donors and prospects.
  • Create and oversee a world-class major gifts program to ensure consistent growth of the $10,000+ giving community.
  • Identify and secure leadership-level contributions of $100,000 or more.
  • In partnership with the Finance Director, oversee budget development and budget monitoring of all major fundraising activities and produce internal and external reports on all projected and achieved goals.
  • Build relationships through email, phone, Zoom, and face-to-face meetings.
  • Develop the necessary systems, processes, and tools to better communicate the role of major gifts fundraising across The VII Foundation.
  • Develop a key fundraising database and management tool to ensure an integrated fundraising strategy.
  • Commit to promoting and supporting an environment of equity, diversity, and inclusion.


Strategic & Administrative Responsibilities

  • Working with the CEO and Finance Director, establish annual and monthly goals for your fundraising activity.
  • Provide reporting to the CEO and Board on major gift program performance.
  • Design and execute major donor fundraising campaigns, with the goal of increasing engagement and multi-year annual support.
  • Support senior leadership in the preparation of prospect communications, research, collateral, and funding proposals.
  • Construct, oversee, and execute a vision for Major Giving program alongside the CEO.
  • Lead all donors’ relations.
  • Design and execute annual plans to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors that meet or exceed donor engagement and revenue goals.
  • Manage a portfolio of prospects and current donors with the capacity to contribute significant support toward the priorities of Common Cause.

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job; rather, this is intended to provide an overview. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change in accordance with departmental and organizational needs.


Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Ability to work with and communicate with a wide range of internal constituents including Board Members, senior management, program staff, finance, and volunteers.
  • Outstanding written and verbal skills to persuasively convey the mission of Common Cause to diverse constituencies.
  • Ability to function in a fast-paced, high volume, multifaceted, results-oriented work environment.
  • Must have the flexibility to travel frequently, and work evenings and weekends.
  •  Must be able to work independently as well as part of a team.
  • Must be committed to authentic diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Must be proficient in relevant research analysis, including navigation of databases and online resources.
  • Strong working knowledge of the broad philanthropic landscape, prospect research methodology, best practices, and evolving trends in philanthropy.
  • Experience in managing a multi-territory global portfolio.
  • Ability to analyze issues, identify priorities, manage projects, and make decisions expeditiously.
  • Ability to lead a dynamic team for optimal results.
  • Working knowledge of CRM software (Common Cause uses ROI Solutions and Action Network).

Required education & experience

A minimum of 7-10 years of demonstrated years in development, major gifts fundraising, and constituent engagement responsibility is required. Experience in frontline fundraising and supervision is a plus, but relevant other experiences valued.

Preferred education & experience

Higher education and/or advanced certification is preferred.
Must be authorized to work in the United States, Europe and other territories as required.

Application instructions

To apply for this position, fill out this form and upload your CV and Cover Letter to this folder. Please send questions to [email protected].