Chicago Children's Museum

Position:  Senior Director of Development
Reports to: Vice President of Development
Supervises:  Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Giving, Director of Annual Giving, Manager of Special Events & Donor Relations, Development & Database Systems Manager

About Chicago Children’s Museum: Chicago Children’s Museum is committed to improving children’s lives by creating a community where play and learning connect. We embrace creativity and collaboration, we never stop learning, and we remember to stop and play along the way. Chicago Children’s Museum staff is a dedicated group of curious individuals who embrace the playful spirit of childhood. Every employee is empowered to reach their potential and be recognized for the impact they have on our organization, visitors, and the community we serve.

Position Overview: The Senior Director of Development (Senior Director) is a direct report to the Vice President of Development. They manage a talented team of fundraisers, events and donor relations specialists, and a database manager to advance the mission of Chicago Children’s Museum through private philanthropy. Working collaboratively with the VP, the Senior Director will create challenging, yet achievable performance metrics that ensure the activities of the department are aligned with museum priorities and ensure the team’s ability to achieve annual and long-range fundraising goals.
The Senior Director will lead by example, carrying their own portfolio of major, individual gift prospects and by exhibiting the highest standards of professional conduct, deep knowledge of industry best practices, superior time management and communication skills, proven ability to motivate and inspire a team to achieve and surpass goals, and commitment to treating all colleagues, and internal and external customers with respect, collegiality, and fairness.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 


Major Gift Cultivation, Stewardship and Solicitation (55%) 

  • Carrying a portfolio of roughly 80 current and prospective major donors, cultivates, stewards and solicits individuals capable of making gifts of high 4- and 5-figures and/or multi-year commitments.
  • Creates LOIs and gift proposals that meet the short- and long-term needs of the museum while aligning with donor interests.
  • Tracks all donor moves management in RE NXT.
  • Develops strong positive relationships across the organization in order to develop successful fundraising strategies for each individual within the Senior Director’s portfolio.
  • Keeps abreast of current best practices in the development profession and evaluates new and emerging ideas for potential implementation.

Supervision and Administration (35%) 

  • Provides leadership, mentoring and coaching to the Directors of Corporate, Foundation and Government Giving, Annual Giving and to the Manager of Special Events and Donor Relations and the Development and Database Systems Manager.
  • In consultation with the VP and development staff, establishes and adheres to annual operating budgets and ensures that development programs are operating in a fiscally responsible and productive way.
  • Sets a standard for the team to emulate in terms of thoughtful time management, strategic planning, and implementation, leading to consistent achievement of annual goals as mutually agreed upon with the VP.
  • Creates an appropriate meeting cadence and structure, which ensures team members are aligned and clear on goals and expectations.
  • Provides insight and guidance as requested from the Special Events and Donor Relations manager as it pertains to highlighting the impact of philanthropy in regular donor communications, including but not limited to the Quarterly Newsletter
  • Supports the museum’s work in diversity, equity, access and inclusion and actively ensures that DEAI principles are upheld in all work with fellow staff, visitors, community and other external partners.
  • Enthusiasm for learning and mastering new skills on an ongoing basis; willingness to be informed/certified/trained through institution-offered courses and to work within Diversity, Equity, Access, Inclusion (DEAI) frameworks and actively engage in learning about these frameworks.

Oversight for Chicago Children’s Museum’s Associates Board (10%) 

  • Serve as the staff liaison for the museum’s volunteer ambassadors – the Associate’s Board.
  • Recruit new members and engage current members.
  • Lead strategies to grow and deepen the Associates Board’s financial impact.
  • Lead event sponsorship renewals and solicitations, working with the Board, CCM leadership and Manager of Special Events & Donor Relations.




  • Bachelor’s Degree or the equivalent in experience.
  • 6+ years in development with direct major gift experience.
  • Working knowledge of fundraising databases with preference in RE NXT.
  • Progressive management experience within a non-profit setting.
  • Demonstrated ability to measure fund raising effectiveness.
  • Knowledge of best practices in annual giving, donor relations, and corporate/foundation/ government support.
  • Commitment to creating a healthy, productive, collaborative team environment.
  • The desire to be part of a supportive, balanced culture that operates as a hybrid work environment.
  • Must be highly organized with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, managing multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Superior oral, written, presentation and interpersonal skills.
  • Possess an equity mindset and cultural humility.



Schedule: This is a full-time, exempt level position working 37.5 hours per week Monday through Friday, including some early mornings, occasional weekday evenings, and weekend hours related to meetings or events.

Salary: $110,000-$120,000

Physical Requirements of the Position: This position must be able to work at a computer for extended periods of time.

Full-time: This position is eligible for medical, dental, vision, Life, Long-term Disability, and Short-term Disability insurances, 401k after six months of service, as well as PTO and Sick time.


Chicago Children’s Museum aims to recruit and advance qualified BIPOC/ALAANA, women, LGBTQ, persons with disabilities, and veterans—we welcome and encourage all applicants.   Our goal is for our team and culture to reflect the Chicagoland community.

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