Development Director Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Development Director, or Director of Development, oversees all of an organization’s fundraising and manages relationships with a company’s financial partners. Their duties include planning fundraising events, interacting with former donors to encourage ongoing contributions and seeking out opportunities for financial support through grants and sponsorships.

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Development Director duties and responsibilities

A Development Director works closely with a variety of employees and donors. They often have the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Use sales and spending cycles to guide fundraising campaign decisions
  • Find ideal donors from public and private investors
  • Create a respectful reputation for the company or nonprofit they represent
  • Construct graphs and reports to convey their strategies and needs
  • Build new donor relationships while maintaining ongoing ones
  • Write content to earn grants, new audiences and better relationships with donors and other corporations
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What does a Development Director do?

Development Directors typically work at non-profits and community organizations that rely on charitable donations to sustain their mission, but they can also work at corporations seeking partners on new initiatives. A Development Director is responsible for raising enough money to meet their organization’s financial goals, forecasting future income and gathering feedback from donors. Development Directors work closely with public relations professionals to attract attention from potential supporters and host industry events that raise awareness of their organization’s goals. They help department leaders to create their own fundraising programs and connect them with opportunities to get more donations.

Development Director skills and qualifications

Here are some common skills and qualifications needed to become a Director of Development:

  • Management or leadership experience preferred
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills required
  • Organizational, time-management and problem-solving skills needed
  • Ability to lead and direct others
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Knowledge of grant writing
  • Some knowledge of different CMS platforms
  • Event planning capabilities 

Development Director salary expectations

A Development Director makes an average of $95,526 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Development Director education and training requirements

Most Development Directors have at least a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit administration, business administration, communications or a similar field. Some Development Directors hold a Master of Business Administration or a master’s degree in fundraising, which may substitute for some experience and training. 

There is a Certified Fund Raising Executive certification for these professionals, though it is not a minimum requirement. A CFRE demonstrates a candidate’s ability to apply fundraising techniques in a role. A Director of Development often receives training as they gain experience in lower-level fundraising roles. They could also seek training to become more effective managers since it is a leadership position.

Development Director experience requirements

A Director of Development should have at least five years of experience. For larger companies or nonprofits, they may need up to 15 years to show they can manage more employees and responsibilities. Experience should be mainly in fundraising, though marketing, communication or business roles can transfer well. Candidates should have familiarity with sales and marketing strategies, grant writing and event planning. Leadership experience is especially useful for managing fundraising employees.

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Frequently asked questions about Development Directors


What are the qualities of a good Development Director

Because Development Directors are in charge of keeping key patrons happy and engaged in their business relationships, a good Development Director should be charming, persuasive and have excellent customer service sensibilities. They can anticipate the wants and needs of both donors and their employer, finding mutually beneficial ways to acrue wealth for an organization. Successful Development Directors enjoy collaborating with others and use attention-to-detail to coordinate large-scale events. They are analytical and can make accurate projections about donor commitments and the availability of financial resources.


What is the difference between a Development Director and an Operations Director?

Development Directors are in charge of gathering funds for an organization while Operations Directors are responsible for administering the day-to-day logistics. Development Directors and Operations Directors can work together to prepare overall budgets for an organization and set expectations for how much money is necessary to continue carrying out essential tasks. Operations Directors also help Development Directors coordinate equipment, decor, staff and refreshments for fundraising events, process donations and communicate with the public.


What are the daily duties of a Development Director?

Development Directors work in an office coordinating staff on fundraising campaigns and travel to meet clients or attend events. They host meetings with wealthy donors to secure the business relationship and provide updates on the organization’s new initiatives. Development Directors personally manage high-profile donors and delegate small-scale fundraising to other marketing, membership and customer relations staff. Development Directors analyze data reports to determine the effectiveness of different fundraising efforts, then adjust their overall strategy to focus on the most lucrative fundraisers.


What should you look for on a Development Director's resume?

A Development Director’s resume should have a balance of business experience, management and sales. They should understand how non-profit business structures work and be passionate about their organization’s mission, allowing them to persuade new donors to contribute to a cause. Experience in fundraising is an essential part of a Development Director’s resume. Look for details on how well the candidate met fundraising projections on past projects to determine the effectiveness of their fundraising techniques. Strong candidates will highlight relationship-management with longstanding sponsors.

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