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Job vacancy: Development director

We are looking for an experienced, creative leader in fundraising, philanthropy and partnerships to help shape the next phase of our development

25 May 2023, 2.12pm
openDemocracy, Carys Boughton. All rights reserved.
    • Employer openDemocracy
    • Location UK based - Remote working / Hybrid
    • Salary £64-74k depending on experience
    • Contract 24-month fixed-term contract, 4-5 days per week
    • Reports to Managing director
    • Manages Philanthropy manager

openDemocracy is looking for an experienced, creative leader in fundraising, philanthropy and partnerships to help shape the next phase of our development. With responsibility for developing a new fundraising strategy to support ambitious plans, this new role will build strong foundations for a mixed portfolio of income from grants and major gifts. You will be a key member of the senior leadership team and will work closely with our editorial and operations teams and board to shape organisational ambition and strategic direction.

Our fundraising

This is an exciting time to join the team as you’ll head up a significant expansion of our fundraising capacity. openDemocracy has been extremely successful in securing funding through donations and grants. People who want to help improve public understanding around pressing issues, uncover wrongdoing and find the evidence that can bring about change have seen the importance of supporting us. Over the last few years we’ve grown as an organisation in terms of our impact and our readership, and we’ve diversified our funding. We’ve secured investment to support ambitious plans for 2023/4, and now we’re looking to build an outstanding fundraising team to help sustain and grow this success further.

Passionate about developing strong relationships with funders and supporters, you’ll provide strategic and creative leadership that drives growth in our philanthropic income streams, working collaboratively with all areas from editorial to audience to finance and operations towards shared goals.

Key responsibilities

Fundraising leadership

  • Oversee efficient management and growth across all philanthropic income streams (contributing to an annual organisational budget of £3m+);
  • Work with the board and leadership team to develop and support decision-making around strategic priorities for fundraising;
  • Envision and develop an ambitious fundraising strategy that builds on success to date and maximises a range of current and new opportunities from grants to major gifts to partnerships;
  • Support the leadership team and senior editors to develop programmes in line with a coordinated strategy, bringing knowledge around current funding opportunities and trends;
  • Strengthen organisation-wide plans and processes to monitor and evaluate progress against shared goals, to inform organisational planning and reporting to donors.

Strategic pipeline and network development

  • Proactively support the board and leadership team to develop strategic relationships and networks that contribute to fundraising;
  • Work with the philanthropy manager to ensure the fundraising pipeline has the flexibility to support shorter-term plans and the capacity to deliver on longer-term goals;
  • Lead on major, strategic funding applications and campaigns, and coordinate support needed from the philanthropy manager and wider team;
  • Manage a portfolio of funders, major donors and other key stakeholders, providing personalised engagement with openDemocracy’s impact and plans.

Practices and implementation

  • Oversee implementation of a comprehensive fundraising strategy, providing clarity and guidance where needed for the philanthropy manager and the wider team;
  • Connect strategic direction with practical delivery to enable consistency and efficiency across all fundraising efforts;
  • Work closely with the managing director and finance director on financial projections and targets, and report to the board on fundraising income and projections;
  • Act as an internal and external ambassador to uphold a positive approach to fundraising – a central pillar in openDemocracy’s long-term success:
    • Lead on communication of fundraising strategies and plans internally to ensure transparency and collaboration across departments;
    • Monitor and develop best practice in fundraising across the organisation, sharing knowledge with staff and board members;
    • Support growth and development of openDemocracy’s fundraising team and wider fundraising operation (e.g through resources, training and fundraising platforms);
  • Provide appropriate support and advice as line manager of the philanthropy manager, including ensuring strong internal systems are in place.

Experience and knowledge

  • At least seven years’ experience in senior fundraising roles, with a track record of success in delivering on ambitious philanthropy strategies focused on major gifts and grants;
  • Strong leadership skills, with experience turning strategy into action;
  • Experience developing and managing high-level relationships with donors;
  • Good knowledge of and networks in the UK and wider philanthropic landscape, including foundations and individuals;
  • Experience coordinating engagement and input internally and externally on fundraising strategy and proposal development;
  • Natural collaborator, with strong interpersonal and communication skills, able to listen and influence to build rapport with a wide range of stakeholders;
  • Confident presenting and reporting on fundraising, and comfortable leading, inspiring and motivating colleagues across the organisation to achieve fundraising targets;
  • Original, creative thinker and strategic, structured planner;
  • Excellent organisational and project management skills, with the ability to juggle multiple priorities and meet deadlines;
  • In-depth experience reviewing and preparing financial reports for fundraising;
  • Commitment to openDemocracy’s mission and values, with a clear understanding of the importance of independent journalism in a healthy democracy.


  • Specific experience securing funds for journalism, social justice, civil society or human rights;
  • Previous experience in media and/or NGOs or non-profits operating globally.

About openDemocracy

openDemocracy is an international independent media outlet dedicated to challenging power and inspiring change. Our recent reporting – for example on misinformation, women’s and LGBTIQ rights, Covid-19 and the influence of ‘dark money’ on society – has triggered law change, parliamentary debate, criminal and regulatory investigations, action by public health bodies and much more. Our stories attract widespread media coverage, including in The New York Times, The Guardian, New Yorker, Daily Mail, CNN, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al-Jazeera and many others across the world.

As a trusted source of news, information and insight for millions of readers around the world, we’ve built a strong community of supporters who share our commitment to tackling injustice and inequality.

How to apply

Click here to apply for the development director role by submitting your CV and cover letter (no more than one page) by 23.59 BST on Sunday, 25 June 2023. If you have any questions regarding the role, please contact Emily at [email protected]

We believe in equal opportunities and we want to help build a more diverse and inclusive media ecosystem. We particularly welcome expressions of interest from candidates whose backgrounds are underrepresented in the media.

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