Director of Development 

The Director of Development is the head of the Development Department and reports to the President. He or she is responsible for advancing The Heartland Institute’s mission by overseeing all fundraising activities, including direct solicitation, direct mail, sending renewal letters and thank you letters, planning donor events, and more.

The Position

The Director of Development will oversee the DC director for the Heartland Institute and Development Coordinators. Additionally, the Director of Development is expected to oversee more roles as The Heartland Institute expands, including a Major Gifts Officer, Director of Philanthropy, and a Development Associate.

This position can be based in our office at Arlington Heights, IL or a virtual office. While a full-time presence in The Heartland Institute’s Northwest Chicago office is not required, the Director of Development is expected to participate in weekly managing editor meetings and monthly all-staff meetings in the office or via Zoom. They are also expected to attend the annual benefit dinner and, upon request, any special meetings. 


The Heartland Institute is a free-market think tank founded in 1984 that focuses on informing and influencing state and local elected officials on free-market principles and policy. A big part of that mission includes getting the research and opinions of Heartland staff and fellows into the public conversation. In 2020, Heartland earned more than 5,000 media hits; attracted 3 million unique visitors to our websites; got more than 6 million hits on our podcasts; and the videos on our YouTube and Facebook pages were viewed more than 10 million times.

The media world continues to change dramatically, almost year-by-year. Fewer Americans consume traditional newspapers and magazines – though tracking Heartland’s presence there is essential – most media consumption is digital, with mobile being an ever-growing component. So devoting staff to maintaining Heartland’s digital presence is a must. An organization must also continually interact with its allies and enemies in social media, especially with images.

Heartland’s podcasts have grown from just a few thousand monthly hits in late 2012 to more than 500,000 each month by the end of 2020. Producing these podcasts in a consistent, professional manner is essential to keeping and growing this audience. We expect Heartland’s Media Specialist to become proficient in the skills of media creation and editing in the digital space across many areas so he or she can grow in the position and help grow Heartland’s impact.



• Manage the overall fundraising functions for the organization, including managing and leading the development team

• Lead annual development planning and budgeting for the organization

• Manage and direct department resources and implement an integrated fundraising strategy ensuring budgeted income goals are met

• Manage a portfolio of major donors

• Create and implement a strategic development plan to grow Heartland’s budget and donor base

• Cultivate donor relationships and solicit gifts through in-person visits, phone calls, and correspondence

• Grow major gifts program including identification, cultivation, and solicitation of current and prospective donors

• Oversee donor communications plan development, execution, and evaluation

• Work with the development team to manage the development and execution of solicitation campaigns, including direct mail and email

• Work with the team to oversee events advancing fundraising goals

• Work with the President and CEO to support the Board of Directors’ development efforts

• Collaborate with the communications staff to create development and marketing materials

• Manage the development and execution of solicitation campaigns, including direct mail

• Represent the organization at national, state, and community functions

• Prepare regular analysis of budget and fundraising trends

• Acquire new foundation and individual donors to grow Heartland’s total base of support

• Manage the donor database to provide accurate and timely reporting, automate fundraising processes, and host donor data such as contact information and giving capacity

• Determine standard operating procedures and key performance indicators for direct solicitation, direct mail, email, gift acknowledgement, and foundation fundraising

• Manage the development-related pages of the Heartland website

• Oversee programs for giving clubs, planned giving, and lapsed donor re-engagement

• Manage execution of the anniversary Benefit Dinner


• 7+ years experience as a fundraiser, including knowledge of foundation grants, corporate gifts, events, and individual development; proven track record of success in managing a team of development professionals

• Willingness to travel when necessary and frequently meet with donors; estimated travel: 25%

• Alignment with Heartland’s core values and mission; ability to articulate the critical role Heartland plays in our nation

• Outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal; excellent presentation skills and high attention to detail are essential

• Strong organization, high initiative, clear interpersonal skills, professionalism, mature judgment, and the ability to produce work on tight deadlines • Integrity in managing sensitive and confidential information

• Ability to identify audience needs and tailor messages to those needs

• Record of creating successful fundraising events

• Collaborative spirit, works well with colleagues and leadership in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment

• Executive mindset, demonstrated ability to think through problems, plan for success, evaluate outcomes, and continuously learn

• Experience with Donor Relationship Management or Customer Relationship Management platforms required (experience with Salesforce is a plus)

• Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, internet-based research, and social media

• Bachelor’s degree in relevant area of study 

Salary & Benefits

Salary and Compensation

Starting salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. Performance reviews are conducted annually by the Director of Communications & Deputy Director. The Heartland Institute also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes health, HSA contributions, life insurance, covered fees for a 401(k) plan, and a generous paid time-off plan.


Health insurance currently provided by Aetna available to full-time employees. The employer pays 60 percent of premiums and offers a choice of two plans, a low-deductible plan and a high-deductible plan with health savings accounts (HSAs). Employees who choose high-deductible plans also receive annual cash deposits into their HSAs of $125 a month for individuals and $250 a month for families. Employer pays for life and disability insurance and fees for a 401(k) plan. Employer does not match employee contributions to 401(k) plans at this time. 

To Apply Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials (in order) in one
PDF document:
• Cover letter detailing your interest in the position and the mission of The Heartland Institute, as well as your salary requirements
• Resume
Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via this link:

General Careers Information

Join a full-time staff of 35 dedicated men and women discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems!

Please read our “Reply to Critics” for the truth about our funding, tactics, and positions on controversial issues.

This position requires adherence to The Heartland Institute’s Quality Standards for Heartland Publications.

We actively recruit graduates of colleges and universities that receive a grade of “A” from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA).