Development Director

By 2019, an estimated 5 billion people will have a mobile phone at their fingertips. And by 2021, a million minutes of video content will be shared every second. Will so much more video turn into more equality and more rights? At WITNESS, we believe that anyone with a mobile phone can share a story and that our collective truths can change the world.

Our vision is to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. As a passionate, global team of activists we work alongside vulnerable communities to create change. We’re excited about a future where anyone with a mobile phone can safely, ethically, and effectively participate in creating a just world. But in today’s reality, that is not a given. Many of our freedoms and rights are under threat in unprecedented ways.

At this pivotal moment for human rights, we’re looking to invite an innovative, passionate and dynamic person to join our global team in the critical role of Development Director. In this position, you will lead in curating and growing WITNESS’ portfolio of inspired donors to exponentially increase our impact in a time of extraordinary opportunity for video to change the course of human rights.  

Your primary responsibility will be establishing and implementing the infrastructure and strategies needed to successfully achieve the organization’s growth of its $4.5M budget. You will play a leading role in expanding and diversifying the organization’s funder base by engaging new funders while maintaining deep and meaningful ties with the organization’s long-standing generous donors. Working closely with an experienced External Relations team, you will be charged with developing new, creative, and effective approaches to increase individual giving and ensuring ongoing philanthropic support from foundations, corporations, and governments.

As a trailblazer, you’ll design, articulate, and implement comprehensive, long term plans to secure future funding, building off recent significant investments in WITNESS’ strength as a global innovator.

Reporting to the Executive Director, you are a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting WITNESS. In concert with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors, you will be responsible for all fundraising and external relations activities.

The ideal candidate is a creative and strategic thinker, who is passionate about WITNESS’ mission, has a strong personal commitment to human rights values, and a proven track record of successfully mobilizing, engaging, and growing donor bases. You are a skilled communicator, able to build strong interpersonal relationships with donors, and frame and communicate WITNESS’ mission and programs in a compelling way to exponentially grow engagement with the organization and its base of support.

You have a deep passion for human rights values and you’re a natural at enthusing allies and galvanizing resources behind WITNESS’ collaborative and innovative programs. You know that fundraising plays a vital role in our organization’s ability to increase our impact. You enjoy forging and fostering relationships that will mobilize and build WITNESS’ visibility, impact, and financial resources.

This position is based in New York, but will be key in engaging donors around the world who are passionate about our mission to empower and mobile resources for WITNESS’ global network of activists.  Some travel will be required in this role.

Reports to: Executive Director

Location: Brooklyn, NY




  • Lead on creating and implementing long term fundraising strategies and plans, aimed at growing the organization’s resources and impact;
  • Provide strategic leadership to fuel WITNESS’ long term financial sustainability, resource its Strategic Plan, and catalyze its planned path toward organizational growth;
  • Aggressively pursue new and innovative avenues for funding and engagement in the area of individual philanthropy, including on the West Coast of the U.S;
  • Provide dynamic and innovative leadership for fundraising efforts, building an infrastructure that supports short- and long-term goals, particularly a donor base for long term sustained growth of its major gifts program;
  • Catalyze the pipeline planning and development of a large portfolio of contributors;
  • Inspire and engage a group of elite donors interested in promoting human rights, deepening relationships with current donors while launching initiatives to identify and target other avenues for major financial contributions;
  • Develop and implement strategies to take advantage of WITNESS’ program initiatives and its Strategic Plan;
  • Oversee research on funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position WITNESS ahead of major funding changes or trends.


  • Partner with the Executive Director as a primary liaison with the WITNESS’ Board of Directors to build on its current high level of engagement, advance Board expansion plans, and support and activate a high performing Board in its efforts on behalf of WITNESS as motivated ambassadors for WITNESS and promoters of human rights;
  • Create and provide content and tools for effective Board and staff fundraising communications.


  • Work closely with the communications team in overseeing, crafting, and executing a comprehensive and compelling external communications strategy that engages existing and new supporters and creates excitement and momentum around the organization’s mission, impact and programs;
  • Enhance messaging at all levels of the organization, keeping donors and the public informed of WITNESS’ programs and impacts, and inspiring, growing, and activating its base of engaged donors and allies.


  • Oversee an accomplished external relations team in the areas of foundations/institutional giving and individual giving, including major gifts and events;
  • Reinforce a culture of engaged philanthropy among all stakeholders, from staff to donors to volunteers;
  • Guide and support programmatic staff who are engaged with fundraising;
  • Foster an environment that rewards new ideas and entrepreneurship, creating a culture that celebrates innovation, builds confidence, encourages teamwork, promotes diversity, and sets clear expectations for future success;
  • Work collaboratively and promote effective interdepartmental communications and provide regular summaries of all development activities to the WITNESS’ team, senior leadership and Board of Directors.



  • At least ten years of managerial experience with exposure to strategic planning, board relations, and a proven track record in formulating and executing successful comprehensive multi-million dollar fundraising programs, including multi-year fundraising plans, campaigns, major giving, foundations, online fundraising, and direct mail;
  • Bachelor’s degree required, relevant master’s degree preferred.


Skills, Abilities, and Experience:

  • Passionate person with a proven ability to influence a wide range of donors and build authentic long term relationships; successful track record and excellent ability to cultivate, solicit, and steward individual gifts. Experience with and a successful track record in donor acquisition;
  • Proven ability to envision, create, articulate, and execute effective long-term fundraising strategies and plans and to set and meet revenue goals;
  • Strong management skills, both strategic and operational, and a demonstrated ability to build, manage, mentor, and motivate an effective team;
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with senior leadership, Board members, staff, and volunteers, providing strong support and inspiring them to productive action;
  • Superior writing, strong presentation, and exemplary communication skills, with the ability to deal with sensitive human rights issues, directly and passionately, and to translate WITNESS’ mission and programs into compelling messages and fundraising initiatives that garner financial support;
  • Experience and understanding of a wide variety of different communication and fundraising platforms and tools;
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced, diverse, and demanding environment with constantly changing priorities due to newly emerging opportunities;
  • Goal orientated with strong internal direction and motivation;
  • Commitment to human rights, social justice, empowering local voices, and/or using technology for good.


START DATE: flexible

LOCATION: Brooklyn, NY

TITLE: Development Director

SALARY: WITNESS offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits that include employer-paid medical, dental, vision, life, accident, and disability insurance, FSA, 401k, transit, and a generous vacation package.


TO APPLY: To apply, please send your resume and cover letter with salary requirements to with the subject line “Development Director – [your name]”.   

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled; early applications are encouraged.  Please note that due to the volume anticipated, we will not be able to respond individually to each applicant. We kindly ask that you do not send duplicate applications via mail or email, and no phone calls.  WITNESS is not currently seeking assistance from staffing agencies at this time.  Thank you.

WITNESS is an equal opportunity employer.  People of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and individuals protected by any other statuses under federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to, disability, marital, domestic partnership, familial, caregiver, transgender, military or veteran statuses, are encouraged to apply.



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