Vice President for Development

Vice President for Development

Brookings Institution

Washington, DC, United States


The Vice President for Development (VPD) provides philanthropic strategy, vision, leadership and guidance to the President and the Institution and serves as the catalyst for enabling Brookings to achieve its ambitious financial goals. The VPD will help Brookings support its research and programmatic activities through solicitation of new, ongoing and sustainable sources of private funds.

Reporting to the President, s/he will serve on the senior management team and lead a team of approximately 15 employees and must be able to oversee and navigate a decentralized development operation.

Key attributes include leveraging the President’s time to represent Brookings in any way that helps maximize building relationships with potential funders. The President anticipates dedicating a significant portion of his time to development therefore, the VPD must be able to anticipate his needs with flexibility, agility and speed.

The VPD must be a strategic thinker and doer with the ability to take great ideas from conception to execution. S/he will enhance efforts to generate significant gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, and other organizations and will ensure that all areas of the development operation are strategically organized and managed to achieve maximum success. This will require that the VPD initiate cutting edge strategies that maximize Brookings presence in the marketplace now and well into the future.



  • With the President, create a development strategic plan for priorities that align with his long-term vision;
  • Establish strong working relationships with the President and the senior leadership team, including the research program and business unit vice presidents so that, in partnership, sound fundraising strategies that impact the entire organization are developed and implemented;
  • Identify and approach donors from all constituency groups; steward and cultivate existing relationships and support research program directors with their fundraising;
  • Develop a close working relationship with Board leadership and members, and with the program development officers in the research, cultivation and solicitation of major contributions;
  • Provide leadership and staff support for active Board committees and task forces, including the Development Committee, and the Nominations & Governance Committee, working closely with the Chief of Staff and Board Relations Manager;
  • Engage board members in fundraising and outreach on behalf of central development and the five research programs;
  • Work closely with the research program Vice Presidents to understand their work and assist their fundraising efforts; strategically direct the approaches to common funders to ensure that all solicitations are coordinated and seamless;
  • Maintain a visible and effective role as a spokesperson for Brookings to reinforce and build positive understanding of the organization with its many audiences;
  • Assist in gaining visibility for Brookings and help build the Brookings brand. Broaden the national and international scope of Brookings impact and its ability to attract funding;
  • Communicate to staff, external constituents and supporters throughout the country and abroad the overall need, purpose and goals of fundraising for Brookings.


  • Develop clear short-term and long-range plans for the Development Office that are both realistic and challenging;
  • Prepare annual fundraising plan and budget;
  • Ensure that all fundraising goals are met; create appropriate incentives and metrics, unique to Brookings to help meet these goals;
  • Oversee and understand the roles of Development Office staff; make staffing decisions to support collaboration and engagement;
  • Actively participate as a member of the Institution’s leadership team, including Steering Committee meetings and in business unit Management Team Meetings. Represent Development as required on Institution-wide management committees, such as monthly meetings with the Executive Office and Chief Financial Officer;
  • Stay abreast of philanthropic, economic, social and educational trends related to fundraising; ensure that Board and staff are informed of changes in legislation and other trends and initiatives that might impact giving;
  • Design and implement new methods of fundraising to complement Brookings’s current successful lineup;
  • Develop, implement and coordinate collaborative fundraising initiatives with other institutions with which Brookings is engaged in joint projects.


  • Must be a team player who welcomes and models collaborative decision making;
  • An appreciation for the work of Brookings scholars and the vital policy questions their work addresses;
  • Successful track record of soliciting and closing 7- or 8-figure gifts/pledges;
  • Bachelor’s degree and 15+ years of successful experience in fundraising, preferably in a large complex institution;
  • Articulate, polished and sophisticated individual who can interact comfortably with high-level individuals and groups; possess comfort level for interaction with persons of high wealth and intelligence. Experience developing solid working relationships with trustees, and other high-level volunteers and donors;
  • Diplomacy and ability to engage individuals in a variety of social and business settings;
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with and quickly gain the respect and support of various constituencies, including the president, the development staff, trustees, vice presidents, scholars and donors;
  • Proven leadership and management experience to develop and oversee staff and day-to-day activities and operations;
  • A comprehensive understanding of institutional development, including campaigns, annual giving, major gifts fundraising, planned giving, corporate and foundation fundraising, and advancement services, encompassing the management of fundraising information systems, prospect research, stewardship, and related activities;
  • The ability to conceptualize, plan and implement a strategic approach to building relationships and securing philanthropic support including: setting realistic goals, developing strategies for prospects, prioritizing activities, soliciting gifts, and orchestrating the involvement of institutional leadership;
  • A record of success in organizing and implementing financial goals and strategies, analyzing and identifying problems, and formulating creative solutions;
  • A superior communicator who shares information readily and concisely; listens as well as gives advice and respects the abilities of others. A track record as an effective communicator who is articulate and persuasive in written and verbal communications;
  • An ability to influence and motivate people even if they are not direct-reports;
  • Demonstrated ability to multi-task, be organized and flexible, and meet deadlines and prioritize job responsibilities;
  • Strong analytical, organizational and planning skills. Decisive and resourceful with the ability to anticipate and act on events and opportunities in an appropriate manner;
  • Excellent project management skills including influencing, leading, negotiating and delegating abilities;
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines and maintain disciplined adherence to program goals;
  • Able to work effectively across cultures, particularly with the Institution’s International Advisory Committee;
  • Energetic and willing to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of fundraising activities ranging from the routine to the highly creative and visible.

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