Development Director

Development Director
180 Livingston Street, Brooklyn NY

As a pioneer in the field of blindness rehabilitation, the mission of Helen Keller Services (HKS) is to help individuals of all ages who are blind, visually impaired, deaf-blind and/or have combined hearing and vision loss and who may have additional disabilities, develop independence and participate actively in their communities and to provide public education and blindness education programs.  HKS programs enable individuals are who blind, visually-impaired, deaf-blind and/or have combined hearing-vision loss to live, work and thrive in their community of choice. HKS offers a wide range of services and programs for all ages and serves large numbers of people in the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties each year.

Headquartered in Brooklyn, HKS operates several programs in facilities located in Brooklyn, Nassau and Suffolk counties. 


Helen Keller Services is looking to expand their public and private fundraising. To reach this goal, HKS is seeking to hire a Development Director. This position serves as HKS’s principal fundraising architect responsible for the management and dynamic growth of a regional and national development program. S/he will lead HKS’s over-arching effort to ensure a diversified fundraising program to involve all facets of fundraising including; major gifts, events, planned giving, friend-raising, donors, and donor development, government and foundation grants, among other stakeholders and aligned and integrated work with the communications and marketing team. 

We are seeking an experienced, success-driven and strategic individual who: 

  • Is results-driven and accountable to meeting objectives
  • Thrives in a high-energy, fast-paced and entrepreneurial organization as part of a collaborative, cross-matrixed and committed team. 
  • Has experience leading motivated and energetic teams to implement strategies and achieve objectives and goals
  • Demonstrates a positive, "can-do" attitude; practice innovative thinking, flexibility and team-orientation.
  • Demonstrates a high degree of initiative, takes calculated risks, measures performance and demonstrates an overall drive to build lasting fundraising success for the organization.
  • Is a leader and strategic thinker, is self-motivated and has a team mentality and loves working with people
  • Possesses a strong desire to make HKS a world-class fundraising organization. 

Position Requirements: 

  • Create and direct all aspects of ongoing resource development efforts, including the creation of a comprehensive fundraising strategic plan and a major giving program and serve as the primary major gift solicitor. 
  • Work with CEO, board chair, development chair and other key board members to train, encourage and support their efforts to develop major donors. 
  • Oversee creating and writing of foundation, corporate and government proposals and solicitation materials.
  • Develop and ensure appropriate management systems which enable the conducting of large-scale fundraising solicitations, and the subsequent recording and tracking of results, and providing effective stewardship for all donors.
  • A strong desire to help people with disabilities achieve independence and reach their potential and support the HKS’ mission.
  • Possess 7-10 years of professional fundraising experience demonstrating progression of fundraising performance in nonprofit development roles as well as supervisory roles.
  • Experience in building, managing and mentoring a development team toward increased measurable levels of success.
  • Proven track record of creating and executing effective fundraising strategies for diverse revenue streams, with success in soliciting and consistently closing 6 figure donations from individuals, foundations and corporations.
  • Proven success in building long-term, productive relationships with current, new and prospective donors and philanthropic institutions.
  • Demonstrated ability in handling multiple, complex fundraising initiatives simultaneously in a fast-paced environment.
  • The ability to drive innovation, change and growth, and be a detail-oriented implementer who can mobilize small teams to translate strategy into results.
  • Collaborate with a strategic communications and marketing team. 
  • Superb relationship management, interpersonal, and communication (written and oral) skills. 
  • Strong understanding of technology and information systems, managing a large database. Experience with Raiser’s Edge preferred. 


  • Bachelor’s degree required, CFRE or Master’s degree in relevant field of study preferred.
  • Minimum of 7-10 years senior experience planning and directing a comprehensive fundraising program. 
  • Demonstrated success as a development leader with the ability to effectively create a national fundraising strategic plan and operation.
  • Strong understanding of donor research, identification, cultivation and solicitation, and follow-up procedures.
  • Proven success in asking for and closing major gifts. 
  • Experience in training and partnering with Board members to solicit major gifts.
  • Excellent organizational skills with a proven reputation for attention to detail.
  • Strong leadership ability and style necessary to mentor, manage, and inspire others.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills with experience in development-related writing.
  • A flexible and creative individual who welcomes challenges and understands the importance of on-going change through solid research, planning, and action. 
  • Superior interpersonal skills with the ability to project professional competence, leadership capability, work collaboratively in a team setting, and personal maturity.
  • Enthusiasm, high energy, and an entrepreneurial spirit. 
  • Demonstrated ease working with Boards, committees, volunteers, and the community.
  • Ability to present in a convincing and professional manner and to inspire and generate enthusiasm among donors, volunteers, and staff.
  • Ability to participate in evening and weekend events.
  • Ability to travel as needed (domestically).

Helen Keller Services has a 30 million dollar operating budget and over 300 staff members. It relies on funds from public programs and grants, legacies, private donations, and fundraising functions. For more information, full program descriptions and complete financial statements, please visit

We offer a competitive compensation package, a comprehensive benefits program which includes an outstanding 403(b) plan and generous paid time off (subject to eligibility).

Please submit your cover letter (with salary requirements) and resume to or apply via the online process. 

Please Send Resume and Cover Letter to: