A consummate fundraising executive will appreciate the privilege of asking donors to support the Special Olympics, one of those life-saving career opportunities that alters our lives as development professionals.
Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada (SONC) is dedicated to enriching the lives of the 25,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who are served each year through sports, education, and athlete health. Partnering with a professional staff of 40 overall, 10 in fundraising (3 of whom report to the COO), are 24,000 volunteers
managing 271 competitions in 14 sports, as well as supporting services to more than 50,000 students in nearly 600 schools, promoting sportsmanship, acceptance, inclusion, health and nutrition, personal pride and self-esteem.
The Special Olympics brand is powerful and the business model incredibly appealing to donors; the organization continues to increase its effectiveness in telling its story. The participants in Special Olympics work very hard to perform at their highest level and develop the self-confidence to become working, productive assets to their communities; their participation in schools and communities, where they demonstrate their capacities to function in the mainstream, eliminates stereotypes and builds social cohesion; the armies of volunteers who lend their time and talent to Special Olympics programs find the experience more than gratifying and fulfilling – transformative; the donors are deeply moved by the leverage of their gifts and how much impact their generosity makes, with about 91 cents of every dollar raised going directly into FREE programs. For the CDO, it is the rare charitable “ask” that can be compared to Special Olympics.
SONC was established in the mid-1990s, when services to all of California were split into two nonprofit organizations, SONC assuming responsibility for all counties from Tulare to the north and east. Then SONC was expanded geographically in 2001 to also serve all of Nevada. SONC has four offices (Pleasant Hill, San Jose, Sacramento and Las Vegas), with about two thirds of the staff based in Pleasant Hill and the remainder working from the other offices or remotely from San Francisco, Fresno, Reno, and Santa Rosa. There are currently about 25 members of the SONC Board of Directors, dedicated to the financial wellbeing of the organization. Their “give-get” commitment is $25,000, an indication of a powerful organizational climate of philanthropy.
The current budget projects a calendar year-end of about $6.5 – 6.9 million, robust growth for the second year from previous relatively flat year-to-year budgets of about $5.2 million. The ambitious CY 2017 budget projects +/- $1 million each from foundations, corporations, Polar Plunges and other special events, direct mail and other individual giving, with about one-half million in support from government for the school programs. A notable partnership with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, an association of law enforcement officers operating special athletic events, generates nearly $1 million annually. This growth trajectory is being achieved under the new leadership of President & CEO David Solo, who has been able to enhance financial performance through
careful budget control and the generation of new revenues, and who has been an effective fundraising partner to the Chief Development Officer and Development staff. With strong Board support, SONC has recently been able to implement a program of building an operating reserves fund, incremental growth in charitable gifts, and expanded services. One example of these new services is the qualification for California government contracts for the first time, enabling SONC to expand its program to an additional 150 California schools this year. Another example of expanded aspirations and the determination to increase fundraising effectiveness is the acquisition of Salesforce and Wealth Engine technology, reflecting an appreciation of how new technology can support SONC’s fundraising growth.
In addition to the power of this organization’s mission, the successful CDO will be attracted to the challenges relished by our most successful fundraising leaders. Direct mail is managed exclusively by the national organization, Special Olympics USA, based in Washington, D.C., with SONC and other regional chapters receiving half of the proceeds net of overhead, or about 30%. Earned income from government, as noted in the example above, is half the amount allocated by the State to SONC and its Southern California counterpart to serve schools throughout California, emphasizing in 433 current schools how children and youth with special needs can be mainstreamed through sports activities with the general education students. A similar program is offered in 108 Nevada schools. A goal of the Board is to double the level of government contracts in the short-term. Twenty or so grants from foundations and corporate contributions programs in 2016 reflect a diverse and broad base of support with significant growth potential. Staff manage the annual fund and the cultivation process that identifies donors of greater giving capacity for higher levels of involvement, and this is a function that has only recently been attended to more systematically. Individual giving is led by the CEO and the Board, with critically important CDO support, and, as with most social service nonprofits, represents the greatest potential for fundraising growth. The CDO, with staff support, will enjoy the partnership of an effective fundraising CEO in building the individual gifts program. Planned giving, as is the common case, is formative, with the creation of a “giving society” among current development priorities. Not surprisingly, SONC also receives unsolicited bequests from time to time. Far more than most nonprofits, the services of SONC, and the donor constituencies to which planned giving will be appealing, justify significant efforts in this direction in the future.
Most unusual about this array of funding sources, and of special
importance to the next CDO, is the role of special events in SONC’s armory of services and fundraising strategies. This year SONC will sponsor 271 special events! Most of these events are athletic, offering the opportunity for SONC clients to participate in sports, primarily for the purpose of program services rather than fundraising – but – a significant number of these events are worthy of corporate sponsorship. Program and development staff work hand in hand in the production of these events. There are also very large numbers of special events produced in partnership with law enforcement (LETR = “Law Enforcement Torch Run”), with SONC program staff and development staff working largely in a supportive role to a very substantial number of local volunteers who undertake the management of these events throughout the region SONC serves. Of critical importance for fundraising and friendraising are the blockbuster special events supported by Development staff with volunteer support – the several “Polar Plunges,” “Bocce Bashes,” the High Tech Golf Challenge at the venerable Olympic Club– that raise visibility, project the Special Olympics brand, and generate significant revenues to support SONC programs. The CDO and Development and other staff are challenged with the scale and numbers of events, the management of armies of volunteers, and with taking advantage of every possible opportunity to involve corporate sponsors and other donors in the support of these events and SONC.
In sum, there is in this position the opportunity for the exceptional fundraising executive to work for a great cause, to advance the efforts of a distinguished agency, and to MAKE A LASTING DIFFERENCE at a time when a thriving organization is poised for accelerated growth in resources and services.
REPORTING RELATIONSHIPS: The Chief Development Officer reports to the President & CEO, and directly supervises 7 of the 10 development staff.
RESPONSIBILITIES: The Chief Development Officer works closely in support of and in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer in creating, executing and continuously evaluating for effectiveness a comprehensive strategy that increases levels of support from current donors, rekindles interest in lapsed donors, and identifies and engages high potential prospective donors. The CDO participates in oversight of government contracts for services and other earned income from restricted contributions. The CDO ensures that excellent relationships are maintained with donors and that donor gifts are carefully stewarded for the purposes intended by the
donors. The CDO manages the budget for the development function and is responsible for maintaining a detailed and useful donor database and the technology upon which the Development function depends. The CDO identifies potential funding sources and streams, and creates the opportunity for the “ask,” including the writing and oversight of grant application processes for foundation, corporate, and government restricted support. The CDO orchestrates the complex activities of an able and hard-working staff and provides support to the CEO and Board in all fundraising activities.
Specifically the CDO:
Provides dynamic support to the Chief Executive Officer, Board and program directors on all matters related to fundraising, friend-raising, enhanced community visibility, and support from individuals, foundations, corporate giving programs, and government agencies.
Anticipates changing community needs with vision and imagination, initiates long-range strategic and operational fundraising planning, and is responsible and accountable for the business-like implementation, including budget development and management, of all such fundraising and marketing plans.
Manages staff, volunteers, and all internal and external resources in support of the fundraising function, including management of all cultivation and fundraising events, events designed to enhance SONC visibility, new fundraising initiatives and services, and efforts to enhance resources for SONC donors.
Develops tactical and strategic plans, establishes goals and objectives, measures progress, defines the criteria for success, and has the ability retrospectively and prospectively to evaluate progress, to inform the Chief Executive Officer and Board of this progress, and to demonstrate the pragmatism and flexibility to recommend changes in direction based on outcomes against plan.
Demonstrates as a curious and effective career-long student of best practices and cutting edge experimentation with new fundraising techniques and technologies how SONC can be highly creative, mobile, adaptable, and competitive in maximizing its fundraising potential.
Participates actively in regional, statewide and national associations to ensure that SONC’s achievements are disseminated and leveraged by other organizations, even as SONC is enabled by others to imitate creative and productive emerging practices.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS and EXPERIENCE:
The Chief Development Officer (CDO) has the demonstrated capacity and motivation to place SONC at the cutting edge of the application of rapidly evolving technologies in fundraising (e.g., website development, search optimization, online fundraising, social networking, database management, donor prospecting). The CDO has generalist experience, judgment and capabilities that will enable him/her to be an effective contributor to the leadership team of SONC and to the Board. The CDO will also have all those leadership skills that will enable him/her to represent SONC articulately and effectively to key external stakeholders, to collaborating organizations in the system of social services to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, government, business, the nonprofit sector, and to the community at large. The successful candidate will be a results-driven, high-energy professional of unquestionable integrity, dedicated to the mission of SONC, passionate about providing support in any and every form to the clients of Special Olympics.
Specifically, the CDO:
Is passionate about the mission of Special Olympics and genuinely enjoys children, youth, and adults with intellectual disabilities and their families. Has core qualities, in addition to passion: empowering, inspiring, strategic, transparent.
Understands the power of sports participation to build self-confidence, to enhance social skills and nurture friendships, to teach life-shaping lessons in winning and losing;
Has had extensive fundraising management experience – donor prospecting and cultivation, volunteer management, annual gifts, major gifts, corporate sponsorship, special events, planned giving, grant-writing and restricted gift management -- with proven leadership ability, and possesses a broad array of executive multi-tasking skills transferable to a geographical dispersed nonprofit with great challenges and opportunities. Understands the value of special fundraising events for involving volunteers, marketing SONC and enhancing its visibility, involving corporate leaders and the business community, using staff efficiently in relation to benefits to be realized, as well as generators of charitable net income. Has the ability to relate to prospective donors, to build a universe of friends of SONC in the business, government and philanthropic communities. Experience with and evidence of a high level of comfort with the “ask,” and experience in working with nonprofit CEOs and boards with high level “asks,” and leveraging of their relationships to win new friends and donors. Has a can-do, no-job-too-small attitude and the ability to inspire colleagues and volunteers to accomplish many small things greatly.
Has highly developed oral and written communication skills, and the vision, charisma, and dynamism necessary to project and promote the mission of Special Olympics, and to augment friendship networks and funding sources throughout the huge region served. Understands the value and techniques of branding and marketing a social service agency, including partnership with the media. Demonstrates facility with information technology, and the capacity to adapt new technologies to the enhancement of fundraising, organizational visibility and credibility, and the expansion and improvement of services.
Demonstrates ability to be an active and effective member of the executive leadership team, anticipating community needs, leading, managing, and assessing strategic change within a complex, diverse, and rapidly changing environment, with demonstrated ability to work effectively in diverse communities. Inspires trust and respect, is sensitive to competing interests and styles of staff, understands the tensions between fund development and programming, works respectfully and collaboratively with peers and demonstrates the ability to maintain a holistic view of the leadership team and the organization.
Has the sound judgment to hire Development staff well, to nurture, motivate, reward, and mentor staff, to facilitate and coordinate staff as a partner-leader, to avoid micromanagement whenever possible as a wise delegator while being able to micromanage step in when necessary to ensure completion of key tasks and to make difficult personnel decisions when necessary.
Demonstrates business and financial acumen, recommends and oversees budgets, revenues and expenditures, costs out projects and then monitors the implementation of projects within approved budgets, maintains internal controls and financial discipline, and works closely with the Chief Executive Officer, CFO, and Board to ensure the financial wellbeing of the organization.
Is a skilled and efficient time manager, able to manage deftly across many functions, to order priorities well, to travel overnight and/or to multiple sites when advantageous, while being accessible and responsive to the CEO, colleagues, Board members, and the community served.
Has exceptional listening skills, compassion, centeredness and maturity, a collaborative style, durability and adaptability to the vicissitudes of the nonprofit environment, high energy, and a healthy sense of humor.
EDUCATION: Lifelong learning and educational achievement appropriate to the complexity of the position.
Robert M. Fisher and Michael Loscavio of Rusher Loscavio Fisher Nonprofit Executive Search are privileged to provide recruitment counsel to Special Olympics Northern California and Nevada. All discussions with prospects for this position will be treated with utmost discretion and in strict confidence.
We would be grateful to receive inquiries, expressions of interest, nominations and applications (with resumes) addressed to both of the following: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada takes pride in the diversity of its staff and welcomes all qualified candidates
Additional Salary Information: Competitive, in the range of $140,000 – 160,000, negotiable based on salary history and experience.
About SPECIAL OLYMPICS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA & NEVADA
Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada (SONC/SONV) is dedicated to enriching the lives of the 25,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who are served each year through sports, education, and athlete health. Partnering with a professional staff of 40 are 24,000 volunteers managing 271 competitions in 14 sports, as well as supporting services to more than 50,000 students in n...early 600 schools, promoting sportsmanship, acceptance, inclusion, health and nutrition, personal pride and self-esteem. The current budget projects a calendar year-end of more than $6.5 million.