Chief Development Officer

The Houston Local News Initiative (“HLNI”) is growing our team of passionate people on a mission to advance democracy in our communities and strengthen the lives of all Houstonians one story at a time. HLNI is launching soon as an independent, non-profit digital news operation that will cover a broad range of topics serving the Greater Houston community. HLNI is initially supported by a coalition of three of Houston’s leading philanthropies including Arnold Ventures, The Houston Endowment, and the Kinder Foundation.

At HLNI, we are expanding our Operations team to include a Chief Development Officer. The Chief Development Officer will report directly to the COO and partner on strategic initiatives impacting the fundraising and growth of our organization. You will be a strategic thought partner and force multiplier.

We will consider applications on an ongoing basis, but we encourage those who are interested to apply ASAP.

The Role

What you’ll do

  • Manage a comprehensive, strategic, donor-centered fundraising program that includes specific fundraising goals and targets
  • Build and execute our funding strategy. 
  • Maintain and expand a portfolio of additional foundation/grant prospects and drive the submission of all grant requests, including overseeing contract grant writers.
  • Develop and implement a development plan to further expand the major gifts portfolio, including by engaging and retaining new donors.
  • Develop goals, strategies, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship plans for each donor, ensuring that each one receives frequent personalized contact.
  • Draft donor correspondence and maintain primary responsibility for developing messages, strategy memos, talking points and donor materials Implement a communications plan, including development of messages, materials and explanations of our work used in strategic donor communications, annual reports, newsletters, and other communications that advance our mission and visibility.
  • Oversee development and execution of fundraising campaigns.
  • Create and staff gatherings for donors and foundations.
  • Build and maintain a donor management database to ensure professional data management.

Who you are

You have demonstrated experience managing a comprehensive, strategic, donor centered, and metric driven fundraising program. You enjoy organizing and synthesizing information to drive alignment and decisions.

  • Experience - You have 5+ years of experience managing non-profit development or growth and cultivating relationships with major donors. 
  • Mission-oriented - You’re committed to our mission to advance democracy and improve the lives of all Houstonians.
  • Self-starter - You’re ready to experience the chaos of an early stage startup, and have a proven ability to roll up your sleeves to get things done
  • Communicator - You have excellent communication skills and the ability to communicate with and collaborate with anyone including funding sources, executives, team members and freelancers.
  • Multi-tasker - You’re able to set priorities while remaining flexible in an ever-changing environment.
  • Technical skills - You use data as the cornerstone for all your decisions and have advanced spreadsheet skills (e.g. Excel, Google Sheets).
Our Values

EXCELLENCE: We wake up every day with the intent to be the best at what we do. We hustle. We have grit. When we make mistakes, we’ll learn from them.

INCLUSION: We aren’t all the same, and those differences are what make us better. We’ll respect each person’s uniqueness. Perspective, context and life experiences help us to tell the story.

AMBITION: We will be bold and creative, open to all ideas big or small. We really mean it.

FUN: We are not making widgets, although there is nothing wrong with widgets. We tell stories - and stories are often fun, so we believe in having lots of fun.

COLLABORATION: We are all in this together. We may not always agree, but we will listen to each other and communicate candidly and respectfully.


Compensation and Benefits
  • Compensation commensurate with experience
  • 401(k)
  • Healthcare 100% premium paid for employee and 50% for dependents
  • 20 vacation days
  • Ten sick days
  • Generous paid maternity leave 
  • Hybrid work policy (initially we all work together to build culture)
  • Stipend for development / learning

We’re committed to building an inclusive organization that represents the people and communities we serve. We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities.

Apply using the form below