Make-A-Wish Metro NY and Western NY,
Chief Development Officer (Search closed)

Lake Success, NY


In the spring of 1980, a young boy in Phoenix, AZ with leukemia realized his heartfelt wish to become a police officer. His dream served as the inspiration for what is now the largest wish-granting organization in the world, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. With 62 chapters in the United States and its territories, and 38 international affiliates spanning five continents, Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 with life-threatening medical conditions in order to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.

The Make-A-Wish Metro NY chapter granted its first wish in 1983 and the Western NY chapter granted its first wish in 1992. In 2011, the two chapters joined forces, now serving a total of 23 counties in the state of New York. These 23 counties include the five boroughs of New York City, Nassau County, as well as Buffalo, Rochester and 17 counties in Western New York.

Today, the Make-A-Wish Metro NY and Western NY (MAW NY) chapter is one of the busiest in the United States, based on the number of wishes granted and the operating budget. Overall, the chapter has touched the lives of more than 13,000 children – more than 2,500 in Western NY and more than 11,000 in the five boroughs of NYC and Long Island. In the fiscal year 2015, the chapter touched the lives of 875 wish children and their families by granting over 600 wishes of local children and facilitating over 250 wish assists to children from other regions of the country whose wishes took place in New York.

Nationally, Make-A-Wish is recognized as one of the top-10 children’s charities in the US and was honored in the most recent edition of “America’s Greatest Brands”. MAW NY has been recognized locally, regionally, and nationally for its fundraising, stewardship, governance, and workplace culture. The chapter has been awarded 4 stars from Charity Navigator and named one of the 50 Best Nonprofits to Work For by The Non-Profit Times (3 years). The New York Community Trust–New York Magazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards named Make-A-Wish Metro New York and Western New York a semifinalist in 2012 and a finalist in its 2013 competition. The chapter has won the prestigious Power of One Award, presented annually by Make-A-Wish America to the chapter that contributes significantly to the greater good of Make-A-Wish beyond their own territory, the only chapter to win the award twice.

Make-A-Wish Metro NY and Western NY is positioned for continued success led by a dedicated and impressive board of directors. With a committed staff and the strong brand awareness MAW NY can grow to reach every eligible child.

With headquarters in Lake Success, NY, the chapter also has offices in Manhattan, Buffalo, and Rochester. MAW NY operates with a budget of $12M with a staff of 40+. For more information about Make-A-Wish NY Metro and Western NY, please visit


Make A Wish Metro NY and Western NY seeks a strategic, collaborative, and inspiring leader to become its next Chief Development Officer (CDO). The successful candidate will be committed to the MAW NY mission and will serve as the leader of the resource development team. Working in partnership with the new CEO, Philip Lussier, the Board of Directors and the full Executive Team, the Chief Development Officer will be an integral member of the organization’s senior executive leadership and will be responsible for establishing and implementing all aspects of fundraising activities to support the chapters’ growth, budgetary goals and strategic intent.

The CDO will be a proven dynamic and strategic leader with superior relationship skills and demonstrated success in building and managing a development team and increasing revenue. S/he must be a skillful staff leader, effective in recruiting, supervising and mentoring staff. S/he will direct and manage a development team that encompasses major gifts, foundations, planned giving, research, and development communications. Development team members are located mainly in Long Island NY with regional offices in Rochester and Buffalo. Direct reports for the CDO will include Regional Directors, major gift officers, internal and external event staff with the full team being 14 staff.



Leadership, Strategy, and Engagement

• Work in partnership with the CEO to design and implement a fundraising strategy that integrates all fundraising tools and that will generate short-term results as well as sustainable long-term growth; develop a strategic and collaborative fundraising program that includes ways to deepen and diversify the funding base.

• Provide strong direction and management for the fundraising team, including the effective and thoughtful managing of systems, processes, and measurements to monitor, project, and guide fundraising results and activities.

• Lead activities to ensure a “donor-centered” culture of philanthropy is built into all programs, activities, and development communications.

• Promote MAW to new audiences and prospects to generate interest and support for the organization; and increase the depth and breadth of private individual and institutional support.

• Ensure solid communication and trust is built between the Development and Program departments.

• Collaborate closely with the marketing team on all development-related marketing materials and communications.

• Carefully monitor the costs associated with fundraising and ensure that internal resources are appropriately utilized.
Major and Planned Giving

• Define and manage organizational programs for major, planned, and endowment gifts. Set financial benchmarks and ensure successful implementation to meet revenue goals.

• Work directly with current and prospective donors at the $10,000+ level and with donors interested in establishing legacy gifts.

• Lead efforts to strategize and develop major gift portfolios. Work closely with the CEO and the resource development team to create best practices in stewardship, cultivation and solicitation of gifts.

• Maintain a portfolio of approximately 75 donors to cultivate, steward and solicit including individuals, family foundations, and private foundations.

Board Relations

• Assist CEO in working closely with the identification, training, development, and support for current Trustees to realize their annual goals and objectives.

• Provide leadership to Trustees to help with solicitation of their networks and associates to raise general support, event sponsorship, endowment and major gifts.

• Maintain a flexible leadership style that empowers staff through active communication and delegation, and promotes intra- and interdepartmental teamwork.

• Focus on performance measurements, individual coaching and team development; foster an environment of achievement and ensure staff accountability for excellence through clearly defined and measurable goals.


• Passion for the Make-A-Wish Foundation mission.

• A minimum of ten years of development experience with demonstrated progressive professional growth, including significant experience leading a department.

• Proven success in soliciting and closing major gifts, building and maintaining long-term relationships with major individual donors, corporate supporters, and foundations. Major gifts defined as gifts of $10,000 to $1 million and greater.

• A flexible and creative thinker able to find and create new giving opportunities for programs.

• Strong management and leadership skills, including the ability to develop a high performing professional staff, professional relationships, and group of volunteers.

• Experience using a donor relations management system to track and manage data and technology for prospect identification and research.

• Experience working with a nonprofit Board of Directors.

• Outstanding oral and written communication skills with experience in development-related writing.

• Excellent organizational skills with a proven reputation for attention to detail.

• An independent, strategic thinker with good judgment, sensitivity, and the highest level of integrity.

• BS/BA required; Master’s degree preferred.

• Accreditation by the Association of Fundraising Professionals as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) preferred.


Sue Waterbury, Vice President
Kelsey Mooney, Senior Associate
Elise Riffel, Junior Associate


Please submit a resume and cover letter

This search began in April 2017 and is currently active. This position description is based upon materials provided by Make-A-Wish Metro New York & Western New York, an equal opportunity employer.