Job Description:

About Chicago Public Media

Home to WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Public Media is the largest local non-profit news organization in the country. WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times serve more than 2 million people weekly across broadcast, print, and digital platforms. As a mission-driven organization, we aspire to become the essential and most trusted news source that Chicago turns to each day for understanding the people, events, and ideas that shape our community.

WBEZ is home to local and national news programming as well as a growing portfolio of popular podcasts. WBEZ serves the community with fact-based, objective news and information, and its award-winning journalists ask tough questions, dig deep for answers and expose truths that spark change and foster understanding. WBEZ is supported by more than 86,000 members, hundreds of corporate sponsors and major donors. In 2022, WBEZ received more than 20 awards for its journalism, including two prestigious National Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Chicago Sun-Times is Chicago’s oldest continuously published daily newspaper serving Chicago and is known for its hard-hitting investigative reporting, in-depth political coverage, timely behind-the-scenes sports analysis, and insightful entertainment and cultural coverage. Chicago Sun-Times is the winner of eight Pulitzer Prizes and countless other awards.  In recent years, the Sun-Times has focused on a digital transformation to deliver its news and content to a growing digital audience. Most recently, the Sun-Times dropped the paywall on to expand access to its journalism, and shifted to a community-funded digital membership program supported by voluntary member donations. 

Chicago Public Media believes independent journalism is essential to a well-functioning democracy and access to fact-based, objective news and information is a right of every citizen. We serve the public interest by creating diverse, compelling content that informs, inspires, and enriches. We connect diverse audiences and help them make a difference in the community, the region and the world.  And, we employ 300+ staff who want to belong to an organization that inspires, supports, and challenges them to do their best work.

For more information, please see the Chicago Public Media Annual Report.

Position Summary

The Director of Major and Planned Giving is responsible for overseeing a robust and sustainable major and planned giving program to achieve ambitious revenue goals. The Director reports to the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO), manages three fundraisers/relationship managers across major, leadership, and planning giving, and serves as a key member of the Development Management team and Chicago Public Media’s Senior Leadership team. Working closely with the CAO, this position is responsible for developing and executing strategies to secure annual and multi-year philanthropic support and estate gifts. The Director will manage and advance their own prospect portfolio and apply best practices to qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors and prospects. This role will focus on significantly increasing major gift and planned gift support at CPM. The Director will, as appropriate, support the CEO, Chief Content Officer, Board members, senior staff, and other key staff in managing donor and prospect relationships to foster and sustain a culture of philanthropy at CPM. 


Skills and Knowledge:

  • 7+ years of development experience, including demonstrated success in raising major gifts ($5K to 7-figures). 
  • Successful experience in developing multi-year major gift strategies.
  • Management experience with the ability to lead, coach, and motivate a talented team of fundraising professionals. Comfortable using both quantitative and qualitative data to inform strategy and create a culture of excellence, accountability, and support.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Experience developing case statements and donor proposals. 
  • Superior interpersonal skills required with donors and prospects as well as internal leadership, peers, colleagues, and direct reports. Must be a team player with high emotional intelligence who values collaboration and partnerships and treats everyone with respect.
  • Proactive nature with strong planning and attention to detail. Ability to be strategic, collaborative, and results-oriented. Ability to take initiative and manage complex projects and work effectively from conception to completion in a timely manner. 
  • Working knowledge of various planned giving vehicles (e.g., bequests, gift annuities, trusts, etc.) Previous experience working in an environment with an established planned giving program is a plus. 
  • Possess an understanding of fundraising industry standards, especially regarding the legal and ethical aspects of donor solicitation, confidentiality, gift crediting, stewardship, and financial principles that shape the work of fundraising professionals. 
  • Proficiency with Google Suites and constituent management and fundraising software. 

Education: Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree a plus.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serves as a leading fundraiser managing a portfolio of major donors/prospects with the capacity to make 5- to 7-figure gifts. Identifies potential planned giving prospects within the portfolio. 
  • Establishes major gift fundraising goals in consultation with the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) and management team and advances strategies to reach them. 
  • Drives all aspects of the gift cycle: identifies, qualifies, and prioritizes donors and prospects for cultivation and solicitation of major and planned gifts. 
  • Partners with organizational and volunteer leaders to cultivate and solicit major donors. 
  • Provides leadership and coaching to direct reports to lead to successful outcomes. Motivates team to deliver strong revenue results and work collaboratively across the organization.
  • Responsible for overseeing moves management of major donor portfolios to ensure that timely solicitations are being made, and relationship managers (RMs) are updating proposal data in a timely manner. 
  • Prepares personalized communication and customizes proposals and recognition opportunities for major donors. 
  • Oversees the work of fundraisers who manage CPM’s Business Leadership Council, and WBEZ Next volunteer groups to ensure ongoing recruitment of new members, timely communications, planning, and execution of meetings and related events. 
  • Staffs peer solicitation efforts, providing support to Board and council members to carry out high-level cultivation and solicitation strategies. 
  • Provide direction on major gifts cultivation and recognition events, in collaboration with the CAO and the events manager. 

Working Conditions & Physical Requirements

  • Travel to off-site locations is required.
  • Position may require use of a personal vehicle.
  • Ability to stand, walk, sit, talk, see, smell and hear in the normal audio range with or without correction is required.

Working at Chicago Public Media

At Chicago Public Media, we care deeply about our employees as we know attracting, developing, and growing talent is key to our success and enhancing our impact.  Our culture is one where collaboration, ideas, and innovation are encouraged.  We value colleagues who will enhance our culture by bringing new ideas, diverse experiences, and talents to our dynamic workplace.

Chicago Public Media’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion is reflective across our brands, WBEZ 91.5 FM, Chicago Sun-Times, and Vocalo 91.1 FM, in our staff and in our work.  We are fully focused on equality of opportunity and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin, experience, and all other fascinating characteristics that make us different.

At Chicago Public Media we believe dedication to a great workplace includes supporting our employees and their families. As a result, we provide a broad and generous benefits package for you at hire and in the years to come.

Our benefits include:

  • 6 weeks fully paid family leave
  • High quality Medical, Dental, and Vision plans at an affordable cost
  • A 403(b)retirement plan with a company match
  • Generous paid time off, including starting with 3 weeks’ vacation and 4 personal days.

The essential functions described above are not all-inclusive and may change periodically to meet the needs of Chicago Public Media (CPM). The information contained in this job description is not intended to create any contractual or other legal commitment. Chicago Public Media may change the content or format of this job at any time in its sole and exclusive discretion without notice.

Chicago Public Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we actively seek and welcome people from all backgrounds, orientations, and life experiences to join our team.


Job Location: 
United States
Job Category: 
Thursday, May 9, 2024
Job Type: 
Full time
Hours Per Week: 
Send Application Materials To: 
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Maximum Salary: 
(312) 788-0545
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