Chief Development Officer

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Reports to: CEO (Seth Flaxman)

Organizational overview

Democracy Works is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the status quo. As a team of software developers, public policy wonks, and civic organizers building the tools needed to upgrade the infrastructure of our democracy, our mission is to improve civic participation across all elections by building technology for voters and election administrators.

Our vision is straightforward: Make voting a simple, seamless experience for all Americans so that no one misses an election.

Since our founding, we have worked with colleges and universities, election officials, peer institutions, and corporate and nonprofit partners to achieve this goal.

TurboVote, our first service – launched in September 2010 - helps voters register, stay registered, and cast a ballot in every election, from municipal to national. TurboVote now has over 6 million voters signed up and runs the largest college and corporate voter engagement coalition in the country, including hundreds of campuses, companies like Starbucks, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and dozens more.

We also helped (basically) everyone find their polling place through the Voting Information Project. Its data had 123 million impressions in 2016, and over 11 million voters looked up where to vote on

Democracy Works also assists states in modernizing the voter experience. Ballot Scout, which tracks absentee ballots through the mail, helps address concerns with voting by mail as more counties and states move to “vote at home.” And in 2018, we became the organizational home of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

Position overview

Philanthropy at Democracy Works is about more than raising funds. We’re seeking a leader who can communicate our impact and vision for improving democracy, as well as organize our community of supporters. Your work will be critical to making the 2020 primary and general elections the highest turnout elections in a century.

Key Responsibilities

Fundraising Strategy & Leadership

  • Partner directly with CEO to develop and execute on a best-in-class fundraising strategy, including the organizing of existing supporters into active volunteers, and the creation of a development team.

  • Develop staff-wide processes for collecting impact metrics and stories, in order to successfully communicate our work verbally and in writing, privately and publicly.

  • Build strong relationships with key donors and foundation staff.

  • Represent Democracy Works to the philanthropy community at conferences and other convenings attended by philanthropic leaders.

  • Lead our fundraising communication strategy, including taking over a monthly impact email to our community of supporters.

Communications & Writing

  • Work closely with colleagues on a marketing and communications strategy that raises the visibility and thought leadership of Democracy Works in the philanthropic landscape.

  • Ensure that all development communications materials (including fundraising deck and annual report) serve our goals, delivering high impact, visibility, and excellence with consistent branding and messaging.

  • Manage our grant and report writing process, including coordinating the work of finance and program staff as well as a part-time grant writer.

  • Supervise maintenance of funders’ records and mailing lists through our CRM. Currently this is done with support from the senior assistant to the CEO.

The person

Highly qualified candidates will share the Democracy Works team’s commitment to mission and will embody the organization’s core values.


Successful candidates will bring a range of skills and experiences including (but not limited to):

  • Nonprofit fundraising leadership experience, with a focus on individual and institutional/foundation donors.Energetic, hard-working, and enthusiastic team player.

  • Independent, organized, and detail-oriented self-starter, with strong data management skills.

  • Innovative and resourceful problem solver.

  • Ability to work in an entrepreneurial environment (range of tasks, ambiguity, flexibility) while still exercising and implementing standard professional processes and systems.

  • A community organizer’s approach to telling a story of self that connects you to our mission, and an ability to make donors feel like part of our team and mission.

  • Excellent writing skills, ranging from formal grant applications to short personal emails and compelling blog updates.

  • Ability to work independently and as part of cross-functional teams for deadline-driven projects.

  • Principled with high ethical standards, professionalism and integrity.


  • Energized by frequent travel for conferences and building donor relationships.


To learn more about this opportunity, please contact:

Tory Clarke - Partner, Bridge Partners

Debbie Tang - Partner, Bridge Partners

Democracy Works is committed to diversity and inclusion in everything we do and aspires to have a team that's representative of the voters we serve. When hiring, we practice proactive outreach to top talent that’s underrepresented in our sector (including Latino, Black, AAPI, and Indigenous candidates). We conduct an anonymized skills evaluation, to reduce implicit bias and resume-dependency in our process. We're a woman- and gay-founded nonprofit, and promote an inclusive culture that stands against racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism (to name a few). To be explicit, we strongly encourage applicants of all races, ethnicities, political party associations, religions (or lack thereof), national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, abilities, and branches of military service.

Feel free to contact if you have any questions about our commitment to inclusion or about general hiring practices, or if you need an accommodation for a medical condition during the hiring process. Democracy Works posts all current career opportunities at