Director Of Philanthropy – ACLU of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) seeks a dynamic, experienced fundraiser and manager to lead a diverse philanthropy program which emphasizes face-to-face major gifts fundraising with donors capable of giving annual gifts of five figures and greater. The ACLU SoCal is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses legal, legislative and public education approaches to protect and promote a broad range of constitutional rights and freedoms, such as freedom of speech, racial justice, privacy, religious liberty, reproductive rights, LGBT rights and more. The ACLU SoCal is an affiliate of the nationwide ACLU, the nation’s leading defender of civil liberties and civil rights guaranteed by our nation’s Bill of Rights.

The ACLU SoCal, founded in 1923, has offices in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and San Bernardino. It has a staff of roughly 55 people and more than 30,000 members throughout Southern California. The ACLU SoCal is comprised of two separate corporate entities, the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, with a combined annual budget of approximately $7.5 million. To learn more about the work of the ACLU and the civil liberties principles we uphold, please visit and

This is an ideal opportunity for an ambitious, seasoned fundraising professional who thinks big and is eager to meet the challenge of taking a successful development program to new heights. The ACLU SoCal’s program is known as a leader among ACLU affiliates. The new Director of Philanthropy will be well positioned to expand and evolve this success.


The Director of Philanthropy, a senior manager reporting to the Executive Director, develops and oversees programs to raise funds for the ACLU in Southern California and to strengthen the organization’s relationships with its supporters. Working closely with the Executive Director, the National ACLU, and others, the Director of Philanthropy is responsible for planning, supervising and executing the ACLU SoCal’s major gifts program, administering the grants program, and developing complementary fundraising and donor cultivation strategies.

The Director of Philanthropy supervises a staff of 5 professionals and provides leadership to the staff and Boards of Directors to reach our annual and long-range goals.


Leadership Responsibilities:

The Director of Philanthropy is a member of the senior staff team, who collaboratively shape and implement the work of the ACLU in Southern California.

Major Gifts:

Develops, leads, and evaluates a comprehensive annual work plan that focuses on major gifts and includes fund raising goals and targets for meetings with donors who are capable of making annual gifts of $10,000 and greater. The major gifts goal is currently $2.3 million and is expected to grow substantially in the next 3 to 5 years.
Identifies and grows the portfolio of donors.
Solicits major gifts through individual, face-to-face meetings with donors and prospects.
Staffs the development responsibilities of the Executive Director, which includes focusing and prioritizing the Executive Director’s development-related time and duties, scheduling meetings with donors, partnering on meetings with donors, and more.
Staffs a few, select lay leaders in their development responsibilities.
Reports to the Boards of Directors on development efforts.
Oversees strategic cultivation and stewardship of donors and prospects.
Oversees the work of the Associate Development Director.
Ensures that development staff collects and maintains data on donors and prospects, and on the overall program. The ACLU follows strict ethical standards pertaining to the collection and maintenance of information.
Prepares and writes personalized proposals, reports, letters, emails, notes, and other documents.
Works closely with staff at the National ACLU in all activities.
Works closely with the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Marketing.

Planned giving: In coordination with the National ACLU Planned Giving Department, incorporates planned giving solicitation and cultivation activities in all major gifts efforts.

Foundation Grants Program: Works with program staff and the Foundation Relations Manager to develop grant applications; oversees prospect research; develops tracking and reporting systems and proposal submissions; and cultivates relationships with foundations.

Gift Recording & Acknowledgement: With development staff, acknowledges donors; assures accurate, timely, and confidential donor record-keeping; oversees systems for accounting of funds with ACLU SoCal’s Finance Department and other staff, and the National ACLU.

Materials: Oversees the creation and production of messages and materials that advance the ACLU’s development goals in collaboration with the Director of Strategic Partnerships/Marketing.


Leads, supervises, motivates, coaches, supports, and partners with ACLU SoCal development staff.
Ensures that confidentiality requirements and work quality pertaining to the development program are met or exceeded.
Maintains knowledge of National ACLU development and related policies.
Analyzes and reports on program data, including analysis of gifts, trends, projections, etc., for the Executive Director, Boards of Directors, development staff, and others.
Tracks development goals and work to ensure they are accomplished.

Other Duties: Performs other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.


Bachelor’s degree and/or equivalent combination of education and experience.
At least five years demonstrated experience in nonprofit fundraising, with emphasis on soliciting individual major gifts.
Successful track record of identifying, cultivating, and soliciting (through face-to-face meetings) major donors.
Exceptional initiative, vision, and ambition to lead a vibrant philanthropy program.
Strong interpersonal skills and comfort making donor contacts.
Demonstrated leadership skills and experience in successfully directing and inspiring others, at all levels of the organization, in carrying out development-related and senior management activities.
Creative, results-oriented, self-starting, willing to learn multitasker who is very comfortable with “managing up.”
Superb organizational skills, flexibility, and detail-oriented with strong follow-through and ability to meet tight deadlines.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to create effective and compelling donor materials.
Experience in working with advocacy and/or community-based organizations desirable.
Excellent office and computer skills, including database management, Word, Excel, Outlook, and internet research. Knowledge of fundraising software (Raiser’s Edge and/or PIDI Donor Direct preferred; ACLU SoCal uses PIDI Donor Direct).
Personally committed to civil liberties principles and advancing the ACLU’s mission.
Personally committed to diversity; values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
Ability and willingness to travel extensively throughout Southern California and to work occasional overtime and irregular hours (including some nights and weekends) as needed.

How to apply

Send a cover letter, resume, three professional references and a short, two-page business writing sample to:

Please put “Director of Philanthropy” in the subject line.

Or mail to: Search for Director of Philanthropy

ACLU of Southern California H.R. Dept.

1313 W. 8th Street

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Applications will be accepted until position is filled. Please indicate in your cover letter where you found this job listing.