Newport, Rhode Island / Remote capability with access to RI

Chief Development Officer, Naval War College Foundation

The Organization

Position: Chief Development Officer
Location: Newport, Rhode Island / Remote capability with access to RI
Reporting Relationship: Chief Executive Officer

U.S. Naval War College
As the U.S. Navy’s “Home of Thought,” the U.S. Naval War College (USNWC) educates and develops competent and ethical leaders, supports combat readiness, strengthens global maritime partnerships, helps define the future of the Navy service branch, and contributes original strategy and legal research to the national and international community.

The USNWC informs today’s decision-makers and educates tomorrow’s leaders by providing educational experiences and learning opportunities that develop their ability to anticipate and prepare strategically for the future, strengthen the foundations of peace, and create a decisive warfighting advantage.

The USNWC has trained more than 24,000 U.S. and international military officers and hundreds of federal civilian executives across its colleges and various academic centers. Whether students are enrolled in a 10-month resident program or a short-term leadership course, they will benefit from the USNWC’s world-class faculty, rigorous curriculum, practical field study and research opportunities, and interactive wargaming experiences.

Research & Wargaming at U.S. Naval War College
Simulating complex war situations—from sea to space to cyber—builds analytical, strategy and decision-making skills. The Wargaming Department, established in 1887 and now part of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies, not only enriches the curriculum, but helps shape defense plans and policies for various commands and agencies. The Center also houses a number of specialized units dedicated to advanced research about war and the prevention of war.

The USNWC has something to offer for students, faculty, and visitors, whether that’s world-class education, wargaming opportunities, or historical research. Learn more about the USNWC through its annual reports and explore fast facts about the campus and the curriculum.

U.S. Naval War College’s Mission
NWC delivers excellence in education, research, and outreach. In today’s dynamic security environment, even if numerical and technological superiority could be achieved, it would not be enough to ensure victory over an array of potential adversaries. Graduates must possess the mental strength and flexibility to out-think competitors in all domains. The U.S. Naval War College deepens the intellectual engagement of naval, joint, interagency, and international leaders and warriors to achieve that cognitive advantage.

Naval War College Foundation
The Naval War College Foundation (NWCF) was created in 1969 by forward-looking, community-minded individuals whose goals were to contribute to the educational excellence of the College.

The NWCF, powered by its generous members and donors, provides critical funds needed to support the USNWC’s unique ability to develop military and civilian leaders who are:

  • Skilled in the strategic and operational challenges of today and tomorrow.
  • Dedicated to preserving national security and a global position of leadership.
  • Adept at navigating the challenges of war and the prevention of war.

The USNWC is uniquely positioned to further a proud tradition of strong military leadership through a curriculum based in military preparedness, leader development and leadership.

The NWCF supports that tradition by investing in the College, focusing on funding priorities such as:

  • Research & Scholarship Support
  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Endowed Chairs
  • Capital Improvements
  • Achievement Awards
  • Conferences & Events
  • Regional Studies Programs
  • Public Awareness

The investment by the NWCF in the USNWC helps to protect our leaders’ abilities to navigate conflict and negotiate for peace. It is an investment in a nation and a world that is safer and more enriching for everyone.

Position Overview

The Opportunity
The NWCF seeks a strategic, proactive, and thoughtful Chief Development Officer with clear mission orientation, demonstrated experience in raising six-, seven-, and eight-figure gifts, and commitment.

This is a tremendously exciting time for the Foundation with a clear strategic plan, direction, leadership, and the opportunity to leverage and build upon a tremendous board, strategic momentum, and mission.

Position Overview
As a key member of the leadership team, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) will be responsible for creating and executing on a comprehensive fundraising strategy aimed at garnering new and significant support for the Foundation and College from a variety of funders and supporters. To this end, the CDO will partner with the CEO and CFO/Executive Director of Development to enhance the strategic vision, leadership, and oversight for the development function, leveraging existing relationships while diversifying the current funding stream.

In this highly visible role, the CDO will collaborate with a broad set of stakeholders, including the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer/Executive Director of Development, and the Board to significantly increase philanthropic support for the NWCF’s strategic initiatives. With overarching responsibility for the NWCF’s fundraising efforts, the CDO will facilitate all facets of development, including individual, major gifts, planned to give, as well as corporate support.

Reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer, the CDO will have the unique opportunity to build a broader development function leveraging current relationships while expanding the funder base to empower the NWCF to thoughtfully engage with supporters in delivering on its mission and vision.

The CDO will identify and manage a portfolio of high-net-worth donors and prospects that requires a systematic approach of cultivation, stewardship, personal visits, outreach, and engagement. The CDO will be joining the Foundation at an aspirational time of growth and engagement.

To put the key elements of success in place, the CDO will need to leverage and build upon the existing fundraising road map to develop a comprehensive plan focused on expanding revenue through individual, corporation, foundation, multilateral, and government partnerships.

This leadership position requires that the individual be mission-focused, driven, strategic, collaborative, creative, and process-minded. They will serve as the primary mentor and thought leader around fundraising for the organization and build on approaches to leverage the NWCF’s networks in the fundraising space. They will devise and execute strategies, establish key performance indicators, and optimize operations and technology to drive productivity and effectiveness.

Key Responsibilities

  • Formulate a long-term, fully integrated fundraising growth strategy in collaboration with executive leadership and Board members to meet the fundraising goals of the Foundation.
  • Identify and secure new foundation support and manage a portfolio of high-net-worth donors and prospects that requires a systematic approach of cultivation, stewardship, personal visits, outreach, and engagement.
  • Design and launch a major campaign for USNWC in the next year in support of USNWC and NWCF strategic plan. Provide leadership and guide for campaign operational strategy, management, and processes, including timelines, objectives, and metrics.
  • Routinely interface with the Board to review the campaign and annual development strategy and execution in conjunction with the CEO.
  • Work closely with NWCF staff and vendor on all high visibility major events to ensure alignment with revenue targets and engagement.
  • Work to establish and baseline a comprehensive estate giving program as part of the next campaign for USNWC.
  • Baseline, assess, and evolve comprehensive development staff capability at NWCF, inclusive of Major Gifts, Corporate, Estate and Annual fundraising. Support and mentor the day-to-day activities of the fundraising team to maximize their performance and grow in their abilities.
  • Devise annual and long-term fundraising strategies, projections, and budgets that align with institutional goals and the NWCF’s values, programs, events, and contributions to the community.
  • Collaborate with the CEO, the leadership team, and Board members in executing strategic outreach and engagement with potential and existing funders focusing on major gifts, planned to give, foundations, corporations, multilateral organizations, and federal agencies.
  • Design, create, and execute a cogent plan to flow funds in.
  • Enhance the image and visibility of the USNWC and the NWCF at the national and international levels by collaborating with internal marketing and stakeholders providing support related to messaging, strategy, and technology.
  • Oversee a stewardship effort to ensure funders fully understand the impact of their giving to the USNWC and NWCF.
  • Assess the Development operations support capability in conjunction with the launch of major campaign for NWCF in the next year and ensure close collaboration with other operations, especially in the creation of proposal financials, budgets, and expenditure reports.
  • Create organizational capacity to support the Foundation through strategic planning and capital campaign planning.

Professional Experience/Qualifications
The ideal CDO candidate will have significant prior experience running a development team and establishing institutional fundraising strategic framework and growing contributed revenue. They will have guided all levels of leadership in securing and leading initiatives in securing six-, seven-, and eight-figure gifts from individuals, government, corporations, federal and public/private coupled with a collaborative and proactive approach. They will have led efforts to secure philanthropic support from a variety of funding sources, individuals, and organizations.

Other desired qualifications and leadership characteristics include:

  • 10+ years of experience in fundraising with a deep knowledge of developing major gifts from individual donors, foundations, and corporations coupled with a minimum of 5 years’ experience in managing and growing fundraising teams and strategies.
  • Demonstrated ability to leverage strategic interactions with funding decision-makers, such as foundation program directors, federal agencies, individuals, and corporate entities.
  • Preferred experience and familiarity with U.S. Department of Defense appropriations and ethics pertaining to fundraising efforts at institutions like the USNWC.
  • Gravitas and credibility to interface with major executives and donors as well the proven experience navigating the complexities and nuance of working within a military / federal / academies setting.
  • Experience in reviewing and refining fundraising operations, from budgeting to projections to tracking interactions, dashboards, reports, and deadlines in a CRM.
  • Ability to listen, qualify, move forward, present options and close business.
  • Understanding and experience in leveraging the expertise of executive team and development staff in outreach and engagement.
  • Experience with designing / supporting/ executing major events fundraising.
  • Experience in communicating fundraising goals, strategies, and performance indicators to all levels of staff and Board.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills with the ability to mentor and motivate staff around aggressive fundraising goals.
  • Commitment to Naval War College mission and service with demonstrated experience positioning clear value to funders.
  • Exceptional communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills coupled with the ability to relate and engage with executive supporters, colleagues, and Board members.
  • Proven track record of public/private fundraising.


  • University degree or equivalent acceptable combination of education and experience. Graduate degree and/or CFRE designation is preferred.


  • Compensation and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

How To Apply

Application Process

  • Interested and qualified candidates are welcome to submit a cover letter and resume to:
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