Chief Development Officer


The Role

Free Press Indiana seeks a chief development officer to build and lead fundraising for an ambitious nonprofit startup that is on a mission to close information gaps across the state.

With almost $10 million raised so far and growing momentum in support for local news across Indiana, this position presents an opportunity for an experienced and motivated fundraiser to increase our local support base, ultimately building a lasting civic institution serving Indiana with community-centered journalism for decades to come. The chief development officer will hire and lead a development team that works closely with our CEO to develop and cultivate our pipeline of institutional funders and major donors, and work with our director of audience development on small donor campaigns. They will be integral in the development of our strategic messaging to help potential supporters understand our mission, vision, values and impact, so more Hoosiers will feel motivated to join the movement for local news and a stronger democracy.

Our journalism and storytelling builds real connections with the community and our development plan should match it. The successful candidate will be an affable, motivated team player who is a meticulously organized, creative free-thinker. We need someone who is excited by building scalable systems — who knows the solid framework and foundational support needed to accomplish our goals, and who can execute and successfully root a development plan for a startup nonprofit. But they must also recognize that, for us to be successful, they need to encourage a bit of calculated experimentation.  

Who we are

Free Press Indiana is a new nonprofit, statewide network of local newsrooms beginning with Mirror Indy, which serves Indianapolis area residents. Almost $10M has been raised so far from a dozen philanthropies and individuals to meet our mission to strengthen Indiana’s communities and preserve its democracy. The organization fills information gaps with original, community-based non-partisan local reporting free to all to read and works collaboratively with the Indiana news ecosystem until every Hoosier has the information they need.

In 2021, a steering committee of local journalism, community and business leaders worked with the American Journalism Project to conduct a comprehensive statewide research study, working with 27 community ambassadors around Indiana and collecting input through text messaging and online surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Through the study, more than 1,000 Hoosiers across 79 counties said they needed more unbiased, fact-based information about their communities. Out of those findings, a coalition of organizations in and around Indiana, local community leaders, and the American Journalism Project, partnered to launch Free Press Indiana.

The organization, governed by a board that is representative of Indiana’s diverse communities, inclusive of race and ethnicity, gender, and political perspectives, is beginning by launching the robust 20-person newsroom Mirror Indy, facilitating investments in journalism outlets around the state, and fostering collaboration among Indiana outlets to amplify local journalism for all Hoosiers, especially underserved communities. It will have an innovative, community-focused structure, and work directly with residents to report on and elevate voices and stories from their own communities in addition to providing much-needed accountability and service journalism across critical topics. It will also house Indianapolis Documenters, a program that will train and pay residents to participate in news gathering. It will be sustained by a combination of philanthropy, membership and sponsorships.

Responsibilities & Priorities
  • Build, execute and evaluate a development strategy that meets fundraising goals, embraces our mission and achieves organizational sustainability.
  • Build and oversee a development team, and coordinate with the editorial team as necessary to galvanize funding support.
  • Create a comprehensive foundation and individual donor operations plan that maintains and fosters strong relationships through personalized outreach, events and activities.
  • Develop and implement a plan to expand our major gifts and large individual donor support with keen attention to identifying, engaging and cultivating new donors.
  • Create, oversee and maintain a meticulous donor relationship management database.
  • Develop an annual fundraising budget. With that budget, prepare and develop reports that measure and monitor achievement of revenue goals.
  • Coordinate and prepare funding requests, donor prep data and research to foster better engagement and outreach.
  • Lead the development of fundraising materials including donor correspondence, and maintain primary responsibility for developing campaign messages, project plans, talking points and donor materials.
  • Oversee the development and maintenance of a calendar of grant opportunities, manage the grant application process, and ensure timely and accurate grant reporting with support from a development team.
  • Lead in planning and executing donor gatherings.
  • Work with CEO to enlist and support Free Press Indiana’s board of directors in philanthropic outreach.
  • Develop tactics to inspire all staff to engage in fundraising stewardship.
  • Monitor all revenue received and provide statistics, analysis and reports to leadership.
  • Represent Free Press Indiana publicly at industry events as needed.

Who you are

  • Experienced - You have multiple years of experience managing nonprofit development or growth and cultivating relationships with major donors; you have a track-record of seeking and securing six and seven-figure gifts and tangible experience expanding and cultivating existing donor relationships over time.
  • Mission-oriented - You’re committed to our mission to advance democracy and improve the lives of all Hoosiers.
  • Self-starter - You’re ready to experience startup life at work, and are ready to work hard.
  • Multitasker - Your flexibility to move from task to task almost seamlessly is a must as we are ever-changing.
  • Technical skills - Data is at the heart of your decisions because of your advanced spreadsheet skills.
  • Willing to travel across Indiana
Compensation and Benefits
  • Salary: minimum $125,000, commensurate with experience
  • Benefits: Full health benefits, including employee’s medical premium covered 100%; paid leave including the last week of the year for all staff, and 401K with a 4% match
  • Training: $2,000 stipend toward outside training and professional development opportunities

We’re committed to building an inclusive organization that represents the people and communities we serve. We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities. Free Press Indiana is dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. We encourage people of all races, colors, national origins, ancestries, creeds, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientations, and marital statuses to apply.

What to expect in the hiring process

We hope to fill this role as soon as possible, though the hiring process can typically take from a few weeks to a few months. We will do our best to communicate with you about timing expectations throughout the process. Candidates who advance to later rounds of this process can expect several interviews, including with a panel of community members. Semifinalists will be asked to complete a written assignment designed to help us understand your thinking and approach to the role, and you will be offered an optional prep session to ask any questions that will help you put your best foot forward in this process. We aim to truly get to know you, to help you fully understand the role you’re applying for.

Apply using the form below