Vice President Development - Make-A-Wish Northeastern & Central California and Northern Nevada

Sterling Search Inc. - Sacramento, CA

Sterling Search Inc. has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new VP of Development for Make-A-Wish Northeastern & Central California and Northern Nevada (MAW-NECANNV).  


Any child between the ages of 2½ and 18 who has a critical illness may be eligible for a wish, with a local Make-A-Wish® chapter serving every US community. Each year, approximately 27,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with a condition that potentially qualifies them for a wish. In the United States and its territories, Make-A-Wish America fulfills its mission through 60 separately incorporated chapters. Make-A-Wish America was one of the nation’s first recipients of the Council of Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance Seal, signifying adherence to charitable accountability, and was honored in a recent edition of “America’s Greatest Brands.”

“Our Mission: Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

MAW-NECANNV  is its own 501(c)(3), governed by its local Board of Directors,  and is one of the fastest growing Make-A-Wish chapters in the US. In the last seven years, Jennifer Stolo, President & CEO, has taken annual revenue from $2 million to $7million and has acquired 2 regions in Northern Nevada and Central California,  upgrading them to higher performing chaptersand thereby granting many more wishes to childrenwith a combined regional total of 430 wishes per year.

MAW-NECANNVhas a fiduciary 15-member Board of Directors,  all committed to a give-get of $25,000, which collectively raised $1 million in funding last year. In addition, each region has a non-governing regional board with a key focus on driving awareness and fund development revenue for its region.

With a national commitment to continue to grant more wishes and  the cost of a wish increasing, it is imperative that the chapter looks at its future, to create  more sustainability in funding for future wishes, to reduce wish waiting times, and to expedite rush wishes. With that in mind, the Board of MAW-NECANNV  is ready and poised for even greater growth and impact. Stolo is currently working with a campaign consulting company for its feasibility for a comprehensive campaign, building upon the success of the 10-year anniversary of its $6 million building campaign, which built its Wishing Place,  one of only three Wishing Places in the country at that time. The new campaign is predicted to be around $8million and presents a naming opportunity for the currently unnamed Wishing Place.

Stolo, a seasoned development professional herself, has successfully completed larger capital campaigns in her career. Her fundraising experience and acumen are recognized at the national level, with a seat on the Make-A-Wish national development committee chaired by the President & CEO of Top Golf, with members including  the Chairman of Disney Parks and the CEO of Trailrunner  Internationalto name just a few national influencers passionate about the work of Make-A-Wish.

Named one of the Best Places to Work  for the last 5 years, MAW-NECANNV  has focused its efforts on culture and wellness, improving benefits and implementing a “Five Minutes of Fun” committee. Stolo demonstrates the epitome of their culture as a force of hardworking energy to do the best she can for the children they serve balanced with a cheerful, optimistic “work hard/play hard” disposition.

Building upon Make-A-Wish - Northeastern & Central California and Northern Nevada’s momentum of success, the VP  of  Development will lead the vision and strategy for the fund development function and partner with the Board of Directors and Stolo in the leadership of the campaign. This is a phenomenal and rare opportunity to join a winning team for a development executive who is passionate about the mission of Make-A-Wish.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

The VP of Development  will be charged with creating the vision, mission and strategy for the development function  and the comprehensive campaign. This position will report to the President & CEO and will serve on the senior management team. He/she will effectively network with high net-worth individuals and corporations, foundations, government, businesses,  and non-profit circles to promote philanthropic awareness and a case for support.


The VP  of  Development  will be a chief spokesperson representing the organization to constituencies, both internal and external. He/she will manage a development team comprised of three regional development executives for each of the three regions as well as a Campaign Director dedicated to campaign  administration, research and marketing. The VP of Development will function well in a balanced culture that combines the richness and relevance of programs with the efficacy of best business practices, fiscal accountability, and institutional impact.


The VP Development will:

  • Participate with the President,  CEO, staff, and board of directors to lead the organization’s development strategies and chart the organization’s course in fund development.

  • Create and implement a singular comprehensive strategic development plan, outlining specific fundraising enterprises, corresponding revenue targets and addressing annual, campaign and long-term, multi-year fundraising strategies.

  • Oversee the launch and execution, with the PresidentCEOand outside campaign counsel, of the comprehensive  campaign.

  • Develop a personal portfolio of new and existing high-capacity donors, creating strategies to cultivate for 5-,6-, and 7-figure gifts.

  • Continue to expand the existing development program focusing on diversifying revenue sources while developing and stewarding donor relationships to increase the base of support from current and potential donors.

  • Recruit and work with the board of directors to facilitate their fundraising efforts.

  • Coordinate fundraising efforts involving the CEO, volunteer leadership,  and staff by creating and driving fundraising actions, initiatives and activities.

  • Assist in the development of an annual operating budget and maintain timely reports on budget to actual for the President,  CEO,  and board of directors.

  • Recruit, hire, support, train, coach, assess,  and supervise fundraising staff. Provide career development opportunities for all fundraising staff with specific attention paid to the identification and development of future leaders.

  • Serve as the CEO’s designee with regional advisory boards, local volunteers,  and staff,  providing direction, support, recruitment,  and training as necessary to advance organizational priorities.

  • Regularly scan the communities served by the organization for new business prospects, fundraising opportunities, cause marketing partners,  and local leads to promote the Make-A-Wish brand.

  • Work collaboratively with the CEO and MAW  America  to coordinate programs and potential national sponsors.

  • Assure the organization’s culture, systems,  and procedures support fund development.

  • Continuously monitor donor retention and craft a plan to increase retention rate with established methods to achieve consistent and accurate measurements.

  • Partner with the COO & VP  Finance to ensure timely, accurate,  and comprehensive development reports and expense budgets, reporting, monitoring, forecastingand implementation.

  • Ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and laws, maintain accountability standards to donors,  and ensure compliance with code of ethical principles and standards of professional conduct.

  • Other duties as assigned by the CEO.


Professional Experience and  Qualifications

We are seeking candidates offering the following qualifications:

  • Passion, imagination, vision, leadership,  and integrity.

  • A minimum of seven years of major gift fundraising, with individuals/corporations and foundations in a professional capacity.

  • Capital/comprehensive campaign experience.

  • Management experience with increasing levels of responsibility and with direct stewardship of boards of directors.

  • A demonstrated track record of building a development function including but not limited to annual fund, major gifts, corporations and foundations, planned giving,  and events.

  • A strategic approach to development with significant experience in cultivating and managing donors.

  • A record of quantifiable success in development which encompasses many areas of donor segmentation, research,  and cultivation. A quantifiable track record of major gift fundraising.

  • A demonstrated ability to plan and operate strategically, to build public support, to strengthen infrastructure, to inspire staff and the board of directors, and to develop effective programs.

  • Exceptional financial, organizational,  and administrative skills.

  • The ability to plan, set goals and objectives, organize, and follow through.

  • A strong interpersonal and communication skill set and demonstrated ability to work effectively with and gain the respect and support of varied and changing constituencies including staff, board members, potential donors, volunteers,  and the like.

  • A track record as an effective communicator skilled at writing as well as verbal  communication; adept at writing proposals, solicitation letters, donor correspondence, and other kinds of material to enhance fundraising.

  • Computer literate, with  knowledge of Word and Excel and experience with database software. Experience with Raiser’s Edge preferred.

  • Position requires extensive travel throughout the region  and flexible hours.

  • Bachelor’s degree required

The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following capabilities:

  • Commitment to the mission and work of Make-A-Wish with the credibility and persuasiveness to secure support from others.

  • A manager who leads by example and exemplifies the values and ethics of the organization.

  • A high achiever with ability to seize opportunities and realize results.

  • An organized individual with strong creative and conceptual skills.

  • A leader who functions effectively without being autocratic or political; must be a team player who is inclusive, flexible, creative, energetic, and fair minded.

  • A decisive and resourceful individual with the willingness to accept responsibility and take charge of results; able to work successfully with limited resources.

  • A self-starter who is confident enough to express opinions, forging ahead when appropriate and holding back when necessary, with a sensitivity to the feelings and opinions of others.

  • An energetic person who is emotionally mature and dependable; a collegial individual.

A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

Please send resumes to:

Sterling Search, Inc.

Phone: 310-774-0099or 714 433 7040

Direct all correspondence emails and telephone calls to Sterling Search, Inc.

Any resumes sent or telephone calls made MAW-NECANNV to will be redirected to Sterling Search.

MAW-NECANNV is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Posted On: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Position Contact
Sarah Agee
(714) 433-7040
Costa Mesa, CA
Apply to this job