SAY Detroit is Hiring: Chief Development Officer

August 02, 2019

At a Glance:

Position Title:    Chief Development Officer
Responsible to:    Executive Director
Hours:    Full-time, occasional evening and weekend work required
Salary:    Competitive and commensurate with experience
Benefits:    SAY Detroit offers a generous benefits package including health care

To apply:    Send cover letter and resume to, to the attention of Marc Rosenthal, SAY Detroit Executive Director

Position Description

The ideal candidate will be committed to building upon the success of SAY Detroit’s founders, donors and volunteers and playing a key role growing its philanthropy and community impact exponentially. The Chief Development Officer will work with the Executive Director and the Boards of Directors and Advisors to development and implement a strategic and comprehensive fundraising plan that is broad based and sustainable.

The selected individual will possess a combination of skills, experience, and passion in the following areas:

  • 1-3 years of experience in development, communications, and marketing is required, with a proven track record in soliciting corporate, foundation and individual gifts
  • Corporate and foundation grant fundraising
  • The ability to take initiative and work independently while collaborating closely with staff, board members, and volunteers
  • The ability to be flexible and adaptable
  • Entrepreneurial with a self-led attitude
  • Experience in securing sponsorships, budgeting and financial planning
  • Excellent presentation and communications (written and oral) skills
  • Experience with and acquainted with major Detroit area foundations and corporations
  • An understanding and commitment to the mission of SAY Detroit
  • College degree
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office, database tools, and fundraising software such as Raiser’s Edge, Donor Perfect, or eTapestry preferred


Areas of responsibility include:


  • Works with the Executive Director, other staff and Boards of Directors and Advisors to design, implement and manage all fundraising activities including individual giving, corporate and foundation giving, special events, and other appeals and campaigns
  • Works with the Executive Director to effectively leverage the support of SAY Detroit’s founder in helping meet fundraising goals
  • Manages all strategies and activities for donor cultivation, solicitation, and relations
  • Maintains contact with and develops grant proposals and reports for funders
  • Works closely with the Executive Direct to assess fundraising needs and capacity for SAY Detroit and to establish an overall fundraising plan, including both annual and multi-year plans
  • Works with the Executive Director, Board Members, staff and volunteers to implement the fundraising plans and strategies
  • Develops direct, email, and social media fundraising appeals and campaigns
  • Manages online giving tools in order to promote increased online giving

Board and Donor Relations

  • Manages and staff the Board Members’ fundraising role, ensuring that the Board is an effective fundraising resource
  • Represents SAY Detroit’s needs, accomplishments, and relationships to funders and the community
  • Assumes responsibility for all Development reports to the Board attends all Board meetings
  • Develops regular stewardship communications for donors and supporters of SAY Detroit

Development Operations

  • Creates office systems to support all development projects and operations
  • Supervises donor and gift record-keeping
  • Coordinates development research activities
  • Oversees the management of databases and all records, files, and gift processing
  • Analyze and suggest improvements to program efficiency
  • Develops strategies to engage past event supporters and attendees as ongoing donors


  • Develops regular printed, email and social media communications to donors, friends, and supporters about SAY Detroit and the organization’s needs
  • Works with media and other partners to raise the profile of SAY Detroit


About SAY Detroit

SAY Detroit improves the lives of Detroit’s neediest citizens through shelter, food, medical care, volunteer efforts and education. It serves as the umbrella organization for ongoing major projects, such as Working Homes / Working Families and the SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic, servicing a population from infants to senior citizens, and veterans. It also supports dozens of likeminded charities in the Detroit area through funds raised at Mitch Albom’s annual December Radiothon, broadcast live on WJR (760 AM).

The roots of SAY Detroit date back to 1997, with the publication of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie, the best-selling memoir of all time. Mitch was inspired to create A Time To Help, as a means of encouraging Detroiters to volunteer in their community. Since then, thousands of volunteers have completed more than 200 monthly volunteer projects in the Detroit community since then.

In 2006 when Detroit hosted the Super Bowl, Mitch wrote a column about Detroit’s plans to throw a three day “Super Bowl party for city’s homeless. Mitch’s plea that we could better and that our community should care for the homeless throughout the year raised $300,000 and led to the formation of SAY Detroit in partnership with the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries.

Since then, SAY Detroit has expanded its own programs and impact in Detroit, while also raising funds to support other organizations that advance SAY Detroit’s mission to help Detroiters in need. SAY Detroit has also started an endowment fund to plan for a sustainable future.

Through creative fundraising events and strategies, like Mitch Albom’s annual Radiothon, the Detroit Water Ice Factory store, or the Eat Detroit dining event, SAY Detroit raises approximately $2M in annual fundraising and other revenue. They recently expanded their Board of Directors and added a Board of Advisors, recruiting some of Detroit’s most experienced business, philanthropy and community leaders to help lead and support the organization.