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Aurora Institute

Development Director

Type: Full-time

Program Area: Development


The Aurora Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Aurora is shaping the future of teaching and learning for more than 14 million students through its work in policy advocacy, research, and field-building/convening. Aurora works on systems change in K-12 education, identifies root causes in structures, promotes best practices, examines policy barriers, and makes recommendations for change. Aurora has a national and global view of education innovation and lifts up promising policies and practices that yield improved outcomes for students. Aurora envisions a world where all people are empowered to attain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to achieve success, contribute to their communities, and advance society.

Through its strategic policy work, research, field building and knowledge creation, and convening and connecting education leaders, the Aurora Institute has established itself as a leading voice and trusted source in the field of K-12 education. It is particularly recognized as a leader in the field around education innovation policies and practices. Partner organizations, systems leaders and policymakers across the country rely heavily on the Aurora Institute’s thought leadership and policy expertise. For more information, please visit


The Aurora Institute is seeking a Development Director to lead fundraising strategy and execution for the organization. This person will report to the COO and will work closely with the CEO, COO and Board of Directors to create and execute on a development plan. The ideal candidate for this position will have: a proven track record in fundraising with a history of raising $2-3M a year; expertise in relationship building with individuals and foundation leaders; proven expertise in the K-12 education policy philanthropic space; and a collaborative approach to working with colleagues inside and outside the organization. This is an exciting opportunity for someone passionate about finding innovative solutions to the equity challenges our nation’s education systems face to help lead the field in developing answers that will lead to long-lasting change. The Aurora Institute staff work remotely so this position is geographically flexible.


Key Responsibilities of the Development Director include:

  • Leading development for Aurora and raising funding
    Build a portfolio of philanthropic partners with the capacity to give gifts of $50,000+, with a focus on six+ figure donors;
    Identify prospects for major grants;
    Cultivate and solicit major philanthropic grants, and steward grantmaking from individual and major donors.
  • Serving as the resident development lead, working closely with the CEO, Board of Directors and other team members. This is accomplished by:
    Identifying new sources of revenue;
    Communicating effectively about the organization’s strengths and strategic priorities;
    Building Aurora’s brand with national, regional and local funders/grantmakers in education.
  • Building and maintaining enduring relationships by:
    Prioritizing the maintenance of relationships with major donors;
    Developing the Aurora Institute’s support base across the country;
    Deepening Aurora’s connections in the education funding community through attendance at relevant conferences and convenings;
    Identifying and executing on multiple strategies to reach donors, including overseeing and directing the strategic use of fundraising software to enhance development initiatives, including prospect research, donor acknowledgement, and accurate gift reporting.
  • Working closely with the CEO and other senior leaders to represent the organization publicly, including:
    Developing clear and compelling written communications;
    speaking enthusiastically on Aurora’s behalf at meetings, conferences, convenings and donor events;
    collaborating with staff on the management and planning of fundraising events and donor receptions.
  • Supporting the CEO and Board of Directors in crafting an annual strategic development plan for fundraising, including:
    Developing accurate systems for revenue forecasting and grants management; Identifying new individual, foundation and corporate donors;
    Creating and executing a strategy for a large sustained base of annual donors; Developing and tracking proposals and reports for all foundation and corporate fundraising;
    Implementing the development plan successfully, ensuring the organization is on track to meet its revenue goals;
    Serving as the lead author and point of contact for the development of funding concept papers and grant proposals, and ensuring timely and accurate report deliveries to funders.


We are seeking a candidate who is mission-driven, motivated, passionate about working with philanthropy, a strong relationship-builder, and a complex problem-solver. To achieve our mission, the Aurora Institute relies on financial support provided through philanthropic organizations who share our mission, vision, and values. The successful candidate will:

  • Embrace the mission, vision, and values of the Aurora Institute.
  • Demonstrate success as a seasoned professional in education philanthropy.
  • Possess 5-8 years minimum experience in professional fundraising.
  • Possess the skills to work with and motivate staff, board members and other volunteers.
  • Have the desire and skills to build external relationships.
  • Be a “self-starter” and be goal driven to initiate donor and fundraising meetings.
  • Be organized, detail-oriented, and exhibit “follow through” on tasks and goals.
  • Display a positive attitude, show concern for people and community, demonstrate self-confidence, common sense and a good listening ability.
  • Have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Possess strong professional organization skills, and the ability to meet deadlines and manage heavy workloads while traveling.
  • Be dependable, able to set priorities and submit complete, accurate, and timely products.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree.


The Aurora Institute provides competitive salary in the range of $130,000 to $150,000 and benefits. This is a full-time position. Aurora Institute employees work virtually. More details can be provided upon request.


Please submit an application online at For additional questions about this position or to speak with someone about your interest, please contact Serena Moy at [email protected].

Candidates will be asked to provide the following:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Three References

Core Competencies


  • Able to set work priorities and demonstrates good time management skills
  • Understands their job function and consistently delivers, shows up on time and ready to work
  • Submits complete, accurate, timely and understandable products
  • Accepts responsibilities, identifies and addresses performance improvement opportunities
  • Demonstrates sound decision making


  • Demonstrates ability to work collaboratively with colleagues to achieve mission; shows willingness to assist others, open to new tasks and responsibilities
  • Shows support and encouragement for others on the team who have done good work
  • Understands the value of diversity in the workplace
  • Engages in honest, timely and positive conversations when offering constructive advice or opinions to others
  • Works to minimize and resolve conflicts in a positive way and reinforces organizational values


  • Receptive to feedback; is open to praise and constructive criticism, demonstrates self-awareness
  • Respectful to coworkers and external contacts regardless of circumstances
  • Always keeps confidential and sensitive information private
  • Demonstrates sound judgment and integrity
  • Demonstrates professional and organizational knowledge


  • Listens to others and acknowledges their point of view; seeks clarification when needed
  • Verbal and written communications are organized, articulate and accurate
  • Responds to inquiries/requests (calls, emails, etc.) from internal and external stakeholders in timely manner
  • Listens, reflects and contributes appropriately during meetings and discussions
  • Communicates with staff and others in an open, transparent, timely and positive manner


  • Knows to ask the necessary questions
  • Brings questions/issues to supervisor’s attention and seeks appropriate guidance of resolutions when necessary
  • Proactively tries to prevent and/or de-escalate matters before they disrupt
  • Demonstrates creative and resourceful problem-solving skills, presents solutions
  • Results focused

Leadership Competencies

Leading the organization

  • Embraces and promotes organizational innovation and change (i.e. by taking appropriate steps, consults with others and approaches risks with educated, well-informed decisions)
  • Contributes to vision and strategy and sets high standards (through active engagement in meetings, workgroups, and with committees as appropriate)
  • Committed to learning, pursues sector knowledge (i.e. actively networks and represents the organization in the community and field, participates in classes, webinars, etc. appropriately for sector knowledge)
  • Maintains positive outlook about the organization and displays positive attitude
  • Models core values of the organization

Leading the self

  • Demonstrates emotional intelligence/self-awareness (i.e. responsible in managing time and resources, demonstrates ethical behavior)
  • Demonstrates ambition, drive and purpose (i.e. energetic and enthusiastic about their work)
  • Pursues continuing education/professional development/self-improvement
  • Remains adaptable (i.e. effectively copes with pressure and the unexpected, balances work and personal life)
  • Listens carefully (i.e. receptive to feedback and constructive criticism, gives appropriate advice and available/visible within the organization)

Leading others

  • Motivates others, (i.e. is open to new ideas, flexible to change their opinion and provides safe and supportive environment for trial and error) and models professional behavior (i.e. articulate, competent, reliable, honest)
  • Manages effective teams (i.e. committed to fairness, communicates expectations clearly, manages conflict, rewards contributions of others, advocates for staff)
  • Inspires loyalty and commitment by communicating frequently and openly regarding organizational changes
  • Nurtures growth by providing opportunities and supporting learning and development
  • Expects high performance (i.e. provides direction while empowering and inspiring others)

To download a copy of this job description, please click here.