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Director of Development

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) seeks a Director of Development to oversee donor cultivation and fundraising activities and initiatives, including private, public, foundation, corporate, and individual giving. This is a newly created position that will require a person of vision, with proven leadership and communication skills. NACDL has significantly expanded its capacity to attract external funding support over the past several years and now seeks an experienced and innovative development professional to take these efforts to the next level.


NACDL is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. NACDL envisions a society where all individuals receive fair, rational, and humane treatment within the criminal justice system. The Association’s mission is to serve as a leader, alongside diverse coalitions, in identifying and reforming flaws and inequities in the criminal justice system, and redressing systemic racism, and ensuring that its members and others in the criminal defense bar are fully equipped to serve all accused persons at the highest level. NACDL is a professional bar association founded in 1958 with thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – including private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors, and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a fair, rational, and humane criminal justice system.

NACDL’s work is supported by the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ), a 501(c) (3) charitable foundation. The NFCJ’s mission is to preserve and promote the core values of America’s justice system guaranteed by the Constitution – among them due process, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, fair sentencing and assistance of effective counsel – by educating the public and the legal profession to the role of these rights and values in a free society. The NFCJ supports the work of NACDL toward these ends.

The Opportunity

This position offers the opportunity to join an established national non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., in a strategic leadership capacity to enhance efforts to promote reform of the nation’s criminal justice system with an experienced team of program and policy professionals. NACDL’s fundraising program is comparatively modest with a strong base of donors and data, and strong interest from prospective major donors; this position offers the opportunity to multiply the scale and effectiveness of NACDL’s current efforts.

Position Summary

The Director of Development reports to the Executive Director (ED) and serves as a member of the senior management team. The Director of Development works in close collaboration with the Executive Director, and the leadership teams of NACDL and the NFCJ, to oversee all aspects of fundraising activities to maximize philanthropic potential. Specifically, the Director of Development has responsibility for the following areas:

Board of Directors/Trustees & Individual Donors
  • In close collaboration with the ED, manage relationships with individual donors including the Board of Directors and Trustees (Note: NACDL is governed by a Board of Directors, who are all criminal defense lawyers, and the NFCJ is government by a smaller Board of Trustees, whose members need not be lawyers).
  • Maximize the effectiveness of Director and Trustee fundraising initiatives, providing support and materials.
  • Research, identify, and cultivate potential new donors.
  • Oversee acknowledgment, reporting, and stewardship of Directors, Trustees, and donors.
  • Support the ED in meetings with current and prospective high-value donors through donor and prospective donor research, proposing messaging and strategies for executive communication with high level donors, preparing materials, and overseeing follow-up activities
Foundation, Governmental, Institutional, And Corporate Support
  • Oversee grant processes, including identification of potential supporters, and the timely preparation of grant applications and grant reports, including interim and final reports.
  • Research, identify, and cultivate new foundation, governmental, institutional, and corporate donors.
  • Oversee acknowledgment, reporting, and stewardship of foundation, governmental, institutional and corporate donors.
Fundraising Events
  • In collaboration with other departments, plan and oversee an annual major fundraising dinner.
  • In collaboration with other departments, plan and oversee small regional fundraising events.
  • Implement and oversee periodic online fundraising initiatives.
  • Implement and oversee planned giving program.
Management & Administration
  • Develop and maintain an ongoing Strategic Development Plan incorporating NACDL’s strategic plan objectives and addressing changes in the philanthropic environment.
  • In collaboration with the ED and Chief Financial Officer, prepare and monitor annual fundraising budgets.
  • Cultivate NACDL’s database of existing and potential donors, Directors, Trustees, and other donors; steward and nurture relationships with these donors.
  • Ensure that donor records are current and accurate.
  • In collaboration with the Senior Director of Communications and the Associate Executive Director for Strategic Marketing, maximize the potential for growing philanthropy through cutting-edge communication initiatives.
  • Provide input and guidance to the Art Department, the policy group, and the communications and strategic marketing teams, in the development of brochures and online materials to support all fundraising activities.

Position Requirements

  • Minimum of five years of direct fundraising, including a demonstrable record of raising major gifts and meeting fundraising goals.
  • Experience developing plans for organizational growth and managing program and event budgets.
  • Demonstrable ability to manage and motivate Board members and volunteers and cultivate meaningful relationships with donors and prospects.
  • A willingness to assume hands-on responsibility in a relatively small organization, and an affinity for collaboration across department lines.
  • Outstanding and demonstrable interpersonal and oral and written communications skills.
  • Experience working with a not-for-profit organization and/or a professional association dedicated to a reform driven agenda.
  • Computer literacy and familiarity with fundraising software.

This position is based at NACDL’s Washington, D.C., office, conveniently located near downtown Metro stops. Salary is competitive with similar positions at comparably sized not-for-profit organizations and commensurate with experience. NACDL employees enjoy a generous package of employee benefits, including subsidized health, dental and vision insurance, company-paid life and disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, a pre-tax commuting subsidy, a 401(k) plan with generous company contributions, paid time off and paid holidays.


Please submit a cover letter indicating the specific interest in this position, along with a resume, at least two writing samples if available, and minimum salary requirements to employment@nacdl.org. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. NACDL plans to fill this position as soon as a suitable candidate is identified. All applications will be kept confidential during the process.

To learn more about NACDL’s programs and projects, visit www.nacdl.org.

NACDL is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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