NOW HIRING: Development Director

ATTENTION: The Matthew Shepard Foundation is looking for a Development Director to lead us to success in our 20th anniversary year and beyond.

Whom We’re Looking For:

The Matthew Shepard Foundation, an LGBTQ+ oriented national civil rights organization based in Denver, is looking for an experienced, creative, well-connected fundraising professional as our next Development Director. You’ll be putting your strong passion for civil rights and social change to work for an organization that seeks to “Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion and Acceptance.” Crafting and working from our annual Development Plan, you will lead our fundraising efforts across all income categories, including individual giving, institutional funders, corporate partners, earned income and both annual and special events.

You will be identifying and motivating first-time and current major donors, liaising and developing new initiatives with existing corporate sponsors, and identifying new partnership opportunities. You will be a thought leader in developing compelling messages and case statements to solidify and expand our core sustaining donors. You will solicit new opportunities to receive grant funding, prepare submittals and file reports. You will oversee our annual October fundraising gala as well as house parties and other special benefit events throughout the calendar cycle. And you will be a vital part of the leadership team, helping to craft budgets and work plans, helping to lead and inspire a dynamic team, and making sure we creatively and efficiently integrate fundraising objectives into all our mission-driven work.  

Your gifts for collaboration with peers and direct reports will allow your fellow professionals to reach their full potential in carrying out communications, development and programmatic work that positions the Foundation for financial sustainability. Your passion for sharing and showcasing personal stories will impel donors, institutions and guests to give generously and often. After 20 years since our founding, we believe strongly in the power of individual stories like Matthew Shepard’s to change the world.


What It’s All About:

  • Establishing an annual fundraising plan that meets or exceeds the revenue needed to fulfill the Foundation’s Strategic Plan and annual Operating Plan.
  • Identifying, cultivating and stewarding major donors and sustaining donors.
  • Identifying, applying for, overseeing and reporting on all grant funding opportunities.
  • Leading preparations, execution and follow-up for the annual Bear to Make a Difference Gala.
  • Establishing and maintaining corporate partnership and sponsorship relationships.
  • Integrating fundraising opportunities into mission-driven programmatic work.
  • Guiding board members, Development Committee volunteers and other third parties in their donor acquisition, cultivation and retention efforts including house parties, peer-to-peer campaigns and network building.
  • Partnering with like-minded organizations and collaborators on special giving initiatives and joint benefits.
  • Overseeing staff efforts to maintain and operationalize high-quality donor and prospect data.
  • Acquiring and managing development-related vendors, contractors, volunteers and talent.
  • Collaborating with the Communications Manager and Development Manager to plan, create, schedule and execute donor communications and solicitations.
  • Supervising and delegating to the Development Manager and the Executive and Development Associate.
  • Assisting the Executive Director and the Controller with financial information for accounting and bookkeeping purposes.
  • Providing overall leadership and guidance to the staff as a management team member including acting as a senior supervisor in the absence of the Executive Director and Programs and Operations Director.

What We Need From You:

  • A bachelor’s degree (career-relevant master’s degree preferred) and minimum seven (7) years’ experience leading a nonprofit development department with comparable fundraising responsibilities, ideally in the LGBTQ+ movement.
  • A proven track record of obtaining and maintaining significant programmatic grant funding.
  • Strong experience identifying, cultivating and stewarding major donors.
  • A record of success in identifying, pitching and closing sponsorship agreements with corporate and community entities.
  • Superior written and verbal communication skills and experience.
  • Experience planning and executing both large and small fundraising events.
  • An open and collaborative work style that fosters both structured and spontaneous team member collaboration
  • Passion for civil and human rights and LGBTQ+ community issues specifically
  • A way with words and an ear for how our diverse audiences interpret our messages
  • Comfort with the sometimes unpredictable nature of small organizations doing social-change work
  • Proficiency with typical office software including Google Suite, Microsoft Office, WordPress and constituent records management systems
  • An understanding, compassionate and accepting outlook on life


What You Can Expect From Us:

  • Market-based competitive salary and above average benefits
  • Professional development and leadership opportunities
  • A dedicated and experienced team backing you up through excellent program work, creative fundraising and inspiring board leadership
  • A place your work will truly make a difference


More About Us:

The Matthew Shepard Foundation is an LGBT- and Ally-focused 501(c)(3) charitable organization which empowers the individual to embrace human dignity and diversity through outreach, advocacy, and resources.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.  Applicants are considered for employment based on qualifications and experience without regard to sex, national origin, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression, or any other category protected by applicable local, state or federal law. The Foundation will make reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants with known disabilities.

If you are interested in this position, please send a cover letter and resume to

Matthew Shepard FoundationNOW HIRING: Development Director