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The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is seeking a Development Director to work with board and staff to develop and execute the Center’s fundraising strategy. This position is the first full-time development role at the Center. 

This position is ideal for an entrepreneurial executive capable of developing and articulating the Center’s fundraising strategy, rolling up their sleeves to execute it, and being part of a small, hard-working and flexible staff in a fast-paced environment. 

The Development Director will participate in the planning and execution of donor events, such as this one featuring Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times immigration reporter. Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch

The Center’s immediate goal is to substantially increase contributions from individuals throughout Wisconsin and beyond. Over time, the goal is to for the development director to assume responsibilities currently borne by the executive director and associate director for leading expansion of grant-related revenue.

The Center is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on government accountability and quality of life issues important to the people of Wisconsin. Our multimedia journalism digs into undercovered issues, documents broken and failing systems, puts findings into regional and national context, and explores potential solutions. The Center also trains current and future investigative journalists through workshops, internships and fellowships, mentoring, and collaborations with journalism classes and news organizations. And we share information about journalistic practices, ethics and impact with the public. The Center’s guiding values: Protect the vulnerable. Expose wrongdoing. Explore solutions. 

Wisconsin Watch’s award-winning reports are published at and content is made available at no charge to news organizations through our own distribution system plus a nationwide partnership with the Associated Press. 

Since our launch in 2009, Wisconsin Watch has produced nearly 380 major news reports that have been cited, published or broadcast by more than 850 newspapers, radio and TV stations and news websites in Wisconsin and nationwide. The estimated audience over that time is nearly 95 million people.

A successful candidate should understand the Center’s role in the news environment and share a commitment to its mission and values. We’re looking for someone who possesses the zeal, vision, drive and resiliency to lead the Center to unprecedented levels of growth and sustainability.

If you have just some of the skills listed below, or others we failed to list, please consider applying for this position. We are a small, nimble organization that makes the best use of the skills of its staff and is dedicated to developing them.


  • At least five years of progressively responsible fundraising work with some supervisory experience.
  • Proven track record of success in major gifts work and exceptional ability to manage, cultivate and grow a portfolio of donors. 
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge of fundraising processes around donor acquisition, retention and growing current donor value.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills.
  • Exceptional organizational skills with the ability to multitask and to establish effective timelines for accomplishing long-range goals.
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment.
  • Proficiency with computers and appropriate software.
  • An understanding of prospect research and cultivation strategies, as well as experience with fundraising database systems (knowledge of Salesforce a plus).
  • Ability to use metrics to drive development decisions.
  • Willingness and ability to travel and spend evenings and weekends at programmatic and development events.
  • Experience in planning cultivation and fundraising events and other activities.
  • Knowledge of the Wisconsin/Milwaukee/Madison fundraising communities preferred.
  • Background in or knowledge of journalism a plus.


The development director will:

  • Collaborate with the executive director, associate director, board members and development team to set and articulate a vision for the organization’s fundraising growth, build and execute a development plan and evaluate outcomes with a metrics-based approach.
  • Work with key stakeholders to develop plans and budgets to achieve fundraising goals. The plan should include prioritized lists of likely donors, a schedule of meetings and events and short-term and long-range campaigns.
  • Work cooperatively with others on the Center’s staff.
  • Manage a donor portfolio by personally participating in cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of current and prospective funders. These will be with other staff and/or board members at first, then would be done independently.
  • Represent the Center at key public events and important meetings to raise the Center’s profile and raise money. The successful candidate should be comfortable with public speaking.
  • Track performance against measurable goals.
  • Use an online Customer Relationship Manager and encourage its use by others. The Center currently uses Salesforce as its CRM.
  • Guide interns and development team members in accordance with the Center’s policies and values. 
  • Cultivate collegial and productive relationships with other news organizations.

Location: The development director should be located in or near Madison or Milwaukee and expect to travel regularly to the other city and other Wisconsin locations. Some travel to national meetings is required.

Some evening and weekend work is necessary.

Expected salary range: $65,000-$80,000, commensurate with skills and experience.

Benefits: Five weeks paid vacation, subsidized medical and dental benefits, transportation benefits, sick days, family leave and self-funded 403(b) retirement plan.

Deadline: The initial application window will be open until February 7, 2020. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Center’s staff includes an executive director who is responsible for the news and business operations, an associate director who runs the daily business activities, a managing editor who runs the daily news activities, an investigations editor who edits, manages fellows and interns and facilitates cross-newsroom collaborations, a digital and multimedia director who is responsible for the website and our multimedia content and operations, and a membership manager who guides our efforts to engage the public. We also have investigative reporting and public engagement and marketing interns, a radio reporting fellow paid by Wisconsin Public Radio, a Report for America corps member who is managing a new criminal justice reporting project, a reporting fellow paid for by the Cap Times, and skilled volunteers. Our 2020 budget is $1.2 million, and we plan to grow substantially in the next five years.

We’re a flexible, fun workplace that still manages to do hard-core work. It’s not unusual for homemade baked goods or guacamole to show up at the “world headquarters” in Vilas Hall. 

Also, it’s awfully nice here in Madison, where we are routinely ranked among America’s most livable cities. The bike paths are numerous, the traffic is manageable, housing is relatively affordable with good public schools, plentiful farm produce and a city and countryside that are postcard pretty. Our office bar is the famed Memorial Union Terrace, overlooking Lake Mendota.

To apply: Please send a cover letter, resume and a list of references to Associate Director Lauren Fuhrmann at If you’d like to chat about the job before applying, contact Lauren via email. 

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism embraces diversity and inclusiveness in its journalism, training activities, hiring practices and workplace operations. The complex issues we face as a society require respect for different viewpoints. Race, class, generation, gender and geography all affect point of view. We especially encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.