The NNS newsroom is already great, but we know we can do better. We plan to double in size in the next three years and rebuild local news in Milwaukee with community-fueled journalism that provides solutions. Photo by Tonda Thompson.
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The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism seek a Director of Development and Partnerships to steward a fundraising strategy and forge new relationships to build Neighborhood News Service’s visibility in the business and philanthropic community.

Since its launch in 2011, Neighborhood News Service has received local funding from the Zilber Family Foundation, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and Bader Philanthropies, among others. It has support nationally from the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund and Report for America.

This role is funded by the American Journalism Project and is part of a multiyear partnership between Neighborhood News Service and Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism to rebuild local news in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin.

Who we are

The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS) is a nonprofit newsroom that serves the city’s Black and Latinx communities. Through our website, e-newsletters and News414 texting service, we report on the ordinary people who do extraordinary things, connect readers with resources and serve as a watchdog for our audience.

Our readers are our neighbors and filling their information needs is our top priority. With the most diverse newsroom in the city — 90 percent people of color — we employ an editor, managing editor, six part-time reporters and editors and two Report For America corps members. In addition, we offer internships to college students and volunteer experiences for the community. We are an editorially independent project of Marquette University with offices in the Diederich College of Communication.

Your leadership in this new role will help us achieve our goals to double in size in the next three years and rebuild local news in Milwaukee with community-fueled journalism that provides solutions instead of merely reporting problems.

The position

The Director of Development and Partnerships will work closely with the Executive Director and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism to steward a fundraising strategy that includes local foundation and business support, reader revenue and major gifts.

The ideal candidate will be an entrepreneurial and collaborative revenue leader with experience working in Milwaukee and building strong relationships with various stakeholders, supporters and community members.

Your responsibilities will include:

Overseeing a portfolio of major supporters

You will serve as the lead strategist for this portfolio, identifying prospects and managing outreach and solicitation.

  • Identify new prospects for the major gifts portfolio and opportunities for increased giving by current donors. Oversee prospect research and actively lead identification of major gift prospects to bring new supporters into the organization
  • Support the Executive Director’s donor engagement and carry out face-to-face solicitations and other direct engagement with donors and prospects
  • Draft donor correspondence and maintain primary responsibility for developing messages, strategy memos, talking points, and donor materials

Building new relationships to grow support from foundation and corporate partners

You will work with Marquette University and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism to expand the organization’s support from local and national foundations and corporate partners.

  • Coordinate with Marquette University’s Advancement Office and WCIJ’s Development Department to expand the base of institutional funders and maintain relationships with key contacts
  • Build new external relationships with corporate partners to connect them with the mission of NNS
  • Serve as the primary NNS grant writer and the lead for new grant requests and reports
  • Ensure all reports are complete, accurate and delivered on time; ensure financial requirements are met; implement and supervise administration of grant management systems

Growing support from NNS readers

Work with the NNS team and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism to create a membership program that engages NNS readers and community members to grow their financial support for NNS

Overseeing key development tasks

Refresh and implement an annual development plan that incorporates short- and long-range goals.

  • Maintain collaborative relationships and communicate regularly with development staff at Marquette University and Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
  • Maintain accurate, confidential records of progress and activity reports for the executive director and interested parties
  • Oversee gift processing and acknowledgement distribution
  • Ensure development activities conform to organizational policies and financial accounting practices
  • Participate in the budgeting process, monitor development expenditures


The ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:

  • Have a background in development and an interest in local news and the needs of Milwaukee’s communities
  • Have experience with donor databases and other fundraising technology
  • Be flexible and creative
  • Demonstrated success in building relationships with leaders of color who may have capacity and interest to support NNS
  • Enjoy working with the team and partners to build a fundraising program that supports NNS’s important role in local news in Milwaukee
  • Superior interpersonal, oral and written communication skills
  • 5+ years of experience

Location: This position is based in Milwaukee. Full-time in-person work is not a requirement but regular in-person meetings are expected in order to be able to achieve the goals for this role.

Salary range: $80,000+, commensurate with experience.

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

Deadline: Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

To apply: Please submit a PDF of your resume and answer some brief questions in this application form. If you’d like to chat about the job before applying, contact Ron Smith, NNS Executive Director, via email:

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