Position Overview

Sterling Search Inc. has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new Regional Vice President of Development for Make-A-Wish® Northeastern and Central CA & Northern NV (MAW NECANNV).

Every 34 minutes Make-A-Wish® grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a critical illness in the United States and its territories. Make-A-Wish believes that a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides them in everything they do. It inspires them to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids they serve.

Make-A-Wish operates in nearly 50 countries and has granted more than 335,000 Wishes worldwide since 1980. In the United States and its territories, Make-A-Wish America (MAWA) fulfills its mission through 61 separately incorporated chapters. Make-A-Wish America was one of the nation’s first recipients of the Council of Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance Seal, signifying adherence to charitable accountability, and was honored in the most recent edition of “America’s Greatest Brands.”

In the summer of 2012 Jennifer Stolo joined Make-A-Wish as the CEO of the Sacramento & Northeastern California chapter. This chapter has become a leader within the MAW family nationally known for its growth in revenue and wishes. The chapter also boasts The Wishing Place, a child-friendly and inviting place where children with critical illnesses are encouraged to dream big and wishes come true. This was the first Wishing Place built and is only one of five in the nation.

In late 2012, the chapter was approached to assume the Northern Nevada chapter to inspire new growth and success to the region. The combined region became the Make-A-Wish chapter of Northeastern California and Northern Nevada (MAW NECANNV) and under Stolo’s leadership has achieved its goal bringing inspirational leadership to the staff and volunteers, thereby granting more wishes to children and families in Northern Nevada. Now, in 2018 and faced with the long-tenured retirement of the Executive Director of the Make-A-Wish Chapter of Central California, Jennifer and her senior management team have been asked to assume it under their 510c3 creating one chapter with the responsibility for the newly named Northeastern and Central California & Northern Nevada and again bringing this recipe of success to greater California.

MAWA is a big believer in the federated model and having chapters managed by their local governing Board of Directors. All fundraising is local and they are proud that 87 cents on the dollar at this chapter goes to providing the wishes for the children in the region. Geographically it makes sense to leverage the successful model, resources and leadership horsepower of Board and staff of MAW NECANNV to include the region of Central California. This will expand this chapter to serving 45 counties with $8M in revenue and $15M in assets and reduce expenses through a shared services model, ultimately serving more children and families with wishes.

The realignment will take place on September 1st, 2018 at the beginning of their fiscal year. Some leadership from Central California governing Board of Directors have been invited to join the governing Board of MAW NECANNV which has a commitment of $25k give/get. The remaining Board members are excited to continue in a capacity as local volunteers and fundraisers as members of the new Central California Regional Council.

Stolo is seeking a Regional Vice President of Development who will lead a team ready for executing significant growth in revenue for Central CA region. He/she will serve as part of the senior leadership team for MAW NECANNV.  The new Regional Vice President of Development will be charged with building on Central California’s track record of success. He/she will continue to develop the Central California’s current events and community based fundraising with a plan to expand the region with a robust major gifts program, leveraging Stolo and her team’s expertise who have successfully built major gifts program in their other regions.

The Regional Vice President of Development must bring an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for MAW NECANNV, leadership capabilities for a development staff of three and a local office of five, and local fundraising council of volunteers. He/she will have a demonstrated track record of managing successful outcomes and the capability to diversify fundraising revenues with an emphasis on major gifts.

This individual must possess intellectual horsepower, and be naturally persuasive, fair, and accountable. The new Regional Vice President of Development will lead based on the core ethics of collaboration, integrity, and the drive for excellence.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

The Regional Vice President of Development reports directly to the President & CEO of MAWNECANNV. He/she is charged with building on MAW NECANNV’s success, realizing the organization’s vision, and achieving its goals for mission advancement in Central CA. The Regional VP of Development will work closely with the President & CEO, staff, Board of Directors, Regional Council and other key volunteer leaders. This position is responsible for implementing and overseeing board fundraising initiatives, annual giving, major giving, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations, events, prospect research, and database management.

The Regional VP of Development is a spokesperson representing the organization to external constituencies. The scope of responsibilities includes overseeing fund development, strategic planning and budgeting. The Regional VP of Development will build, foster, and maintain a strong team culture that includes an emphasis on best business practices, fiscal accountability, and institutional impact.

The Regional Vice President of Development will:

  • Participate with the President & CEO, staff, and board of directors to lead the organization’s development strategies and chart the organization’s course in fund development for Central CA.
  • Ensure that philanthropy and fund development are carried out in keeping with the organization’s values, mission, vision and plans.
  • Lead, manage and direct the funding/revenue base while focusing on a comprehensive fund development plan that identifies prospects and donors, business and community partners and foundations to enhance the short- and long-term diversified funding base.
  • Manage the continual development and cultivation of a strong board of advisors, together with the President & CEO and staff.
  • Work with the Development Committee to strengthen annual giving. Excel at initiating and fostering relationships with corporations, individuals, and foundations as potential partners and donors.
  • Develop & oversee a Major Gifts program that includes leveraging existing donors, identifying prospects and stewarding supporters. Establish measurable goals and objectives.
  • Play an active hands-on role with the development staff of three (2 in Fresno and 1 in Bakersfield) to build a pipeline of high-net worth contributors.
  • Oversee a donor recognition/stewardship plan, while establishing methods to achieve accurate measurements.
  • Collaborate with the Development staff to build and diversify an existing corporate alliance program that offers meaningful benefits to sponsors based on donation levels.
  • Establish frequency of communications with donors to keep them informed and engaged. Ensure all collateral material is designed with the appropriate brand standards and image.
  • Ensure that all aspects of donor administration are conducted in a timely basis and that donor records are accurately maintained in Raiser’s Edge.
  • Participate in the development and growth of staff. Establish annual goals, along with personal development plans. Conduct performance reviews and coaching in a timely manner.
  • Serve as a collaborative member of the senior leadership team by participating in establishing overall chapter goals, policies and a culture of working together to achieve the organization’s mission.
  • Collaborate with other chapter development professionals MAW NECANNV to share best practices and resources.
  • Work collaboratively with MAW’s National office to coordinate corporate alliance programs and potential National sponsors.
  • Partner with COO & VP of Finance & Operations to assure sound fiscal operation of the development function including timely, accurate and comprehensive development of charitable contributions income and expense budgets, reporting and monitoring.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and laws, maintain accountability standards to donors, and ensure compliance with code of ethical principles and standards of professional conduct for fundraising executives.
  • Execute all other reasonable duties as assigned by the President & CEO.


Professional Experience and Qualifications

 We are seeking candidates offering the following qualifications:

  • Passion for the mission of Make-A-Wish.
  • A minimum of seven years of major gift fundraising, with individuals/corporations and    foundations in a professional capacity.
  • A minimum of three years of management experience with increasing levels of responsibility and with a small staff and with direct stewardship of boards.
  • A demonstrated track record of building a development function including but not limited to annual fund, major gifts, corporations and foundations and events.
  • A strategic approach to development with significant experience in cultivating and managing donors.
  • A record of quantifiable success in development which encompasses many areas of donor segmentation, research and cultivation. A quantifiable track record of major gift fundraising.
  • A demonstrated ability to plan and operate strategically, to build public support, to strengthen infrastructure and to inspire staff and the board of directors.
  • Exceptional financial, organizational and administrative skills.
  • The ability to plan, set goals and objectives, organize, and follow through.
  • A strong interpersonal and communication skill set and demonstrated ability to work effectively with and gain the respect and support of varied and changing constituencies including staff, board members, potential donors and volunteers.
  • A track record as an effective communicator skilled at writing; adept at writing proposals, solicitation letters, donor correspondence, and other kinds of material to enhance fundraising.
  • Computer literate; knowledge of Word and Excel and experience with database software. Experience with Raiser’s Edge preferred.
  • Ability to juggle many responsibilities at once and to operate both independently and with the flexibility to be part of a team
  • Bachelor’s degree required, with an advanced degree preferred



Required:  Bachelor’s degree

A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.


Phone: 310-774-0099 or 714 433 7040

Direct all correspondence emails and telephone calls to Sterling Search, Inc.

Any resumes sent or telephone calls made to MAW NECANNV will be redirected to Sterling Search, Inc. 

MAW NECANNV is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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