Sterling Search Inc. has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new Vice President of Development for Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia).

In 1980, everyone who knew seven-year-old Chris Greicius also knew he wanted to be a policeman when he grew up. Concerned that Chris’ diagnosis with leukemia might prevent that dream from coming true, officers from the   Arizona Department of Public Safety decided to create that dream for him. They pulled together people from all over the Phoenix community to grant Chris’ wish to be an Arizona State Trooper.

Any child between the ages of 2½ and 18 who has a critical medical condition may be eligible for a Wish, with a local Make-A-Wish® chapter serving every US community. Each year, approximately 27,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with a condition that potentially qualifies them for a Wish.

Make-A-Wish now operates in nearly 50 countries and has granted more than 334,000 Wishes worldwide since 1980. In the United States and its territories, Make-A-Wish America 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 a recent edition of “America’s Greatest Brands.”

MAW Mid-Atlantic (MAW MA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and is governed by a local volunteer Board of Directors. Founded in 1983, MAW MA has granted the wishes of more than 9,000 children with life-threatening medical conditions in the local community and 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.

In January 2018, MAW MA hired a new President and Chief Executive Officer, Lesli Creedon. Creedon, formerly the Chief Development Officer at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, successfully completed an $80 million comprehensive campaign, built a philanthropic Board and hired a high performing team.  Leveraging Creedon’s successful experience with the Smithsonian combined with a new Board Chair, a leader in the Mid-Atlantic philanthropic community who has a personal commitment to philanthropy and to expand their Board with like-minded Members, the chapter is ready to embark on an aggressive growth path. With a strong COO & CFO, VP of Marketing & Communications, and VP of Programs Services, the only other staff member needed to complete this high performing leadership team is the Vice President of Development.

Even amongst recent changes, MAW MA has achieved growth in revenue and granted significantly more wishes in recent years. The current budget for MAW MA is $8 million with a goal of granting 375 wishes. In fiscal year 2018 (September 2017 to August 2018) MAW MA is poised for continued revenue growth and a sustainable path towards increased annual Wish granting. With the hire of the new Vice President of Development, a committed staff and such a supremely recognizable household-name, MAW MA is positioned to flourish.

The President and CEO is seeking a Vice President of Development who will lead a development team ready for executing significant growth in revenue.   The Vice President of Development must bring an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for MAW MA, leadership capabilities for staff, board and volunteers, and a demonstrated track record of managing and implementing a diversified fundraising program with a heavy emphasis on major gifts and individual giving.

This individual must possess intellectual horsepower, and be naturally persuasive, fair, and accountable. The new Vice President of Development will lead based on core ethics of collaboration, self-improvement, and the drive for excellence, to ensure that the best services are being delivered to the children MAW MA serves.


Specific Duties and Responsibilities

The Vice President of Development reports to the President and CEO. He/she is a key member of the Foundation’s senior leadership team, working closely with the President and CEO, COO & CFO, Vice President of Program Services, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, the Board of Directors and the development staff to secure the funds needed to advance the mission. As lead strategist and fundraiser for the chapter’s fund development, he/she will create and execute a multi-year plan for increasing revenue, which informs and supports the chapter’s plans for aggressive growth.

The Vice President of Development will:

  • Serve as lead fundraiser;
  • Grow annual revenue through individual giving, corporate, foundation and event fundraising;
  • Manage a portfolio of principal and major gift prospects to meet/exceed quarterly metrics relating to moves management, proposals and gifts received;
  • Oversee the chapter’s development team of nine, development volunteers, and interns;
  • Develop and steward donor relationships to increase the base of support from current and potential donors;
  • Work with the President and CEO as well as with individual Board members, as appropriate, to best cultivate relationships;
  • Design and implement a comprehensive development plan including benchmarks and evaluation procedures, focusing on a continued evolution toward major gift fundraising, including an optimal combination of annual giving, multi-year pledges and planned giving;
  • Foster a culture of philanthropy;
  • Work in close collaboration with VP Marketing & Communications on public digital fundraising campaigns as well as event programming;
  • Assure the chapter’s culture, systems and procedures support fund development;
  • Serve as liaison to National Office regarding development issues and opportunities and comprehensive donor stewardship;
  • Identify and build relationships with all sources that are viable for developing partnerships, including the business community, hospitals, clinics/healthcare centers, medical associations, elected officials and other charitable organizations;
  • Develop the next generation of high performance professionals by providing leadership, accountability and mentoring to the development team as a group and individually;
  • Provide strategic direction to overall fundraising strategy and ensure consistency and coordination of development efforts within the region;
  • Manage staff efforts to ensure that annual fundraising goals are met;
  • Identify, cultivate and personally solicit or prepare President and CEO or Board members to solicit large major gifts;
  • Work in concert with appropriate volunteer community leaders and professional staff to coordinate successful strategic and tactical plans;
  • Collaborate with the President and CEO and Board members to manage and encourage Board member individual development plans and to leverage members’ networks and experience;
  • Work with COO & CFO to oversee the management of an accurate and up-to-date donor database to ensure acknowledgments, recognition and proper stewardship;
  • Assist in the development of an annual operating budget through the creation of a departmental budget; maintain timely reports on revenue projections compared to budget; and review budget to actual expense variances with COO & CFO;
  • Attend all major chapter events and appropriate volunteer and donor recognition/stewardship events;
  • Identify and communicate to chapter leadership all potential opportunities and/or relationships that will increase the chapter’s ability to raise funds and grant wishes;
  • Identify challenges and recommend solutions to senior leadership team, balancing competing priorities and working collaboratively with colleagues;
  • Adhere to all Make-A-Wish Foundation of America performance standards and chapter internal controls, policies and procedures;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


Professional Experience and Qualifications

As with the rest of the executive leadership team, the Vice President of Development must believe in the mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He/she must model integrity, work to inspire colleagues and strive to maintain an outstanding team.


The Vice President of Development must have experience and success with:

  • Individual major gift fundraising and staff management, with the ability to lead change;
  • Developing and managing a pipeline of major gift prospects and donors;
  • Identifying and communicating fundraising needs and opportunities;
  • Dealing with a diverse group of individuals (i.e., corporate leaders, community leaders, government officials, agency leaders and volunteers);
  • Team-based, cross-functional work environments with communication as a top priority;
  • Negotiating partnerships, strategic alliances and collaborations especially with first-time partnerships;
  • Moves Management fundraising.


The Vice President of Development should be:

  • A proactive, visionary thought leader who can productively leverage contributions of others;
  • Ability to juggle many responsibilities at once and operate both independently and with the flexibility to be part of a team;
  • Entrepreneurial, creative and a critical thinker;
  • Available to attend evening and weekend events;
  • Flexible, compassionate and possess a strong sense of humor to address the practicalities of a growing nonprofit, along with the creativity and persistence required to elicit new thinking and change;
  • Able to work with minimal supervision, to manage multiple priorities and to work in a deadline driven environment;
  • A team builder with a track record of effective staff management, including hiring, rewarding, and retaining talented managers and administrative staff members;
  • A decisive and resourceful individual who will accept responsibility and take charge of results;
  • A doer who functions effectively without being autocratic or political; must be a team player who is inclusive, flexible, creative, energetic and fair minded;
  • A self-starter who is confident enough to express opinions, to forge ahead when appropriate and hold back when necessary, with a sensitivity to the feelings and opinions of others;
  • A fundraiser with a minimum of 5 years of management experience, with a background in marketing;
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office and database management software. Raiser’s Edge experience is a preference.



Bachelor’s degree


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

Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Any resumes sent or telephone calls made to Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic will be redirected to Sterling Search, Inc.



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