Development Associate, Donor Relations
Catholic Extension
Job Information:

 Founded in 1905, Catholic Extension is the leading supporter of Catholic missions in the United States. Catholic Extension serves the pastoral mission of the Church by ensuring that the essential ministries of under-resourced and isolated U.S. dioceses remain intact by helping these dioceses build their capacity for the future. This is achieved by operating as both a fundraising and grant making organization that carries its work out strategically, with a high touch and in a spirit of optimism and innovation.

Over the last 113 years, Catholic Extension has distributed more than $1.3 billion to build strong communities of faith, so that Catholics in these areas have the tools to inspire hope and ignite change. Activities and programs supported include: southern border initiatives, post-hurricane rebuilding in Puerto Rico, support for college campus ministry and youth outreach, construction and renovation of churches and facilities, and funding for the education of lay and ordained leaders.

To support this mission work, the organization raises $20 – 25 million from 30,000 donors via a mature development program that includes annual, major and planned giving. Additionally, Catholic Extension is in the quiet phase of $75 million philanthropic campaign focused on maximizing individual and foundation major gifts for ongoing and special initiatives.

Catholic Extension has a full-time staff of 50 employees based at its headquarters in Chicago or in one of its regional offices. Its staff is comprised of talented and experienced professionals working in a dynamic, fast-paced work environment and team-focused culture.

Reporting to the Senior Director of Individual Giving, the Development Associate, Donor Relations will serve as an integral member of the team with responsibility for activities that ensure a positive donor giving experience at Catholic Extension. The position focuses on stewardship communications, accurate record keeping and impact reporting, primarily for annual giving donors. However, in Catholic Extension’s team-oriented environment, the Development Associate will have the opportunity to interact with and support gift officers working with major and planned giving donors as well. This position is ideal for the individual who wants to learn in a best practices environment that is also entrepreneurial.

This newly restructured position is designed to support a priority goal of Catholic Extension’s, which is to retain donors over time. The organization has averaged a 69% retention rate over the past five years and receives accolades for the respect and attention it gives its donors. However, the need for strong donor communications and outstanding donor relations will be critical success factors moving forward. Therefore, the new Development Associate will work primarily “behind the scenes,” creating positive moments and meaningful touchpoints with donors. As a result, retention rates will grow, and professional development services will continue to be synonymous with giving to Catholic Extension.

In this role, the Development Associate will carry out a variety of duties related to donor relations including:

  1. Maintain the annual stewardship plan by implementing actions, recording tasks completed and tracking/reporting on progress made. Update the plan annually in concert with set priorities and goals.
  2. Manage the process of gift acknowledgments for lead annual, major and planned gift donors. This includes drafting the tailored correspondence, working with major gift officers to incorporate edits, interacting with the president’s office to secure signatures, and recording the activity in the database.
  3. Execute planned and ad hoc donor communications/reporting to large groups of people to include management of the design and creative process (working with an external business partner). Oversee special communications, both print and digital stewardship.
  4. Collaborate with team members to create special impact reporting aligned with donor interest areas. This will not include significant long report writing.
  5. On occasion, participate in building donor relationships through other fundraising channels as opportunities arise, i.e., donor meetings, cultivation events, etc.
  6. Assist with donor database management, including back up to gift processing as needed. Provide timely and professional customer service to donors with special requests.

Candidate Qualifications

A people person with strong organizational and administrative skills

Catholic Extension seeks a professional with a minimum 2 years’ work experience in a nonprofit or business environment. A bachelor’s degree is required. Professional and personal attributes of sought-after candidates include:

  • Ability to accomplish goals both independently and collaboratively within a team
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with strong customer service orientation and follow-through
  • Ability to present information concisely and effectively, both verbally and in writing
  • Excellent project management skills with the ability to juggle multiple projects, prioritizing and problem-solve quickly with an attention to details
  • Inquisitive and curious
  • Ability to receive feedback with an improvement mindset
  • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and a commitment to the organization’s mission
  • Be an energetic, self-starting thinker with strong organizational skills
  • An appreciation for and general understanding of the teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church
  • A passion for your field and a sense of humor