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What does a Development Manager do?

By G. Melanson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The main responsibilities of a development manager include a combination of overseeing the overall operations of an organization's fundraising department and bringing in funds for the organization through constant networking. This position is often found within nonprofit organizations, although some for-profit organizations may have development managers as well. As head of the fundraising or development department, the development manager must be in charge of developing strategies to help the organization raise money to facilitate the short-term and long-term financial needs of the organization. This often involves soliciting donations and sponsorship opportunities, as well as holding special events. The development manager usually has a support staff that includes special events coordinator and development assistant or coordinator.

One of the ways in which a manager of development can raise funds for an organization is by establishing ongoing partnerships with sponsors. To initiate these partnerships, the manager will usually prepare a sponsorship proposal or package that outlines the exposure that an organization will receive in exchange for sponsorship. For example, the development manager of a community theater might offer an organization acknowledgment in its advertisements, whether on radio, television, print, or online media. The larger the financial contribution, the more exposure the organization receives.

Development managers can also bring in funds to organizations by networking with patrons. Organizations that are related to the fine arts, such as galleries, theaters, and symphonies, or organizations that help important causes, such as foundations or shelters, are often sponsored by both individual and corporate patrons. The development manager’s job is to stay in touch with existing patrons to foster an ongoing relationship and to seek out new patrons through existing contacts.

In addition to generating short-term cash flow an organization, development managers also need to plan ahead and form strategic plans for an organization’s financial future. One of the best ways to do this is through organizing bequests for the organization. Development managers will often propose bequests to long-time patrons of the organization, as they’ve already demonstrated a loyalty to the organization, which makes them more likely to remember it in their wills.

The average workday of a development manager typically includes at least one face-to-face meeting with a potential corporate partner or important patron. The development manager acts as the first point of contact with the partner or patron. Development managers also report regularly to upper-management to review how much money is being brought in and to set goals for future fundraising.

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