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Senior Development Associate

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute

Sales & Business Development
Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

To achieve our mission of a more free, just, and equitable society, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and we seek to be a leader in the ways that we do so and learn from others. Visit our website to learn more about our commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.

Program Description:

The Religion & Society Program: The world we live in today is multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-ethnic. The Religion & Society Program at the Aspen Institute believes there is value in those differences. Launched in 2012, the Religion & Society Program ignites change through convening, catalyzing, and researching the challenges and opportunities at the convergence of religion, culture, and justice. In doing so, the Program endeavors to strengthen the understanding of religion's role in advancing equity and the common good. The Program focuses on bridging the gap between ideas and impact, building the capacity of faith-based leaders, galvanizing philanthropic investment, and serving as a national knowledge hub that informs and connects leaders from various fields and worldviews. By emphasizing network and community building, the Program is creating and amplifying connections that can break down barriers for generations to come.

Basic Function:

The Senior Development Associate is responsible for the overall fundraising and programming strategy for the Religion & Society Program and deploys a team of fundraisers, coordinators, and programming staff to ensure goals are met. The Senior Development Associate oversees the strategic direction and growth of the Religion and Philanthropy Initiative, which seeks to support philanthropic organizations better engage with faith-based and faith-inspired work. The Senior Development Associate ensures that donors, prospects, and partners are properly cultivated, solicited, and stewarded with an eye towards growing the middle donor pipeline as well as number and level gifts.

The Senior Development Associate works with Advancement Leadership to develop and implement defined Religion & Society program objectives and annual financial goals. The position also interacts and coordinates with the Major Gift officers. The Senior Development Associate actively meets with funders, donors, and prospects and represents RSP at meetings and events related to the Religion & Philanthropy work and funder cultivation throughout the year. The Senior Development Associate will partner with the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and other relevant staff to create and implement fundraising strategies for operational income, programming for initiatives and sponsorships for convenings. They will be responsible for cultivating new donors.

The Senior Development Associate must be a professional, responsible, very detail-oriented self-starter with experience in religious pluralism and exceptional communications abilities. The Senior Development Associate must be able to manage multiple sets of overlapping deadlines and should be results-oriented, highly motivated, creative, and a team player. Willingness and ability to travel domestically about four to six times per year, when safe to do so, is a requirement. The ideal candidate must be well organized and flexible, have strong writing and communication skills, and the ability to interact with staff and external stakeholders at all levels. This position requires general familiarity with the communities, organizations, and networks with which we partner, comfort working in diverse groups, and an ability to translate strategy into communication and grant writing. The Senior Development Associate must be able to manage multiple sets of overlapping deadlines and should be results-oriented, highly motivated, creative, and a team player.

In accordance with our Reimagining Work policy, the Development Associate should be willing to be in-person with colleagues a minimum of 40% of the time while having the flexibility to work remotely for the balance. In-person consists of meaningful connections with colleagues in an office, traveling to a different office or location to meet fellow staff members, at an Aspen event, at a meeting outside the office or other opportunities to meet in person with teammates and colleagues. The expectation is for this role to be in our Washington, DC office a minimum of 2x a week to collaborate with colleagues.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:


  • Expand and grow RSP’s total revenue and funder circle
  • Meet an annual program and Senior Development Associate fundraising goal
  • Translate the Religion & Society Program’s mission and programs for various audiences including foundations, individual donors, sponsors, and major gifts prospects who have a varied understanding of religious pluralism and/or religion;
  • Manage grant cycle from prospect research to reporting, driving and ensuring execution of simultaneous timelines with many stakeholders within and outside of the program team;
  • Coordinate with Program departments, including Communications and Operations, to create necessary budget documents and grant proposal assets, including one pagers, fact sheets, and media components.
  • Develop and execute cohesive development strategies that successfully connect the Program’s strategy, programming, and thought leadership with potential funders;
  • Serve as a thought partner in the design of RSP programs and strategic planning, to ensure development plans align with and are in service of evolving organizational goals;
  • Maintain and build relationships with other Aspen Institute departments, especially the advancement department;
  • Represent RSP at convenings, conferences, and other public forums with a high level of professionalism and expertise.
  • Grow the Program’s channels of funding through proactive identification and outreach including individual, major, and corporate giving, and event sponsorship;
  • Design and implement new modes of consistent stewardship, manage relationships with current funders, and reengage lapsed donors;
  • Act as a point of contact and resource for donors on behalf of the Program;
  • Create briefings for funder calls including research and talking points for the Executive and Deputy Directors;
  • Clearly and effectively draft dynamic, reader-friendly, and high-quality writing for LOIs, applications, and reports;
  • Prepare, monitor, and report against annual departmental plan and budget, including annual programming, fundraising and targeted campaigns;
  • Design and update a regular progress-to-goal report and development dashboard;
  • Create and manage a grant calendar to track all upcoming applications and reports, collaborating with other staff as needed;
  • Track all grant work in the Program’s project management software to ensure all grant opportunities and tasks are current and well-detailed.
  • Manage consultants and interns in their support of communications and development work.


  • Actively engage and steward current RSP funder circle
  • Facilitate consistent communications to the RSP Network including event invitations, Religion & Philanthropy e-newsletter, brochures, and online presence

Religion & Philanthropy:

  • Lead the creation of free resources for philanthropy-serving organizations;
  • Serve as thought partner and advisor in the design of the Religion & Philanthropy Initiative’s strategy;
  • Coordinate and lead quarterly meetings with the Religion & Philanthropy Circle;
  • Act as a point of contact and resource for foundation staff and philanthropy-serving organizations on behalf of the Program;
  • Manage consultants in support of their work at the intersection of religion & philanthropy and connect consultants with key stakeholders;
  • Manage initiative programming calendar;
  • Coordinate with Program departments, including Communications and Operations, for programming support.

Knowledge, Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree and minimum of 8 yrs. experience in the field;
  • Strong written and oral communications skills; experience and ability to write professional correspondence and communicate with a wide variety of stakeholders;
  • Excellent attention to detail, personal organization and time management;
  • Ability to successfully work in fast-paced environment and manage multiple tasks simultaneously under pressure;
  • Proficient in MS office, including Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook;
  • Proficient with online grant application portal systems
  • Experience with contact databases (such as Salesforce) and project management software (such as Asana)
  • Interest in religious diversity and pluralism;
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively within a team;
  • Ability to exercise professional discretion, judgment and diplomacy; and
  • Ability and willingness to travel up to 15% of the time.

The Aspen Institute offers a generous benefits package including health, dental, vision, and prescription benefits, retirement benefits, and paid leave.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.