Position Description

Chief Advancement Officer
Location Chicago
Job Code 433
# of Openings 1
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About Chicago Public Media

Chicago Public Media is one of the largest and most respected public media organizations in the country. The organization has a legacy of innovative program development having launched such iconic shows as This American Life, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me…, Nerdette, Making Obama and the ground-breaking podcast Serial. Chicago Public Media engages with its listeners and users across multiple platforms, including broadcast radio, digital streaming, and mobile apps. Our flagship station, WBEZ Chicago (91.5 FM and wbez.org) is Chicagoland’s premier hub for trusted, fact-based journalism and engaging, entertaining audio programs and podcasts.  WBEZ’s sister service, Vocalo (91.1 FM in Chicago, vocalo.org everywhere), targets a multicultural audience through an urban alternative music and culture format.

The Opportunity: Chief Advancement Officer

The Chief Advancement Officer will lead all fundraising and membership efforts on behalf of Chicago Public Media, including the development of vision, strategies, and tactics for maintaining and increasing contributed revenue. The Chief Advancement Officer will ensure the successful achievement of annual and long-term goals for membership, major gifts, foundations, planned giving, annual fundraising events, and corporate giving. The Chief Advancement Officer will be an active representative of Chicago Public Media, building relationships across the community in order to advance a culture of inclusivity and opportunity that aligns with the demographics of Chicago Public Media's coverage area and amplifies the philanthropic impact of the organization.

Key Responsibilities 

The Chief Advancement Officer will be responsible for:

  • Execution – defining and leading the execution of comprehensive, diversified, and integrated fundraising and membership activities that maximize financial growth, including the development, implementation, and evaluation of annual and multi-year goals and strategies;
  • Revenue strategy – creating new strategies to increase and diversify revenue, including but not limited to an increase in number of both donors/members and giving per donor/member;
  • Advisor – acting as a trusted advisor to the Chief Executive Officer on fundraising and membership objectives and contributing as a member of the leadership team on the development and implementation of strategic revenue-generating plans;
  • Board of Directors – maximizing the participation and impact of the Board of Directors by building relationships that advance the fundraising objectives of Chicago Public Media;
  • Major donors – managing a select donor portfolio of top prospective donors including individuals, foundations, and corporations, developing and sustaining relationships that increase financial support;
  • Team-building – recruiting, training, managing, and nurturing fundraising and membership staff through goal-setting, mentorship, evaluation, and recognition;
  • Networking within Public Media – coordinating with public broadcasting leaders: APM, NPR, and other public broadcasting stations and content producers on best practices and opportunities for collaboration;
  • Organizational strategy – participating in the development of strategic objectives to grow audience and drive membership revenue from multi-platform activities;
  • Organizational leadership – working with events, communications, digital, and content teams to find opportunities to add value to the donor and member experience;
  • Budget & planning – preparing and monitoring the annual development and membership budgets, overseeing contributed revenue and expenses, projections, and forecasting;
  • Communicating – synthesizing fundraising and membership data into comprehensive reports for senior management; and
  • Operational – developing, implementing, monitoring, and assessing fundraising and gift-processing policies and ensuring all development and membership strategies incorporate and maximize the use of CRM data.

Preferred Skills and Experience

Chicago Public Media seeks a Chief Advancement Officer with:

  • Passion – a passion for public media and a commitment to the belief that a shared, independent, and trusted public media space remains central to an effective and informed democracy;
  • Leadership – an ability to lead and thrive in all major fundraising and membership functions including major gifts/principal giving, foundations and government grants, data management, budget administration, marketing, and communications;
  • Relationships – an ability to build meaningful and trusted relationships with donors with a preference for individuals with knowledge of the Chicago philanthropic landscape;
  • Vision – an ability to articulate and execute a fundraising vision for Chicago Public Media to internal and external stakeholders;
  • Communication – an ability to communicate clearly, without ambiguity, to diverse audiences internally and externally as an advocate for public media and for the objectives and goals of Chicago Public Media;
  • Cultural competency – a high level of cultural competency and a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace expressed in both approach and experience;
  • Collaborative – a desire to work as a member of a team, work across internal and external stakeholders, and strategically partner with and support the CEO, Board of Directors, other leaders, and the development team in identifying fundraising opportunities and strategies;
  • Team-building – experience as a visible and effective leader and the ability to recognize and nurture talent while building and retaining a successful team;
  • Financial fluency – an ability to develop and maintain financial projections and budgets; and
  • Technology – a high level of competency with technology, an aptitude for mastering new technology, and an ability to develop a unified vision for the CRM system.

A bachelor's degree is required for this position as is ten years of experience in a fundraising environment including five years of management experience. Public media experience or experience within a complex nonprofit environment is a plus.

This position may require you to occasionally work evenings and weekends depending on the news cycle.

Working at Chicago Public Media

At Chicago Public Media we believe dedication to a great workplace includes supporting our employees and their families. As a result, we provide a broad and generous benefits package for you at hire and in the years to come. Our benefits include:

  • 6 weeks fully paid family leave
  • High quality medical, dental, and vision plans at an affordable cost
  • A 403(b)-retirement plan with a company match
  • Generous paid time off, including starting with 3 weeks’ vacation and 4 personal days

Due to current COVID restrictions, you must be able to work remotely at your own designated location with Internet access and you must be willing and able to work at our Navy Pier offices, if needed. Right now, most of our staff is working remotely.

The essential functions described above are not all-inclusive and may change periodically to meet the needs of Chicago Public Media (CPM). The information contained in this job description is not intended to create any contractual or other legal commitment. Chicago Public Media may change the content or format of this job at any time in its sole and exclusive discretion without notice.

Chicago Public Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we actively seek and welcome people from all backgrounds, orientations, and life experiences to join our team. 


Chicago Public Media/WBEZ is partnering with Aspen Leadership Group on the search for a Chief Advancement Officer. You may learn more or apply here: Chief Advancement Officer, Chicago Public Media.

To nominate a candidate, please contact Anne Johnson: annejohnson@aspenleadershipgroup.com.

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