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Development Manager

Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group

Sales & Business Development
Oakland, CA, USA
Posted on Monday, May 29, 2023

The Opportunity

Essie Justice Group (Essie) is building grassroots power to dismantle the US incarceration system, the most egregious creator of racial and gender injustice of our time. We are a loving and powerful community of women with incarcerated loved ones. Our community includes cisgender women, transgender women, formerly incarcerated women, gender nonconforming (GNC) people, elders, and young people.

After eight years of building an active membership across California and beyond, Essie is deepening its base-building and leadership development strategies with the 1 in 4 women with incarcerated loved ones to propel bold decarceration agendas across the nation. We seek to transform the criminal legal system and create a Black feminist future rooted in care, equity, community safety, and liberation. In the midst of significant organizational growth, we are seeking an impact-driven and strategic Development Manager to join our team.

As Essie grows, the Development Manager will take the lead in managing the internal operations for our philanthropic efforts and in building out a digital giving program that engages individuals to support our work to end mass incarceration and build a Black feminist future. We see our donors as partners in this work, and the Development Manager is a thoughtful and deliberate steward of these relationships. The Development Manager is a clear and persuasive writer who relishes the opportunity to uplift meaningful movement work to philanthropic partners and potential donors, enjoys thinking empathetically about audiences, and above all is motivated by a deep belief in the leadership development and liberation strategies of directly impacted people.

Start date: July 24, 2023

Core Responsibilities

Donor Program Design and Management - Help develop strategies and processes for identifying and engaging donors and for nurturing and managing donor relationships.

  • Partner with the Director of Communications & Partnerships to establish benchmarks and goals for individual fundraising.
  • Lead the design and management of prospect research and relevant relationship management processes.
  • Develop solicitation goals, cultivation strategies, and stewardship plans in a way that donors are respected, retained, and inspired to increase their support.
  • Develop and implement engagement strategies including, but not limited to, telephone outreach, email/mail outreach, personal visits, and small group activities.
  • Review and finalize grants and proposals.
  • Develop strategies and manage implementation of donation appeals (digital or print as strategically identified) including seasonal appeals (ex. Holiday giving) and complementary fundraising appeals matching Essie campaigns and policy fights.
  • Track and report results of appeals and special campaigns, adjusting strategies as needed.

Donor Relationship Stewardship - Manage and facilitate Essie’s ongoing organizational relationships with individual donors, ensuring that they remain engaged in and inspired by Essie’s work.

  • Manage robust donor stewardship and cultivation touchpoints including personal thank yous, digital communications, and personalized outreach.
  • Ensure electronic donor records are current in the development database, including tracking of moves for those within the major gifts portfolio.
  • Advise and prepare senior leadership for donor meetings as needed.
  • Manage the strategy and coordination of funder visits with the Executive Director and Director of Communications and Partnerships.
  • Lead the planning and management of donor events that combine political education and philanthropic action.
  • Prepare & distribute materials to communicate with supporters including thank you letters, event reports, and annual reports.

Team Leadership - Manage and evaluate team members and processes for success.

  • Manage staff and contractors to support day-to-day development operations and achieve set organizational goals together.
  • Provide input on development process improvements, and work with teammates to refine collaborative systems as necessary.

Who We’re Looking For

Ideal Qualifications

  • 3+ years of development-related work experience, including experience with individual giving campaigns and direct responsibility for donor relationship development.
  • Highly organized with an attention to detail that ensures successful tracking, management, and engaged donor relationships.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to represent the organization and its work to donors as well as interface with a rich diversity of donors, volunteers, and staff while maintaining tact, diplomacy, and confidentiality.
  • Impeccable attention to detail and effective writing, editing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Proficiency with office technology and information systems (including MS Office and Google Suite) and donor databases, preferably Salesforce.
  • Experience supervising people in a way that acknowledges differentials in privilege and power, recognizes their gifts, encourages their confidence, supports their growth, and holds them accountable to standards and achieving collective goals.
  • Commitment to the beliefs and values of Essie with a demonstrated passion for Black feminism and progressive politics, specifically in gender justice, race justice and ending mass incarceration.


  • A uniquely skilled, empathetic communicator. You are someone who uses your highly developed sense of empathy to tap into what motivates others to act. Because of your belief that everyone benefits from the type of future for which our membership fights, you find ways to make meaningful connections to our work for individuals who may not have had any direct experience with poverty, incarceration, or race, gender, or heteronormative bias.
  • Immaculately organized in approach. You understand that coordinating multiple projects with complex data necessitates an efficient process. You feel comfortable creating and utilizing project management systems that ensure deadlines and details aren’t missed.
  • Discernment and honesty we can trust. You are a thoughtful team member who acts in alignment with your integrity and are unfailingly trustworthy.
  • Committed to evolution. You are committed to continuously deepening and evolving your own understanding of systems of oppression through study, openness, and humility. And you easily recognize your own relationship to privilege and power, examining and shifting your behaviors as appropriate.
  • Uplifting and additive. You see mistakes as opportunities for growth; problems as catalysts for solutions, and inspire others along the journey. You carry a positive approach, can-do attitude, a sense of humor, and authentic kindness wherever you go.

The Position

The Development Manager is a full time salaried, exempt position. This position is supervised by the Director of Communications & Partnerships. The salary for this position is between $85,000-$95,000 depending on experience with full medical, dental, and vision benefits, optional 401(k), a substantial vacation package, and a monthly personal wellness stipend. The position is based in one of Essie’s offices in Oakland or Los Angeles, California. All Essie staff are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with limited exceptions for medical or religious reasons.

To Apply

Please prepare (1) a personal, specific, and thoughtful cover letter to the “Essie Hiring Committee” addressing why you would like to work for Essie and (2) a professional resume. Submit both items through our hiring portal (https://essiejusticegroup.bamboohr.com/jobs).

Essie Justice Group provides equal employment and advancement opportunities to all staff members. Employment decisions are based on merit, qualifications, and skills. Essie does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, immigration status, socioeconomic status, ancestry, age, size, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, prior conviction, arrest history, traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Essie values and specifically seeks applicants who are people with incarcerated loved ones; formerly incarcerated people; people of color; women; queer, transgender, gender non-conforming (GNC), and gender fluid people.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, performance assessment, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

About Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group is a non profit organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. Our award-winning Healing to Advocacy Model brings women together to heal, build collective power, and drive social change. Essie is Great Place to Work-Certified™ and a recognized leader in Black feminist institution building.

Learn more at www.essiejusticegroup.org.