Hiring: Development Manager

Aug 25, 2023

Development Manager
Full-Time Position
Reports to: Executive Director


Located on the ancestral homelands of the Moh-He-Con-Nuck in New York state, Forge Project is a Native-led initiative working to upend political and social systems formed through generations of settler colonialism. 

Forge Project serves the social and cultural landscape of shared communities through a funded fellowship program for Indigenous culture workers; public education and events, many hosted in its outdoor Land and Learning Kitchen; an activist art collection of leading Indigenous contemporary artists; publishing of contemporary Indigenous scholars and thought leaders; and a large-scale land rematriation project, centered on the return of native plants through seeding a diverse local ecology. 

These programs develop and respond to the needs and feedback of the communities Forge serves, locally, regionally, and across Turtle Island.

A young organization with a small team, we are a highly collaborative group and are looking for a team member who embraces new opportunities and challenges and shares a deep dedication to centering Indigenous knowledge and perspectives. As a team and as an organization, we value inclusivity, transparency, and collaboration as we work to generate new models of Indigenous cultural self-determination.


As Forge Project expands its structure to become a 501c3 non profit organization and seeks to broaden its community, we are looking to grow our team and add a Development Manager. Forge Project seeks to create a unique institutional model with a focus on learning and evolving to meet a positive culture of philanthropy, and where fundraising strategies and practices will reflect the Native-led initiative’s values. 

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Development Manager will be an integral member of the leadership team and will possess a blend of proven frontline fundraising experience with excellent donor relationship building and management. The successful candidate will be responsible for achieving an annual revenue goal through the generation of major gifts and the cultivation of annual giving with a focus on grants, foundations, and individual supporters. Further, the Development Manager will oversee the strategy for a three-year campaign to build the endowment through a generous matching program. The successful candidate is a detail-oriented self-starter with demonstrated ability to effectively prioritize a variety of development tasks between colleagues and collaborators. 

This is a unique opportunity for an administrator with an interest in narrative change at the intersection of arts, culture, and social justice. A candidate assuming this position has the ability to demonstrate originality and joins a collaborative team working to center creativity and culture in how we move forward to shared, just futures. The organization offers many opportunities to grow professionally and welcomes candidates from a wide breadth of backgrounds and expertise. The position will deepen collaborations and strategic partnerships with individuals and organizations already conducting important work in the Mahicannituck River Valley and beyond, while also recognizing that this region is the site of historic displacement of Indigenous people. 


  • Work closely with the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and the Indigenous Steering Council to shape and execute a strategic development plan that will provide Forge Project with the financial resources to grow and thrive. 

  • Build on the compelling case for support for the organization and create a shared passion for Forge Project’s important mission.

  • Secure annual funds for Forge Project’s operations and programs through a variety of values-aligned partners in the following fundraising categories: individuals, corporate partnerships, foundations, and special initiatives. 

  • Create a comprehensive annual and quarterly development roadmap and calendar with clearly defined goals, objectives and timelines. Deliver clear updates to members of the Board, Indigenous Steering Council, and the ED so that they are aware of progress in real-time. 

  • Create and implement a strategy for growing the existing endowment. 

  • Oversee grant writing, reporting activities, and other requests from institutional funders, including developing and tracking departmental and organizational budgets, and managing relationships with program officers.

  • Initiate and manage the cultivation and solicitation of a personal portfolio of donors.

  • Maintain an organization-wide CRM database of members, donors, and prospects.

  • Oversee and execute all development correspondence including proposals, thank you and acknowledgment letters, and formal and informal reports.

  • Act as one of the central liaisons for the Board of Directors and other donor groups. 

  • Manage and implement all aspects of robust fundraising and cultivation programs and events with support from staff.

  • With support from the editorial projects manager, create and execute direct mail, email, and social-media appeals, as well as other cultivation and fundraising efforts.

  • Support and attend public programs and events, including on nights and weekends.

  • Keep informed of Indigenous policies and practices, philanthropy, and tax regulations for possible impacts on development efforts.


  • 5+ years of experience in development/advancement with a strong track record of building donor relationships and fostering long-term philanthropic support. 

  • Some management experience with exceptional interpersonal skills.

  • Passionate about culture and the arts broadly, non profit structures and/or activism and creating diverse and supportive learning environments.

  • Deep understanding and interest in centering support for Indigenous culture.

  • Ability to think creatively and strategically about ways to fundraise for Forge Project’s many diverse and unique program areas. 

  • Ability to look at the big picture and search for insightful, creative solutions.

  • Adherence to the highest ethical standards with the ability to act with discretion, self-assurance, and diplomacy.

  • Strong written and oral communications and presentation skills, including the ability to deploy tact and diplomacy and communicating with empathy and clarity with existing and prospective collaborators, staff, and funders.

  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment; strong time management and prioritization skills and a tendency towards proactivity. Manage the unexpected and meet deadlines.

  • Strong computer skills (facility with Word, Excel, Google platforms, Zoom, Microsoft Teams.) ­ 

  • Experience with Customer Relationship Management platforms.

  • Availability during select weekends and evenings.

  • ­While English proficiency is required, Indigenous language speakers and learners are strongly encouraged to apply.

  • Current valid driver’s license and reliable automobile is necessary as Forge Project is in a rural area with no public transportation.


  • Forge Project is in a rural area with no public transportation and the facilities/office spaces are not currently fully ADA accessible as they include unpaved pathways and stairs.

  • Forge’s work space includes sitting desks, a semi-private office, and informal meeting spaces.

  • Regular evening and weekend availability to accommodate the events and programs schedule.

  • Forge encourages healthy work-life balance with set working hours outside of events and hybrid in-person and remote office operations.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: $85,000 per annum DOE, plus benefits package including health, dental, and vision, paid holidays and sick leave, and employer matched 401K. 

For confidential consideration, please submit your one-page cover letter and resume highlighting relevant experience, to [email protected] with the subject line: Development Manager. 

Review of applications will begin September 8, 2023. 

Forge Project is an equal opportunity employer and considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.