Chief Development Officer

Chief Development Officer

The Ohio Local News Initiative is looking for its founding Chief Development Officer to lead the organization’s sustainability and growth strategy by growing funding streams in institutional philanthropy and major giving..

Signal Ohio is a new nonprofit, statewide network of local newsrooms beginning with Signal Cleveland. With $7.5 million in funding raised so far, the organization will be among the most ambitious local news initiatives in the country with a mandate to rapidly expand to fill local news gaps across Ohio, at both the statewide and community levels. This will require building a determined development organization to build a movement of hundreds of philanthropists across the state to support this work. 

The successful candidate will have a track record of fundraising for mission-driven organizations and a passion for local journalism, democracy, and executive leadership experience.

Directing this startup’s development and fundraising operations would put you on the forefront of a movement to make local journalism a foundational part of civic life in Ohio by enabling the kind of journalism that holds power to account, and truly addressing the information needs of communities.

This is an exciting opportunity to be a leader on the executive team of a new, fast-growing nonprofit organization. Qualified candidates may come from a variety of backgrounds, including  from a nonprofit executive background rather than from the news or media sectors. We encourage candidates who are passionate about the importance of local journalism and democracy to apply.

The Organization

In 2021, a coalition of Ohio organizations and community leaders, and the American Journalism Project, partnered to launch a network of independent, community-led, nonprofit newsrooms. Created out of a study that found many residents of northeast Ohio were not getting the critical local information they needed, the mission is to ensure every resident of the state has the local news they need.

With over $7.5M raised, the first of these networked nonprofit newsrooms was Signal Cleveland, which launched in fall of 2022. The newsroom will increase the volume of relevant, original local reporting available to all residents of Greater Cleveland, with a focus on key coverage areas and issues that residents elevated as being important to them, including government accountability, economic development, health, and education.

The Role

The CDO will help build and quickly grow the organizational revenue across diverse fundraising streams. You will lead the strategic vision needed to increase support and  build a sustainable, local civic institution. You will be responsible for planning and implementing strategies to secure donors and contributions in support of the organization, provide oversight of the fund development program, and monitor development activities.  As a partner across teams,  you will be a champion for newsrooms in the network, maintaining relationships with funders and sponsors while protecting the independence of the organization’s editorial team.

Responsibilities and priorities


  • Develop and implement a comprehensive, strategic, donor-centered fundraising plan that aligns with Signal Ohio’s revenue goals for foundation grants and major gifts to help grow the organization across the state and diversify revenue to protect the independence of the newsroom.

  • Build and oversee a development team, and coordinate with the editorial team as necessary to galvanize funding support.

  • Personally identify, cultivate, and solicit new donors, and maintain active partnerships with all of the organization’s funders.

  • Oversee a development team member with the potential to recruit for additional team members.

  • Foster a culture of philanthropy and ensure that fund development is executed in keeping with the organization's values, vision, and mission.

  • Draft donor correspondence and maintain primary responsibility for developing campaign messages, project plans, talking points and donor materials.

  • Develop and maintain a calendar of grant opportunities, manage the grant application process, and ensure timely and accurate grant reporting, with assistance from the development specialist.

  • Recommend and manage donor software to include data entry, gift processing and acknowledgment, data extraction for reports and remain proficient in the software.

  • Monitor all revenue received and provide statistics, analysis, and reports to leadership.

  • Represent Signal Ohio publicly at industry events as needed.

Your team

You will report to the CEO with support from to-be hired local development directors, and the American Journalism Project.

You’re a good fit if you have…

  • A track-record of seeking and securing six and seven-figure gifts and tangible experience expanding and cultivating existing donor relationships over time, preferably on a national level.

  • Knowledge of and experience in the field of journalism and democracy (preferred).

  • Ability to be nimble and entrepreneurial; we are looking for people who thrive at adapting to evolving demands and creatively solving problems.

  • Eagerness to dive into the details and be an individual contributor while also getting on the balcony to set strategy.

  • Willingness to travel across Ohio.

Compensation and benefits

SALARY: $125,000 - $150,000

This is a full-time position with competitive salary and benefits. Signal Ohio is dedicated to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. Signal Ohio encourages people of all races, colors, national origins, ancestries, creeds, religions, genders, ages, disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientations, and marital statuses to apply.

Apply Here

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