Chief Advancement Officer

Jewish Family Service of San Diego | San Diego, CA, United States

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Posted Date 11/07/2023

Sterling Search Inc. has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new Chief Advancement Officer for Jewish Family Service of San Diego.  

Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) serves more than 98,000 individuals annually, including more than 22,500 children and 10,600 older adults (60+) across the greater San Diego community through a variety of programs and services, including food assistance; services for older adults; Jewish connections; mental health services; positive parenting education; refugee and immigration services; and services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. 

Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) is a people-centered, impact-driven organization working to create a stronger, healthier community where everyone can thrive.

Founded in 1918, JFS is considered one of San Diego’s most impactful nonprofit human services agencies, providing compassionate care and supportive services to more than 98,000 people every year.

JFS helps people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds build more stable, secure, and connected lives. Their diverse network of staff, volunteers, supporters, and community partners are committed to the pursuit of one shared goal: helping individuals and families in their community move forward.

With a century’s worth of programs and services in the region, JFS has earned the trust and support of its donors and community at large as a leader in this space with the ability to pivot, when necessary, to meet the changing needs of their most vulnerable community members. It also recognizes that systemic change is a team effort and requires the attention and coordinated action of diverse organizations and people. That’s why JFS actively creates broad community partnerships to identify, address, and advocate for collaborative and effective solutions to San Diego’s most complex and pressing challenges.

CEO Michael Hopkins is a visionary leader who, in the last 12 years, has taken JFS from a $15 million agency with 150 employees to a $117 million agency with close to 600 employees in San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties. Michael is a fundraising CEO and only the 5th CEO in the agency’s 105-year history. He fosters a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture of collaboration and partnership, which is also a reflection of organizational values and the long-tenured leadership team.

Moving Forward means something different to everyone. JFS takes the time to learn what that means to each client and empowers them by providing the resources and support they need to achieve their personal and family goals. Due to their strong brand equity and extensive partnership network, JFS leverages their relationships to identify resources and connectivity for clients who need services outside of their own programs, believing that when everyone has a chance to reach their full potential, their whole community is stronger.

The Chief Advancement Officer oversees the strategy and implementation of all private fundraising, government contracts and communications for JFS, a total of $117M, the bulk of which comes from institutional giving.

Recent Accomplishments:

  • JFS’ Advancement team celebrated the agency’s Centennial Countdown Campaign with the completion of a $25 million match campaign raising $50 million.
  • The addition of a Senior Director of Advancement Services and her team of four, which is now in its second year of developing analytics, wealth screening and data driven strategies.
  • A completion of a robust advancement strategic plan which includes historical data and outlines strategies for each revenue stream within the advancement function to meet JFS’ goals.
  • Approval to conduct a feasibility study focused on a new comprehensive capital campaign that will include an affordable housing component. This is temporarily paused until the new CAO is hired.

The Advancement team is comprised of 30 staff, all very dedicated to the values of JFS’ mission and energized about raising more money to have an even greater impact on the community they serve.

The new CAO will bring their leadership skills and strategic acumen to a sophisticated senior management team and build upon the momentum and success of a strong advancement department.

If you are a seasoned advancement professional with a deep passion for social justice, and ready to lead an organization’s advancement function through its next level of growth, this position is one that will give you unlimited opportunity to do so.

As JFS continues in its role as a leading social impact agency, the Chief Advancement Officer will be responsible for managing the strategic direction and oversight of a comprehensive advancement program to ensure the agency’s ongoing success and sustainability. The successful candidate will be focused on building strategic alliances with diverse constituencies to drive major, annual, planned and institutional gifts, grants and contracts to achieve revenue goals. Reporting to the CEO, as a key member of the executive leadership team, the Chief Advancement Officer will provide leadership, strategy, and support to a staff of 30 and will directly supervise the Senior Director of Philanthropy, the Senior Director of Institutional Giving, the Senior Director of Advancement Services, Senior Director of Volunteer Services, and the Senior Director of Marketing.

Specific duties and responsibilities of the position include:

Fundraising and Institutional Giving

  • Provide fundraising leadership, strategy and support to the CEO and Board of Directors.
  • Cultivate, grow, and solicit a personal portfolio of donors and prospects with a focus on major gifts, significant institutional giving and planned giving.
  • Work closely with the advancement team to ensure all donor levels are strategically identified, cultivated, solicitated and stewarded.
  • Identify new opportunities for donor engagement.
  • Oversee the end-to-end grants approval and writing process, in partnership with the Senior Director of Institutional Giving and program leaders.
  • Oversight, preparation and execution of a comprehensive campaign.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Planned Giving to help identify prospects for blended gift asks.


  • Foster a culture which attracts, retains, mentors and motivates a diverse staff of sophisticated professionals.
  • Assess the team to ensure that the department is effectively structured and staffed.
  • Establish goals and metrics to evaluate implementation of strategy and tactics and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the advancement program.
  • Provide ongoing coaching to direct reports and development team and ensure staff is provided with ongoing training and professional development.
  • Work closely with the COO to align institutional giving and individual giving with program needs.
  • Work with the CEO and CFO to ensure sound fiscal operation of the development function, including timely and accurate budgets, reporting, monitoring, and implementation.

Strategic Planning

  • Further develop, lead, and implement the agency’s annual and long-term development strategies, charting the future course in fund development while ensuring that efforts are carried out in keeping with the agency’s mission, vision, and plans.
  • Develop and implement a systematic approach to cultivation and stewardship.
  • Define and execute the strategy for effectively mobilizing volunteers in support of all programs.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of best practices and significant developments and trends in philanthropy relevant to the agency and adapt fundraising strategies as necessary.    

Board Development/Relations

  • Provide the Board with information on the development and implementation of the fundraising strategic plan.
  • Staff Board Committees including the Development Committee.

Communications and Database Management

  • Collaborate with the Marketing team to ensure consistent messaging and outreach strategies.
  • Increase the agency’s visible presence in the philanthropic community to establish and advance relationships in support of achieving the agency’s vision and mission.
  • Oversee the development database and ensure quality prospecting, segmenting, trend identification, and relationship and communication management

Professional Experience and Qualifications

  • Passion, imagination, vision, leadership, and integrity.
  • A minimum of seven years of senior management leadership of an advancement program and major-gift fundraising experience including direct stewardship of Boards of Directors.
  • A demonstrated ability to plan and operate strategically, to build public support, to develop and strengthen fundraising and institutional infrastructure, to inspire staff, to develop strong working relationships with Boards of Directors, and to develop effective and diverse fundraising programs.
  • Significant experience and a successful track record of growing an annual fund and securing major gifts while also expanding the number of major gift donors and increasing the revenue within the major gift portfolio.
  • A record of quantifiable success in donor segmentation, research, cultivation and stewardship.
  • Exceptional management, organizational, and financial skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully plan, set goals and objectives, organize, and implement strategic initiatives.
  • A strong set of interpersonal and communication skills and a demonstrated ability to work effectively with and gain the respect and support of varied and changing constituencies including program and support staff, Board members, existing and potential donors, volunteers, and other key stakeholders.
  • A track record as an effective communicator, skilled at writing and public speaking; adept at writing proposals, solicitation letters, donor correspondence, and other types of materials to enhance fundraising.
  • An ability to juggle many responsibilities simultaneously, and to operate both independently and with the flexibility and collaborative spirit to be part of a high-performing team.
  • A working knowledge of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, and experience with Raisers Edge software is preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree required. An advanced degree is preferred.

The ideal candidate will be a charismatic and inspiring servant leader with a genuine passion for serving others. Successful candidates will be innately curious and energized by learning from others, thereby amplifying JFS’s mission in an engaging and compelling manner whilst building lasting relationships with a diversity of donors and community partners. The Chief Advancement Officer must embrace the vision and values of JFS and invest themselves in its mission and goals.

Top candidates will be innovative and inspiring development leaders with extensive experience creating and successfully executing forward-thinking development strategies that span government contracts, major gifts, campaigns, annual giving, special events, foundation and corporate relations, and planned-giving. They will have considerable experience in designing, presenting, and negotiating high-level gift arrangements, including significant individual and institutional gifts from foundations, corporations and government agencies. This role requires exceptional verbal and written communication skills while leveraging the marketing team to co-create fundraising and agency collateral that furthers the agency’s message and deepens the relationship with its supporters.

Successful candidates will have strong leadership and coaching skills and will lead the advancement team with authenticity and integrity. They will have the ability to inspire the team with creativity and energy, articulate a vision, set clear goals, and motivate individual and team success.

As the senior executive leader in advancement, candidates must be able to work collaboratively with other executives, senior leaders, and staff. They will be able to cultivate an inclusive environment that encourages open and direct communication.

This position offers a base salary of $260,000 to $300,000 plus comprehensive benefits, based upon qualifications and experience. Relocation assistance, if required, is negotiable.

Please send resumes to: Sterling Search, Inc.

For a confidential conversation email/call/text:
Sarah Agee [email protected] (949) 903-2891
Nicole Seipel [email protected] (310) 948-2535


Salary260,000.00 - 300,000.00 Annual
Full Time
Chief Development Officer (CDO) | Fundraising/Grants/Giving | Philanthropy
Organization Type
Family Services | Senior Services
Retirement Plans | Medical Insurance | Paid Vacation
Job Location
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