LION is requesting proposals for a Development Specialist

We're requesting proposals to partner with our Executive Director to set a philanthropic fundraising strategy and steward our 2022 fundraising

April 1, 2022 by Lisa Hunter

LION Publishers logo

Status: Independent Contractor

Point of Contact: Executive Director

Project Type: Short-term contract, with variable working hours, from May 1–December 31, 2022

About LION Publishers

Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional journalism association for independent news publishers. While most of our 400+ members across the U.S. and Canada run local news businesses, we also have members who serve larger regions and specific identity-based communities across geographies. LION provides teaching, resources and community to independent news entrepreneurs as they build and develop sustainable businesses. One of our core values is being people-centered, and here are some ways we build that culture for our staff. 

Project Summary

We’re looking for an entrepreneurial advisor to guide our organization through the philanthropic development process for multi-year philanthropic support. Your project goals will be to help LION lay the groundwork for diversifying and growing our philanthropic revenue sources in 2022 and beyond, and to secure $450,000 to support current-year budget goals and build a pipeline for future years.

Project Scope of Work


  • In collaboration with the Executive Director, create and document a funding development and stewardship strategy for foundations, corporate donors and individual donors
  • Conduct prospect research to identify potential donors/grant opportunities in each donor category
  • Create boilerplate grant application and annual appeal language
  • Project-manage grant applications, proactively engaging the executive leadership team
  • Build a funding pipeline sufficient to meet LION’s 2022 budget goals ($450,000 to support LION membership community, industry building activities, and general operations)


  • Within first 30 days
    • Create and document fundraising strategy for each vertical
    • Create boilerplate grant application language 
    • Provide feedback on existing pitch deck
    • Recommend any services/databases LION should sign up for to increase funding opportunities
  • Within first 60 days
    • Build pipeline of funding prospects
    • Calendar and begin applying to new funding opportunities
    • Begin outreach to institutions and major donors
  • By end of calendar year
    • Secure $450,000 in new philanthropic funding for 2022 that will also help lay the groundwork for future fundraising

LION is an Equal Opportunity Partner

LION believes that a team with diversity of backgrounds and experiences will generate the most innovative ideas and ultimately do the best work in support of our mission. This is why we welcome contractors, vendors, staff and board members who contribute to a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment. We understand diversity as multi-dimensional and intersectional, encompassing race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability, class, geography and more.

We know there are great candidates who might not check all the boxes listed below or who possess important skills we haven’t thought of. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself. 

Skills and Qualifications for The Project

  • Demonstrated success in creating and implementing strategies for philanthropic funding pipelines for nonprofit organizations
  • A deep listener who can absorb information about LION and its offerings and translate those into clear and accurate funding pitches to prospective funders and individual donors
  • Demonstrates a high level of organization and clear communication with LION executive leadership staff about pipeline, potential program pitches and foundation and major donor negotiations
  • Creative, nimble and flexible in designing funding opportunities that best meet the needs of funders while maintaining a standard of trust with LION’s members and community
  • Balances a respectful approach to fundraising with a clear determination and persistence to hitting revenue goals

Skills and Expectations for Collaboration with the LION Team

  • Work in a way that upholds and reflects our organizational values: Being data-informed, equitable and inclusive, people-centered, systems thinkers, transparent and iterative
  • Use digital tools and platforms to stay organized, communicate transparently and collaborate with team members remotely 
  • Collaborate strategically with others, clearly defining processes for decision making
  • Give and receive constructive feedback to help the team produce its best work
  • Celebrate our wins and learning moments
  • Take on an experimental mindset and demonstrate flexibility to iterate on our work, systems and processes 
  • Be willing and able to ask for help when needed and demonstrate an ability to learn and grow

Submission Requirements

Submit your proposal materials using this form by midnight PT on April 22

  • Please include in your proposal:
  • Your resume/track record of your firm
  • Any online links that show examples of your work (a Twitter profile, a portfolio page, etc.)
  • Answers to the following questions:
    • Tell us about your experience helping organizations formalize their fundraising strategy. 
    • Based on what you’ve read about LION Publishers, what types of institutional and individual donors would you target?
    • How might you pitch LION’s unique value proposition to a funder? 
    • What tools/services are you most comfortable with when communicating remotely with a team and pitching/negotiating with prospective clients?
    • What questions would you ask the LION team before meeting with a prospective funder?
    • Describe your fee structure, and the total proposed project budget.

If you have questions about this project, reach out to [email protected] to learn more.

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