LION is hiring a Development Director!

This executive-level role will lead our revenue diversification strategy to support LION's long-term sustainability.

March 21, 2024 by Chris Krewson

Photo by Monstera Production from Pexels
Photo by Monstera Production from Pexels

Status: Full-time exempt (not eligible for overtime), with 90-day introductory period (see details below)

Reports to: Executive Director

Location: Remote within USA

Compensation: $130-140K, eligible for benefits (see details below)

Job Summary

Over the past four years, LION has grown its membership by 168 percent and grown our ambitions in how we can best help our members’ news businesses reach sustainability. We recently published a Strategic Growth Plan that outlines these ambitions over the next five years, and the Development Director has an essential role to play in our fourth strategic goal: revenue diversification. 

The Development Director will be responsible for diversifying and growing LION’s revenue streams by designing and executing an individual donor program, in-person events strategy and logistics, overseeing marketing and branding, and providing strategic input on opportunities for mission-aligned earned income. This role will also collaborate with the Executive Director to design and execute strategy for multi-year institutional support, including increasing the number of institutional donors. 

The Development Director will join LION’s executive team, contributing to organizational strategy decisions that will help LION fulfill goals related to the sustainability of LION, including diversifying our revenue streams, making LION a destination for employees to grow as professionals, and building LION’s resilience with a scenario planning strategy.

Our team believes that relevant, accurate and culturally competent local news and information helps people fully engage in civic life, make more informed decisions and better understand the world around them. If you’re interested in helping us make this vision a reality and working in a space of optimism and growth, learn more about the job and how to apply below.

Key Responsibilities

Revenue Strategy and Operations (40%)

  • Diversify LION’s revenue streams with a focus on institutional giving and diversifying our existing funders, and with a secondary strategy to increase our other revenue streams
  • Support the Executive Director to set institutional donor strategy and manage the organization’s institutional donors, taking over some donor relationships over time
  • Steward annual give/get gifts from Board Members
  • Document fundraising pipeline and acknowledge gifts

Events Strategy and Operations (20%)

  • Design and execute LION’s events strategy in service of LION’s revenue goals, supervising contracted project manager 
  • Internally project manage all in-person events with a significant fundraising component
  • Fundraise and sell sponsorships for our Independent News Sustainability Summit and explore other revenue-based opportunities that will leverage the event to the benefit of LION, its members and the local independent news industry

Marketing Strategy and Oversight (20%)

  • Design and oversee LION’s marketing strategy to ensure external audiences understand what LION does and its impact on its members and the independent news industry
  • Ensure consistency of branding across LION’s website, publications and collateral

People Management and Development (10%)

  • Delegate workstreams effectively by setting clear, actionable goals for direct report(s) (marketing manager)
  • Provide ongoing reinforcing and redirecting feedback to direct report(s)  to ensure that work product meets or exceeds expectations
  • Actively monitor direct report(s)’  bandwidth and proactively collaborate with directs to adjust priorities and/or work product expectations to prevent burnout
  • Align with direct report(s)  on their professional development goals, and hold directs accountable for making progress towards these goals throughout the year

Contribute to LION’s organizational strategy (10%)

  • Collaborate with the executive leadership team to set LION’s vision and direction and organizational culture
  • Collaborate with directors to plan for future staffing and capacity needs, while contributing to discussions on that growth and change’s impact on culture, systems and processes
  • Attract, develop and retain development and marketing team’s talent by aligning strategy with a positive team culture while upholding the organization’s core values

Other duties as assigned.

LION is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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 aspects of our identities including race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability, class, geography, lived experiences and more. We welcome and encourage all qualified candidates to apply to opportunities at LION so that we build a team that reflects the diversity of independent news entrepreneurs we wish to serve.

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 Role

  • Fundraising experience: Minimum 3 years’ direct experience with crafting fundraising materials, tracking pipeline status, managing donor relationships, etc. Familiarity with the journalism philanthropy space preferred but not required.
  • Communication: Strategically designs and delivers highly impactful multi-mode communications tailored to specific audiences, driving engagement and achieving desired outcomes
  • People Leadership:  Demonstrates strength in core leadership and management skills, including setting clear expectations, guiding and providing feedback and ensuring accountability of work deliverables in a constructive and inclusive way
  • Planning and Prioritization: Takes a leadership role in managing complex workloads, guiding others in effective workload management and task prioritization, and continually refining work procedures to optimize time management and productivity
  • Technical skills: Familiarity with fundraising software and tools to track progress throughout the year (Salesforce NPSP is a plus)

Skills and Expectations for Teamwork at LION

  • 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 in the role

Physical Requirements and Environmental Conditions

  • Must be able to remain in a stationary position, at a desk or similar, 90% of the time. Time spent in stationary location includes operating a computer and relevant peripherals and communicating via phone.

Travel Requirements

  • Available to travel for staff retreats 1-2 times per year (approx. 3 days per retreat)
  • Available to travel for annual LION member event annually (approx. 3 days)

About LION

Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional journalism association for independent news publishers. While most of our 500+ 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. 

90 Day Introductory Period

The first 90 days of employment is a try-out time for the employee and the Company. During this introductory period, the Company will evaluate employees’ suitability for employment and employees can evaluate the Company as well. The purpose of the introductory period is to be intentional about setting clear goals for the employee to accomplish, prompting regular feedback and support from the employee’s manager, and providing structure for a candid conversation about whether either the employee or the manager believes there is a misalignment of the employee’s competencies with and interest in the role.


  • Medical PPO, Vision & Dental fully paid by employer; 50% paid for dependents
  • Short-term disability, long-term disability, life, and worker’s compensation insurance paid by employer
  • Flexible Spending Account and Dependent Care HSA
  • Paid Time Off (including sick days) is 20 days per year 
  • Paid holidays (including week of July 4 and Christmas Eve through New Years Day) is 17 days in 2024
  • Up to 12 weeks fully paid family/caregiver leave
  • 401K with employer match up to 3.5%
  • Flexible working hours
  • No-meeting Fridays
  • Annual professional development budget
  • Monthly work-from-home stipend
  • For new hires: Health insurance stipend until eligible for employer medical coverage to begin
  • Eligible for year-end, surplus-dependent bonus

Application Materials

Applications are now closed. 

  • Your resume
  • Online links to examples of marketing materials that you have created/edited (e.g. annual reports, appeals email)
  • Answers to the following questions:
  • Please review the Strategic Growth Plan linked in the full job description. What is one thing in the plan that excites you? What is one main question you have for us that would inform how you’d approach the Development Director role? 
  • Briefly describe a time when you successfully developed an individual major donor relationship or ran an appeal campaign. What challenges did you face? What did you learn? 
  • Briefly describe a time when you managed the logistics and execution of a successful in-person event with a significant fundraising component. How did you stay organized and collaborate successfully with your team, prospective audience, contractors and vendors? What challenges did you face? What did you learn?
  • LION Publishers has a commitment to building a diverse community that is inclusive and welcoming of all members, particularly those who identify as coming from an underserved community, including publishers who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a person of color and/or LGBTQIA+. How would you approach understanding the perspectives of LION members from diverse backgrounds in order to tailor messaging to current members, prospective members, and prospective funders?

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

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