Join The War Horse Team as Director of Development

The War Horse team is excited to meet our first full-time Director of Development. You will lead fundraising for our nonprofit newsroom and writing programs for military-related individuals. You will connect with donors who support democracy, demand government transparency for $1T spent each year, and believe in successful transitions from service to careers in writing. You’ll be a leader at a nonprofit newsroom that produces award-winning projects, and you should be prepared to grow alongside a world-class team of journalists. Simply put, your mission will be to connect donors to world-changing military journalism that engages—and occasionally outrages—taxpayers and citizens to demand accountability from the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

At The War Horse, we don’t just accept difference—we support and celebrate it. Our newsroom and our community thrive on it. We want, in turn, to ensure that a wide variety of voices are present and represented in all that we do. We welcome all applicants regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, income level, disability, gender identity, veteran status, or any other personal characteristic.

Our History

Founded in 2015 out of concern over legacy media companies’ declining investment in high-quality reporting about military and veteran affairs, The War Horse has grown to become a national leader in the military and reporting communities. Our work has created international headlines, spurred changes to multiple military and federal laws, and has been featured in Vanity Fair, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and many others. We have received three prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards for Investigative Journalism and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award. Our donors and supporters include Fortune 100 companies, Ivy League Universities, leading foundations and philanthropists that support journalism, democracy and military families, and everyday people from around the world.

Explore more about our impact and read the results of our 2019 Audience Survey.

Our Programs

NEWSROOM Our investigative and multimedia reporting has been recognized with prestigious journalism awards and has led to changes in military and federal law. The ideal candidate will be deeply committed to building funding to sustain and expand a nonprofit newsroom that shines a light on abuses of power and betrayals of public trust—and sticks with those issues for as long as it takes to hold power to account.

WRITERS PROGRAM Since 2016, The War Horse has published more than 250 reflections, which form the cornerstone of our writers program and provide vital context for our reporting. Many of these stories come directly from our writing seminars—all-expenses-paid workshops centered around community-building and training the next generation of writers connecting civilians to the human experience of war. Our writing seminars ensure those most affected by U.S. military policies have a prominent voice in the national conversation.

Primary Responsibilities

The Director of Development will work alongside the Executive Director to fund The War Horse’s annual budget, share the amazing work of our growing newsroom team, and expand the organization’s reputation as one of the country’s most credible nonprofit newsrooms. The ideal candidate will grow alongside The War Horse and the position has the potential to become a role where the candidate manages a grant writer and growing development staff. The Director of Development will report directly to the Executive Director.

Our ideal candidate has a distinguished track record of conceiving and executing ambitious, high-impact fundraising campaigns. We’re looking for well-honed instincts for identifying donors who care about the important work we do, crafting compelling messaging to convey impact and inspire major gifts and multi-year grants, managing multiple prospects and asks, and providing excellent donor stewardship.

The Director of Development will have a strong vision and an articulated process for developing, refining, and maximizing The War Horse brand to a broad audience of major donors. Key to this role is the ongoing process of building a culture of respect and teamwork within the organization. The person in this position will inspire others, serve as a mentor and coach, and foster a high-performing, creative fundraising environment among staff and board.

The War Horse is committed to collaboration. An ideal candidate will execute partnerships with the Director of Operations, Managing Editor and reporting team, and program staff to anticipate and secure funding for investigative reporting, innovative public engagement events that create discourse to bridge the military-civilian divide, local reporting initiatives, and more. The successful candidate will share our belief that a financially stable, independent newsroom is critical to our long-term relevance, growth, stability, and success.

In addition to supporting engagement and newsroom operations, the Director of Development will lead all aspects of fundraising and begin to build the team to take us from a $1.6M to a $10+M organization. You will:

  • Manage large, multiyear grants communications and reporting, secure renewed support from current funders, and identify and solicit new grants prospects for 6- and 7-figure gifts.
  • Create and manage the major gifts program. Define individual donor strategy and coordinate donor meetings, brief staff and board members about donors, produce correspondence and reports, suggest donor stewardship and engagement opportunities, and track and report gifts and solicitations in Salesforce.
  • Build a series of events and opportunities for donor engagement that are personal and create discourse around the issues of government accountability and transparency.
  • Develop and maintain a prospect pipeline, building donors at all levels and gathering prospect research as appropriate.
  • Liaise with board of directors on matters related to fundraising, especially major donor conversations and events, and help create a new Philanthropy Committee.
  • Ensure the successful stewardship of donors at all levels, while maintaining accurate documentation of gifts. To include contribution acknowledgements, stewardship updates,
    and planning and executing other donor communications including calls, notes, and engagement.
  • Foster a corporate giving program for companies with employee veterans groups, managing sponsorship and stewardship opportunities, strengthening existing connections, and developing contacts.
  • Partner with other staff responsible for weekly emails and social media, leveraging online resources, messaging and opportunities for solicitation, stewardship and donor engagement.
  • Anticipate funding needs for future investigations, and identify common themes (e.g., environment, health, equity) that intersect with military issues, with the goal of reaching new funders who are not traditional supporters of journalism or military.
  • Provide hands-on management of the Salesforce CRM database, ensuring best practices, appropriate data management, and analysis of trends in giving.
  • Create a planned giving program.
  • In conjunction with the Executive Director and Board Philanthropy Committee, coordinate and execute on all elements of fundraising events and donor cultivation events.
  • Build a team that inspires and engages donors at every level, from leading philanthropists, institutional grants and sponsorship, to mid-level donors, recurring and membership gifts. The Director of Development will build diverse, sustainable revenue and a robust major gift pipeline.


This is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual with extensive fundraising and management experience to grow in an entrepreneurial and bold organization. We seek
someone who:

  • Has at least six years’ fundraising experience with direct responsibility for managing a portfolio of individual and institutional donors, and active partnership (identification, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship).
  • Can demonstrate examples of closing 6-figure gifts and moving donors to significantly higher levels of giving.
  • Has management experience, and is a proven leader who inspires best results from the team.
  • Brings unwavering integrity and diverse lived experience in fundraising, communications and project management.
  • Has a passion for the work of connecting citizens to the experiences of those who serve, and improving VA/DOD policies that affect service members, veterans and their families.
  • Works effectively as an individual contributor and team member; is self-directed, independent, collaborative and respectful with a multidisciplinary team, and fosters strong internal and external relationships.
  • Impeccable record for meeting deadlines and managing a collaborative process for best effort under pressure.
  • Is skilled at research, analysis, and recommending how to prioritize scarce resources—and able to jump in and get the job done when needed.
  • Understands complex foundation grants and sophisticated individual philanthropy.
  • Communicates clearly and effectively—both orally and in writing—using Google suite, Monday, Trello, Salesforce, and Zoom.
  • Views fundraising as an opportunity to nurture your talents and be deeply invested in sharing them to benefit the professional growth of the members of The War Horse team.
  • Embraces creativity and experimentation, with a thoughtful approach to resource allocation that balances investment in new ideas and in our core work.
  • Executes high-impact major gift and membership campaigns. National experience is preferred.
  • Loves a good team, is an excellent listener, and can translate brainstorming opportunities into concrete fundraising strategies.

Salary and Benefits

This is a full-time salaried position based remotely. Compensation is $110,000/yr along with a growing benefits package including 401k with matching, employer-subsidized medical, dental, and vision coverage, digital privacy services, and more. To have a direct impact on the veterans and military families we serve, submit your cover letter, resume, and three examples demonstrating ambitious, impactful fundraising to

This application is posted May 31, 2023, and will remain open until we find the best candidate for this role.

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