Aug 14, 2019

Director of Annual Giving and Donor Relations - Wayfinder Family Services

  • Shirley Associates - Non-profit Executive Search
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
Development Child and Family Welfare Agency Mental Health Nonprofit-Social Services Youth services

Job Description


For over 65 years, Wayfinder Family Services’ mission has been to ensure that children, youth and adults facing challenges always have a place to turn. The organization was founded as the Foundation for the Junior Blind and later was known as Junior Blind of America. The original programming was centered on recreation for children with vision loss.

This is an exciting time in the organization’s history; they are tackling some of the toughest issues in the sector and changing more lives than ever before. Wayfinder is still the largest service provider to children with vision loss throughout California, but also one of the strongest organizations providing services to foster children. Currently they serve more than 18,500 students and family members each year across Southern, Central and Northern California through two service divisions: one which helps individuals with visual impairment and additional disabilities, and one which assists children in the child welfare system, with a focus on services to foster youth with special health needs.

Wayfinder is driven by a belief that every child deserves a chance to thrive, a safe haven and a loving family. They offer quality programming that includes early intervention, education, rehabilitation, employment, and recreation services. All the programs are offered at no charge to families. This is critical since more than 90 percent of those they serve are low-income.

Programs include:

Adoption Services

Blind Babies Foundation

Camp Bloomfield

Early Intervention Program

Foster Family Services

Group Homes for Children

Mental Health Services

Special Education School

Visions: Adventures in Learning

Youth Residential Treatment Program

Transition Services


For adults and families, the organization provides the following key programs:

Assistive Technology Training

Program for Independence

Employment Services

Group Homes for Adults

Orientation and Mobility Training

Veterans Training Program

Awards & Distinctions:

Wayfinder was recently awarded its eighth consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator, a distinction earned by only three percent of charities nationwide.

In November 2017, Wayfinder Family Services was re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) following an extensive, year-long review process of performance standards. Achieving COA accreditation means Wayfinder is among the best in the field with exemplary fiscal, operations and program management. It is one of only ten nonprofits in Los Angeles and one of 155 in California to achieve this status.

Accredited by BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Wayfinder proudly meets all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s Charity Standards based on governance and effectiveness.

In 2017, Wayfinder was one of ten organizations selected to participate in the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities National Transformational Leadership program, an initiative funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Using the principles of change leadership over a three-year period, a professional coach is working with Wayfinder management to respond to trends impacting the child welfare sector. The goal: to function as a high-impact nonprofit, ensuring family engagement, stability, permanency and wellness for those we serve.


Wayfinder has an operating budget approaching $35,000,000. In the 2018-2019 financial year, about $5 million dollars of that will be raised from private sources (individuals, direct mail, foundations, special events, wills and bequests). The organization currently raises just under $1 million from all individuals and special event contributions. They would like to double that in the next five years. The Director of Annual Giving and Donors Relations will be a driving force in moving the needle on the $1 million.

Wayfinder has a presence throughout the Los Angeles area, including South LA, a camp in Malibu, offices/programs in LaVerne, Whittier and Ontario. In addition, they have programs in Central California and multiple programs and offices in Northern California. The ideal candidate will be excited about making Wayfinder the charity of choice in each of these regions. This will require growing ties with the existing donor base and introducing Wayfinder to new prospects in those communities.

The Director of Annual Giving and Donors Relations reports to the Chief Development Officer and will lead all fundraising activities that sustain the annual giving campaign. This position supervises an Associate Director in Northern California and an Associate Director for Special Events and Volunteers. A Database Manager manages data entry for the department.

The development team is very dynamic: Team members are well organized, driven, high-producing, and fun loving. Your peers will include an Associate VP in charge of Planned Giving and Direct Mail; a Foundation Relations Director and a Communications Director, each reporting to the Chief Development Officer. Each person is a master of their craft and a consummate professional. The Chief Development Officer is a seasoned leader with a fresh, professional outlook and leadership style. She prides herself in providing employees with autonomy and a good work-life balance; families are a priority.


Annual Giving Program

  • Develop and execute a dynamic and detailed strategic plan for the Annual Giving program, setting goals based on historical analysis of donor and prospect base and school needs
  • Create targeted, segmented solicitations for specific donors
  • Establish and manage peer-to-peer solicitations segmented by targeted constituency and fundraising strategy
  • Solicit prospects (you must be experienced and comfortable making the ask)
  • Monitor program results and provide ongoing analysis and evaluation to meet goals
  • Recommend and implement changes in strategy to meet program goals and objectives
  • Coordinate gift preparation, acknowledgment, pledge invoicing, and fulfillment, as well as Annual Report lists in conjunction with the Database Manager
  • Collaborate with Communications to prepare all Annual Giving collateral, letters, and solicitation materials
  • Collaborate with Communications to create print, electronic, and social media outreach strategies and branding for Annual Giving
  • Design and execute personalized stewardship plans for annual donors across constituencies, including donor and volunteer appreciation events, thank-you phone calls, and more

Donor Relations and Stewardship

  • Implement a donor relations plan that ensures the highest possible level of stewardship for volunteers and donors
  • Develop, build, and retain positive relationships with diverse internal and external constituents
  • Oversee donor and volunteer appreciation events and materials
  • Robustly use the Raiser’s Edge database to capture the relevant constituent information necessary for a top-notch stewardship program

Departmental Support

  • Organize and execute segmented mailings for various constituents year-round
  • Support other team members as needed

Skills and Qualifications

This position is ideal for someone who wants to be an integral part of a highly effective and dynamic development team. The individual will be highly organized, an effective and strategic planner, project manager and collaborator who can showcase Wayfinder as a thought leader in the philanthropic sector and a philanthropic cause of choice. The individual must be passionate about engaging people and raising funds to support Wayfinder. The individual must possess contagious enthusiasm and be an effective and persuasive communicator – both verbally and in writing.

The ideal candidate will be:

  • Someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, who can analyze the landscape at Wayfinder and build and execute a strategy for individual donors
  • Someone who is excited about building a program. Someone who is “hungry” and driven. This is not the right position for someone who needs a plan/map with proscribed directions. This will require identifying new donors and new gifts
  • Someone who wants to work as a part of a team. If you like working in silos, this is not the right position for you
  • A highly skilled networker with the ability to build and nurture relationships with donors
  • Someone with a very high energy level and an eagle eye for detail
  • Someone who knows how to close gifts and can make “the ask.” You will also know how to engage the right staff to support you in these efforts
  • Someone capable of multi-tasking in a fast-paced, collaborative environment
  • Someone with robust experience with Raiser’s Edge software
  • A superlative writer, speaker, and presenter

Experience and credentials required:

  • Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree preferred
  • Minimum seven to ten years’ development and some management experience
  • Preferably worked for a social service organization (child welfare preferred)
  • Has built and led an annual giving program
  • Has an excellent eye for detail and an analytical mindset


Highly competitive compensation depending on experience. Includes full health, dental and vision benefits.

Please include a cover letter highlighting how yourexperience is a match, specifically with regards to your experience running an annual giving campaign focused on individuals. The "start-up"/entrepreneurial nature of this role critical: this is not a role that is maintaining a pre-established campaign; you will be building something from scratch.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR APPLICATION TO ANYONE AT WAYFINDER. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST GO THROUGH SHIRLEY ASSOCIATES : please send your resume and cover letter to Mention Deepsweep in the message heading.

Title / Level of Responsibility

Director, Deputy Director, Manager

Apply Now