March 29, 2024

Development Manager

Cato Institute
March 28, 2024
Washington, DC
Job Type


About the Cato Institute

The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization—a think tank—dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.

Founded in 1977, Cato owes its name to Cato’s Letters, a series of essays published in 18th-century England that presented a vision of a society free from excessive government power. Those essays inspired the architects of the American Revolution. And the simple, timeless principles of that revolution – individual liberty, limited government, and free markets – turn out to be even more powerful in today’s world of global markets and unprecedented access to information than Jefferson or Madison could have imagined. Social and economic freedom is not just the best policy for a free people, it is the indispensable framework for the future.

Cato Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

About the Role

The Cato Institute seeks an entrepreneurial, highly motivated Development Manager to join a high-performing, mission-oriented development team in driving fundraising revenue for the organization. The ideal candidate will have at least three to five years of experience in fundraising with a proven track record and strong skills in fundraising strategy, development operations, communications, donor engagement, and internal stakeholder management. Applicable sales or account management experience will also be valuable in this role. The successful candidate will have excellent communication and writing skills, impeccable attention to detail, and the ability to prioritize multiple tasks and meet deadlines. They must also have a strong affinity for public policy and Cato’s mission.

This is an opportunity to manage critical elements of Cato’s donor base as a crucial member of a dynamic development team. The Development Manager will be responsible for assisting in the implementation and execution of a plan to deliver an outstanding experience to Cato’s community of Sponsors, who come from every state in the country and share Cato’s commitment to libertarian, free-market principles. There is tremendous potential to take on greater growth and leadership responsibilities as Cato’s development team seeks to grow its Sponsor community and $40+ million annual budget. This is a full-time in-office position located in Washington, DC. Applicants must have the ability to travel approximately 25% throughout the US. 


  • Collaborate with senior development staff to devise and execute a comprehensive strategy for Sponsor engagement and revenue growth, focusing on customer service excellence, effective communication, meticulous data management and analysis, engaging events, and proactive organizational participation to strengthen relationships with Sponsors contributing less than $25,000 annually.
  • Actively identify, engage, and foster relationships with new and existing Sponsors, aiming to significantly expand Cato’s Sponsor community and boost annual contributions through personalized outreach and strategic gift solicitation.
  • Oversee day-to-day operations related to development efforts, including managing inbound correspondence, ensuring timely and accurate responses to Sponsor inquiries, and maintaining high standards of service.
  • Take ownership of specific reporting and analytical tasks to monitor and enhance the effectiveness of fundraising strategies, with a focus on data-driven decision-making.
  • Execute a high volume of outreach to grow Sponsors' relationships with Cato, identifying opportunities for increased engagement.
  • Contribute to planned giving initiatives and discussions, identifying potential opportunities for long-term funding strategies and Sponsor legacy planning.
  • Design and implement personalized moves management plans for Sponsors contributing less than $25,000 annually. 
  • Partner with Development research colleagues to prioritize and execute projects and tasks.
  • Develop proposals and reports for individuals and foundations as needed.
  • Coach junior staff as the team grows and evolves, and potentially manage a direct report. 


  • Alignment with libertarian principles and Cato’s mission 
  • At least 3-5 years of successful fundraising or equivalent sales experience
  • An entrepreneurial spirit that will drive projects involving colleagues throughout the organization
  • Experience in operations management, data analysis, and reporting
  • Ability to manage direct reports
  • Ability to provide excellent customer service to Cato Sponsors
  • Knowledge of and experience with proposal development
  • Outstanding communication, writing, and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to balance shifting and competing priorities and work well under pressure
  • Meticulous record-keeping skills
  • Experience in fundraising metrics, analytics, and reporting
  • Proficient to advanced understanding of Office systems
  • Willingness to adapt to potential future roles as the Development team evolves
  • Willingness to travel up to 25%
  • Experience using Salesforce (or similar CRM software) is preferred but not required
  • Knowledge of “moves management” style of fundraising is preferred but not required

To Apply
Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials (in order) in one PDF document:

  • Cover letter detailing your philosophical interest in the organization, why the position interests you, how your experience has prepared you for this position, and your salary requirements
  • Résumé

Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via this link:

Questions can be directed to Lydia Ocampo, Outreach Manager at Talent Market, who is managing the search process: [email protected].

There is no application deadline for this position. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. This job will remain posted on our site until it is filled.

While we thank all applicants in advance for their interest in this position, we are only able to contact those to whom we can offer an interview. Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.

Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free-market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide consulting and recruiting services at no cost to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations that clearly and directly focus on advancing the principles of economic freedom, free enterprise, free trade, free speech, property rights, rule of law, and limited regulation.

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