Chief Development Officer
Job Details
Thinkery - Austin, TX
Full Time
4 Year Degree


Thinkery is where Austin’s children and their families come to enjoy play-based, inquiry-rich, hands-on learning experiences. We believe that innovative, play-based, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning experiences are a powerful way for children to develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and curiosity about the world around them.  Our exhibits and programs encourage children—alongside their caregivers—to solve creative challenges, explore a variety of materials, and to develop new ways to complete unfamiliar projects. Through these activities, children gain the tools and confidence to develop and grow into enthusiastic, creative, lifelong STEAM learners and thinkers. 


The Chief Development Officer is an experienced strategic leader and a key member of a dynamic senior management team who plays a crucial role in securing the organization’s success through fund development. The CDO oversees, plans, coordinates and assures implementation of strategies to develop donors and contributions to support the organization, including targeted strategies to secure donations from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government sources. In addition, the CDO is responsible for the oversight and management of our robust membership programs and marketing team. The CDO fosters a culture of philanthropy both within the organization and within the community.  A strong culture of philanthropy ensures an organizational commitment to the central importance of philanthropy across all departments, including the development and maintenance of appropriate systems. Within our community, we seek to share and enhance our mission, vision and values across Central Texas.


  • Serves on the executive leadership team to define and carry out the short and long term strategic direction of the organization.
  • Develops and oversees the organization’s fund development activities including: major gifts, planned giving, grants, annual giving, special events, and donor and membership stewardship. The CDO will act as the lead with individuals and major gifts and manage and collaborate with a team for all other activities.
  • Manages the day-to-day operations of the development function including donor research, prospecting and cultivation, gift solicitation, gift recognition and reporting.
  • Ensures the creation and implementation of fund development systems including, but not limited to, donor management, research and cultivation, grant development, and gift processing and stewardship.
  • Supports staff and Board role in fundraising through planning, coaching, reporting and motivating.
  • Directly manages development, membership, and marketing team providing leadership, professional development, recognition, coaching and performance feedback.
  • Nurture and lead a culture of cross organization communication, collaboration and information sharing.
  • Leads Marketing and Communications staff to implement strategies to attract and sustain donors and members.
  • Collaborates extensively with Learning Experiences team to optimally align and cultivate target funders to grow programmatic impact.
  • Collaborates extensively with Finance to create, manage, and report on fundraising goals, budgets and outcomes.
  • Develop and foster relationships with the community to position the museum as a leading resource in STEAM education.
  • Represent Thinkery’s key values of inclusion, excellence, respect, innovation, playfulness, cooperation, and creativity.
  • Commitment to support Thinkery’s dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives.
  • Practice Thinkery’s health and safety protocols which adhere to local, state, and federal guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19.


  • Leadership and Communication
  • Relationship Building
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Results Driven
  • Business Acumen
  • Decision Making
  • Collaboration Skills


The right candidate will believe deeply in Thinkery’s mission. They will be a results-driven, experienced development professional with excellent management skills and experience in relationship building skills, directing and motivating staff, emotional intelligence, attention to detail, oral and written communication, financial and project management.

  • Significant proven experience in developing and managing a development program.
  • Demonstrated success in fund development from individuals, including major gifts.
  • Ability to manage, coach and empower the Board of Directors and their Resource Development Committee in the development, cultivation, and solicitation of donors.
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of fund-raising management with demonstrated experience in implementing and managing a successful, scaled, comprehensive fundraising program.
  • Knowledge and experience in the nature and dimensions of philanthropy, including ethics, motivations for giving and volunteering, research and cultivation practices, standard fundraising techniques including face-to-face solicitation, proposal writing, special events, telephone solicitation, and direct mail, and, development office functions including gift processing, prospect and donor histories, and fundraising reporting.
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of grant administration.
  • Keen understanding of the Central Texas area philanthropic community and fundraising landscape.
  • Bachelor’s degree and CFRE preferred.


  • This position regularly is required to work long hours with periodic evening and weekend work.
  • This position is currently remote for public health purposes.  In person work will be expected as the public health situation improves.
  • Periodic support and programmatic duties in other museum areas.
  • Professional attendance at some museum functions and special events.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to:

  • Communicate and exchange accurate information in a variety of formats including in-person, electronically, and over the phone.
  • Operate a computer efficiently and accurately.
  • Observe and react to the needs of others.
  • Move throughout the museum.
  • Manipulate and move office equipment and files weighing up to 15 pounds, including those that may be low to the ground or above eye level.
  • Detect and respond to safety hazards.


Thinkery offers competitive salary and affordable benefits for our full-time staff including options for 100% employer sponsored medical coverage. Our benefits package includes:

  • Affordable medical, dental and vision coverage.
  • 100% employer sponsored EAP, STD, LTD, AD&D, and Life Insurance.
  • 2 weeks of paid vacation, 4 weeks of paid sick leave, and 13 paid holidays each year.


This job description should not be construed to imply these requirements are the only duties, responsibilities and qualifications for this job.  Incumbents may be required to follow any additional related instructions, acquire related job skills, and perform other related work as required.  This job description may be updated as needed.

Thinkery is an Equal Opportunity Employer. This company does not and will not discriminate in employment and personnel practices on the basis of race, sex, age, handicap, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by applicable law. Hiring, transferring and promotion practices are performed without regard to the above listed items.  All candidates offered a position will be required to submit to a background and reference checks.