Endowment Director

  • Wikimedia Foundation
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • Jul 17, 2017
Full time Communications Nonprofit-Social Services Other Research Strategy-Planning

Job Description

Location: San Francisco or Remote


The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia –one of the most popular websites in the world, serving nearly half a billion users every month – and its sister sites. It is the only non-profit in the top 50 companies, supported by a community of millions of individual donors. In 2016, we launched the WIkimedia Endowment in order to provide support to the WIkimedia projects in perpetuity.

As the professional focused on developing sustainable support for the Foundation, the Endowment Director will report to and work with the Chief Advancement Officer. Succeeding in this environment will require taking a hands-on approach to connecting with a broad array of donors, using traditional development methods, while implementing the infrastructure required for supporting a sustained long-term endowment.  

The Endowment Director can be based in Wikimedia Foundation’s headquarters in San Francisco or work remotely.. The Wikimedia Foundation has had its main fundraising success inside the United States; however, this is an international organization serving an internationally distributed audience. A strong international perspective with personal experience in cross-cultural communication is extremely important in this position.

We’d like you to do these things:   

  • Develop and implement a fundraising plan to build an endowment primarity through major gifts and planned giving.
  • Recruit and partner with a board of directors  provide governance for the endowment fund.
  • Strengthen the Wikimedia brand and actively broaden and deepen support for the Wikimedia Endowment among all current and prospective donors nationally and internationally;
  • Retain, recruit and manage a team of development professionals and consultants; establish work plans, performance objectives, and goals for each team member and regularly review performance; provide professional development and training required to cultivate staff skills and professionalism;
  • Ensure successful adherence to grant agreements;
  • Undertake direct individual donor solicitations as appropriate, engaging the Executive Director, other Foundation staff, members of the Board or other community members when necessary;
  • Aggressively implement a structured program for fostering strong, long-term relationships with targeted individual donors; organize events that boost individual fundraising efforts; strengthen the stewardship and donor recognition program for individual donors, with the objective of establishing a life-long, relationships with major donors;
  • Develop a proactive funder communications and accountability program that regularly educates our funders about the organization’s progress, in addition to complying with each donor’s reporting requirements; Manage prospecting efforts to identify and secure new endowment funders;
  • Collaborate with the senior leadership of the Foundation in the preparation of annual operating plans and budgets.


About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports and hosts Wikipedia and several other Wikimedia free knowledge sites. Every month, the Wikimedia sites are accessed by more than a billion unique devices. Wikipedia consists of more than 40 million articles across hundreds of languages. Every month, more than 70,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikipedia. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) non-profit that is funded primarily through donations and grants. It currently employs over 240 staff members.

At the Foundation, we build technology to help people everywhere access Wikipedia, across devices and in nearly 300 languages. We engineer privacy for our readers and editors so they can safely and securely explore Wikipedia. We create programs and initiatives to make Wikipedia freely available to more people in more parts of the world. We build new tools for the community of editors so they can continue to improve and grow Wikipedia. Roughly a quarter of our budget goes to supporting the community that make the site possible, including through grantmaking programs that enable volunteers and enrich the information on the sites.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply.

Benefits & Perks *

  • Fully paid medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their eligible families (yes, fully paid premiums!)
  • The Wellness Program provides reimbursement for mind, body and soul activities such as fitness memberships, massages, cooking classes and much more
  • The 401(k) retirement plan offers matched contributions at 4% of annual salary
  • Flexible and generous time off - vacation, sick and volunteer days, plus 19 paid holidays - including the last week of the year.
  • Family friendly! 100% paid new parent leave for seven weeks plus an additional five weeks for pregnancy, flexible options to phase back in after leave, fully equipped lactation room.
  • For those emergency moments - long and short term disability, life insurance (2x salary) and an employee assistance program
  • Pre-tax savings plans for health care, child care, elder care, public transportation and parking expenses
  • Telecommuting and flexible work schedules available
  • Appropriate fuel for thinking and coding (aka, a pantry full of treats) and monthly massages to help staff relax
  • Great colleagues - diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people

* for benefits eligible staff, benefits may vary by location

More Information



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We’d like you to have these skills:

  • A record of personal success in raising money from individual major donors and through planned gifts; experience building relationships through mission-supporting ventures; comfort and experience in a technology-driven environment;
  • Experience with institutional grantmaking and/or advising major donors; a deep understanding of planned giving; a comfort with major donors and a respect for and understanding of their goals and objectives;
  • Broad-based knowledge of various development campaign activities including: planned giving, event planning and management, direct solicitations, and leveraging fundraising databases;
  • A track record as an exceptional communicator, in writing as well as verbally; adept at writing solicitation letters, donor correspondence, and other kinds of material for publication; experience preparing and making effective presentations to diverse groups large and small;
  • A college degree.

With these characteristics:

  • A mission-driven individual with an understanding of, belief in and commitment to the open source movement, net neutrality, the benefits of the free exchange of information; a passion for communicating how these principles are important in the development of civil societies; an ability to communicate that passion without losing focus;
  • An independent and open-minded individual who values and appreciates diversity, input and collaboration from various constituencies; has the ability to make unpopular decisions when necessary;
  • A charismatic communicator, both in writing and speaking, and particularly able to recognize the alignment of a donor’s interests with the value of Wikimedia Foundation programs, communities, services and events; ability to be the public face of fundraising;
  • A good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources, and able to act on information to develop increased support;
  • A strong manager who will advocate for the development team and its needs. A skilled teacher who can help staff to improve their skills;
  • A hard worker with a high energy level; a “doer” with a willingness to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of development and advancement activities;
  • A person who is emotionally mature and self-reliant;
  • A person who has an ability to tolerate a high degree of ambiguity, and to negotiate with people having sharply defined opinions while maintaining positive, respectful relationships;

And it would be even more awesome if you have this:

  • Passion for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects
  • Fluency in languages other than English
  • Understanding of free culture / free software / open source principles