A Storied National Public Radio and Media Presence
- Leading public radio station for NPR news and information in the greater Washington, DC area with a devoted following in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
- 60+ years as a trusted public news source in one of the world’s media capitals
- Consistently ranks among country’s top stations in audience share and size
- Award-winning programming ranging from national talk shows to local news and podcasts
- Close, unique working relationship with NPR and American University (AU)
- Owns DCist and seeking to expand its digital presence
- 100+ employees, annual revenue of $35 million
A Station with a History of Impact
WAMU first signed on the air in October 1961 and became a charter member of NPR in 1971, airing its first national news program All Things Considered, along with a local show called Spirits Known and Unknown. Over the next few decades WAMU expanded its focus as a source for news, producing its own shows such as The Derek McGinty Show, The Diane Rehm Show, and Metro Connection, and airing major national news programs such as Morning Edition.
More recently, WAMU has emphasized accountability journalism: stories that help people understand the issues that shape Washington. This is the strong history on which WAMU is building — and on which it must build: a history founded on a civic duty to provide accurate, fair, honest, and thorough reporting; a history of providing journalism focused on issues and events that affect lives every day.
The Path Forward
Under new leadership, the vision for WAMU is to become an essential and trusted source of information that empowers civic and community engagement. To accomplish this, WAMU must become a stronger provider of broadcast and digital news and a major convener of inclusive conversations. WAMU is evolving from a radio station that provides news into a multifaceted media company integral to the quality of life for the more than six million residents who live in and around Washington, D.C. WAMU must serve as a defining force for what it means to be a Washingtonian.
WAMU seeks a strategic, entrepreneurial, self-starter to serve as Chief Advancement Officer (CAO). At a time when public radio has never been more important, WAMU’s potential has never been greater. Under the visionary new leadership of General Manager Erika Pulley-Hayes, appointed in 2021, and with the support of American University, WAMU is embracing its role to provide unprecedented value and service to the region and to serve as a model for impact and innovation among its public media peers. By leading integrated marketing, communications, and revenue-generating efforts, the CAO will be a key figure in increasing the station’s ability to provide greater access and deliver more comprehensive and actionable information on issues most critical to Washingtonians.
Reporting directly to the WAMU General Manager and serving on the executive team, the CAO is responsible for planning, managing, and executing a comprehensive, diversified, and strategic advancement effort that sustains and grows the WAMU brand, civic and community engagement, and revenues. The CAO will lead a newly established, 20-person advancement team, including two direct reports, and collaborate with an outsourced corporate underwriting team, ensuring effective collaboration across teams to optimize results in all aspects of WAMU’s revenue cycles and streams. They will work closely with the General Manager to develop and execute a strategic, effective plan for marketing and fundraising spanning the areas of branding and engagement, development, and corporate underwriting.
The CAO will inspire a sophisticated staff and oversee a comprehensive philanthropic revenue program that includes a membership program with approximately 70,000 active donors; individual major giving, institutional giving, planned giving, and special events. As the organization transforms into a platform-agnostic media organization, the CAO will help drive digital innovation and integration in philanthropy, collaborating with stakeholders across the organization to develop and execute robust digital fundraising strategies. Capitalizing on WAMU’s presence in the region and beyond, the CAO will create strategies to significantly increase major and principal gifts from individual and institutional sources, bringing greater balance to WAMU’s revenue streams that have primarily been driven by membership and corporate underwriting to date. This individual will personally cultivate and manage a portfolio of leading major gift prospects. The CAO is responsible for maintaining and growing an overall revenue stream that has reached approximately $30 million annually, and they will be the principal leader of any future fundraising campaign efforts undertaken by WAMU.
While WAMU will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate will have the following qualifications/experience:
- Passion for WAMU’s mission, high-quality journalism, and the broader public media landscape.
- Ten or more years of progressively responsible experience in nonprofit fundraising, including experience with the following: individual giving, institutional giving, major gifts, membership/annual giving, planned giving, capital campaign, donor and board relations, stewardship, events, and development operations. Highly experienced in digital fundraising, with a forward-thinking, digitally savvy mindset.
- Knowledge of and fundamental adherence to the principles, ethics, and best practices of modern advancement.
- Demonstrated success in developing a strong and winning case for support, successful communications plan, and strategic, innovative fundraising plans, and executing those plans to grow fundraising and exceed goals. Demonstrated experience cultivating, training, building relationships with, and working in collaboration with executives, senior staff, and board/volunteer leaders on advancement-related activities, providing them with quality support and intelligence and increasing their comfort with and success in fundraising.
- Successful track record of personally identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gifts from individual and institutional donors at the level of six to seven-figures and greater.
- Proven ability to build, manage, evaluate, and develop a diverse team of advancement professionals and contribute to the ongoing fostering of a high-functioning, results-oriented, multiracial/ multicultural workforce. Agility in handling both strategic and day-to-day functions. Track record of managing programs, staff resources, and budgets judiciously and resourcefully, while maintaining clear goals and metrics, shared accountability, and an ethos of continuous improvement.
- Demonstrated ability in planning and executing integrated, strategic marketing and communications in support of achieving constituency engagement, fundraising, event, programmatic, branding, or other organizational goals. Experience identifying and coaching project spokespeople. A functional understanding of how to effectively leverage various communication mediums and distribution channels for optimal exposure and impact.
- Strong facilitator and coordinator skills with outstanding leadership abilities and interpersonal skills; must have credibility, good judgment, integrity, a commitment to DEI, and the ability to inspire trust and motivate others.
- Demonstrated ability to integrate data into decision-making and strategy development.
- Working knowledge of modern data management practices and innovations that can streamline and integrate advancement processes.
- A forward thinker with a track record of utilizing new methods of constituent engagement and connectivity.
Download the full position description via the following link: https://diversifiedsearchgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/WAMU-CAO-2022.pdf
American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.
WAMU and American University have retained the Diversified Search Group Fundraising & Advancement Practice to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) may be submitted via the following link – https://talent-profile.diversifiedsearchgroup.com/search/v2/19034, or directed to:
Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Managing Director and DSG Fundraising & Advancement Practice Leader
Diversified Search Group
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, New York 10174
firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.542.2587