Development Director

Development Director

Development Director 150 150 TexasDefenderService
Texas Defender Service
January 18, 2023
Job Type
Contact Name (not public)
Randi Chavez





We are an equal opportunity organization. We welcome qualified applicants of all races, physical abilities, ethnicities, genders, gender identities or expressions, national origins, sexual orientations, creeds, religions, and ages. We also welcome qualified applicants who are pregnant, have veteran status, have a history of union membership or activism, and who have been previously incarcerated or system involved.


Texas Defender Service (TDS) seeks an experienced, motivated Development Director, with a deep background in large, individual-donor gifts, to lead our Development Department. This is an exciting opportunity to join a vibrant, growing team dedicated to serving people harmed by incarceration in the State of Texas.

The salary range for this position is $80,000-$105,000, depending on experience, with the possibility of a bonus. Texas Defender Service offers an excellent, fully employer-paid benefits package. This position reports to the Executive Director.

The Development Director may be located anywhere in Texas; our organization is headquartered in Austin.

We value a diverse, inclusive, and antiracist workforce. We seek to cultivate a community of lawyers, mitigation specialists, policy advocates, fellows, and interns whose talents, skills, and personal life experiences help us deeply and creatively engage with the project of unwinding mass incarceration and excessive punishment in Texas. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, people from communities harmed by incarceration and over-policing, people from underrepresented communities, and people who have personal or familial experience with the criminal-legal system are deeply encouraged to apply.


Our Mission

At Texas Defender Service, we fight for the end of mass incarceration and excessive punishment in Texas through direct representation, policy reform, and public education. We champion the dignity and humanity of people harmed by mass incarceration, and advocate for a reimagined legal system that is just, humane, and free from racism and cruelty.


Texas Defender Service has led the fight to end the death penalty in the Lone Star State for over twenty-five years. Founded in 1995, Texas Defender Service has argued – and won – five cases before the United States Supreme Court; achieved countless victories for clients who faced the death penalty because of their mental illness, intellectual disability, or race; and won innumerable legislative reforms to protect Texans facing the death penalty and other extreme punishments. Since 2018 alone, TDS has gotten prosecutors to drop capital charges against 25 of our clients. TDS has driven down new executions – from their startling height of 40 in 2000 – to just a trickle today. In 2022, we expanded our mission to battle other excessive punishments in Texas.

Position Overview

This position is full time and the location of this opportunity is Texas. Our organization is headquartered in Austin and Houston, Texas, but the Development Director may work remotely from anywhere in Texas. Ability to travel throughout Texas to meet with team members, funders, and partners will be required.

The salary range for this position is $80,000-$105,000, depending on experience, with the possibility of a bonus once fundraising targets are met.

The ideal candidate for this position will:

  • Demonstrate passion for our mission and for serving incarcerated people and their families and communities; show enthusiastic support for our new vision.
  • Have a deep history in development, with prior leadership experience and a background in major gifts, and a proven track record of cultivating and growing major gift-giving.
  • Be organized, entrepreneurial, motivated, and creative.
  • Demonstrate a drive to meet fundraising goals.
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Be committed to antiracist practices and be eager to join a diverse and inclusive team.
  • Have the ability and drive to develop strong knowledge of Texas Defender Service’s work, and mass incarceration and excessive punishment in Texas.

Responsibilities will include:

  • In collaboration with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors, developing an annual development plan, with a particular focus on individual and major gifts; taking ownership of and executing on the major gift component of that plan;
  • Cultivating current prospects and identifying and connecting with new prospects;
  • Facilitating the Executive Director’s ongoing relationships with current donors and relationship-building with new donors;
  • Managing our donor database, tracking incoming individual donations, regularly measuring progress against our goals, and reconciling donations quarterly;
  • Continually connecting with and maintaining relationships with current donors;
  • Developing and tracking the Development Department’s budget;
  • Developing strong knowledge of the legal system, mass incarceration, and excessive punishment in Texas so that they can communicate our vision to funders.
  • Supporting the Executive Director and the Board in the annual budget process;
  • Spearheading our annual Light of Justice Luncheon event and hosting other in-person engagements throughout the year to connect with current and prospective donors;
  • Developing and overseeing strategic communications with current and potential funders;
  • Assisting the Executive Director in researching grant opportunities, tracking grant due dates and reporting requirements, and drafting proposals and reports;
  • Managing the Office Manager’s current development responsibilities, and supervising future staff of the Development Department.

The Development Director will work closely with and report to the Executive Director. Texas Defender Service cultivates a supportive and humane workplace, with generous sick and vacation leave and the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Texas Defender Service covers 100% of medical, vision, and dental benefits for employees and 50% for dependents.


How To Apply

How to Apply

We encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible, as we will be considering applications on a rolling basis. The application window will close after March 10.

Please send a complete application package to us at with “Development Director Application” in the subject line. No phone calls, please. A complete application includes:

  • cover letter;
  • resume;
  • writing sample; and
  • a list of three references