Vice President of Advancement

Vice President of Advancement
Organization Name: 
First Peoples Fund

JOB TYPE: Regular Full-Time, Exempt

ORGANIZATION First Peoples Fund is a national non-profit organization founded in 1995. Its mission is to honor and support the collective spirit of First Peoples artists and culture bearers.

POSITION SUMMARY Reporting to the President, the Vice President of Advancement serves as a key leadership team member. The VP of Advancement works closely with the President to provide leadership and management of the overall strategic direction, communications, fundraising and resource development for First Peoples Fund, while driving external relationships and communications strategy. The VP of Advancement leads the development and communications staff (currently a communications manager, story tracker/data analysis, & grants coordinator with plans to scale) and integrates all programs across FPF to achieve annual and long-term revenue and communications goals with the intent to create a sustainable and strong Organization; sustaining and developing a portfolio of institutional and major donors as well. A new position in the organization, the VP of Advancement will have the opportunity to bring together and build the development and communications functions of the organization to create cohesive narratives about the impact and importance of the work of First Peoples Fund. Working directly with the President, the VP of Advancement will have primary responsibility for establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow FPF’s budget through the solicitation of major gifts, individual donors (locally and nationally) federal and state grants, special events, and corporate and foundation support. The VP of Advancement will expand and diversify FPF's donor base through various avenues of solicitation and work closely with other team members to secure funding for new initiatives. It is expected that the amount raised by FPF will increase in future years as the VP of Advancement systematically and effectively strengthens the organization's overall fundraising capacity. With this will come an increased investment in the Communications team, as FPF seeks to uplift the Culture Bearers and basic principle of Collective Spirit, which undergirds all of our work. We seek a candidate who can incorporate the principles of Knowing, Honoring, and Sharing into a communications and development strategy that advances the impact and presence of FPF into the future.


  • Support and partner with the President and board members on all major fundraising initiatives and events;
  • Actively work with the President and leadership team to develop and implement a comprehensive development strategy to include corporate, individual donors, foundations, government agencies, etc.;
  • Actively work with the President and leadership team to develop and implement a comprehensive communications strategy, to include institutional, programmatic, and cultural influence methods;
  • Lead stewardship activities with current donors; focus on donor development cultivation and major gifts. Maintain donor portfolio, identify increases in giving levels and potential, target 25-50 new donors annually, maintain a high level of contact with donors alongside president and with goal of increasing giving levels. Prepare quarterly lists and tailor asks based on history, research and giving potential.
  • Maintain and manage donor database and recording interactions and relationships with donors.
  • Develop a deep understanding of First Peoples Fund’s purpose, theory of change, indigenous Arts ecology model of development, foundational documents, programs and culture;
  • Act as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic development decisions affecting First Peoples Fund;
  • Establishing and implementing the infrastructure needed to grow FPF’s budget;
  • Manage day to day operations of development staff and coordination of staff; Grants Administration and Support
  • Manage the workflow and effectiveness of the grant administration process including proposal writing, new award launches, assignment of responsibilities, monthly meetings, compliance monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping;
  • Take the lead on grant processes with primary emphasis on corporate and new private and public foundation prospects. Work with external consultant to develop proposals and identify prospects as needed.
  • Oversee management of the collection and analysis of program related information, particularly outcome-level information, to support development activities;
  • Prepare reports that illustrate the scope and impact of the work of First Peoples Fund to be shared with a variety of audiences;
  •  Build effective internal systems for grants management;
  •  Ensure the accuracy and integrity of the grants calendar and database;
  • Manage the grants calendar and all related deadlines;
  • Lead monthly meetings with program staff and consultants to ensure information relevant to all grant deliverables and program outcomes is shared, and relationships are being leveraged;
  • Ensure the First People Fund President is informed of the status of existing grant activities;
  • Oversee compliance with all grant reporting as required by foundation and federal partners;
  • Relationship Development
  • Work closely with President to identify strategic relationships that are important to First Peoples Fund and serve as a primary builder of those relationships;
  • Contribute heavily to Community Spirit Award biennial event planning and implementation.
  • Identify and utilize resources including volunteers, artists, staff, publications and the internet to identify linkage, ability and interest of major gift prospects.
  • Supervise systematic efforts to identify, solicit, steward, maintain and upgrade annual giving donors.
  • Oversee, manage and/or plan advancement events and when feasible planned giving opportunities
  • Administration Specific responsibilities, but not limited to, include the following:
  • Responsible for regular reporting requirements as requested or required by the organization
  • Assist with organizing program and project meetings, workshops, conferences and special events to advance program goals
  • Adhere to all FPF Policies.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree (Master’s preferred) communication, finance, nonprofit management or a related field and 7 to 10 years’ experience professional experience in a nonprofit organization or comparable combination of education and experience in grant writing, individual donor development, and/or fund development, preferably for nonprofit and/or Native corporations.
  • An understanding and awareness of the Native arts and culture field is preferred as well as a broad knowledge of tribal communities and cultures across North America
  • Background and experience progressively responsible work experience in public relations, fundraising, or communications.
  • Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time
  • Ability to construct, articulate, and implement annual strategic development plan
  • Excellent managerial skills including at least 4 years of previous experience successfully managing development staff.
  • Working knowledge of development best practices, trends in development, fundraising tools and technology, email and online campaigns, and donor research.
  • Able to absorb a large amount of information and distill it to the essential points;
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills, especially the ability to write clear, structured, articulate, and persuasive proposals;
  • Attention to detail and strong editing, research and analytical skills;
  • Make effective presentations;
  • Positively represent the organization within the community;
  • Excellent computer skills and familiarity with data-based programs and management - Google drive, Basecamp, MS Office Suite, Kindful, Outcome tracker and knowledge of excel spreadsheets;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work in a busy, fast-paced environment;
  • Comfortable with ambiguity, able to respond to rapid changing priorities;
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines consistently;
  • Ability to work collaboratively as a member of a team;
  • Also, be able to work independently, take initiative and be self-motivated;
  • Must be able to travel.
  • No extraordinary physical requirements beyond ability to travel. Job involves normal physical requirements for an office position.


  • This position located in FPF’s home office in Rapid City, South Dakota, as well as periodic offsite work. 
  • First Peoples Fund offers competitive salaries and benefits including health insurance which becomes effective immediately. FPF’s Simple IRA pension plan that is effective after introductory period.

Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a cover letter and resume to


Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, March 31, 2020