Senior Development Officer - Federal Partnerships

Senior Development Officer - Federal Partnerships
Organization Name: 
Job Description: 

VentureWell is on a mission to cultivate a pipeline of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs driven to solve the world’s biggest challenges and to create lasting impact. We foster collaboration among the best minds from research labs, classrooms, and beyond to advance innovation and entrepreneurship education and to provide unique opportunities for STEM students and researchers to fully realize their potential to improve the world.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve trained more than 3,000 early-stage innovation teams and helped launch over 850 ventures that have raised close to $1.7 billion in public and private investments. These ventures have reached millions of people in over 60 countries with technological advancements in fields such as biotechnology, healthcare, sustainable energy and materials, and solutions for low-resource settings.

VentureWell is committed to advancing equity both internally with staff, and externally through our programming and engagement with the science & technology innovation and entrepreneurship communities.  We are seeking staff equally committed to this work, who are engaged in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, who will be excited to add to our culture and our impact.

Senior Development Officer - Federal Partnerships

VentureWell’s development team works closely with organizational leadership, program staff, and other supporting departments to enable VentureWell’s growth. VentureWell is primarily funded through grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts from private foundations and government agencies, along with a small number of corporate sponsorships and partnerships. As a result, our development work involves research, cultivation, proposal development, program design, and grant reporting across multiple program areas.

This individual will play a robust role in securing funding for new and existing programs at VentureWell. Senior Development Officers manage a portfolio of funder relationships, cultivating and stewarding these relationships in partnership with colleagues. This role involves close collaboration with VentureWell leadership, staff from the programs team and other supporting departments, funding partners, and external experts in addition to colleagues on the development team. 

This Senior Development Officer role is focused on federal funding relationships, specifically on the renewal and expansion of our work with several agencies including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of State. It will involve understanding those agencies’ programming and funding priorities, developing strategies and program ideas in collaboration with colleagues and partner organizations, and writing briefs, concept notes, proposals, and reports as needed. Strong candidates will have experience securing federal funding for nonprofit organizations. Given the relationships this individual will build and expand, an ability to work in the Washington D.C. area (through regular travel or home office location) is required.


  • Manage a portfolio of funding relationships, including both new prospects and long term partners, supporting the development of strong, trusting relationships
  • Co-develop a cultivation and/or stewardship plan for each funder, and ensure that it is implemented
  • Stay abreast of relevant information about each funder and the relevant VentureWell programs, as well as trends in the field
  • Initiate, prepare for, and document meetings, and ensure follow-through on next steps
  • Collaborate with colleagues to develop ideas and prepare materials, including slide decks, concept notes, proposals, budgets, and reports
  • Communicate and coordinate internally to ensure that relevant stakeholders have the information they need about funding opportunities
  • Contribute to development strategy, team goals, and organizational initiatives

This role may include managing a Development Officer and/or a Development Associate. 

Experience successfully building and maintaining relationships with funders is required. Other areas of expertise that we value include nonprofit program implementation, project management, writing and editing, equity, and sustainability. Experience in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship is helpful but not essential. Because of the importance of written communication in this role, we are asking all applicants to provide a writing sample with their resume and cover letter. The writing sample should be solely authored and related to a funding opportunity or a multi-stakeholder initiative. 


  • Expertise in funder cultivation and management, with a track record of success in securing significant funding, with a track record of success in establishing partnerships and generating support
  • Ability to absorb and grasp new information quickly, including programming landscape, funding landscape, and relevant research, and to distill this information in compelling prose for a variety of audiences
  • Ability to form and sustain strong, productive relationships with funding partners and external experts, as well as colleagues
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent organizational skills and follow-through, and ability to juggle many competing deadlines and priorities
  • Ability to design and manage projects of varying types and scopes, collaborating throughout and delivering outstanding results
  • Ability to work independently yet consultatively 
  • A highly collaborative, team-focused approach
  • Fluency with current technology, including Google and MS products, CRM software, and Zoom; ability and willingness to learn new tools and systems quickly
  • Flexibility, unflappability, and humor 

Across the board, VentureWell staff:

  • Are able to succeed and thrive in an environment with competing and changing priorities and tight deadlines
  • Have track records of and ability to build solid, collaborative working relationships; and are strong team players who enjoy a “customer service” orientation to collaboration
  • Are committed to embedding equity in our internal practices and culture and in our programs in order to live and achieve our mission
  • Bring openness and engagement to personal, professional, and organization-wide learning on race, class, gender, justice, and equity
  • Are curious and committed to issues of environmental sustainability
  • Are self-starters with strong attention to detail and a commitment to delivering high quality work 
  • Are active learners who independently learn new tools and work processes quickly
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills

For more information about VentureWell, including our benefits, click here 

Candidates for this position must not require sponsorship for U.S. Work Authorization

VentureWell is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.    M/W/D/V