Development Associate

Website HeartlandInst The Heartland Institute

Freedom Rising

The Heartland Institute’s Development Associate advances The Heartland Institute’s mission of discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems by fulfilling critical development responsibilities.  These include researching current and prospective donors, managing donor and prospect mailings, responding to emails and phone calls, maintaining the donor database, processing donations and data entry, acknowledging gifts, and communicating with current and prospective donors.

The position reports to Heartland’s Director of Development.  The position requires a diligent, detail-oriented, technologically-savvy individual committed to advancing the mission of The Heartland Institute.

Qualified candidates will have the ability use online research platforms, organize and manage data, complete complex tasks in the database, draft clear and compelling communications, and use computer software to complete mailings.  They must be trustworthy to handle donations, be a team player willing to assist on tasks where needed, and be able to work well with other development staff and with other departments at Heartland.


Founded in 1984, The Heartland Institute is an independent national nonprofit research organization.  Heartland’s mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.  Three things make Heartland unique among free-market think tanks:

  • It communicates with more national and state elected officials, more often, than any other think tank in the United States. Heartland contacted elected officials 812,789 times in 2018.
  • Heartland produces four monthly public policy newspapers—Budget & Tax News, Environment & Climate News, School Reform News, and Health Care News—which present free-market ideas as news rather than research or opinion.
  • Heartland promotes the work of other free-market think tanks on its websites, in its newspapers, at its events, and through its extensive government and media relations efforts.

In 2018, a telephone survey of 500 randomly selected state elected officials (no staff) found 78 percent of state legislators read at least one of Heartland’s newspapers “sometimes” or “always.” Forty-five percent reported a Heartland newspaper “influenced my opinion or led to a change in public policy.”

The Leaflet, government relations’ weekly e-newsletter, was read by more than half (58 percent) of all state legislators in the country in 2018. That equates to more than 4,200 state legislators.

In 2018, Heartland appeared in print and online, and on television or radio, nearly 5,200 times and its podcasts were downloaded 3.2 million times. Heartland’s Facebook page has more than 100,000 fans, and it uses Twitter to promote its free-market mission to more than 74,000 followers every day.

Heartland’s annual budget of approximately $6.5 million supports a full-time staff of 39. More than 500 academics, legal scholars, and professional economists participate in Heartland’s peer-review process, and more than 300 elected officials serve on its Legislative Forum. Heartland is supported by the voluntary contributions of thousands of supporters, and it does not accept government funding.


  • Work with the Director of Development to maintain Salesforce database by updating and improving records
  • Identify and research potential major individual, foundation, and corporate donors
  • Work with the Director of Development to manage department mailings, including mail merging, printing letters, assembling packages as needed
  • Work with the Director of Development to grow the donor prospecting program including identification and recommended cultivation and solicitation plans
  • Assist with the anniversary Benefit Dinner and other development events
  • Update mailing management tools with costs, inventory used, completion dates, etc.
  • File correspondence and maintain donor and prospect files
  • Run monthly gift reports for development meetings and other internal presentations
  • Send Heartland publications, notices, releases, op-eds, research, commentary, and other materials to donors and prospects on key issues via email
  • Work with the Executive Director of Development to purchase office supplies for the organization
  • Work with the inventory manager to mail international packages and other packages needed
  • Other tasks as assigned


  • At least two years of professional experience in freedom movement fundraising or other constituent communications
  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills, professionalism, and the ability to produce excellent work on tight deadlines
  • Alignment with Heartland’s core values and mission; ability to articulate the critical role Heartland plays in expanding freedom
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal; high attention to detail is essential
  • Integrity in managing sensitive and confidential information
  • Collaborative spirit, works well with colleagues and leadership in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment
  • Experience with Donor Relationship Management or Customer Relationship Management platforms required (preferably with Salesforce)
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite and social media
  • Ability to use online research platforms for current and prospective donors

Other Workplace Matters

Salary: Negotiable and commensurate with experience, payable biweekly or monthly.  Performance reviews are conducted annually by the Director of Development.

Hours and location of work:  40+ hours per week is expected at The Heartland Institute’s Northwest Chicago office, plus weekly senior staff meetings and biweekly all-staff meetings.

Benefits: Health insurance currently provided by Aetna available to full-time employees.  The employer pays 60 percent of premiums and offers a choice of two plans, a low-deductible plan and a high-deductible plan with health savings accounts (HSAs).  Employees who choose high-deductible plans also receive annual cash deposits into their HSAs of $1,500 for individuals and $3,000 for families.

Employer pays for life and disability insurance and fees for a 401(k) plan.  Employer does not match employee contributions to 401(k) plans at this time.

Vacation days: During the first year of employment, full-time employees earn 10 paid days off after their 90-day probationary period.  During years two and three, employees earn 12 paid days off each year.  During years four, five and six, employees earn 15 paid days off.  During years seven, eight and nine, employees earn 17 paid days off. During year 10 and above, employees earn 20 paid days off each year.  For the purposes of counting paid time off, full-time employment is considered to have commenced when an employee started serving Heartland at least 40 hours per week in any capacity, including as a contractor.

To apply for this position, please send your resume and a cover letter to Executive Director of Development David Hoyt:

To apply for this job email your details to

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