Chief Development Officer


The Mission

Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris acts as a catalyst to systematically disrupt the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. By working with government leaders, the world’s leading technology corporations, and local partners, Polaris equips communities to identify, report, and prevent human trafficking in all its forms. Polaris’s partnerships employ a comprehensive model that puts victims at the center of all activities—from helping survivors of slavery to restore their freedom to preventing more victims to leveraging data and technology to aggressively pursue traffickers wherever they operate.  A recent recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Polaris has tripled in size over the last 4 years and has committed itself to bring human trafficking to an end.


The Facts of Modern Human Slavery

The United Nations estimates that there were nearly 40.3 million victims of modern slavery in 2016:

  • 62% are trapped in forced labor

  • 75% are women and girls

  • 25% are children

  • Human trafficking and forced labor represent a $150 billion global industry.

  • An estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are likely child sex trafficking victims.


The Nerve Center of Anti-Trafficking

Human trafficking is an industry, with supply chains, logistics, and buyers. Polaris has built a U.S.-based nerve center for a global effort to identify and target every element of that industry until it is shut down. The foundation of the effort is rigorous data analysis that actively identifies the sites where people are forced into modern sex and labor enslavement—including hotels, massage businesses, traveling sales teams, and farms. Polaris marshals this data in advisory services that help governments and community service providers spot and prevent trafficking and aid its victims. It is also tasked with running the rapid response hotline-based system that identifies trafficking incidents and routes quick aid to survivors of ongoing trafficking, as well.


National Human Trafficking Hotline and Polaris BeFree Textline

Polaris’s U.S.-based toll-free 24/7 hotline connects human trafficking victims and survivors to critical services. The hotline, to which any person can report incidents, receives an average of 150 calls every day. The BeFree Textline offers additional confidential crisis assistance and support from specially trained advocates. In the last 9 years, through the National Hotline, Polaris has worked on and learned about over 35,000 cases of human trafficking.  Cases have been reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


The Development Program

Like its anti-trafficking program, the development department at Polaris pursues a wide range of partnerships, ensuring that all available resources are marshaled in a fight for human freedom. Incorporating support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government grants, and operating on a $9M annual budget, Polaris is committed to effectively and efficiently utilizing every dollar it raises. Polaris has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, an achievement that only 4% of rated organizations reach, for 6 consecutive years in recognition of its fiscal responsibility. Polaris’s new Chief Development Officer will be an innovative strategic planner who will build on this legacy to build and deepen partnerships with some of Polaris’ most devoted supporters.


Leadership Support for Development

Bradley Myles joined Polaris 13 years ago as a member of its founding team. He has been a passionate advocate for ending human trafficking, working in an advocacy capacity for more than 15 years and helping to build Washington, DC’s first-ever Human Trafficking Task Force.  At Polaris, he helped create and launch the Human Trafficking Hotline, a national model now regarded as one of the best-functioning anti-trafficking hotlines in the world. The revenue of Polaris has tripled, and the organization has grown to over 100 employees under Brad’s leadership as CEO as he remains committed to expanding Polaris’ oversight and safety net to all 40 million global trafficking victims.



Foundations are Polaris’ largest source of support. Major contributors include the NOVO Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation,, and the Walmart Foundation.


Individual Support

Polaris’ individual portfolio includes approximately 60 major donors giving above $10K, as well as approximately 4,000 donors giving at lower levels. One of the new CDO’s primary roles will be close collaboration with CEO Brad Myles to steward major donor relationships in order to build a more robust pipeline of major donors, as well as to expand the overall individual donor base.


Corporate Support

Polaris’s financial rating has helped it earn substantial support from high-profile corporations, including Delta Airlines, Google, Airbnb, Marriott Hotels, and Wyndham. Many other business give at the $5K level.


Government Support

The bulk of Polaris’s government support has historically consisted of a large grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to operate the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Reporting to the hotline has increased every year and additional resources may be needed to manage it effectively.


The Opportunity

Polaris is seeking a Chief Development Officer to provide comprehensive guidance and overall strategy to grow the organization’s donor base and increase revenue to help expand its mission and programs. Reporting to the CEO and serving as a member of Polaris’ Executive team, the CDO is a key strategic advisor and partner to the organization’s leaders and Board of Directors and an excellent manager to its 5-person development team. S/he is responsible for overseeing innovation and best practices in all aspects of Polaris’s four major development streams: foundations, corporations, individuals, and government agencies. The CDO will design and implement a comprehensive strategy to grow revenue across all of these streams and to sustainably reach a $15 million annual revenue goal over the next five to seven years. The CDO’s specific responsibilities include:


Strategy and Direction

Design and implement a multi-year development plan that establishes short- and long-term growth goals aligned with Polaris’s vision and strategic direction.

Evaluate and assess giving trends and changes in the external environment to strategically position the organization at the forefront of development initiatives, appraising the Board and senior leadership of growth opportunities and risk management strategies.

Oversee the identification and pursuit of development strategies that increase charitable revenue from all four of the organization’s major funding streams.

Collaborate with department directors on the Executive team to fully leverage development opportunities, initiatives, and messaging.

Manage dashboard of revenue-related performance measures that monitor results, pinpoint areas of risk, demonstrate change over time through year-to-year comparisons, and provide accurate and timely information to decision-makers.


Board and Staff Engagement

Serve as the main point of contact in development matters with the Board of Directors, providing regular reports on initiatives and presenting the overall financial standing of the organization as it relates to development goals.

Partner with the Board’s Development Committee Chair to facilitate the Committee’s work, providing strategic guidance on development initiatives.

Effectively leverage the CEO in the cultivation of relationships with major donor prospects.

Foster a culture of philanthropy and entrepreneurialism in the department and throughout the organization, ensuring that organizational culture and systems support fund development.

Partnership Building and Fundraising

Provide confident relationship management for Polaris’s highest-level donors and volunteers.

Secure and steward large gifts from foundations, corporations, and individual donors.

Serve as a reliable and compelling external spokesperson for the organization with donors from all giving constituencies, increasing visibility with key audiences.

Identify and develop key external partnerships to facilitate increased revenue and support for new programmatic initiatives.

In collaboration with communications and program staff, ensure that the development department is  strategically positioned to maximize program successes for branding and outreach opportunities to increase visibility and recognition.

Design and manage all internal and external development messaging, including grant proposals and reports, donor engagement material, marketing collateral, and Board reports, ensuring high-quality  output.

Oversee all compliance activities for external funding, including terms and conditions of grants, maintaining a high level of accountability and responsiveness to donors.


Team Building and Management

Provide overall leadership and management for a 5-person development team, including an Associate Director of Development focused on foundation and government grants, Major Gifts Officer, Corporate Partnerships Manager, Individual Giving Officer, and a Development Associate.

Build strong levels of ownership for development initiatives among staff, fostering increased accountability and initiative.

Identify and address development shortcomings, ensuring organizational sustainability through improved practices.

Design and maintain annual departmental budget, coordinating with the Finance and Accounting department to ensure consistency and reconcile discrepancies.


The Candidate

The Chief Development Officer will be a collaborative and strategic thinker who is passionate about combatting human trafficking and will embody these qualities throughout their work. Cognizant of donors’ needs, the CDO will be a dedicated relationship-builder who is comfortable managing high-level partnerships. The CDO will be a confident self-starter who proactively seeks new funding and growth opportunities and serve as a role model for innovative, strategic thinking on a small development team. S/he will have a commitment to addressing human rights violations and will seek to display this mission as a defining feature in all programs. Specific qualifications include:



At least 10 years of progressively responsible development experience, with at least 5 years in a leadership role.

Bachelor’s degree required, or equivalent combination of education and/or experience


Skills and Experience

Track record of leading, managing, and integrating an ambitious, forward-thinking development program across multiple revenue streams.

Extensive individual giving experience, including a sophisticated understanding of how to build an individual major donor pipeline.

Outstanding major gift fundraising record in a complex non-profit environment, with a demonstrated ability to secure five- and six-figure gifts and to increase giving levels and revenue.

Experience working with foundation and corporate partners, including identifying prospects, cultivating and stewarding relationships, and overseeing the development of proposals.

Record of successful partnership with a CEO and Board of Directors, with the ability to influence and engage senior leaders on development goals and strategies.

Knowledge of and passion for addressing human rights violations, with the ability to serve as a compelling ambassador for these issues.


Leadership Style

Demonstrated ability to build a well-supported, carefully nurtured, and high-performing team with diverse skill sets.

Clear evidence of a management style that emphasizes collaboration and collegiality, fostering an environment where team members fell inspired, valued, and empowered.

Calm, focus, and maturity, with the ability to organize complex work by a variety of contributors and to remain gracious under pressure.

Flexibility and creativity in a fast-paced, evolving environment.

Ability to effectively build strong relationship, both internally and externally, through strong interpersonal skills.

Comfort with interacting and engaging a diverse set of stakeholders, including senior executives, staff, volunteers, all types of donors, and vendors.