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The Sycamore Institute

Development and Operations Manager

The Sycamore Institute


Job Summary

The Sycamore Institute, an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center for Tennessee, seeks a Development and Operations Manager. This position will play a critical role in supporting the executive director with fundraising, development, and administrative and operational duties.

The ideal candidate will have at least two years of experience in nonprofit and/or political fundraising and will be passionate about diversifying our revenue streams to ensure the sustainability and growth of our organization.

This in-person role reports to the executive director and is located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

About the Sycamore Institute

Founded in 2015, the Sycamore Institute is an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center for Tennessee. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit with leadership and staff from across the political spectrum, our mission is to provide accessible, reliable data and research in pursuit of sound, sustainable policies that improve the lives of all Tennesseans. For more information, visit sycamoretn.org.

Job Responsibilities

Fundraising and Development

  • Work closely with the executive director to diversify revenue streams, emphasizing greater general operating revenues by securing more event sponsorships and individual donations (both large and small).
  • Lead efforts to identify and cultivate relationships with potential donors, sponsors, and grantmakers.
  • Manage the full lifecycle of grants, including identifying and researching potential funders and meeting all deadlines for applications/proposals, deliverables, and reporting.
  • Develop and implement strategies to enhance donor engagement and retention.
  • Maintain comprehensive fundraising Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and grants management systems and databases to ensure accurate and up-to-date donor information.
  • Work with the communications and events staff to plan and coordinate fundraising events, including logistics, marketing, and follow-up.
  • Coordinate with other staff to ensure alignment and integration of fundraising efforts with overall organizational goals.

Operations and Administration

  • Support the executive director in operational tasks to ensure the smooth functioning of the organization.
  • Oversee the selection, implementation, and maintenance of organizational software and systems, including fundraising CRM, grants management program, and office productivity tools.
  • Assist with financial administration tasks, such as budget tracking, bill payment, purchasing, invoicing, expense reporting, and providing information to our bookkeeper and tax/audit accountants.
  • Maintain office supplies and equipment, and coordinated with vendors, service providers, and facility managers as needed.
  • Provide general nonprofit management support such as meeting preparation, checking mail, managing public inquiries, answering the main phone line, and maintaining organized files.

Other Responsibilities

  • Participate in internal staff meetings, pieces of training, and efforts to improve individual and team performance.
  • Perform other duties as assigned related to Sycamore’s mission.


Required Qualifications

  • Minimum two years of experience in nonprofit or political fundraising.
  • Proven track record in securing funding from diverse sources, including individuals, corporations, and foundations.
  • Excellent writing, organizational, and interpersonal skills.
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Proficiency in using fundraising CRM systems and databases.
  • Initiative to learn new skills, overcome obstacles, and suggest innovative ways to deliver on Sycamore’s mission.
  • Productive when working independently and as a member of a team.
  • Strong personal convictions with an equal desire to understand different points of view.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (or four years of relevant work experience).
  • Demonstrated interest in public policy at the local, state, or federal level.
  • Knowledge of Tennessee’s philanthropic landscape.
  • Experience in a similar role within a public policy or research-focused organization.

Additional Information


As a member of the Sycamore team, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are fun, smart, and mission-driven. Our internal culture is essential to this work: we embrace collaboration, complexity, intellectual honesty, empathy, and disagreement. We reward skill, innovation, and hard work and provide ample flexibility and meaningful opportunities to learn and grow in ways that benefit both you and the organization.

The salary for the Development & Operations Manager position will depend on skill and experience, with a potential range of $55,000-$75,000. We also offer a comprehensive benefits package that meets employees’ needs during the various stages of their life—including generous paid time off, employer-paid medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, paid parental leave, and a 401(k) matching option.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a resume, cover letter, and a writing sample (preferably a grant proposal or fundraising-related document) in one file by completing this form. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. No calls or in-person application submissions, please.

The Sycamore Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes qualified candidates from all backgrounds and experience to apply for this position.


  • Date Posted: June 6, 2024
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Administrative
  • Service Area: Children / Youth
  • Salary Range: $55k-$75k