Development Director

The Long Now Foundation believes in building things that will last. What began in 01996 with our origin project, a 10,000-year clock called The Clock of the Long Now, continues today with our foundation itself as we enter our second quarter (century).

Our mission remains unchanged: to foster long-term thinking in the framework of the next 10,000 years. But these next 25 years will see our local nonprofit become a global institution, built to last for generations.

We don’t aim to last for the sake of lasting. We believe a lasting home for long-term thinking offers something to humanity that humanity needs. A whole class of inspiring public goods simply take more time—and we believe those century- and millennium-scale projects would be more common if there were an anchor institution in the world encouraging that kind of work. In a way, we are building the type of institution we wish we had found.

That work continues today, in a climate that needs our long-term perspective more than ever. It is precisely in times of crisis that long-term thinking becomes a radical investment. It is precisely when nobody can imagine a better future that optimism takes on an edge. We are looking for someone who understands why now is the perfect time to think and build long-term.

This is a rare opening for a key leadership position. Whoever fills this position will be surrounded by world-class advisors. This role works directly with our Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer and manages some of our most important institutional relationships. The Development Director also manages a team who is responsible for our relationships with thousands of active supporters. Developing those institutional relationships in both quality and quantity is the assignment. Any nonprofit that does this well does well.

And doing this well is how we aim to last. On a long enough timescale, donations are ephemeral—whole currency systems come and go at the century scale—but networks of human beings in meaningful relationship have endured for thousands of years. The stone halls of Oxford are impressive, but it’s the flux of people and relationships moving through them that ensures they last, even more so than the mortar. We are looking for someone who thinks about support networks across time this way.

Development work is an art and a science, so we need someone who excels at both. The scientist will design and modify our systems for recording and acknowledging donations, cultivating donors, researching prospects, and mitigating churn. The artist will find craft in copywriting, creativity in campaign design, virtuosity in planning, and poetry in personal connection.

And it is a personal job. Many meetings will take place at our offices in San Francisco—on the north waterfront, in view of the Golden Gate Bridge, at our award-winning cocktail bar The Interval, housed inside a library inside a museum inside the historic Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture. We also produce a regular schedule of public and private events. These are great opportunities to meet our staff, our donors, our board members, and our future supporters. As Development Director you will be on our front line looking for opportunities to deepen existing relationships and create new ones when appropriate. These connections will steer our foundation on decadal timescales, so we need someone who can be sensitive to that cadence. We realize that few other jobs operate at these timescales. Enthusiasm will eclipse experience.

Previous experience with nonprofit management is not necessarily required. This position could fit someone in strategic development or sales at a for-profit enterprise. An entrepreneur or investor looking for a change of scenery might also be appropriate. A certain amount of real ability is required but we realize these talents are not exclusive to nonprofit management. So if you believe this role is right for you, and you are willing to invest the next few years of your career here, tell us about it. Such case-making is at the very heart of development.

Skills to call out explicitly in your cover letter: experience with CRM systems, team management, project management, sales funnel management, community management, campaign design, grant writing, donor cultivation, copywriting, special events production, and anything development-specific.

Everyone on our team has a flourishing life outside the office—we are artists, roboticists, sailors, musicians, hot spring enthusiasts, dancers, explorers, and more. Please feel invited to share your interests with us.

The right person for this role will have at least 5-10 years of relevant work experience (tell us why your experience is relevant) and an undergraduate or masters degree (or an excellent story). We are seeking someone who can work legally in the United States from the San Francisco Bay Area on an ongoing basis without sponsorship. We want someone in the office at least 2 days a week, and in the San Francisco Bay Area generally (we expect this person to be a regular presence at relevant events and gatherings beyond our doors). It is a highly social position which calls for an uncommon level of social sensitivity. It requires excellent communication—in text and in conversation. It demands discretion—you will be trusted with sensitive information.

Read more about our work at

Full-time position based in the San Francisco Bay Area with opportunity for hybrid-remote working. Compensation is based on experience with room for discussion.

Application instructions. Please send an email to with subject line "[Your Last Name] / Development Director." Your email should include a single link to a single Google Doc that contains (1) your cover letter, (2) a link to your resume/CV/LinkedIn, (3) your favorite quotation about time/past/present/future. Please do not send any attachments as they will not be opened.

*Full-time employees are eligible for benefits including medical, dental, and vision insurance after 90 days, and all full time employment includes paid time off, and paid holidays. Employees who complete at least 6 months of full time service are eligible to participate in the Long Now 401(k) retirement plan, including an employer match of employee contributions up to 5% of the employee's salary.

Long Now is an equal opportunity employer. All employment and promotion decisions are made without regard to race; color; sex; religion; age; national origin or ancestry; marital status; disability or handicap; mental disability or medical condition (including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and genetic characteristics); pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; veteran status; parental status; citizenship status; genetic predisposition or carrier status; status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sex offenses; personal appearance (including height and weight); sexual orientation; gender identity, expression, or appearance; or any other basis prohibited by U.S., state, or local law. People of color, people with disabilities, women, LGBTQ individuals, and members of other historically disadvantaged groups are especially encouraged to apply.

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