Development and Outreach Department

Multiple Locations Considered

Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

The Aspen Leadership Group is proud to partner with Human Rights Watch in the search for a Chief Development Officer.

The Chief Development Officer will establish the vision and direction for the organization’s fundraising, marketing, and external global outreach efforts. This is a critical position for the organization and an exciting opportunity to create the fundraising strategy and roadmap for HRW’s future – developing and implementing ambitious fundraising, outreach, and constituency building strategies. HRW is dedicated to taking on human rights abuses around the world; accordingly, its Chief Development Officer and Development & Outreach team must be committed to its mission, able to communicate passionately about its work, and capable of inspiring its staff and volunteer teams and donors.

Human Rights Watch investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world. It is roughly 500 people of 70-plus nationalities and includes country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others who work to protect the most at risk, from vulnerable minorities and civilians in wartime, to refugees and children in need. It directs its advocacy towards governments, armed groups, and businesses, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies, and practices. To ensure its independence, it refuses government funding and carefully reviews all donations to ensure that they are consistent with its policies, mission, and values. It partners with organizations large and small across the globe to protect embattled activists and to help hold abusers to account and bring justice to victims.

HRW's researchers conduct work in over 90 countries, uncovering facts that create an undeniable record of human rights abuses. It tells the stories of what it finds, sharing them via social media with millions of online followers each day. News media often report on its investigations, furthering its reach. It meets with governments, the United Nations, rebel groups, corporations, and others to see that policy is changed, laws are enforced, and justice is served. When it comes to ending abuses and bringing perpetrators to justice, some victories are big, and others are merely steps on a much longer journey to change. But each represents progress on the many issues HRW works on around the world.

Human Rights Watch's work reaches five continents. It has investigated massacres and even genocides, along with government take-overs of media and the baseless arrests of activists and political opposition figures. At the same time, its work has addressed abuses against those likely to face discrimination, including women, LGBT people, and people with disabilities. When families victimized by war crimes found no justice at home, HRW championed international justice and international courts. While it relies on in-person interviews, its research methods have also changed with the times, and today it uses satellite imagery to track the destruction of villages and city blocks, and it mines big data for patterns in arrest rates or the deportation of immigrants. Everything it does circles back to its commitment to justice, dignity, compassion, and equality.


HRW’s fundraising has grown steadily over the years and it currently raise approximately $90M annually, with more than 60% of its revenue from gifts of $100,000+. A focus of fundraising at HRW has been the HRW Council, an organization of some 20 committees and 1,200 individuals around the world who help it fundraise, engage new constituents and potential donors, partner with local organizations to promote human rights issues, and advocate on behalf of HRW and its mission. The Development & Outreach Team is also responsible for HRW’s direct marketing function and has recently hired a new marketing leader.

The greatest opportunity for the CDO will lie in engaging donors at the highest levels to support major strategic work while also determining the optimal level of resources for growing the base of support. HRW will be undergoing a strategic planning process and the CDO will shape how it can meaningfully increase revenue for its programmatic priorities.


The Chief Development Officer will report to the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Wisla Heneghan, and will serve on HRW's Executive Committee – its senior leadership team that includes the organization’s five most senior executive leaders. The Development & Outreach Team is comprised of approximately 115 staff members, responsible for leadership giving, donor committees and council fundraising, committee and board of directors support, foundation giving, marketing, planned giving, creative and multimedia, and development operations.


The search for our new Chief Development Officer could not come at a more pivotal time for Human Rights Watch and for the protection of human rights worldwide. This is an exciting opportunity for a transformational leader to build on our strong foundation and create the fundraising strategy for HRW’s future. Our Chief Development Officer must be passionate about HRW’s mission and able to inspire others to support this critical work. In addition to our engaged and generous board of directors, our fundraising and outreach support also includes the HRW Council, a group of some 20 committees and 1,200 individuals around the world who help us fundraise, partner with local organizations to promote human rights, and advocate for HRW and our mission.

The Chief Development Officer will be responsible for establishing the vision and direction for the organization’s fundraising, marketing, and external global outreach efforts. As a member of HRW’s Executive Committee, the Chief Development Officer will play a critical role in the management and strategy of the organization. I recently joined HRW because I am inspired by its mission and by the excellence of its team members. I am excited about the impact our next visionary and energized fundraising leader will have on this historied organization, strengthening and enabling it to do great work and meet the ever-growing need for protection of human rights worldwide. The successful candidate will be taking the reins of an experienced and expert global fundraising team eager for what comes next.

–Wisla Heneghan, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer


Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. It actively seeks a diverse and global applicant pool and encourages candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. It welcomes all kinds of diversity. Its employees include people who are parents and non-parents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world.

HRW established the Development DEI Task Force with the mandate of supporting the cultivation of an environment within HRW’s Development & Outreach team in which all staff feel welcomed, valued, and are able to contribute effectively to its work. The Development DEI Task Force strives to improve and support Development & Outreach's diversity, equity, and inclusion progress across the division, especially in its leadership and management teams, and strives to build and foster a culture of inclusion that welcomes participation and innovation and supports all members of Development & Outreach staff. With the aim to intentionally advance these values by working with senior leaders in the division and liaising with the organizational-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, the Development DEI Task Force monitors concrete changes in policies and practices within the Development & Outreach team, and examines the impact of these changes through staff surveys, focus groups, and other methods.


The Chief Development Officer will

  • lead on all aspects of HRW fundraising activities and provide direction to the Development & Outreach team, which includes leadership gifts, foundations, marketing, creative and multimedia, and planned giving functions as well as the functions which manage donor committees and the board;
  • develop and implement a multi-year strategic plan and annual goals to meaningfully grow revenue from the current $90M baseline;
  • set and meet fundraising objectives, monitor and evaluate progress so as to develop change strategies as may be needed, and assess opportunities for fundraising campaigns and lead their planning and implementation;
  • develop the strategy for creating comprehensive, ambitious proposals that will engage and attract top-tier donors and prospective donors to make transformational gifts;
  • support the development of the planned giving program, including meaningfully growing planned giving commitments from board members and committee members;
  • be a visible leader in fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Development & Outreach team and with donors, board, and committee members;
  • create an environment where all staff feel welcome and have equal access to opportunities for professional growth and impact;
  • play a significant role in major donor identification, cultivation, and relationship maintenance;
  • determine the appropriate level and types of short and long-term investments in development, setting budgets and balancing the use of resources, using appropriate data analytics, in order to maximize revenue while developing a pipeline of future major and planned giving donors;
  • serve as a member of HRW’s Executive Committee and participate in the development of the organization’s financial business plans and multi-year strategic plans;
  • work effectively and collaboratively with leadership throughout the organization to ensure development activities are well coordinated with and supportive of organizational priorities;
  • support and optimize fundraising efforts of the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Directors; and
  • sustain and strengthen the engagement and stewardship activities of the board of directors in consultation with organizational leadership.


Tirana Hassan

Deputy Executive Director and Chief Program Officer

Tirana Hassan, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Programs Officer at Human Rights Watch, leads the organization’s research, advocacy, media, and legal work, supervising a staff of almost 300 professionals in more than 50 countries. Hassan, who previously worked as a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, was most recently Director of Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Team, and also served on the group’s Transitional Leadership Team in 2019. She previously worked in humanitarian operations across Africa and Asia, including in Darfur, Aceh post-Tsunami, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Somalia, and Liberia. She holds honors degrees in both social work and law from Australia, and a master’s in International Human Rights Law from Oxford.

Wisla Heneghan

Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer

Wisla Heneghan, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at Human Rights Watch, leads the organization’s operational finance, administration, development & outreach, general counsel, human resources, technology, and security functions. She supervises a staff of almost 200 professionals in more than 50 countries.

Heneghan joined HRW with over 20 years of experience working in global non-profit and for-profit organizations, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of The Nature Conservancy. Heneghan was born in Brazil, raised in Brazil and New York.

Colin Mincy

Chief People Officer

Colin Mincy is Human Rights Watch’s first Chief People Officer. Mincy directs the organization’s global human resources function and oversees recruitment and hiring, international compensation and benefits, performance management, learning and development, and employee and labor relations.

Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Mincy was the Director of Culture and Change Management for Open Society–US, and managed human resources operations for Open Society Foundation’s US offices. Mincy also worked at the International Rescue Committee leading the regional human resources function for its US and European headquarters. Previously, Mincy worked in the finance and technology sector as HR Business Partner Consultant for CFO Americas at Credit Suisse, Head of Human Resources at Tracx, and led SimCorp North America function in New York and Toronto.

Kenneth Roth

Executive Director

Kenneth Roth is the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch in 1987, Roth served as a federal prosecutor in New York and for the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Roth has conducted numerous human rights investigations and missions around the world. He has written extensively on a wide range of human rights abuses, devoting special attention to issues of international justice, autocratic populism, the foreign policies of the major powers, and the work of the United Nations.


The Chief Development Officer will be an expert, collaborative, innovative, and visionary leader with outstanding people, communications, and management skills as well as the capacity and passion to play a leadership role in a global fundraising operation. It is critical that the Chief Development Officer possess exceptional management skills, an ability to motivate and inspire a global and experienced team, and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Both high intellectual and emotional intelligence are critical in order to communicate and influence effectively within a global, highly distributed organization. The Chief Development Officer will understand the complexity of fundraising and leading teams working across multiple geographies and cultures, and must possess the cultural awareness necessary to work with global staff, donors, and committee and board members. The Chief Development Officer will have strong influencing skills, be passionate about HRW's mission, and be able to communicate a vision that engages and motivates staff, volunteers, advocates, and donors while catalyzing giving.

Specifically, Human Rights Watch seeks a Chief Development Officer with

  • a commitment to HRW’s mission of defending the rights of people worldwide and the ability to communicate with passion about HRW's work;
  • experience leading and motivating fundraising teams in a complex and global organization, setting ambitious team and individual objectives, and managing performance;
  • experience in leading and successfully working with major gift giving, marketing, capital campaigns, and planned giving and knowledge about evolving trends in these areas;
  • experience in cultivating and maintaining long-term relationships with major donors, including foundations, and success in closing major gifts;
  • an ability to master, represent, and communicate the organization’s mission and programs to varied audiences;
  • an ability to foster an environment marked by creativity, commitment to professional growth, connectivity, collegiality, mutual respect, and cultural competency across a global team of fundraising professionals with an emphasis on equity;
  • a global perspective on philanthropy;
  • outstanding oral and written communications skills in English (proficiency in other languages is appreciated);
  • an ability to use metrics and data driven approach in developing, implementing and measuring fundraising strategies, and an ability to create transformational growth; and
  • superior analytical, strategic planning, and problem-solving skills.

At least 15 years of experience in fundraising is required, with at least five years of experience in a senior role such as Chief Development Officer, Deputy Chief Development Officer, or an equivalent leadership role.


Human Rights Watch offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.


Human Rights Watch is flexible about the location of this position. This role will require both international and domestic travel (approximately 25-40% of the time) when it is safe to do so.


All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter and résumé. Cover letters should be responsive to the mission of Human Rights Watch and the responsibilities and qualifications presented in the prospectus. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the successful candidate has been selected. All inquiries will be held in confidence.

To apply for this position, visit:

Chief Development Officer, Human Rights Watch


To nominate a candidate, please contact Ron Schiller:


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