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Featured Job: Acumen Fund seeking a Business Development Manager – Bay Area

Acumen is looking for a Business Development Manager based in the Bay Area to join the next phase of our fundraising and growth strategy.

Acumen Fund

Acumen Fund started as an idea. 11 years later we have a proven model that combines the best of charity and investing to change the way the world tackles poverty.

Acumen is a non-profit venture fund with a vision to help build a world beyond poverty through investing in companies that deliver critical goods and services in water, health, housing, energy, agriculture, and education; leaders who are paving the way for new approaches to fighting poverty; and the spread of ideas that will give the world the knowledge and the understanding to change how the world tackles poverty.

Passion, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to tackling the issue of global poverty are just a few of the things that the staff at Acumen Fund have in common. What we aim to accomplish with our work is no easy task, and we need dedicated, high-caliber people to reach our goals.

Acumen has invested more than $85 million of patient capital in more than 70 social enterprises in South Asia, East Africa and West Africa that have collectively served more than 100 million customers. We have teams on the ground in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Ghana, Columbia, and New York, and we aim to build strong local structures that are deeply interconnected to the global organization through shared goals.

See who is talking about us, here.

Who You Are

We are looking for an individual who knows how to build new relationships, thrives in an ambiguous environment, is comfortable with complexity, embraces change, and knows how to deliver.

You are a charismatic communicator, a thinker and a doer who naturally builds relationships that lead to results. In this role you will cultivate and close relationships with high net worth individuals and institutions to support Acumen’s mission. You will bring new people into our orbit through your own direct contacts and you are comfortable with a multi-million dollar personal fundraising goal. You will be able to transition seamlessly from managing donor relationships to thinking about and executing on our strategy for communications and events for our extraordinary Partner community. We have a small and energetic team, and this is a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of role.

We want someone who is creative, a problem solver, knows how to push the envelope, and is an incredibly fast learner. Everyone says these sorts of things; we really mean it. Ideally, you have 8+ years of work experience including evidence of successful sales and/or client management skills.

Lastly, you need to have a good sense of humor.

This is not a job for you, it’s a calling to the mission of social innovation and entrepreneurial solutions as a way to serve the poor better. It means you are dedicated to the social investing sector, have working knowledge of emerging markets, and are passionate about the work. We’ve been described as sitting at the nexus of philanthropy and capitalism and we need you to walk between both worlds with equal agility.


The Business Development Manager will be based in the Bay Area (San Francisco or Palo Alto) and report to the Director of Global Business Development. You will be responsible for building Acumen’s presence in the Bay Area and beyond. This responsibility includes refining Acumen’s West Coast regional outreach strategy, and executing this strategy by building and maintaining existing and new funding relationships in key fundraising markets.

As the face and voice of Acumen in the Bay Area, and in other fundraising markets, the Business Development Manager must demonstrate a strong personal alignment with Acumen values, mission and approach. She or he must bring a suite of skills to the table, including exceptional relationship building skills, comfort and complete facility with financial concepts/private investing, a deep understanding of how the Acumen model works, and exceptional internal and external communication skills to manage global relationships within Acumen Fund as well as a pre-existing network of contacts.

Over time, the Business Development Manager will build and manage a multimillion dollar personal fundraising portfolio, and build Acumen’s presence in key fundraising markets, starting with the Bay Area from a mix of individual and institutional relationships. Specifically, you will:

Develop all aspects of Acumen’s strategy to systematically raise funds in the Bay Area and across the West Coast

  • Develop comfort and familiarity with Acumen’s growth story and vision for expansion

  • Assess the Bay Area and other major fundraising markets

  • Design and execute a strategy to build a systematic presence in the Bay Area and other key markets

Envision, cultivate and close relationships with key individual donors in the Bay Area and in other Western markets

  • Develop an understanding of Acumen’s strategy and preferred approach for individual partnerships

  • Maintain and grow existing Partner base in Bay Area and across the Western US through relationship management. We have a community of partners in LA, Seattle, Colorado, Chicago, Texas and this is a chance to strengthen and deepen this further.

  • Build a broad-based, multi-city network of potential high net worth individual Partners (philanthropic donors) with a focus in the Bay Area through appropriate channels, including events, individual outreach and networking.

  • Build key institutional relationships with potential institutional funders and peers in the impact investment sector. Cultivate and close relationships with individual Partners to enhance Acumen’s visibility, access, and influence, while developing a broader platform for further pipeline building

  • Organize and execute prospect cultivation events and networking events as necessary, leveraging our existing Partner communities.

Qualifications & Characteristics

  • 8-10 years of work experience, preferable in the tech/start up community in the Bay Area, including evidence of successful sales and client management skills and independently operating in complex, autonomous situations

  • A track record of building and maintaining strategic funding relationships Some experience working in developing economies or the impact investing sector is a plus
  • As this position is independently located (outside an existing Acumen Office), the candidate MUST be a self-starter, highly self-motivated and able to work remotely.

  • Pre-existing network of Bay Area contacts, preferably in the start up, technology, finance, and/or and venture capital communities

  • World-class storyteller who consistently communicates (oral, written) in a compelling manner

  • Ability to bridge the gap between the nonprofit and for-profit worlds.

  • Bachelor’s Degree is required

  • Willingness to travel 25-35% of the year

Additional characteristics we’re looking for in all roles at Acumen Fund:

  • Commitment to, and enthusiasm for, the organization’s mission and business model, and respect for our core values: generosity, accountability, humility, audacity, listening, leadership, integrity, respect
  • Moral Imagination: The humility to see the world as it is, and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be. It also includes but is not limited to the following:
    • Displaying high level of empathy in all relationships and encounters
    • Possessing deep self-awareness and ability to identify own strengths and weaknesses
    • Actively listening and focusing on hearing what others are saying
  • Good understanding of financial concepts and our investing model
  • Solid operational skills including problem solving and project management skills, including ability to work and deliver projects independently, proactively and under pressure
  • Effectively collaborates with and across teams, seeks and provides constructive feedback
  • Exceptional relationship and interpersonal skills: courtesy, tact, patience and strong team orientation
  • Strong communication skills and ability to be a “storyteller” of our work
  • Ability to thrive when there is ambiguity, remain cool-headed when there are curve balls, and withstand the tests of a rapidly changing environment with resilience and resolve
  • Curious – always questioning, always probing, and never blindly accepting
  • A sense of humor (really)


Acumen Fund offers a competitive compensation package commensurate with experience, including full benefits and a 401(k).


The first three months of this position will be spent onboarding and training in our New York office. After this period, the Business Development Manager is expected to be based in the Bay Area, California.

Application Requirements

Please submit a resume and cover letter (not to exceed one page) via our applicant tracking system.


The deadline for this position is April 4th, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.