Career Development

What Does a Development Executive Do?

Find out what a development executive does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a development executive.

A development executive is a person who works in the entertainment industry. They are responsible for finding new projects to develop, and they may also be tasked with raising money or securing other resources needed to bring these projects to life.

Development executives often work on small teams that have a specific focus or niche. For example, they might work exclusively on television shows, movies, documentaries, web series, etc.

Development Executive Job Duties

A development executive typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Developing or managing projects from concept to completion, including creating concepts and marketing plans, securing financing, hiring staff, and overseeing production
  • Coordinating the development of scripts, storyboards, and other elements used in creating visual media
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on scripts, storyboards, and other elements used in creating visual media
  • Developing relationships with writers, directors, producers, actors, musicians, and other key individuals involved in developing a project
  • Promoting and marketing projects through press releases, social media, advertisements, and other methods to increase public awareness
  • Managing budgets for projects, including costs for labor and materials such as props, costumes, sets, and special effects
  • Reviewing and approving contracts and other legal documents to ensure that they comply with industry standards
  • Managing relationships with investors, banks, and other funding sources to support projects from start to finish
  • Monitoring the progress of projects from inception to completion, and ensuring that they meet deadlines and internal quality standards

Development Executive Salary & Outlook

Development executives’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $82,500 ($39.66/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $183,000 ($87.98/hour)

The employment of development executives is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for real estate development services will continue to increase as the economy grows and more people move to cities. Development executives will be needed to plan, finance, and oversee the construction of new buildings and other projects.

Development Executive Job Requirements

To become a development executive, you will likely need:

Education: A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for entry-level development executives. Some companies prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). An MBA is a four-year program that includes coursework in finance, accounting, marketing, economics and business law.

Training & Experience: Development executives typically receive on-the-job training in the form of an apprenticeship or internship. Apprenticeships and internships allow aspiring development executives to gain practical experience in the field while also learning from experienced professionals.

Development executives can also receive training through a variety of seminars and conferences. These conferences can help development executives learn about new trends in the industry and keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

Certifications & Licenses: Though certifications are not usually a requirement for this role, they can help you stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your leadership abilities.

Development Executive Skills

Development executives need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is another important skill for development executives. You may need to communicate with other executives, managers and employees in order to convey ideas, relay information and provide feedback. You may also need to communicate with clients and donors to explain the goals of your organization and how you plan to achieve them.

Marketing: Marketing skills can help you develop strategies for promoting a company’s products and services. You can use marketing skills to create advertisements, develop a brand image and create a marketing budget. This can help you attract new customers and increase sales.

Project management: Project management skills can help you to manage the various tasks and responsibilities of your job. As an executive, you may oversee multiple projects at once, so it’s important to have the ability to manage each one effectively. Project management involves planning, organizing and delegating tasks. It also involves monitoring the progress of each project and adjusting as needed.

Negotiation: Negotiation is the act of communicating with others to reach an agreement. As an executive, you may need to negotiate with suppliers, clients or other business partners. You can use negotiation skills to help you secure funding for projects, find the best talent for your team and more.

Business acumen: Business acumen is the ability to understand the financial aspects of a project or company. Having strong business acumen can help you make informed decisions about the future of your organization. For example, you might use business acumen to determine if a company can afford to invest in a new technology or if a company can afford to hire more employees.

Development Executive Work Environment

Development executives work in a variety of settings, including corporate offices, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. They typically work full time and may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines or attend evening or weekend events. Development executives typically have a great deal of contact with the public and must be able to relate to a wide variety of people. They must be able to speak clearly and persuasively and have excellent writing skills. They also need to be able to work well under pressure and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

Development Executive Trends

Here are three trends influencing how development executives work. Development executives will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

The need for more technical skills is a trend that is quickly becoming apparent in the business world. As technology becomes more complex, businesses are looking for employees who can not only understand how it works, but also how to use it to their advantage.

Development executives are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they have both the business and technical knowledge needed to succeed in today’s economy. By developing their technical skills, they can become even more valuable members of their team.

More Focus on Diversity & Inclusion

As diversity and inclusion becomes more important to businesses, development executives will need to focus on creating a more inclusive environment. This means that they will need to be aware of the different cultures and backgrounds of their employees, and make sure that everyone feels comfortable in the workplace.

In addition, development executives will need to be able to identify and recruit candidates from underrepresented groups. This includes women, minorities, and people with disabilities. By doing so, they can help businesses to better reflect the communities they serve.

A Greater Emphasis on Innovation

Businesses are increasingly placing an emphasis on innovation as a way to stay competitive. This has led to a greater demand for development executives who can create new products and services that will help their company stand out from the competition.

Development executives who are able to think creatively and come up with innovative ideas will be in high demand in the years to come. They will need to be able to work well with teams and communicate effectively with stakeholders in order to get their ideas off the ground.

How to Become a Development Executive

A career in development is a great way to make a difference in the world. It’s also a field that offers many opportunities for growth and change. As you progress in your career, you may want to specialize in a particular area of development work, such as fundraising, program management, or policy advocacy. You may also want to move into a leadership role, either within your organization or in the broader development community.

Related: How to Write a Development Executive Resume

Advancement Prospects

Development executives may advance to become a vice president or president of development. They may also become a producer or a production executive.

Development Executive Job Description Example

The Development Executive is responsible for the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major gift prospects and donors for [CompanyX]. This position works closely with the CEO, Board of Directors and other key volunteers to secure major gifts and pledges from individuals, corporations and foundations. The Development Executive develops and implements strategies to identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit and steward major gift prospects and donors. This position also manages a portfolio of approximately 125 major gift prospects and donors.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute annual fundraising plans in alignment with the organization’s strategic vision and goals
  • Research, identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of major gift prospects and donors
  • Secure financial commitments from individuals, corporations, and foundations to support organizational initiatives
  • Write proposals and grant applications to secure funding from government agencies and private foundations
  • Develop and manage relationships with key stakeholders, including board members, volunteers, staff, and other partners
  • Plan and implement special events to engage supporters and raise awareness of the organization’s work
  • Oversee the development and implementation of stewardship and recognition programs for donors
  • Maintain accurate records of donor communications and interactions using the organization’s CRM database
  • Monitor trends in philanthropy and keep abreast of best practices in the field of development
  • Supervise and provide guidance to development staff, interns, and volunteers
  • Prepare reports on progress towards fundraising goals for senior management and the Board of Directors
  • Work collaboratively with other departments to ensure that all activities are aligned with the organization’s mission, vision, and values

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • 10+ years in a leadership role in development, fundraising, or related field
  • Proven track record of success in meeting or exceeding fundraising goals
  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate and solicit major gifts
  • Strong understanding of annual giving programs and strategies
  • Excellent relationship-building skills with internal and external stakeholders
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Masters degree in relevant field
  • CFRE certification
  • Experience working in higher education
  • Experience with capital campaigns
  • Demonstrated supervisory experience

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