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Development Director

Wild Animal Initiative

Wild Animal Initiative

United States

Fundraising or development







Middle or junior management

Mgmt responsibilities: 


Date posted:



About the Role

As Wild Animal Initiative’s first Development Director, you will play a crucial role in determining how quickly we can advance our mission of understanding and improving the lives of wild animals.

You will coordinate with members of other teams who contribute to development, including the Executive Director (who maintains many major donor relationships and gives public presentations), the Communications Director (who oversees our content production, social media, and press relations), the Operations Director (who oversees budgeting), and programmatic staff (who help report on the progress we’re making).

Spanning everything from front-line fundraising to organizational strategy, this role requires a wide range of skills and offers a large amount of autonomy.

* You will collaborate with other leadership to chart Wild Animal Initiative’s course forward.
* You will manage the development team.
* You will be entrusted with expanding and diversifying our donor base. (See here for a summary of our fundraising history and goals.)
* Finally, you will set a development strategy: calculating our funding needs, developing plans to meet them, forecasting the likelihood of their success, and preparing for scenarios where we raise substantially less or more than planned.

Supervisory responsibilities:
You will oversee, direct, and organize the work of the Development department. You will initially manage one direct report, growing up to five additional reports over the next one to three years.

Core responsibilities:
Executive leadership:
As a key member of Wild Animal Initiative’s leadership team, you will work with the Executive Director and other department directors (Communications, Operations, Science, and Strategy) to:
* Advise on major decisions about organizational strategy and operations, especially as they relate to development.
* Provide honest and critical feedback to members of leadership as needed (and solicit it from others).
* Promote a positive organizational work culture that fosters high levels of staff satisfaction, facilitates continuous improvement in how we fundraise, values inclusivity as a core strategy to be effective and ethical in our work, and celebrates the different strengths and backgrounds of our staff.

Department management:
As the director of the Development team, you will work with your team and with members of other departments to: 
* Oversee, direct, and organize the work of the Development Coordinator (and any additional Development staff hired) to ensure projects are completed well, on schedule, and within the department’s budget.
* Support direct reports by advising on task load and time management, providing positive and constructive feedback, and encouraging their professional development by helping them to set personal goals and identify opportunities for growth.
* Share progress updates on overall fundraising status and major development projects with key stakeholders, including our Board of Directors, Executive Director, leadership team, and rest of staff.
* Hire more staff as funding allows (likely starting with a Major Gifts Officer, then a Foundation Relations Manager).

As the director entrusted with defining our development strategy, you will: 
* Calculate our funding needs, develop plans to meet them, forecast the likelihood of their success, and prepare for scenarios where we raise substantially less or more than planned.
* Set goals and develop strategies to encourage new or increased contributions from major donors, grantmakers, and other members of our donor base.
* Generate strategies to increase awareness of our work among wildlife-supporting donor communities like wildlife advocacy and conservation, as well as basic science, green technology, or related cause areas.
* Use data-driven methods to evaluate and inform the efficacy of our fundraising activities.
* Formulate policies and procedures related to fundraising programs, collection and safeguarding of contributions, and disbursement of funds.
* Ensure development programs are inclusive and equitable and that we are in compliance with relevant laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we conduct fundraising activities.

Front-line fundraising:
As a skilled fundraiser, you will:
* Establish and maintain relationships with Wild Animal Initiative’s donor base and external partners to cultivate new fundraising opportunities.
* Develop cases for support for multiple donor audiences, which may include donors interested in conservation, wildlife, animal welfare, and effective altruism.
* Oversee the development of materials to submit to granting or other funding organizations.
* Design a suite of reports to track team/fundraising performance and record donor communications.
* Advise the Executive Director and other relevant staff on their participation in fundraising efforts and ad hoc development opportunities as they arise.
* Explore opportunities to incorporate special fundraising events into our development strategy and lead the planning and execution of such events.
* Collaborate with the Communications team to craft materials and strategies for successful fundraising efforts through mass communication channels, such as email, social media, our website, our annual report, and others.
* Support the Science team’s efforts to work with science funders to expand our Research Fund (funds restricted to regranting to academic researchers).
Other duties: Responsibilities and activities are likely to change as we continue to grow our team and improve our strategy.

About the Organisation

Wild Animal Initiative is an entirely remote 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit working to understand and improve the lives of wild animals. Read more about us here.

We believe we have a responsibility to act to improve the well-being of wild animals. There is still so much we don’t know about which animals are sentient, what their lives are like in the wild, and how we can responsibly help them. Our work funds cutting-edge science, aids the careers of researchers in the field, and contributes to original research.

We are looking to work with people who approach our mission as an inherently inclusive endeavor and celebrate the differences of others. We strongly encourage Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of the global majority to apply. We welcome applicants of any religion, age, origin, class, citizenship, parental status, disability status, genetics, sexual orientation, and gender.

Note: We are unfortunately not able to sponsor work visas at this time and require candidates to already be eligible to work in the jurisdictions where they live or will live by the start of their employment.

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