• Director of Development

    Job Locations US-NE-Omaha
    Regular, Full-Time
    Job Category
  • Overview

    Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).




    Position Summary

    As a key member of Audubon’s development team, the Director of Development will manage and grow a comprehensive development program in Nebraska that supports the Central Flyway conservation initiatives, including Audubon Nebraska, Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary, and Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center.


    Reporting to the VP, Development, the Director of Development will play the leading part in the creation and implementation of an effective fundraising program for Audubon Nebraska, and will be a vital part of the National Audubon Society’s Development office, an integrated team that is working together to deliver the next quantum leap in fundraising. 


    Climate change and the environment are increasingly urgent philanthropic causes.  Birding is second only to gardening as this country’s favorite pastime.  There is an exceptional pool of wealthy individuals who have the capacity to make major and transformational gifts to Audubon. In this context, Audubon has the opportunity to develop a universe of support and influence, leveraging individuals’ personal, voluntary, professional, political and business networks in order to support Audubon and to make a positive impact on the quality of life on Earth.


    This position is an opportunity for a highly motivated and experienced professional to build and manage a comprehensive development program including managing the current staff of two and developing a staff structure to support and advance the fundraising aspirations of Audubon Nebraska. This individual will be responsible for all aspects of creating sustainable contributed income streams including significant expansion of the major gift program. Additionally, this position will be responsible for conducting special fundraising campaigns in order to advance Audubon’s strategic priorities in the Central Flyway. Key metrics for success include return on development investment, donor engagement (number of personal meetings with donors, prospects, and volunteers) and revenue (value of gifts; number of solicitations; and success rate of closing gifts), donor acquisition, and retention rates within the annual fund, and outcomes of any special campaign.


    After 12 months in the position, the successful candidate will have:

    • Analyzed, and, where appropriate, modified Nebraska’s development plan incorporating metrics, outcome reporting, and new staffing structures to maximize contributed income
    • Become a strong, successful and respected member of a newly integrated, nation-wide Development team
    • Built a personal portfolio of 100-125 major gift prospects complete with bespoke cultivation and solicitation strategies
    • Established and achieved stretch fundraising goals for Audubon Nebraska including improving return on investment and increasing major gifts and donor acquisition
    • Advanced the campaign plan including recruiting the campaign cabinet, securing lead gifts and developing and leading a campaign communication plan
    • Contributed to the development and implementation of a stewardship program
    • Become competent in presenting Audubon’s strategic plan and priority projects
    • Demonstrated a flexible and ‘can-do’ approach in all elements of daily work

    Essential Functions

    Development Planning and Strategy:

    • Develop, implement, and evaluate a fundraising plan for Audubon Nebraska to maximize income from individuals, corporations, and foundations in support of Audubon’s strategic priorities
    • Create clear income and expenditure budgets, set and monitor stretch goals for all aspects of the development program, monitor progress and analyze results, and provide regular reports and updated action plans to Audubon leadership
    • Gain knowledge of strategic priorities and funding opportunities across Audubon Nebraska and the Central Flyway and work with colleagues to connect potential funders with opportunities resulting in transformational giving


    • Lead and or oversee all major gift and campaign fundraising to ensure all targets and agreed objectives are achieved
    • Participate in the identification, cultivation and solicitation of selected major gift prospects, campaign leadership and board members
    • Work with the Audubon Nebraska leadership to ensure donor engagement goals are reached and donor relationships are deepened
    • In collaboration with the planned giving team, integrate an active planned giving program for Nebraska
    • In conjunction with the VP for Institutional Giving, lead and oversee grant-seeking activity for Audubon Nebraska, including the identification of foundation prospects; identification and articulation of meaningful funding proposals matched to foundation goals and Audubon’s strategic plan; and accurate submission and reporting
    • With an eye toward creating a meaningful donor pipeline in support of the major gift program, manage lower- and mid-level giving strategies (gifts <$10K) including but not limited to direct mail, on-line giving, point-of-sale giving, and special events (note that efforts are underway to assess lower- and mid-level giving efforts and define a sustainable plan for moving forward)

    Support for Lead Volunteers:

    • Work closely with the Nebraska Advisory Board, development committees, campaign cabinets, and other lead volunteers to engage them in the overall development program and in achieving Audubon’s goals
    • Enable effective volunteer fundraising by ensuring that outstanding research, sound strategy, and project materials are provided as needed
    • Provide stewardship for volunteers as primary contact, keeping them informed of developments at Audubon and acknowledging their support.
    • Fully brief volunteers, executives and program staff for all interactions with the donors, including research information, goals of meeting, and talking points

    Project Management:

    • Work with colleagues across the Audubon to articulate priority fundraising projects including expert input into defining projects, drafting proposals, and writing accurate and inspirational case statements
    • Manage timely reporting to donors according to their criteria, interests, and expectations
    • Represent donors’ interests and requirements to colleagues where defined and agreed in funded project proposals, ensuring commitment to the delivery of appropriate and approved benefits or recognition


    • Ensure donors are managed and stewarded to maximize lifetime value to Audubon
    • Ensure effective management of relationships with individuals, companies, and foundations including excellent and regular communication, appropriate consultation, and fulfilment of gift agreements and contracts
    • Develop and manage a stewardship program for Audubon Nebraska ensuring consistent and appropriate recognition is provided to all donors, including events, clubs and societies, commemorative naming, recognition signage, annual reports, and newsletters

    Staff management:

    • Recruit, lead, and motivate the development team, conducting regular reviews, goal setting, monitoring progress against goals, as well as budget control while incorporating individual career development goals
    • Coordinate and support the team in managing multiple projects simultaneously, directing resources strategically to maximize returns for Audubon and enable success of priority projects while meeting the needs of supporters
    • Manage everyday HR issues as they arise, encouraging collegiality, managing timekeeping, sickness/absence, and behavior issues to ensure effective team work and compliance with company policy
    • Ensure flawless due diligence through the creation and implementation of excellent development policies and procedures including the uses of SalesForce, EveryAction, and all other Audubon resources. Ensure that excellent records are maintained of all development activities

    Other duties as required:

    • Participate in opportunities to engage with leaders and development colleagues across Audubon via in-person and virtual team meetings and training opportunities
    • Work with other members of the Audubon Flyway and Leadership Teams to take on special assignments, attending relevant planning and strategy meetings, and work as a team in the overall management of the organization, supporting others as needed
    • Adhere to all Audubon policies
    • Ensure that Nebraska staff contributes to and complies with best practice, including legal compliance, data management, volunteer support, risk management, financial/HR policies and procedures

    Qualifications and Experience

    • Bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management, business, public relations, marketing or related field, as well as 5-7 years of senior-level fundraising with increasing responsibility and results
    • Demonstrated track record of securing five and six-figure gifts from major donors, foundations, corporations, and endowments
    • Excellent leadership and management experience coordinating and motivating teams of three or more, and experience working collaboratively with peers and as part of a management team. 
    • Sales-oriented entrepreneurship, with the ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment and with a wide variety of stakeholder groups.
    • Superb writing, verbal, and presentation skills; must also have strong planning, organization, time management, and multi-tasking skills
    • A can-do attitude and a tolerant, friendly personality with a sense of humor are essential. High standards for integrity and quality of work
    • A flexible approach to work, with the willingness to travel frequently and work some weekends and evenings
    • Interest, understanding, and commitment to the conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitat is critical, as is the ability to communicate Audubon’s mission, goals, and programs effectively and with the highest professional standard


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