Development Manager, Central and Mississippi Flyways

Job Locations
Regular, Full-Time
Job Category


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. The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion, and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.


Position Summary

As a member of Audubon’s national Development team, the Development Manager will play an important role in the success of the fund development program in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River region. Reporting to the Vice President of Development overseeing the Central and Mississippi Flyways, the Development Manager leads the development and expansion of the mid-level and major donor program for the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River region, both as a source of critical unrestricted revenue and as a pipeline for major and planned giving. Additionally, the Development Manager supports the Vice President of Development, the Executive Directors of Audubon Great Lakes and Audubon Minnesota/Upper Mississippi River region and volunteer leaders in their role as fundraisers. They will build and manage a portfolio of major donors and in state-based institutions, as well as state’s Grinnell Society program, which entails ongoing stewardship of donors who have included Audubon in their estate plans. The Development Manager directly and indirectly identifies, cultivates and solicits gifts from donors and prospects using a range of activities, including personal visits, written proposals, telephone, email, events and tours.  


Key metrics for success will include donor engagement (number of personal meetings with prospects and volunteers) and revenue (value of gifts; number of solicitations; success rate of solicitations; and achievement of programmatic contributed revenue goals). The successful candidate will be an entrepreneurial, result driven, development professional with success in closing five- and six-figure gifts.

Essential Functions

  • Work with the Vice President for Development, the Executive Directors of Audubon Great Lakes and Audubon Minnesota/Upper Mississippi River region and volunteer leadership to drive the implementation of the annual development plan in order to maximize income in support of Audubon’s strategic priorities and Upper Mississippi Flyway’s operating and capital needs
  • Help set and achieve specific fundraising goals for Audubon Great Lakes and Audubon Minnesota/Upper Mississippi River region
  • Participate in the planning, construction, and management of annual and three-year contributed income work plans to support annual budgets for Upper Mississippi Flyway
  • Qualify current and prospective donors to develop an active portfolio of 200 individuals capable of making major gift level commitments
  • Create and implement personalized cultivation/briefing/ask strategies for all assigned prospects, based on philanthropic focus to maximize giving to Audubon
  • Staff the Executive Directors of Audubon Great Lakes and Audubon Minnesota in their fundraising, including the identification and prioritization of major gift prospects for personal engagement, development of cultivation and solicitation strategies, preparation of prospect research and briefing memos as well as the development of emails, talking points, proposals and stewardship reports
  • Ensure accurate donor and prospect data collection and management in Salesforce
  • Track progress towards annual fundraising goals and regularly review portfolio and planned strategies with, VP for Development, conservation professionals, and others in order to align prospect interests with emerging priorities
  • Serve as the primary staff liaison to Audubon Great Lakes’ and Audubon Minnesota’s Board Development Committees in the planning of cultivation and solicitation strategies, events, trainings, and other fundraising activities as appropriate; plan and prepare these committees’ meetings, minutes, and reports
  • Coordinate the design and implementation of fundraising, cultivation and stewardship events for Audubon Great Lakes and Audubon Minnesota including the execution of follow-up strategies
  • Manage and lead on the creation of proposals and reports for major gift funders. Grant writing is required for this position
  • Work with staff to leverage fundraising opportunities including philanthropic messaging
  • Other duties as assigned by the Vice President for Development

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor's Degree and minimum 5 years' professional experience in a development position that includes portfolio management, directly and/or in support of a senior leader focused on major gifts
  • Demonstrated success securing 5-figure gifts from individuals and/or institutions
  • Interest, understanding, and commitment to the mission of the National Audubon Society, and ability to communicate Audubon’s mission, goals, and programs effectively
  • Understanding of basic fundraising principals, best practices and procedures including moves management and effective fundraising pipeline development
  • Excellent writing, editing and proofreading skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills; understanding of person-to-person relationships and ability to convincingly articulate needs and goals that motivate potential donors to make gifts and existing donors to make bigger gifts. Ability to interact with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders, such as board members other VIPs and colleagues at all levels of the organization is also important
  • A self-starter who works well independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced and results-oriented environment, can manage multiple projects simultaneously, prioritize workload, and ensure deadlines are met
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality, while exercising discretion and personal judgment where appropriate
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office (specifically Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and development database programs required
  • A flexible approach to work, with the willingness to work some evenings and weekends and travel for events when necessary
  • Ability to travel within the Upper Mississippi Flyway - 35%
  • Location flexible, preferably Chicago
  • Must have a valid Driver’s License


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