Director of Development

Job Location

Lexington or Louisville, KY


Published By

Publisher Name

Type of Job



$90,000 to $120,000

Published Date

Apr 28, 2021

About the job

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Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is the world’s leading conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are working to ensure healthy lands, waters, and ocean, tackling climate change, both through emission reductions and adaptation.

For over 45 years, The Nature Conservancy in Kentucky has worked collaboratively to advance leading land and water conservation efforts in the Bluegrass State. As our work has matured, so too has the size and complexity of our development program, and we seek to hire a Director of Development who can build on our strengths and lead the program to growth and success.

One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 75 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.


The Kentucky Director of Development (DOD) leads a comprehensive, best-in-class development program that secures significant philanthropic resources from individuals, corporations, and foundations to support The Nature Conservancy’s priorities in Kentucky, North America, and around the world. The DOD has access to fundraising expertise and best practices Kentucky, nationally and globally, and will lead and oversee a team that manages all major gift functions, including multi-year fundraising campaigns, major (6 and 7-figure) gift fundraising, donor prospecting, strategic communications, planned giving, research, and stewardship. To achieve fundraising objectives, the DOD works with Kentucky senior staff, philanthropy staff, and Kentucky Board of Trustees to develop, communicate, and deliver a philanthropy vision and multi-year fundraising goals. The Director of Development places a major personal emphasis on face-to-face fundraising, while also leading a four-person development team of seasoned, collaborative, and results-oriented professionals, including staff directly responsible for advancing our communications and marketing work. The DOD reports to the State Director and works closely with leadership to recruit and develop a strong Kentucky Board of Trustees.


The DOD serves as an active member of The Nature Conservancy Kentucky’s leadership team. S/he must be motivated to learn and able to work collaboratively with colleagues, donors, board members and other volunteer leaders across a dispersed and complex global organization. Across these roles, the Director of Development works to integrate development with sophisticated conservation and policy initiatives. S/he plays a critical role in meeting the strategic priorities of the Kentucky Chapter by developing, implementing, and managing a comprehensive, ambitious, and effective development plan. Leading conservation/capital campaigns and ensuring the chapter has the staff and volunteer engagement necessary for success in those efforts are key responsibilities of the position. We are currently in the final stages of an ambitious five-year $24 million campaign, and ensuring we maintain fundraising success and position ourselves for a future campaign(s) are key elements of this position. The Director manages all major gifts functions, which may include planned giving, leadership and major gifts, donor prospecting and research, as well as multi-year fundraising campaigns. S/he leads a team of development and marking staff, ensuring success through coaching, mentoring, and accountability. The Director of Development is responsible for the program’s portfolio of donors and, leading by example, will be accountable for managing a select group of prospects and donors aimed at securing six and seven-figure gifts. S/he also shares leadership responsibility with the State Director for building and engaging the Board of Trustees. The Director must have the proven ability to manage for results, delegate effectively, and “manage up” to ensure the State Director is well-positioned to support and participate effectively in fundraising. Finally, s/he is responsible for building a culture of philanthropy within the chapter and helps all staff and volunteers to understand their role in and contribution to the chapter’s development program.

Director of Development is charged with:

· Lead development efforts and strategic fundraising initiatives; accountable for annual fundraising goals of $2.0–2.5 million per year in donations and additional planned gifts.

· Direct ambitious, comprehensive, and multi-year fundraising campaigns, including oversight of the volunteer committees to ensure Board participation in campaign goals to support chapter, regional and global priorities.

· Managing a 4-person philanthropy team, which encompasses major and principal gift functions, planned giving, loyal donors, philanthropy operations, and marketing and communications.

· Successfully and strategically managing a select portfolio of approximately 40 major gift donors and prospects aimed at securing 5-7 figure gifts; orchestrating the work of staff and leadership to maximize these key relationships for the long term.

· Broad management, which includes identification, cultivation, and securing new board members and working closely with existing members on their personal philanthropy and enlisting them as partners and leaders on the chapter’s overall development efforts. Emphasis on recruiting Board members that reflect the diversity of Kentucky and the communities where we work.

· Works closely with the State Director, Management and development teams, Kentucky Board members, and others to strengthen and engage the entire Board of Trustees in fundraising, including donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.

· Help to coordinate the financial management and planning for the chapter; set budget and fundraising objectives, analyze and report results, and take corrective actions.

· Serves on the Kentucky Management Team and helps contribute to the formulation, analysis, and execution of key strategic decisions for the Kentucky Chapter.

· In coordination with State Director, other Kentucky staff, other TNC colleagues, and volunteer leaders, meets strategic and annual fundraising goals to support regional and global conservation objectives.

· Implement and direct multiple projects, directing work of staff, managing budget, setting deadlines, and ensuring accountability.


· Lead, supervise, inspire and develop a team of administrative, professional, and volunteer staff, with responsibility including recruitment, retaining, training, professional development, establishing clear direction, and inspiring “stretch” objectives, overseeing the execution of day-to-day work, evaluating results, and developing corrective or new strategies/initiatives as needed.

· Implement strategic decisions that may affect public image, impact multiple programs, and bind the organization financially or legally.

· Commit actions and resources in a way that may affect the organization’s public image, and/or bind the organization financially or legally.

· Ensure that programmatic commitments, TNC policies and procedures, financial standards, and legal requirements are met and managed for ethical compliance, including ethical standards as defined by the Association for Fundraising Professionals.

· Maintain confidentiality of frequently sensitive and emotionally charged information.

· Maximum opportunity to act independently and resolve complex issues within program area.

· Direct or participate in negotiations for complex, high profile or sensitive agreements.

· Understand and passionately support the chapter and organization’s conservation mission and be able to clearly articulate the organization’s goals, strategies and outcomes.

Work Environment and Schedule

· Travel as needed (up to 35%; chiefly day or short trips) and on short notice occasionally. May require working extended and/or varied work hours, including on weekends.

· Work is generally performed in a professional office environment and involves only infrequent exposure to disagreeable elements and minor physical exertion and/or strain.


  • Bachelor’s degree and seven years related experience, including experience working at a senior level, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience with understanding and passionately supporting the chapter and organization’s conservation mission and be able to clearly articulate the organization’s goals, strategies and outcomes.
  • Experience, coursework, or other training in principles, practices, and procedures of charitable giving, particularly in the areas of capital campaigns, major gifts, and planned giving.
  • Experience building and maintaining long-term relationships with high net worth constituents such as individual major donors, private foundations and corporations.
  • Experience with cultivating and closing major or planned gifts (six to seven-figure gifts)
  • Experience working with trustees and/or volunteer committees to drive philanthropic efforts.
  • Experience building and successfully executing fundraising plans for a program or an organization.
  • Experience managing a large multidisciplinary department, including planning and delivering budgetary responsibilities
  • Experience with strategic thinking skills and experience designing and executing donor strategies.
  • Experience in understanding the need for divergent and varied views and styles, and an ability to incorporate these diverse components into everyday management systems.
  • A valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program.


  • Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • Master’s degree and 12+ years related experience, including 5+ years working at a senior level preferred.
  • Experience recruiting, training and engaging board members and other volunteer leaders and ensuring that they are well prepared to engage in effective fundraising efforts.
  • Expert knowledge of current and evolving trends in charitable giving, particularly in the areas of campaigns, major gifts and planned giving. Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) certification desirable.
  • Demonstrated experience using listening, diplomacy, and tact to build strong relationships and motivate colleagues, donors and volunteers.
  • Experience overseeing a philanthropic campaign with an overall goal greater than $10 million.
  • Experience fundraising for multiple strategies or programs that are deployed at a local, regional and global scale.
  • Expert understanding of best practices in non-profit management.
  • Experience in managing a geographically dispersed team.
  • Knowledge of and experience working in Kentucky’s philanthropic community.
  • Knowledge of current conservation issues.
  • Willingness to lead groups on canoe trips, hikes, and other outdoor activities.
  • A positive attitude


This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with the Conservancy's Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.


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The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.