Job Location

Preference for Bay Area, Remote


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Type of Job




Published Date

Nov 18, 2020

About the job

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International Rivers is thrilled to be expanding our team and accepting applications for our Director of Philanthropy opening. The Director of Philanthropy is key to marshalling the resources needed to power our mission of protecting rivers across the world and defending the rights of the communities that depend on them. As the Director of Philanthropy, you will be a part of our leadership team, and coordinate closely with key staff and board members as well as your team to lead our development program.


ABOUT INTERNATIONAL RIVERS International Rivers (IR) works at the intersection of the environment, human rights, and social justice. Working primarily in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, we work with an international network of dam-affected people, grassroots organizations, environmentalists, human rights advocates and others who are committed to stopping destructive river projects and promoting better options. International Rivers brings expertise in big dams, energy and water policy, climate change, and international financial institutions. We support partner organizations and dam-affected people by providing advice, training and technical assistance, and advocating on their behalf with governments, banks, companies and international agencies.

THE POSITION: As our Director of Philanthropy, you will lead the design and implementation of the organization’s fundraising strategy; cultivating and stewarding major donors; and broadening our donor base. You will also provide critical direct support to programs in managing grants, as well as expanding and stewarding support among institutional funders. You will work closely with the Board, Executive Director, and Management Team to develop and execute our ambitious plans.

As the Director of Philanthropy, you will provide leadership around the strategy, management, direct fundraising, and growth of our development program. Specifically you will :


- Develop and execute long-range fundraising plans that align to the organization’s strategic plan.

- Develop and execute annual plans that generate the resources necessary to scale-up the ambition of annual program plans

- Lead quarterly planning to inform priority fundraising strategies, tactics, activities, and work plans across the organization.

- Develop and execute fundraising plans with strategic program working groups and regions.

- Coordinate with and report regularly to the Board, soliciting their strategic inputs and supporting their contributions to organizational fundraising.


- Train and manage staff, specifically a Communications and Development Associate.
- Maintain and refine a structured approach to our fundraising systems and processes.
- Participate in regular leadership team meetings to inform the strategic direction of the organization.

- Develop and manage organizational income budgets and departmental expense budgets.

- Facilitate regular meetings with the Development Working Groups, Program Working Groups, and regional offices to keep fundraising plans on track.

- Identify and advocate for the resources required to advance International Rivers’ growth aspirations, including consultants, new hires, and staff realignment, direct the subsequent hiring, training, and management required for any new staff.


Direct Fundraising

- Manage and build a portfolio of major donors, securing gifts and building long-term relationships with our growing list of philanthropic partners.

- Play a lead role in ensuring high retention of individual donors and increase in giving levels.

- Generate opportunities to meet new philanthropic partners, such as by opening doors to networks of funders.

- Design and oversee our expanded direct mail, phonebanking, digital appeals, and virtual/ in-person fundraising events.

- Coordinate with program staff to build our foundation income, working toward increases in large foundation grants as well as multi-year grants.


- Provide the support and structures necessary for the Executive Director and other staff to succeed in their high-dollar fundraising responsibilities.

- Bottom-line the exponential growth of our digital presence (email list, social media following, optimization of our website).

- Oversee and directly invest in prospect research to build out the organization’s supporter pipeline.

- Work with program staff to secure and reallocate small grants to a growing number of grassroots and community partners across the regions we work in.
- Guide and ensure the steady growth of the organization’s annual income and a significant increase in the organization’s support from individual donors.

Required qualifications:
- At least eight years of work experience as a professional fundraiser, preferably for environmental or social justice organizations; - A passion for environmental justice;
- A proven track record of effectively soliciting large gifts;
- Experience in supervising and managing a team toward accomplishing fundraising goals.
- Ability to leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others for fundraising, and organize, prioritize, and delegate work;
- Demonstrated leadership in designing, managing and implementing a full suite of development efforts, including experience in most of the of following: major gifts, planned giving, institutional grants, and membership-building programs;
- Ability to write persuasively, with strong communications and listening skills;
- Ability and enthusiasm to build strong relationships across the organization to accomplish our fundraising goals, including with our leadership team and program staff;
- Experience with budgeting and financial management for a fundraising department;
- Self-directed and able to work in an independent and team setting;
- An international orientation and passion for global work. Experience working with people from a variety of ethnic, racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds, with a preference for experience in the Global South.
- Ability and willingness to travel within the US, and to work some evenings and weekends. As an international organization, we coordinate across time zones, and there will be a need for the Director of Philanthropy to join non-business hour staff calls. Please note: During the pandemic, our staff are working from home and currently not traveling.

Preferred qualifications:
- Experience collaborating effectively with small and diverse teams to achieve results.
- Familiarity with one or more of the regions where we work.
- Values and can effectively build relationships across regions to understand fully the work on the ground
- Ability to work collaboratively with other staff, Board members and volunteers.
- Able to interpret issues and present with a confident and compelling message to funders, donors and board.
- Ability to research funding trends and identify new opportunities to effectively link to International Rivers goals.
- Language fluency in any of the predominant languages in the regions in which we work is a plus in gathering and relating stories from the field to funders and/or engaging regional funders.
- Experience maintaining donor software platforms and building data management systems for optimum efficiency and impact
- Acumen in project management.

Compensation and other details: This is a full-time position. The starting salary range is $100- $120K, commensurate with experience. The benefits package includes health care, generous paid vacation and holidays, sick leave, and a health care reimbursement account. You will report to our Executive Director. The travel expectation for this position is about 20% time and will primarily involve travel around the U.S. At this point, our staff are not travelling during the pandemic.

Location: Preference for candidates based in the Bay Area, though candidates outside of the Bay Area are encouraged to apply. We will consider candidates based near most major U.S. cities especially Los Angeles; New York City; Portland, OR; Seattle, or Washington, D.C. During the pandemic, all staff are working from home.

Our team: We are a global organization with headquarters in Oakland, CA, and regional offices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Our staff come from a variety of regions around the globe and backgrounds, including civil society organizations, environmental and public health organizations, start-ups and more. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming place for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, various religious and ethic backgrounds, and parents, and we actively strive to be better.

To apply: Please send a resume and cover letter, including your interest in our mission, to Please include “Director of Philanthropy” in the subject line and let us know where you heard about the position. Applications will be reviewed upon your submission, and interviews will be held on a rolling basis until the position is filled. International Rivers is working with Sarah Bennett Consulting to coordinate this search. Please feel free to reach out to Jon Gromek at with any questions.

Please visit for more information.

International Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, class, disability status, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation.