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Director of Development

Company: The Garden Conservancy
Date Posted: December 30, 2015

Summary: The Garden Conservancy (GC) is a national nonprofit headquartered in the Hudson Valley of New York that works to save and share America’s outstanding gardens for the education and inspiration of the public.


The Director of Development will lead all aspects of the Garden Conservancy’s fundraising program, establishing and implementing strategies to meet annual revenue goals and multi-year campaign goals, and broaden the base of support.  The Director will focus primarily on major gifts from individuals, family foundations and foundations, working closely with the President and the Board of Directors to build the major gifts program and ensure that major gift targets are met.  The Director will manage and support the President’s major gift work as well as establish and maintain his/her own limited portfolio of donors around the country.  The Director will also provide leadership for, and directly supervise, two Associate Directors managing the Garden Conservancy’s membership and annual fund programs, and the Membership Assistant.  The Director will also manage the operations of the department including budgeting and the use of systems to support the Development effort.


Duties and Responsibilities


  1. Manage the Development Committee of the Board, working with the Chair to ensure that the Committee is engaged and maximum value is achieved from their participation.  Organize all committee meetings, develop agendas, and conduct follow-up.


  1. Represent the Development department and its work to the Board of Directors, reporting as needed on progress toward revenue goals, identifying challenges and opportunities, and collaborating with the board to develop strategies.


  1. Track progress toward all Development revenue goals closely, adjusting strategies when needed and keeping President, Finance Department, and Board of Directors informed regularly.


  1. Direct the major gift program by meeting regularly with the President to ensure progress in the President’s portfolio and the Director’s portfolio.  Assign and/or conduct prospect research as necessary, review research to determine strategies, draft and manage solicitation plans, set up prospect meetings, draft correspondence and call reports, maintain and track records in database, and write major gift acknowledgements. 


  1. Cultivate and solicit prospects for gifts of $20,000 and above.
  2. Collaborate with program staff to write donor reports and proposals and to develop funding opportunities.


  1. Through use of Raiser’s Edge database and collaboration with Board Members,  other supporters, and staff, prospect for major donors from among the Conservancy’s members, garden hosts, and other constituents, and from among other promising constituencies such as garden clubs.


  1. Establish long-range portfolio management goals for the major gift program, such as number of monthly visits, number of cultivation events, and number of cultivation communications.


  1. Design and implement major gift cultivation and stewardship events, in coordination with the Associate Director of Membership – Society of Fellows, the Director of Fellows Tours, and the Director of Education as needed.


10.  Collaborate with senior program staff to identify potential donors and cultivate and solicit them for major gifts for general program support as well as specific priorities. 


11.  Identify, cultivate and solicit planned gifts on an individual donor basis, and conceive and implement strategies to build a planned giving program.


12.  Attend GC Open Days, preservation and educational events to cultivate attendees and hosts as appropriate.


13.  Work closely with the communications staff on newsletters, website articles, invitations, annual reports, and other printed materials necessary in the overall messaging of the GC mission and goals to donor constituencies.


14.  When needed, prospect for foundation grants, write grant proposals and reports,           and maintain relationships with grant makers.


15.  As opportunities arise, design and implement special fundraising campaigns and initiatives.


Knowledge, Skills and Other Abilities

  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills; ability to make a strong case for support of programs.
  • Ability to create strategic vision and attend to the administrative details of running a department.
  • Confidence presenting programmatic and financial information to sophisticated audiences.
  • Flexibility to travel for several days at a time to meet with donors in various regions of the country and to attend high-level Garden Conservancy events.
  • Commitment to confidentiality and professional ethics.
  • Ability to manage and complete multiple tasks under pressure and maintain a positive attitude and sense of humor.
  • Commitment to professional development and growth of staff.
  • Excitement and passion for environmental causes and gardening.



Computer Skills

Knowledge of word processing software, spreadsheet software, Raisers Edge or similar fundraising software, and contact management systems.  Competency inputting and retrieving data.



Bachelor's degree (B.A./B.S.) from four-year college or university; minimum seven years of progressively responsible experience in Development; experience managing major gift and membership programs, experience working directly with board members and high-level donors, proposal writing experience, and supervisory experience.  Demonstrated track record of cultivating and soliciting gifts of $20,000 and above, and meeting financial goals.



Certified fund raising executive certification preferred.



TO APPLY Please send your resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to

Mention “Director of Development” in the subject line.