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Director of Development

Company: The Garden Conservancy
Date Posted: May 18, 2016

Organization Description:  Headquartered in the Hudson Valley of New York, the Garden Conservancy (GC) is a national nonprofit that works to save and share America’s outstanding gardens for the education and inspiration of the public. Working with private garden owners as well as public organizations across the country, we help private gardens become public and help restore, rehabilitate, and protect public gardens. Since our founding in 1989, we have worked with more than eighty gardens, many of them historic landmarks. The Garden Conservancy’s signature Open Days program also provides access to hundreds of America’s finest private gardens. Our educational programs, documentation projects, and garden-study tours offer further sources of contemporary gardening ideas and historic highlights. Through all of our programs, the Garden Conservancy champions the vital role gardens play in our culture, history, and quality of life.

Position Summary:  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 organization’s base of support. The Director will focus primarily on major gifts from individuals, family foundations, and other 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 portfolio of donors around the country. The Director will oversee the operations of the department including policies, processes, procedure, infrastructure and the allocation of resources to support the Development effort. The Director will also provide leadership for, and directly supervise, two Associate Directors managing the Garden Conservancy’s membership and annual giving programs, and the Membership Assistant.

Duties and Responsibilities

Board Development Committee

  • Manage the Development Committee of the Board of Directors, 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.
  • 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.

 Fund Development Management

  • Track progress toward all Development revenue goals closely, adjusting strategies when needed, and keeping President, Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Board of Directors informed regularly.
  • As opportunities arise, design and implement special fundraising campaigns and initiatives.


Major Gift Management

  • 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. 
  • Cultivate and solicit prospects for gifts of $20,000 and above.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Design and implement major gift cultivation and stewardship events, in coordination with the Associate Director of Annual Giving, Director of Fellows Tours, and Director of Education as needed.
  • 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. 
  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit planned gifts on an individual donor basis, and conceive and implement strategies to build a planned giving program.

 Fundraising Events Management

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

 Grants Management

  • Collaborate with program staff to develop portfolio of funding needs and opportunities, and oversee department efforts regarding foundation grants, grant proposals and reports, and relationships with grant makers.


  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Knowledge of word processing software, spreadsheet software, Raisers Edge or similar fundraising software, and contact management systems.
  • Certified fundraising executive certification preferred.


  • 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 of meeting financial goals.


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

Mention “Director of Development” in the subject line.