Development Officer (Events and Partnerships)

The Development Officer (Events and Partnerships) is responsible for managing relationships with donors and prospects determined to have the ability to make gifts at or above $5,000 in support of Audubon Nature Institute, with a primary focus on corporate partnerships and Zoo-To-Do events. The Development Officer (Events and Partnerships) is charged with developing and implementing strategies for securing and growing financial support from donor prospects, to include qualifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding gifts.

The success of this position is measured by number of calls made, proposals/requests presented, and gifts closed. The Development Officer is an ambassador of Audubon Nature Institute, consistently displaying excellent interpersonal skills, embracing the mission, and building positive working relationships with Audubon staff across facilities.

Job Description: 

Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks.

  • Demonstrate the ability to articulate the mission, vision, and needs of Audubon Nature Institute through verbal, written, and electronic communications
  • In collaboration with the fundraising team, develop prospect list and fundraising/activity goals from a pool of qualified prospects for fundraising events and corporate partnerships
  • Manage a qualified list of active prospects and carry out moves management strategies for solicitation of these prospects for gifts of $5,000 and greater
  • For the Zoo-To-Do events, work closely with the Gala Chairman as well as Patron and Sponsor volunteer committees, uphold the longstanding Zoo-To-Do tradition and strive to increase participation and results
  • Work collaboratively with and in support of executive leadership, the fundraising team, volunteer leaders, committee members, and other Audubon staff to cultivate and solicit donors for Audubon priorities, namely mission-aligned program and event sponsorships
  • Identify specific sponsorship opportunities as a best fit for prospects and prepare creative, customized proposals
  • Work independently and be self-motivated in initiating contact with potential donors through direct, face-to-face meetings and solicitation
  • Spend 75% of time in direct engagement with volunteers, committee members, prospects, and donors
  • Make numerous decisions on cultivation time, committed vs. expected gift response, determine who needs to be involved in the relationship with the prospective donor, and decide the most effective and productive strategy
  • Demonstrate understanding of and adherence to the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethics and the Donor Bill of Rights Enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation
  • Manage relationships with approximately 200+ donors and prospective donors for the Zoo-To-Do events and approximately 50 additional donors and prospective donors for corporate partnerships related to various events and programs
  • Perform ongoing research to identify prospects to expand and diversify Audubon’s donor base
  • Maintain accurate donor records and ensure purposeful prospect and donor relations 
  • Provide specific list criteria to the Database Manager for fundraising mailings to target best prospects
  • Using proposal templates and boilerplate language, customize corporate partnership materials, working with the Director of Development Communications, Director of Corporate and Foundation Giving, and other Audubon colleagues when necessary and appropriate
  • Utilize Raiser’s Edge to ensure prospect and proposal data is properly recorded, coded, and tracked
  • Contribute to a professional, positive team environment with the overarching goal of producing sufficient funds for operations, special projects, and capital projects Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality
  • Work in close collaboration with colleagues responsible for event production, offering creative sponsor benefits to donors and prospects
  • Provide high quality stewardship of funders through follow-up activities by providing reports, updates, and photographs partner with Audubon colleagues to ensure that all recognition and benefits are delivered
  • Participate in executing meaningful cultivation and stewardship events to connect donors to Audubon’s overall mission
  • Provide outstanding “behind the scenes” experiences for donors and prospects through tours, animal encounters and introduction to Audubon’s program professionals
  • Develop positive working relationships across Audubon departments to gain working knowledge of events, programs, and projects


  • Three years of related experience, preferably as a professional fundraiser in a nonprofit.
  • Ability to understand the needs and interests of donors to develop strong relationships between them and Audubon Nature Institute
  • Successful experience in making cold calls as well as developing cultivation and solicitation strategies
  • Strong public speaking ability; superb written and verbal communication skills
  • Willingness to learn and becoming knowledgeable of the principles of fundraising – able to participate in all aspects of the gift cycle:
    (1) to initiate contacts with potential donors;
    (2) to develop appropriate cultivation strategies for them;
    (3) to move potential donors in an appropriate and timely fashion toward solicitation and closure;
    (4) to make solicitations when appropriate;
    (5) to maintain stewardship contacts with donors
  • Adhere to the highest ethical standards; demonstrate empathetic disposition, and perseverance; reflect optimistic and positive attitude, and convey sensitivity to needs of the donors

Education: Bachelor’s Degree required

Licensure/Certification: Valid driver’s license.

Software Requirements: 

  • Expert knowledge of Microsoft products, including advanced functions of Word, Excel, Outlook, and Power Point
  • Proficient in use of Adobe Acrobat
  • Knowledge of Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge database software

Machinery/Tools/Equipment Requirements:

  • Must have the ability to use mobile devices, computer, fax, scanner, telephone and copy machine.
  • Ability to drive a golf cart

Physical Requirements:

  • Sedentary Work: exerting up to 30 pounds of force occasionally, or a negligible amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body. May involve sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time.
  • Sitting or standing, bending, stooping, and the ability to carry items weighing up to 30 pounds.
  • Constant adequate range of motion and mobility required.
  • Regular near acuity with clarity of vision at 20 inches or less required.
  • Typical ability to collect and analyze numerical and written data and verbal information to reach logical conclusions and ability to determine the time, place and sequence of operations or actions required.
  • Regular talking and the ability to express and exchange ideas by means of language expected.
  • Regular hearing and the ability to perceive the nature of sounds.
  • Constant ability to read, record, or type data quickly and accurately required. 

Environmental/Working Conditions:

  • Willingness and ability to work after-hours and weekends when necessary
  • Ability to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner required.
  • May be exposed to high, medium, or low noise intensity.
  • Constant contact with co-workers required.
  • Affinity for animals preferred.
  • Exposure to fluctuations in temperatures may be required.
  • Exposure to outdoor conditions may be required.

Other Abilities, Skills, Knowledge:

  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal skills required
  • Problem-solving, research, and analytical skills
  • Solid relationship-building skills, able to interact with all levels of constituents including donors, board, community leaders, and staff
  • Able to initiate, analyze, monitor, evaluate, and advance strategic advancement plans
  • Able to articulate the case for support so that individuals "buy in" to the vision/mission/goals and with sufficient effectiveness to secure gifts at assigned donor giving levels
  • Must have a driver's license; weekend and evening work will be required
  • Personal belief in mission, goals, and objectives of Audubon Nature Institute
  • Self-motivated and self-starting
  • Passionate and committed to going out and securing financial support for Audubon
  • Optimism and positive attitude  

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