Baltimore, MD

Vice President of Individual Giving

The Organization

Vice President of Individual Giving
The National Aquarium
The National Aquarium seeks to recruit a Vice President of Individual Giving to be based in Baltimore, MD.

About the National Aquarium

The mission of the National Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. Since 1981, the Aquarium has inspired and educated more than 48.5 million guests at their campus in Baltimore. They celebrate all natural environments, from the Chesapeake Bay to the world’s coral reefs, and from the ocean’s depths to the tropical rainforest canopy. Though they have achieved much over their first decades, they are not resting on their laurels. The habitats the National Aquarium so proudly re-creates are in danger of being irrevocably damaged. The challenges to our oceans require a new approach – we must work together to save the world’s oceans or risk losing these amazing habitats and species forever.

Embracing their special responsibility – and vast potential – to build public awareness of the significant threats facing our aquatic resources, the Aquarium’s commitment to their mission has never been stronger. Their exhibits and galleries are designed to motivate individual and community action on behalf of the oceans. Both on- and off-site, they highlight important conservation challenges while providing opportunities for constituents to take action – as parents, volunteers, advocates, and citizens. Strong partnerships with the nation’s most effective conservation organizations, such as the National Wildlife Federation and a long list of other private and public agencies dedicated to environmental stewardship, position the Aquarium to expand their impact in unprecedented ways. This growth supports their ongoing evolution from a world-class aquarium attraction that manages effective conservation and education programming, to a leading conservation and education organization, which includes a top aquarium among its assets for engaging global audiences.

Vice President of Individual Giving

In concert with and reporting to the Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer (CPO), the Vice President of Individual Giving provides strategic leadership in the development and implementation of comprehensive fundraising strategies for the National Aquarium’s annual, major gifts, membership and planned giving programs.

This position works closely and independently with institutional leadership including the President and CEO, members of the Board, programmatic vice presidents, and other key volunteers. The Vice President will carry a portfolio of approximately 75 donors and prospects. The position is accountable for meeting and exceeding total revenue goals in the range of $4 – $8 million annually, and continuously growing and diversifying the supporter base.

The Vice President directly supervises the Individual Giving and Membership Teams, currently numbering six professional and support staff. Reporting to the CPO, the Vice President of Individual Giving is a member of the National Aquarium Management Planning Team.

The broad goals and responsibility for the Vice President of Individual Giving are as follows:


  • Lead efforts to achieve annual, capital and special project fundraising goals from individuals.
  • Develop and implement an annual giving program for the National Aquarium that includes staff, volunteers, board members and existing donors and their networks.
  • Implement techniques to identifying and track individual giving prospects with the capacity to give $10,000 or more, sourced from the existing donor database as well as the networks key partners.
  • Oversee and grow donor circles; identify opportunities to engage and solicit high-potential individual prospects for six and seven-figure gifts.
  • Lead the ongoing expansion of a comprehensive membership program; ensure strong alignment among giving programs and a seamless and beneficial continuum for supporters.
  • Create and execute a planned giving program for National Aquarium, including the identification of prospect pools, development of a comprehensive communication and solicitation strategy, and creation of print and electronic materials.
  • Develop and implement creative, donor-centered strategies for timely, accurate and meaningful donor stewardship and recognition, as appropriate based on gift/giving program/relationship, etc.
  • Manage an active portfolio of approximately 75 upper level annual donors and major donor/prospects. Create and implement personalized cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship plans for each.
  • Achieve personal activity goals; minimums to be re-assessed quarterly in first year
    • 4 meetings / month
    • 10 new calls / month
    • 40 total calls / month
    • 1 solicitation / month
  • Create and conduct cultivation programs and activities in key markets to forge relationships with major donors.  Provide leadership and guidance to staff and event managers on the implementation and successful execution of events.
  • Manage and update plans and actions in SalesForce; complete timely and accurate call reports, communicate progress to appropriate National Aquarium staff and volunteers, and ensure strong processes among individual giving team.

Strategic Planning and Management:

  • Serving as a senior member of the development team, develop and execute comprehensive overarching strategy for all individual fundraising programs.
  • Develop and manage expense budgets and revenue goals for all individual fundraising efforts.
  • Contribute at leadership level to strategic design of individual donor management structure of new CRM to facilitate activity planning and recording, and ease of tracking, reporting, list generation and data analysis.
  • Provide guidance to National Aquarium’s Leadership Team and executives, including board members, on the techniques and methods for making successful donor solicitations.
  • Contribute strategic leadership to the planning for a future capital campaign, including developing tools to identify and track prospect activity and project likely results.
  • Work closely with senior members of the development team, other departments and institutional leadership to identify programs and projects that would appeal to individual donors.
  • Provide leadership to the staffing and management of the Development Committee of the Board Trustees.
  • Supervise a team of six, ensuring team members have tools and resources to meet identified goals, excel in their efforts on behalf of the Aquarium and enjoy opportunities for professional development.

Position Overview

Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes

The Vice President of Individual Giving should ideally should possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

Professional Qualifications:

  • Experience building and executing an individual giving fundraising program.
  • Experience working with budgets, and an interest in evaluation and performance measurement metrics.
  • Ability to generate and deliver clear and persuasive oral and written communications.
  • Ability to inspire trust, to organize people into teams and to motivate team members to work well together.
  • Ability to lead and manage a dedicated professional team.

Personal Attributes

  • Passionate commitment to the National Aquarium’s mission.
  • Ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas.
  • Intellectual curiosity, coupled with an innovative and entrepreneurial drive.
  • Humility and grace, flexibility, an ability to give credit and recognition to others.
  • Impeccable integrity, high energy level.


Compensation for the Vice President of Individual Giving includes a competitive base salary, and an excellent package of health and other employee benefits.

How To Apply

Interested candidates should email a cover letter explaining how their skills and background fit this position and a resume to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at Refer to National Aquarium/VPIG in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.

All correspondence will remain confidential.

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