FLEXIBLE (potential locations could include, but are not limited to Washington, D.C.; Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts; London, England)

CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, International Fund for Animal Welfare

The Organization

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global nonprofit helping animals and people thrive together. The organization comprises experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. IFAW rescues, rehabilitates, and releases animals, and it restores and protects their natural habitats. The problems we are up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, IFAW matches fresh thinking with bold action. IFAW partners with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, these global stakeholders pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish.

With a dual focus on both rescue and conservation, IFAW is well-positioned to lead strategic and effective interventions that reduce or eliminate threats to animals. IFAW believes each individual animal matters, and values the individual animal from an intrinsic and welfare perspective, but also as a contributor to conservation. Through this lens, IFAW approaches species conservation and individual animal welfare threats as one. By addressing problems affecting individual animals, we are strengthening wildlife populations and vice versa. IFAW’s greatest strength is in the layering of its expertise from complementary rescue and conservation programs to achieve magnified impact. By understanding the strengths of each program, IFAW can better leverage its efforts to maximize results. Through strategic partnerships with diverse and multidisciplinary stakeholders, IFAW programs position the organization as a credible convener and lead agent for integrated impact at scale. IFAW’s hands-on, field-based and community-centered work across all its programs, linked to its political advocacy work at the national, regional and international levels, has established the organization as a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation.

Rescue: marine mammal rescue & research | disaster response & risk reduction | wildlife rescue

Conservation: landscape conservation | marine conservation | wildlife crime


We are at a tipping point and in the midst of a crisis, the greatest humanity has ever faced. Species are on the brink of extinction, habitats are shrinking and disappearing, the lack of appreciation for the value of individual animals and their contributions to conservation goals remains and, climate change is wreaking havoc on people and ecosystems across the globe. All this is happening in a time when our assault on nature has given rise to deadly zoonotic diseases, one of which has become a global pandemic.

In response to this crisis, IFAW is embarking on an audacious five-year strategic plan (2021-2025) focused on improving the welfare of individual animals and the conservation status of wildlife populations in priority habitats through on-the-ground efforts and global advocacy. With a solid organizational foundation built, IFAW is now focused on growth.

Amid this environment of positive change and organizational investment, IFAW seeks candidates for the role of Chief Development Officer (CDO). Reporting to the Executive Vice President, Strategy, Programs & Field Operations (EVP), with direct access to and regular communication with the President & CEO (CEO), the CDO provides cutting-edge, strategic leadership on IFAW development activities comprising the following areas: direct marketing, major donors, legacy and planned giving, strategic partnerships, development operations, and campaign insight and analytics. As a key member of the executive leadership team, the CDO will continue to diversify and increase IFAW’s broad base of support across these giving areas, especially major gifts, while sustaining the organization’s historical strength in direct marketing. The CDO must foster new levels of donor engagement and an organization-wide culture of philanthropy. They will partner with the Vice President, Brand Marketing & Communications to ensure that development, marketing, and communications are fully aligned in advancing consistent, coherent external relations.

The CDO supervises an overall staff of approximately 72, including staff based in country or regional offices and the following five direct reports: Deputy Vice President, Marketing (direct marketing/annual giving); Deputy Vice President, Development; Director, Development Operations; Director, Campaign Insight & Analytics; and the Senior Administrative Coordinator. The CDO will be empowered to optimize the organizational design and functional alignment of the team in consultation with the EVP. The CDO will marshal these resources to increase prospect discovery and new donor engagement, contributed revenue and the diversification thereof, high impact partnerships, and powerful connections with IFAW’s existing stakeholders and emerging constituencies.

IFAW seeks an innovator in development who has deep experience in major gifts fundraising and managing relationships with current and prospective high-net-worth individual donors, as well as a sophisticated understanding of direct response fundraising programs and their complementary role in building a high-impact, sustainable major gifts program. A strong preference exists for individuals with previous work experience in the conservation arena. The successful candidate must be a student of modern philanthropy and able to effectively leverage complementary development functions through strategic, forward-thinking integration. The CDO will be a proven leader, manager, mentor, and collaborative colleague who is comfortable leading major initiatives and supporting the leadership of others, and has a track record of effectively leading organizational change.

While IFAW will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate will have the following qualifications/experience.

  • Dedication to the mission and goals of IFAW, and credible knowledge of current issues related to conservation and animal welfare. A demonstrated commitment to conservation and animal welfare through personal or professional endeavors, volunteerism, or other means.
  • Minimum of 15 years of experience in progressively responsible leadership positions in development, including managing relationships with current and prospective high-net-worth individual donors. Experience working in a complex nonprofit environment, with a strong preference for individuals with previous work experience in the conservation arena.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least 10 years of significant supervisory experience, including experience creating and managing a budget. A strong record of recruiting and developing exceptional people and fostering a transparent work environment where collegiality is a key to success.
  • Demonstrated commitment to and understanding of how to build diversity, equity, and inclusion in the development function; culturally competent with respect to issues such as racial, cultural, religious, sexual, and gender identity. Skilled at delivering solutions in evolving, multi-cultural environments.
  • Hands-on experience with six and seven-figure gifts, including cultivation through solicitation and stewardship, as well as experience working with annual giving strategies for grooming the next generation of annual leadership and major gift donors. Success in securing gifts from both defined and undefined constituencies.
  • Ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about donor strategy and process. A working knowledge of modern data management practices and techniques, including database information systems, data modeling, and analysis.
  • Experience in international fundraising and the cultural sensitivity it requires; knowledge of strategies and trends in global philanthropy. Experience working with individual donors on a global scale.
  • Ability and willingness to travel frequently to domestic and international locations, consistent with public health guidance.
  • Bachelor’s degree.

IFAW is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IFAW prohibits any discrimination in employment based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

How To Apply

IFAW has retained the DSG Fundraising & Advancement Practice of the Diversified Search Group to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Managing Director and DSG Fundraising & Advancement Practice Leader
Diversified Search Group
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, New York 10174
gerard.cattie@divsearch.com | 212.542.2587

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