Iowa (Des Moines Preferred)

Director of Development, The Nature Conservancy

The Organization


The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 79 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.


The Director of Development (DOD) oversees, plans, and implements a comprehensive program for The Nature Conservancy in Iowa that secures significant philanthropic resources from individuals, corporations, and foundations for conservation in Iowa and around the world. They must be inquisitive and self-motivated to learn domestic and global conservation strategies and become adept at linking the two. A demonstrable commitment to conservation will be a distinct advantage.

This position manages all major gifts functions, including planned giving, principal gifts, donor prospecting and research, and special multi-year fundraising campaigns. The DOD recruits, develops and inspires a staff of high-performing development professionals to manage and solicit current and prospective donors with the capacity to make major and principal-level gifts in support of domestic and global conservation priorities. Additionally, the DOD is personally responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of donors capable of making six to seven-figure gifts over time.

They must be a strong and inspiring leader and experienced in program management, designing and executing complex donor strategies, and executing a comprehensive fundraising campaign. Additionally, the DOD must be able to work in collaboration with conservation experts, high-level volunteers, and others across a dispersed and complex organization. They will model a commitment to teamwork, transparency and accountability.

Due to COVID-19, the Iowa Chapter is currently working remotely with uncertainty around if/when to return to a traditional office environment. In addition, there are significant limitations to social gatherings and travel in place to protect TNC staff, volunteers and partners. This reality and the resulting economic downturn’s impact on Iowa program finances and donor giving will require the DOD to bring significant creativity to the role.


The DOD is responsible for:

Fundraising Leadership

• Managing the development team (three professionals), which focuses on major and principal gift functions and planned giving.

• Working with Iowa senior staff and development staff to develop and communicate a vision and multi-year fundraising goals, and accountability to achieve these goals.

• Leading Chapter development efforts to fundraise in excess of $3 million annually in support of The Nature Conservancy’s Iowa program and regional and global conservation priorities.

• Communicating, internally and externally, a broad vision for fundraising and local, regional, and international conservation success.

• Actively fostering collaboration with colleagues from the Conservancy’s Worldwide Office and with other field-based fundraising programs to achieve Conservancy goals.

• Focusing on highest return activities aimed at achieving long-range strategic priorities that advance the Conservancy’s global mission.

Chapter Leadership

• Serving on Iowa’s leadership team and contributing to the formulation of key strategies for the Chapter.

• Bringing the donor’s voice to leadership team discussions and decisions and ensuring fundraising strategies and staff are consistently represented.

• Maintaining a strong relationship with conservation and finance leadership in Iowa to ensure a collaborative understanding of sources and uses of funding and to assure that donor intent is honored.

Board Leadership

• Working closely with the State Director, and the Iowa Board Chair of the Development Committee, to strengthen and engage the Board of Trustees in fundraising.

Management and Mentoring

• Leading, inspiring, and managing the Iowa development team to achieve relationship-building and funding objectives.

• Setting and meeting fundraising objectives, evaluating results, and coaching fundraisers on developing effective strategies as needed.

• Developing and administering budgets.

• Recruiting, developing, and retaining high-performing development staff and nurturing effective team collaboration.

The following attributes would enhance a candidate’s potential for success:

• Considerable knowledge of and experience working in Iowa’s philanthropic communities and networks of social and professional relationships within it.

• A deep appreciation for the mission of conservation and the capacity to effectively communicate the Conservancy’s work and its relevance to the health of our environment, the economy and the well-being of human communities.

• Experience working for a national, global and/or highly decentralized organization and within a complex management environment.

• Proven ability to use strong strategic thinking skills to create a vision for, plan and lead an aggressive and comprehensive fundraising program.

• A personal enthusiasm and successful experience working with donors and developing and leading Trustees and other volunteer fundraisers in effective major gift fundraising.

• Experience in soliciting and closing six and seven figure gifts.

• Proven experience leading teams and individuals, managing projects virtually, and collaborating with and influencing staff they do not directly supervise.

• Experience, sincere interest, and pleasure in developing fundraising talent in professional staff and volunteers.

• Demonstrated ability to stay focused on the big picture and not get mired in the details.


• Accountable for fundraising goals of $3+ million a year through a fundraising department or development program. Note: these goals will increase during comprehensive fundraising campaigns.

• Broad management responsibility for administrative, professional, and volunteer staff, including recruitment, retaining, training, professional development, establishing clear directions, and setting “stretch” objectives.

• Conceive, design and direct high-level and interdepartmental projects, coordinating the work of other professionals, managing budget, and ensuring program accountability. Strategic relationship management both outside (donor-focused) and within (Iowa and beyond) the organization.

• Conceive, design, and lead strategic initiatives and goals through collaboration with senior-level stakeholders in order to enhance overall performance in accordance with short and long-term objectives.

• Direct or participate in negotiations for complex, high profile or sensitive agreements.

• Ensure functional program meets commitments and is managed for ethical compliance with TNC policies and procedures, financial standards, and legal requirements.

• Exercises leadership in strategic and tactical manners, works with fellow leaders to establish and evaluate policies and/or long-term programs.

• Financial management of program; setting budget and fundraising objectives, analyzing results, and taking corrective actions.

• Maintains confidentiality of frequently sensitive and emotionally charged information.

• Strategic decisions may affect public image, impact multiple programs, and bind the organization financially or legally.

• Travel frequently and on short notice, work long hours and weekends.

• Work environment involves only infrequent exposure to disagreeable elements and minor physical exertion and/or strain.


• Bachelor’s degree and 7 years related experience.

• Experience asking for and closing major gifts of at least six figures.

• Experience working with donors on, and securing, gifts of stock, real estate and other tangible assets.

• Experience building and maintaining long-term relationships with fundraising constituents such as major donors, foundations and corporations.

• Experience in planning and delivering budgetary responsibilities.

• Experience managing and supervising a multidisciplinary team.

• Experience, coursework, or other training in principles, practices, and procedures of charitable giving, particularly in the areas of capital campaigns, major gifts and planned giving.

• Demonstrated strong communication skills, particularly writing and public presentations.


• An appreciation for the mission of The Nature Conservancy and the facility to understand and communicate the work.

• Experience conceiving and implementing strategic initiatives.

• Experience working in a large, complex, not-for-profit environment.

• Expert knowledge of current and evolving trends in major gifts giving and solicitation.

• Proficiency in synthesizing materials from multiple sources into a coherent and accurate summary.

• Understanding of best practices in non-profit management.

• Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.

• Experience with database systems, Excel, etc.

How To Apply

Application Deadline: Friday, February 5, 2021
Please submit your resume and cover letter through The Nature Conservancy’s online application system at 

All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on February 5, 2021.

If you are having technical problems with the site or application process, contact and include the Job ID: 49288. Any questions related to this specific position may be directed to
The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are encouraged to apply.

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