Vice President of Development
Earthjustice - San Francisco, CA

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The Vice President of Development (VPD) is responsible for successfully developing and implementing Earthjustice’s fundraising program; for providing the Board of Trustees and President with consistent, professional and strategic fundraising leadership; for developing and implementing long term strategies for revenue growth; for continual strengthening of Earthjustice’s relationships with its donors, and for ensuring that Earthjustice delivers successful, ethical and effective fundraising.

The VPD serves as a member of the organization’s Senior Leadership Team, which is charged with setting direction on issues that are vital to the organization as a whole and to coordinate significant inter-departmental matters that arise. The VPD will work collaboratively with the other members of the organization’s leadership team to integrate strategic program and advocacy direction with fundraising opportunities to maximize growth and impact. S/he will also contribute to a diverse, inclusive and equitable organizational culture.

The VPD will manage six direct reports with oversight of a total staff of approximately 30. The organization has grown steadily and currently raises $36 million annually from individual major gifts, foundation giving, planned gifts, and membership. Earthjustice expects to grow to $50 million in the next three years.

Specific Responsibilities

Direct Fundraising
  • Key responsibility for ensuring that Earthjustice employs effective strategies for developing donor relationships and raising significant revenues from Earthjustice donors, board members and institutions, including developing, maintaining and strengthening direct personal relationships with a portfolio of current and prospective Earthjustice donors.
  • Personally manages a portfolio of major donors and supports fundraising efforts of gift officers with high value leadership donors and trustees.
Board of Trustees
  • Primary fundraising liaison to individual board members, responsible for ensuring each board member is an active donor and supporter of Earthjustice.
  • Organizes and facilitates board member involvement in volunteer fundraising activities.
  • Works with the President in supporting the Board’s Nominating Committee in identifying and evaluating prospective new board members.
  • Staff liaison, along with the VP for Communications, for the Board’s Development & Marketing Committee.
  • Manages fundraising staff, ensuring professionally challenging and personally enjoyable workplace and a strong leadership team within the department.
  • Selects, supervises, establishes performance standards and priorities, and evaluates performance of development staff members.
  • Prepares and conducts performance reviews for direct reports.
  • Recommends and makes salary, hiring and termination decisions.
  • Provides training and development opportunities for staff.
  • Works with Development directors to prepare and review contributed revenue projections and mid-year reforecasts of contributions. Provides regular reports on progress in meeting revenue goals.
  • Prepares and submits annual budgets and workplans, manages the implementation of those budgets and workplans and ensures the staff’s best effort to meet those targets.
  • Develops and secures approval of fundraising policies and implements effective operational procedures.
  • Develops strong, cooperative relationships between the Development department and other units, especially the Communications, Litigation and Operations Departments.
  • Oversees stewardship of donor contributions and allocation of departmental funds to maximum effectiveness while building donors’ satisfaction with and commitment to Earthjustice.
  • Ensures that donor restrictions are communicated and honored in budgeting. Partners with Operations to ensure that the organization has appropriate systems in place to use donations for the purposes that they were committed and to report back to donors on the use of their funds.
Strategic Leadership
  • As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, participates in decision-making that guides the entire organization including: risk assessment, development and implementation of organizational strategic plans, development of organizational budgets, implementation of major initiatives, as well as staffing the work of the Earthjustice board.
  • Provides advice and support to the President and senior staff on organizational matters, particularly as these may affect the organization’s fundraising effort. Identifies and manages risks associated with fundraising and contributed revenue.
  • Leads the exploration, evaluation and implementation of long-term fundraising strategic plans. Works closely with Communications on marketing and donor engagement strategies and plans.
  • Maintains professional relationships with counterparts in other non-profit organizations, and keeps abreast of latest developments in fundraising rules and regulations, best practices and demographic changes.
The Person

  • Bachelor’s Degree required. Advanced degree preferred.
  • 10+ years of leadership level fundraising experience in non-profit settings; experience in advocacy organizations preferred.
  • Experience launching and concluding successful fundraising campaigns.
  • Demonstrated success in raising significant gifts from institutions and individual donors.
  • Superior written and oral communications, interpersonal and presentation skills.
  • Willingness to work evenings and weekends, as well as to travel as needed.
Leadership & Management Behavioral Competencies
  • Exemplary leadership and staff management experience and a track record of successfully collaborating with colleagues.
  • Demonstrated success in working with a Board of Trustees.
  • Demonstrated mastery of a wide range of fundraising techniques (foundations, major gifts, planned gifts, special events, marketing).
  • Serve as an internal ambassador and champion for private fundraising and its importance to the organization by building understanding of, support for, and excitement about fundraising efforts. Establish strong internal relationships with the program leaders and other program staff, work with program leaders in developing the program vision that drives fundraising, and inspire program staff to actively participate in the donor cultivation process.
  • Collaborate with VP of Communications and others to heighten the visibility of Earthjustice and create an effective case for support that distills the organization’s work in a way that resonates with donors.
  • Assess the current fundraising operation, identify priorities, and build a highly efficient and effective department by mentoring, motivating, and empowering the team.
  • Able to inspire prospective donors by making a compelling case for Earthjustice’s priorities; experience with communications and marketing.
  • Adept at identifying and pursuing new opportunities to expand and diversify funding sources and increase the revenue base, as well as developing new ideas and approaches to cultivate major gifts from individuals and foundations.
  • Sets benchmarks for him/herself and the development team, regularly measures success against goals, and holds him/herself responsible for development outcomes.
  • Continually improve the development function to create a top-notch fundraising operation that employs best practices and utilizes up-to-date strategies, tools, and techniques.
Personal Characteristics
  • Has an appreciation of Earthjustice’s mission as well as an interest in and grasp of the nuances of its work
  • Possesses an entrepreneurial spirit, enjoys charting new territory and prefers building new programs, systems, and processes over maintaining the status quo
  • Collegial, collaborative, and a team player who leads by example in building consensus and support
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively.
  • Highest personal and professional integrity.
  • grace under pressure.
  • Resilient, politically savvy, and assertive without being confrontational.
  • Commitment to and knowledge of environmental and conservation issues.
If you are interested in being considered for this role or would like to learn more, please contact:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan

Partner at Heidrick & Struggles

direct line 213-237-6212


Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected. As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.

Earthjustice - 11 months ago - save job - block
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