As the executive focused on developing sustainable support for the Aquarium, the Chief Development Officer will report to and work most intimately with the CEO and Board of Directors to drive fundraising efforts. Succeeding in this environment will require taking a hands-on approach to connecting with a broad array of donors using both traditional and modern development methods, while implementing the infrastructure required for developing sustained annual stewardship and support. The Institute is currently engaged in a $75 million campaign to raise much needed support for Capital improvements.
This person must be process oriented, yet have a dealmaker’s creativity and speed. A deep passion for the mission will align this development role with the urgency and creativity of the Aquarium’s culture. The challenge of the position will be to balance development of sustainable and repeatable best-fundraising practices with a rapid expansion of the current base of support.
The Chief Development Officer will be based in the Aquarium’s administrative offices in Baltimore, and will lead fundraising efforts in both the Baltimore and Washington DC markets, as well as the entire Institute.
The Chief Development Officer will also help the Aquarium’s leaders, staff and board members to integrate a fundraising culture into all aspects of governance programs and operations. Reporting to the Chief Development Officer will be a current development staff of 13, including the Directors of Corporate & Foundation Relations, Major Gifts, Membership, and Development Services.
The Chief Development Officer’s immediate priorities are to:
- Direct a Capital Campaign with a fundraising of $75 million; working with consultants and internal team members.
- Implement a fundraising plan with a fundraising goal of $50 million in private contributions, through enlarging and diversifying the donor base, focusing on increased community giving, major gifts, private foundation, corporate and corporate foundation support; enhanced long term stewardship and donor recognition; and a focus on supporting the foundation while also continuing to raise funds for annual operations.
- Thoroughly understand the National Aquarium – its mission, vision, values, history, culture, traditions, communities, programs, personalities, constituencies and governance structure; understand its base of financial support and the short and long-term funding requirements of all segments of the organization;
- Develop strong relationships with, and secure the trust and confidence of the CEO, key funders, board members, staff, influencers, community members, fundraising and marketing consultants, and others critical to individual and institutional fundraising efforts;
- Actively engage in strategic planning, a pivotal effort for the Aquarium and one of our highest priorities for growth & health;
- Assess and evaluate the Development Team; building an appropriately lean fundraising team scaled to the results and requirements of the overall fundraising effort.
- Immediately assess the “state of play” of in-process fundraising efforts and provide support for those efforts as needed; assume a hands-on, creative leadership role in the identification, cultivation and solicitation of major individual and institutional gifts; personally cultivate and solicit as appropriate.
o In collaboration with the CEO, develop a systematic fundraising plan that includes both individual (community and major gift) and institutional (business and foundation) targets:
- Strengthen the National Aquarium brand among donors and prospective donors, utilizing the internet and other low cost, high visibility methodologies;
- Organize and deploy organizational resources to actively broaden and deepen support for the National Aquarium among all current and prospective donors;
- The Chief Development Officer will execute the following responsibilities on an on-going basis:
Donor segmentation (individual, business, foundation), level (community giving, various major gift levels, planned giving), and fund (in kind, capital projects and infrastructure build-out, annual operating fund, restricted gifts for specific purposes, education, endowment);
Objectives for individual and institutional fundraising and success metrics;
Identification of staff, board and community members who will be actively involved in fundraising and definition of roles;
Targets for development team members and appropriate collaboration with team members to help the organization reach its fundraising goals.
o Ensure that the Development Department has a strong fundraising infrastructure, and that its staff is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and effective, including:
Evaluate current processes and systems that support fundraising initiatives, donor recognition, and campaign management for the various kinds of campaigns and events; ensure that information systems are scaled to need, are properly maintained and used, and built on sustainable open source solutions where possible;
Retain, recruit and manage a team of development professionals and consultants with appropriate internet-based and traditional donor cultivation, marketing/sponsorship, individual giving and institutional giving skills and experiences; establish work plans, performance objectives, and goals for each team member and regularly review performance; provide professional development and training required to cultivate staff skills and professionalism;
Establish clear standards for stewardship, donor recognition, and institutional sponsorship, with particular emphasis on the proper use of logos, brands, naming and other recognition opportunities;
Ensure successful adherence to grant and restricted giving agreements.
o Manage day-to-day fundraising at the Aquarium, including:
Undertake direct individual donor solicitations as appropriate with the support of the CEO, other Aquarium staff, members of the Board and other community members;
Establish an institutional giving programs for national sponsorships, corporate gifts, foundation solicitations for restricted and unrestricted giving;
Aggressively implement a structured program for fostering strong, long-term relationships with targeted individual and institutional donor constituencies; develop annual special events that boost institutional and individual fundraising efforts, which are also aligned to the Aquarium’s values; specifically strengthen the stewardship and donor recognition program for individual donors, with the objective of establishing a lifelong, planned giving relationships with major donors;
Oversee the involvement, identification, training and support of fundraising volunteers, providing community members with opportunities to be involved in raising money for the Aquarium; guide the efforts, and strategies for key campaign volunteers, Board members, community advisors and committees in the solicitation process;
Engage the Communications team in the development of materials (on-line and published, text and multi-media) that tell the Aquarium story to donors and individual prospects, ensuring that these materials are segmented and distributed in a targeted, regular, timely and consistent fashion;
Collaborate with the senior leadership of the Aquarium in the preparation of annual operating plans and budgets, incorporating fundraising projections into the budget of the organization.
Candidates should have the following type of experience and qualifications:
- 10 years of experience in a top development/ fundraising role, with a record of personal success in raising money for a high-growth, rapidly changing and evolving organization (preferably a museum, zoo, aquarium or other conservation-focused organization); experience building relationships through mission-supporting ventures; comfort and experience in a technology-driven environment;
- Broad-based knowledge of various development campaign activities including: internet, direct mail, proposal and grant development, annual fund and planned giving, event planning and management, direct solicitations, leveraging fundraising databases and support systems for donor segmentation, research and volunteer management;
- A track record as an exceptional communicator, in writing as well as verbally; adept at writing solicitation letters, donor correspondence, proposals and other kinds of material for publication; experience preparing and making effective presentations to diverse groups large and small;
- Demonstrated skills in motivating, coordinating and supporting the fundraising activities of others.
The successful candidate should be:
- A mission-driven individual with an understanding of, belief in and commitment to the importance of conservation and the role of zoos and aquariums; an ability to communicate that passion without losing focus;
- An independent and open-minded individual who values and appreciates diversity, input and collaboration from various constituencies; has the ability to make unpopular decisions when necessary;
- A charismatic communicator, both in writing and speaking, and particularly able to recognize the alignment of a donor’s interests with the value of NA programs, communities, services and events; ability to be the public face of fundraising when appropriate.
- A good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources, and able to act on information to develop increased support;
- A strong manager who will advocate for the development team and its needs.
- A hard worker with a high energy level; a “doer” with a willingness to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of development and advancement activities;
- A person who is emotionally mature and self-reliant; someone who will thrive working in a fast paced environment; with an ability to tolerate ambiguity.
- A skilled relationship builder that has mastered the art of negotiating a win/win.
- A person who has a sense of humor.