Director of Development(12)

Organization: Cleveland Zoological Society (AZA Member)
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Job or Internship: Job


The Cleveland Zoological Society, established in 1957, is the nonprofit partner and advocate for Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which annually serves 1.2 million visitors and is one of the top zoos in the nation. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo was founded in 1882, and is one of the most popular year-round attractions in Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Zoological Society and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo have a shared mission: We create compelling experiences that connect people with wildlife and inspire personal responsibility for conserving the natural world.



The Director of Development's office is based in the Zoo's headquarters building at 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland OH 44109.


The Cleveland Zoological Society seeks a senior level, dynamic and highly organized development officer to join its management team. The Director of Development will provide energetic leadership for the fundraising team and strategic guidance for development activities, work with high-powered board members, and be personally responsible for managing a docket of 75-100 prospects.

The Cleveland Zoological Society is in the early phases of identifying the next decade's worth of capital improvements, including new exhibits and facilities, and expects to launch a multi-project campaign within the next six months. The Director of Development will be an integral member of the management team with particular responsibilities for aligning fundraising goals and resources with the strategic plan.

The ideal candidate is a self-starter with excellent communication and management skills and a proven track record of securing major gifts and accomplishing capital campaign goals.


The Director of Development will report to the Executive Director and participate actively as a senior member of the Zoo Society management team. The Director will manage a staff of six that includes three donor relations officers, an annual fund manager, a grants coordinator and a development associate. The Director of Development will work in partnership with colleagues and develop strong relationships with Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s curators and program managers.


• Leads planning and execution of comprehensive annual fundraising and capital campaign plans,

including major gift solicitation, board giving, corporate and foundation giving, grant writing, annual appeals, special event fundraising, planned giving and stewardship activities.

• Researches and recommends goals and budgets for annual and capital campaigns.

• Tracks fundraising performance using agreed-on metrics for Executive Director and Board


• Holds the development team accountable for results.

• Prepares the Executive Directors of the Zoo Society and Zoo for major pitch meetings with donors.

• Identifies, cultivates and solicits donors for major gifts; maintains docket of 75-100 active donors including active stewardship; meets regular benchmarks and goals based on quality contacts made and dollars raised.

• Participates in all aspects of gift cycle: (1) contact potential donors; (2) develop appropriate cultivation strategies; (3) in an appropriate and timely fashion, move prospects toward solicitation and closure; (4) make solicitations when appropriate; (5) steward donors after gift is made; and (6)generate regular donor contact reports.

• Identifies candidates and trains volunteer fundraising leadership.

• Works in tandem with Executive Director to provide leadership and direction of board advancement committees (“We Care for People”; “We Care for the Planet”; “We Care for Animals”; and “We Care for the Mission”).

• Supervises the development staff.

• Contributes to the creation of materials for use in cultivating and soliciting major gifts.

• Stays on top of trends that are pertinent to raising money within the community, to the organization's mission and programs and to the development profession.

• Helps ensure that all fundraising activities are consistent with the mission, vision and strategic plan, which the Zoo Society shares with Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

• As a key member of the management team, provides input for strategic and operational planning.

• Cultivates strong relationships with Zoo/Zoo Society staff, Zoo Society trustees and committees, donors and community leaders.

• Other duties as assigned.



Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university required.


The ideal candidate will have a minimum 5+ years of major gifts / capital campaign fundraising and

supervisory experience and a proven track record of success. This individual will embrace the Zoo and

Zoo Society’s mission, goals and objectives and have an entrepreneurial spirit.


• Entrepreneurial: takes initiative in planning, organizing and effectively presenting ideas and concepts.

• Independent strategic thinker; open-minded.

• Confident in skill set yet able to keep ego in check; willing to challenge and be challenged, in a positive and constructive manner.

• Energy, humor, enthusiasm and confidence in building relationships on behalf of the Zoo/Zoo


• Strong communicator; has “boardroom presence”.

• Flexible, collaborative; thrives in a team setting.

• A self-starter who works well under pressure.

• Enjoys developing and motivating other staff members.

• Adheres to the highest ethical standards; will be viewed as trustworthy and credible by colleagues as well as by external constituents.

• Informed about regional and global issues, trends shaping the zoo industry, and emerging ideas in education, conservation and sustainability.


• Excellent oral, written, organizational and interpersonal skills.

• Experienced with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat.

• Raiser’s Edge know-how and familiarity with Cleveland-area donors highly preferred.

• Must have the ability to work evenings, weekends, holidays and special events.


The client organization we represent and Waverly Partners firmly support the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of race, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability. Interested candidates should send a resume to Waverly Partners, the executive search firm retained by the Cleveland Zoological Society on this search:

Heidi Geiger Milosovic Managing Director and Principal WAVERLY PARTNERS, LLC Office: (440) 355-6629

Cellular: (216) 387-0832


Nan Herron

Managing Director and Principal


Office: (843) 416-8660

Cellular: (843) 697-0664