Director of Development

Organization: Denver Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Denver, CO, United States
Job or Internship: Job

At Denver Zoo, our mission is to secure a better world for animals through human understanding. We are a respected leader in animal care and exhibition, conservation programs, scientific study, environmental education and public service.


This position advances Denver Zoo’s mission and goals by leading Denver Zoo’s fundraising efforts. Responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of the development operations including major gifts, planned gifts, corporate giving and sponsorship, fundraising events, grants, research and donor database. In addition, this position will oversee any future capital and endowment campaigns. This individual will work collaboratively with the organization’s Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Team and will play a key role in managing two Board Committees. This position provides the principal Development Department support for the Vice President of Development and Membership.

Essential Functions:

•Supervises Development Department staff. Direct reports include Planned Giving Manager, Database Manager, Corporate Giving Manager and Foundation and Government Grants Manager.

•Works closely with the CEO and Vice President of Development and Board Leadership to develop and implement fundraising strategies, set institutional and department goals and solicit major gifts.

•Plans, develops, implements, coordinates, and evaluates a variety of on-going fundraising activities and programs, including, but not limited to: annual fundraising events, prospect research, major gift solicitation, grant preparation, corporate donations, corporate sponsorships, in-kind gift solicitation, and a variety of planned and deferred giving programs.

•Provides primary leadership for future capital and endowment campaigns and is the primary liaison for Campaign and Endowment Committees of the Board of Trustees.

•Manages Major Gifts Committee of the Board of Trustees and attends Board of Trustee and Development and Membership Committee meetings.

•Identifies and cultivates major gift prospects to support institutional development goals.

•Works directly with donors to further cultivation efforts and solicit major gifts. Coordinates donor meetings, facility tours and solicitation calls with CEO, Vice President for Development and Membership and Board of Trustees as appropriate.

•Oversees donor recognition and acknowledgement; coordinates with the Director of Membership and Annual Fund on donor recognition and donor events.

•Oversees Development Department budget and participate in overall Development and Membership Department planning, budgeting and evaluations.

•Works in very close cooperation with all zoo departments, to coordinate zoo-wide fundraising activities with their respective programs.

•Participates in appropriate professional organizations at the regional and national levels.

Additional Responsibilities:

•Performs various tasks as assigned.


•Bachelor’s Degree required, but Master’s Degree preferred. A minimum of 5 to 7 years of fundraising experience in similar position in a similarly sized organization.

•5 + years experience in a key management position with an emphasis on development.

•5+ years experience managing staff.

•Experience working with Executive Leadership and Board members and volunteers.

•Strong verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills

•Strong visual presentation skills

•Ability to manage multiple concurrent tasks, re-prioritizes work and be flexible, as well as meet tight deadlines.

•Ability to interpret, follow, and recommend policies and procedures.

•Ability to analyze cost effectiveness of programs (cost per dollar raised, return on investment, program growth, etc.) and report financial data.

•A respect for confidentiality.

•Passion for Denver Zoo and its mission, and ability to engage prospects with same passion.

•Knowledge of database, Internet, spreadsheet, and word processing software.

Please apply through our website at

Denver Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer