Director of Development

Organization: Cleveland Zoological Society (AZA Member)
Location: Cleveland, OH, Country
Job or Internship: Job

The Cleveland Zoological Society seeks a senior level, dynamic and highly organized development officer to join our management team. 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, provide guidance for all development activities, work directly with board committees in fund development, and be personally responsible for managing a docket of 75-100 prospects.

Applicants must have at least 5+ years’ experience in a comparable role and knowledge of solicitation strategies for foundations, corporations and individuals. Management duties include supervision of a staff of six that includes two donor relations officers, a capital campaign coordinator, an annual fund manager, a grants coordinator and a development associate. The Director of Development works in partnership with colleagues and develops strong relationships with Cleveland Metroparks Zoo curators and program managers.

We are in the early phases of identifying the next decade’s worth of capital improvements, including new exhibits and facilities, and expect to launch a multi-project campaign within the next 6 months. The Director of Development is an integral member of the management team with particular responsibilities for aligning the fundraising goals, resources and plans with the strategic plan.

The Cleveland Zoological Society, est. 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. Our shared mission: We create compelling experiences that connect people with wildlife and inspire personal responsibility for conserving the natural world.


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

• Minimum 5+ years of major gifts / capital campaign fundraising and supervisory experience

• 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


• Embraces the Zoo/Zoo Society’s mission, goals and objectives

• Entrepreneurial spirit; takes initiative in planning, organizing and effectively presenting ideas and concepts; independent strategic thinker

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

• Flexible, collaborative; thrives in a team setting and works well under pressure

• Motivated and self-starting

• Adheres to the highest ethical standards

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

Specific duties:

• 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 Committees

• 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

• The Director of Development reports to the Executive Director and serves on the Zoo Society management team

Application deadline is September 30, 2013. Potential for candidate interviews during AZA conference.

Please submit cover letter, resume, and salary history via email to No phone calls, please. The Cleveland Zoological Society is an equal opportunity employer.