Director of Development

Joshua Tree, California
Up to $80,000 per year + benefits
May 17, 2019
Jun 16, 2019
Focus Areas
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level

Employment Status: Regular/Full Time/Exempt     

Reporting Structure: Executive Director

Benefits: Associate shall receive after successful completion of 90 days of employment: 11 paid holidays, optional health insurance with employee contribution of 50% or health insurance stipend of $200 a month/DCA (Dependent Care) allotment, the option to participate in the company 401K retirement plan with company match of employee’s contribution up to 3%, monthly accrued personal time off, and health time off as described in the personnel policy handbook.

The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a nonprofit 501(3)(c) organization, created in 2006, whose mission is to protect the Mojave Desert ecosystem and its scenic and cultural resource values.  The work of MDLT aims to ensure stewardship and preservation of our ecologically sensitive desert lands and habitats in tandem with the many ways to enjoy and experience these unique places.

Position Summary:

The Director of Development oversees the development team and all MDLT’s donor-centric comprehensive development program, including membership, individual major gifts, annual appeals, special campaigns, institutional grants (foundations, corporations, government entities), planned giving, and planned capital campaigns. The Director of Development is responsible for implementing and overseeing fund raising Best Practices for donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship, and reporting, MDLT’s fundraising software, reporting, development and facilitation of all aspects of fundraising appeals, events, grants and grant reporting. The Director of Development will work closely with all departments on recruiting new donors, sponsors, and the retention of existing donors. They will be gatekeeper and leader of the large donor program, implementing the major donor moves management pipeline and being the top major donor solicitor, in partnership with the Executive Director. The position works closely with the leadership team on fundraising goals and keeps team members up to date on donor, grant, and annual goals. They are also responsible for the engagement of the board of directors in fundraising. Directs, coaches, and supervises anywhere from a 2-4-person Development team.

The ideal candidate for the position is a self-motivated individual who possesses a unique blend of donor relations/fundraising finance experience and grants management, and has a passion for the desert environment and MDLT’s mission.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Plan development activities


  • Lead the creation of an agile annual, comprehensive, donor-centric development plan which increases revenues via several (and new) diversified revenue streams, to support the strategic direction of the organization
  • Implement the development plans in accordance with ethical fundraising principles (per best practices and AFP Code of Ethics)
  • Supervise the development program including individual donations, planned giving, fundraising events, business sponsorships, and grants, to ensure that the fundraising goals are being achieved
  • Monitor trends in desert communities and other target regions, as well as fund raising trends and research, and adapt fundraising strategies as necessary
  • Lead the creation of MDLT’s first-ever Case for Giving, in close collaboration with Executive Director, and seeking input from the staff, board, and other key stakeholders
  • Build upon the Case Statement, continuously develop fund raising dialogue with donors via gathering and conveying compelling stories of need and impact for use in all fundraising channels, in collaboration with the Executive Director and senior staff, especially the Communications Director.
  • Carry a portfolio of major donors (75% to 85% of all major donor solicitations); and team solicit with Executive Director and/or appropriate board members and staff in coordination with the Board Development Committee.
  • Help create Executive Director’s targeted portfolio of top donors/prospects. Ensure that they are given robust donor research profiles and sound cultivation/solicitation strategies; coaching, role-playing, and/or team soliciting when needed.
  • Create and grow a Planned Giving program.
  • Plan a more robust system for maximizing monthly sustaining donor contributions and online giving
  • In close collaboration with the Executive Director, plan, implement, and manage the Joshua Tree National Park Parknership fund raising activities



Organize development activities


  • Manage timelines for various fundraising activities to ensure strategic plans and critical fund-raising processes are carried out in a timely manner
  • Develop and manage a major donor moves management and cultivation system to move donors through the pipeline and up the engagement ladder, preparing leads and asks for Leadership team, other staff as appropriate, and the Executive Director
  • Oversee policies and procedures for the development department which reflect ethical fundraising practices and Best Practices
  • Oversee the preparation and submission of grant applications as outlined in the development plan to generate funds for the organization
  • Cultivate, steward, and develop relationships with institutional funders
  • Enforce the leadership-approved Grant Application Process, and oversee adherence to grant reporting requirements and deadlines
  • Oversee the planning and execution of special fundraising events as specified in the fund development plan to generate funds for the organization
  • Identify and develop major donor individual prospects for the organization's fundraising priorities
  • Lead the major donor development program and coordinate with the Executive Director cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship
  • Oversee and manage the engagement of the Board of Directors in development. Partner with the Development Committee of the Board in regard to the Board’s role in fundraising, Board giving, engagement of the board in opening doors to potential funders, Board fund raising training, and identification/cultivation of specific donor prospects. Prepare development reports for Board meetings.
  • Oversee the administration of a donor mailing list and database which respects the privacy and confidentiality of donor information, and uses capture of data and segmentation of lists to maximize results
  • Ensure that a stratified donor acknowledgement procedure (by giving level) is adhered to, within specified turnaround time from receipt of gift; coordinate thank-you phone calls to top donors, enlisting the Executive Director and board members, as appropriate.
  • Further develop the business sponsorship program
  • Coordinate in-kind donations and make decisions regarding the issuing of receipts



Staff fund development activities


  • In consultation with the Executive Director, recruit, interview, and select well-qualified, diverse fund development staff, as needed
  • Plan, give, and/or facilitate internal/external staff trainings to further the Development Team’s fundraising skill sets
  • Engage and supervise volunteers for special development projects using established volunteer management practices



Manage development budget


  • Develop and gain approval for an annual income and expenditure budget for the development program
  • Prepare regular reports on progress, budgets, receipts, and expenditure related to fundraising and the management of the development activities
  • Monitor expenses and analyze budget reports on fund development and recommend changes as necessary
  • Monitor development projects’ Response Analysis Reports, with an eye toward maximizing net revenues for future projects



Promote the organization


  • Foster a culture of philanthropy within the organization
  • In collaboration with the Communications department, develop a comprehensive communication plan to promote the organization to its donors and maximize public awareness of the fundraising activities of the organization
  • Coordinate the design, printing, and distribution of marketing and communication materials for development efforts
  • Build relationships with community stakeholders to advance the mission and fundraising goals of the organization



Required Skills and Traits:

  • Build Relationships: Establish and maintain positive working relationships with others both internally and externally to achieve the goals of the organization. Proven experience working cooperatively, effectively, tactfully, and personably with a variety of people including the leadership team, board of directors, funders and prospective funders, support staff, students, volunteers, regulatory agencies, local government, and conservation and other professionals.
  • Communicate Effectively: Speak, listen, and write in a clear, compelling, thorough, and timely manner using appropriate and effective communication tools and techniques. Must be able to effectively make presentations before large and small groups.
  • Ethical Behavior: Understand ethical behavior and business practices and ensure own behavior and the behavior of others are consistent with these standards and align with the values of the organization. Must have the ability to be discreet and properly handle confidential information.
  • Flexibility: Willingness to travel as needed and adjust shifts according to needs of the organization. Willing and able to work in a variety of terrains and weather. Must be able to stand or sit for various amounts of time through the day. Occasional minor lifting or carrying may be involved. Must be able to evolve as the organization evolves and actively engage in furthering the development of the organization, and to perform any other duties as assigned.
  • Focus on Client Needs: Anticipate, understand, and respond to the needs of internal and external clients to meet or exceed their expectations within the organizational parameters.
  • Foster Teamwork: Work cooperatively and effectively with others as a team player, to set goals, resolve problems, and make decisions that enhance organizational effectiveness.
  • Make Decisions: Assess situations to determine the importance, urgency and risks, and make clear decisions which are timely and in the best interests of the organization. Must be able to work independently and under pressure at a fast and rigorous pace in response to an ever-changing demand of the position and in a sometimes rapidly changing environmental landscape in order to take advantage of fast-breaking opportunities.
  • Organization: Set priorities, develop a work schedule, monitor progress towards goals, and track details/data/information/activities. Must be extremely detailed oriented.
  • Plan: Determine strategies to move the organization forward, set goals, create and implement actions plans, and evaluate the process and results.
  • Solve Problems: Assess problem situations to identify causes, gather and process relevant information, generate possible solutions, and make recommendations and/or resolve the problem in a timely, effective and efficient manner.
  • Technologically Advanced: Proficiency in Microsoft Office Software products, Adobe Acrobat Reader or Professional, CRM/Donation Management Databases, and Marketing Software(s).
  • MDLT Values: Ability to support MDLT’s conservation culture and MDLT’s values of Motivation, Determination, Leadership, and Trust

Education and Experience Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field and/or commensurate experience in fundraising/development in a non-profit environment.
  • Proven track record of raising funds from diverse sources, including major gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies.
  • Preferred minimum of 5 years of successful, results-oriented experience in comprehensive nonprofit fundraising activities, including major donor cultivation and solicitation, grant writing/grant management, and special events.
  • Minimum of 3 years of membership development experience.
  • Minimum of 5 years of staff management experience.
  • Success in closing 5 and 6 figure contributions.

Mojave Desert Land Trust proudly values diversity. We are an equal employment opportunity employer and are committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory work environment. We do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.