The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a nonprofit
consortium of nearly sixty universities and research institutions
worldwide, with operations in three countries and research and
education stations in Costa Rica and South Africa. For the last
half century OTS has been the world’s leading institution in the
study of tropical biology, with more than 350 graduate courses in
tropical ecology and conservation and over 8000 students trained,
including many of the world’s leading tropical ecologists.
Recently, OTS has recognized that to be a successful, 21st century
organization, we need to evolve. We have clarified our purpose: To
protect our tropical ecosystems by driving scientific discovery and
knowledge, enriching human perception of nature and enhancing
worldwide policy actions in the tropics. To build on our legacy and
to expand our impact, OTS is in a phase of rapid expansion. We are
launching several new programs and our culture is evolving to be
innovative, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and connected. We
are ready to expand our impact.
The VP for Development reports to the President and Chief
Executive Officer. (S)he works closely with the COO and the VP
Global Programs and Partnerships, and collaborates closely with
country, research station and program directors. (S)he is key a
member of the organization’s leadership team.
- With significant input from the President and CEO and other
staff, plans, creates, manages, directs and executes a
comprehensive donor development and fundraising program to expand
OTS’ annual unrestricted revenue to $5M per year.
- Ensures OTS has the infrastructure in place to support expanded
- Sets and meets ambitious fundraising objectives, evaluates
results and implements corrective strategies and actions.
- Effectively cultivates, develops and manages a portfolio of at
least 20 individual donors at the $25,000 level and above. Ensures
that every major donor has a clear strategy, including timeline for
cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
- Provides leadership for developing and managing a portfolio of
several seven figure grants from federal, bilateral and
multilateral donors. Ensures that OTS responds to the right funding
opportunities, submits effective proposals, and implements grants
with the necessary communication and compliance.
- Serves as a dynamic ambassador for the organization, both
internally and externally, capable of inspiring support from a
variety of stakeholders, ranging from dedicated OTS supporters and
alumni, to foundations, governments and venture philanthropists.
Has, or can quickly gain, substantive knowledge of OTS’ mission,
purpose and scientific programs, projects and activities to
effectively present potential giving opportunities, verbally,
visually and in writing to prospective donors. Communicates
effectively with donors through extensive face-to-face
solicitation, stewardship meetings, as well as through ongoing and
tactical written and e-communication strategies.
- Oversees the planning and supports execution of targeted donor
- Leads the development team and plays a leadership role in
interdepartmental teams to coordinate and mentor the fundraising
work of peers and team members.
- Provides monthly revenue forecasts, reports and statistical
analysis to the President & CEO, senior staff and the
- Intelligently and strategically organizes the President &
CEO’s and board members’ time in matters of fund-raising and
ensures they have appropriate preparation and support materials for
donor visits, including talking points, appropriate solicitation
materials, background, strategy and follow-up proposals.
- Compellingly conveys the mission and purpose of OTS to generate
excitement among diverse audiences.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
- 7+ years of demonstrated nonprofit fundraising success,
especially with individual donors
- Tangible success with donor stewardship and with expanding
donor relationships over time
- Successful experience soliciting gifts at > $1M
- Strategic thinker, with proven ability to design and lead
fundraising initiatives, including prospect research, proposal
preparation, individualized cultivation, solicitation and
stewardship and recognition of major donors
- Strong network of relationships with high net worth
individuals, program officers and corporate social responsibility
- Exceptional interpersonal, oral and written communication
skills with the experience and ability to bring the OTS mission and
purpose to life, inspiring and motivating a diverse community,
including OTS’ multi-cultural board, staff at all levels, member
institutions, donors and partners
- Able to lead, train, motivate, build consensus and manage
cross-functional teams to deliver reliably
- Results oriented, creative and resourceful, with the ability to
prioritize and manage multiple projects simultaneously and solve
problems while maintaining attention to detail within budget and
- Strong computer skills including knowledge of fundraising
software tools and platforms
- High energy and thrives in a dynamic, distributed
- Passionate about the mission and purpose of OTS
- Fluency in spoken and written Spanish
- Multicultural experience
- Experience working remotely and/or with a distributed
- Supervise distributed development staff. Lead staff to deliver
on individual fundraising goals and metrics
- Manage relationships with outside consultants, contractors and
interns as needed
- Budget management with an eye on maximizing return on
- The preferred location for position is Seattle, WA or the Bay
Area, or potentially Durham, NC and is likely to involve working
- Domestic and international travel, up to 25% time may be
- Willing to work outside of normal business hours when needed to
accommodate meetings involving participants from multiple time
Both a resume and a cover letter are required.
Applications received without a cover letter will not be
considered. Please send both documents (in PDF format) to
firstname.lastname@example.org including "Vice President for Development"
in the email subject line.
The Organization for Tropical Studies is an affirmative
action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants
will receive consideration for employment without regard to race,
color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender
expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled
status, or genetic information.
Location/Region: Seattle, WA (US - 98101)