Director of Philanthropy

Location: Headquarters, Washington, DC
Department: Development
Supervisor: Vice President of Philanthropy


The Director of Philanthropy is responsible for creating and overseeing the growth of a structured mid-level donor program with the goal of increasing donor retention rates, giving and qualifications for major gift prospects. This includes overseeing activities for Wildlife Ambassador ($1,000-$4,999) and Wildlife Advocate ($5,000-$9,999) level donors, as well as working closely with the Vice President of Marketing on strategies to upgrade Defenders members into the Leadership Council ($1,000+).


  • Develop mid-level giving program by analyzing current mid-level donor capacity and mining member data to determine universe of initial mid-level giving program. 

  • Create caseload of 600-800 names and tier into levels based on giving potential and proposed solicitation amount (based on giving history and patterns, lifetime giving totals, and capacity). 

  • Maintain caseload and smaller donor portfolio that includes members giving $1,000 to $9,999 and other strategic donors and prospects. Develop strategies to steward and cultivate portfolio based on tier levels via phone calls, email updates, mailings and other engagement methods, as well as strategic in-person meetings, in order to grow revenue from this member segment. Track all donor outreach in the database. 

  • Work proactively with the Senior Director of Philanthropy and the Vice President of Philanthropy to develop strategies to raise prospects from mid-level giving to major-gift level.

  • Oversee and implement communications with the Leadership Council, which include:  newsletters, conference calls with Defenders’ staff, holiday cards and other cultivation efforts. Work with Marketing to partner on the Leadership Council offline and online solicitation efforts. Ensure that all communications stay on schedule and budget. 

  • Supervise Philanthropy Manager to jointly develop mid-level giving strategies and written materials for all levels of Leadership Council donors.

  • Travel occasionally for donor visits and events. 

  • Maintain a high level of knowledge and use of ROI and other systems critical to the management of data. Maintain up-to-date knowledge of advancements in current and new technologies.

  • Analyze and monitor results of increased mid-level cultivation efforts by tracking giving and retention data.

  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Education:  Bachelor’s degree (B.A./B.S.) or equivalent in related discipline. Advanced degree and/or CFRE certification desirable.

  • Experience:  Seven+ years of relevant development experience

  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

  • Other:

  • Experience working with and growing a mid-level donor program.

  • Strong technological aptitude with advanced skills using Microsoft Word, Excel and database software.

  • Extremely detail-oriented with strong organizational skills.

  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to interact with both management and support staff.

  • Ability to take ownership of a process and to use problem solving skills to resolve issues.

  • Strong professionalism with the ability to function efficiently in a busy environment.

  • Expected to work independently and/or as a team member with initiative, motivation, flexibility, organization and attention to accuracy of projects and tasks.

  • Ability to manage multiple projects independently. 


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so. 


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


  • Travel required.


  • Up To $105,000 


  • Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.

  • Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.




Interested applicants should complete an application for employment. Please reference Director of Philanthropy in your subject line and submit your completed application, a letter of interest and resume to us via e-mail at:

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.