Foundation Relations Associate

Location: Headquarters, Washington, DC
Department: Development
Supervisor: Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations


The Foundation Relations Associate plays a key role in Defenders’ foundation fundraising program. The Associate is responsible for writing and editing grant proposals, reports, and other written communications to funders while spearheading general Foundation operations including: internal reporting and submission tracking, database management, cultivation mailings, restricted revenue tracking and basic prospect research. 


Proposal and Grant Reports

  • Work with Defenders’ program and senior staff and Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations to develop compelling proposals, concept papers, letters of inquiry, and reports describing a variety of conservation initiatives for private and corporate foundations and government agencies.

  • Draft and edit grant proposals, letters of inquiry, concept papers and reports in collaboration with program staff.

  • Work with program and Finance staff to prepare financial information, including grant budgets, invoices and financial reports, for foundation donors and prospects.

  • Participate in select program planning sessions.


Grants Management

  • Monitor and communicate proposal and reporting deadlines to Finance and Program departments.

  • Work with Vice President of Development, Finance and Program departments to communicate and monitor grant allocations and expenditures.

  • Work with the Philanthropy Manager to review allocation and acknowledgement of restricted foundation grants. 

  • Monitor and report on restricted and unrestricted revenue.


Fundraising Strategies and Prospect Research

  • Develop and implement fundraising strategies for a portfolio of foundation donors and prospects, with lead responsibility for general species and habitat-specific proposals. 

  • Identify prospects for specific programs and conduct high-level research and analysis of foundation funding trends as part of fundraising strategy development.



  • Enter foundation interactions in database for portfolio contacts.

  • Pull reports from database for Foundations team. Help develop database protocols and procedures for Foundations team.

  • Prepare briefing materials for foundation visits for portfolio contacts.

  • Work with Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations and other staff on annual budget and periodic revenue reporting.

  • Manage Foundation workplan and other tracking documents and distribute on a timely basis.

  • Track and report on restricted and unrestricted revenue for weekly, monthly and quarterly updates.



  • Bachelor’s degree required.


  • Minimum of three years in foundation fundraising, preferably in a conservation, environmental, advocacy or related field.

  • Experience with donor management and engagement.

  • Experience with government grants and/or cause-related marketing is a plus.

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


  • Proven track record in raising funds from foundations, preferably for a conservation or environmental organization.

  • Demonstrable skill in writing excellent proposals and other grant-oriented materials.

  • Strong knowledge of foundations and recent trends in environmental grant making.

  • Research, computer literacy and fundraising database skills.

  • Ability to work under the pressure of deadlines in a fast-paced environment.

  • Detail oriented with sharp eye for proofreading and data management.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Up To $60,000 



Interested applicants please reference Foundation Relations Associate position in your subject line and submit a letter of interest along with your 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.