Sustainer Program Manager

Location: Headquarters, Washington, DC
Department: Marketing & Constituent Development
Supervisor: Senior Director of Acquisition 


Defenders of Wildlife is a leading environmental non-profit organization, dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. Defenders’ sustainer monthly giving program, Wildlife Guardians, generates over $2.7million in unrestricted revenue in support of our work in the field and the courts across the country.

The Sustainer Program Manager will be responsible for cultivating and growing Defenders’ monthly giving program, promoting it to donors and attracting and retaining new monthly donors. Responsibilities will include managing the operations of the sustainer donor program and working with the Integrated Marketing team and external partners to develop and implement strategies to grow and diversify across new and existing audiences via direct mail, telephone, email, web and social media.

This role will require a candidate with strong self-direction, follow-through, analytic skills, and internal advocacy ability. The right candidate will be poised for an excellent professional growth track.


  • Manage the day-to-day operations including evaluating current processes to ensure gifts from all channels are processed and that existing and new Wildlife Guardians are stewarded according to an annual budget plan and industry best practices.

  • Identify program benchmarks of success and report on how the program compares to them and what strategies are being implemented to either capitalize or improve upon them. This will include regular analysis of acquisition, conversion, retention, upgrading and lifetime value by channel/source.

  • Create and implement a compelling communication strategy for monthly donors, from the point of acquisition throughout their life with the organization, in line with annual budget goals. Recommend personalized touches for our mass marketing program to help cultivate, retain, reinstate and upgrade monthly donors. Identify key program areas of weakness and opportunity in a timely manner.

  • Develop a rigorous testing schedule, for all aspects of the program, the results of which will influence the entire monthly giving fundraising program.

  • Closely manage all vendors involved in the program, in coordination with other internal stakeholders, to set clear objectives and hold them accountable for program goals and processes including maximizing recruitment and conversions across all channels, as well as increasing sustainer average gift.

  • Review and edit all copy and creative targeted to monthly donors and provide feedback within the agreed upon deadline.

  • Serve as the primary contact for Member Services and database operations when it comes to sustainer questions and queries.

  • Regularly evaluate systems and processes to ensure maximum efficiency and revenue with a keen eye on retention and recovery processes. Implement new retention and recovery techniques as needed.

  • Research and benchmark activities other non-profits are pursuing to improve and grow their monthly donor programs. Provide feedback to management on how we could expand our own monthly donor efforts.

  • Keep up to date on Defenders’ priorities, challenges, and victories so you can accurately inform monthly donors.

  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education:  Bachelor’s degree (B.A./B.S.) or equivalent in related discipline

  • Experience:  4+ years of progressively responsible experience working in direct response, with 2+ years of monthly giving program experience preferred

  • Experience in program management and implementation, including advocating and championing a program

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


  • Ideal candidate is self-directed, bringing energy and direction to a program with extraordinary growth potential

  • Experience and ability to take full ownership in the growth of a legacy program

  • Analytic and reporting ability, including designing and creating reports to track KPIs and provide valuable insights to expansion project

  • Ability to manage cross-functional projects and work well on multiple projects under pressure, prioritize and meet deadlines in a dynamic environment, and use tact and diplomacy in dealing with confidential and sensitive matters.

  • Strong proofreading skills and writing skills, with an emphasis on producing engaging and informative fundraising materials.

  • Demonstrated ability to set priorities and resolve routine business problems in a customer service setting.

  • Strong interpersonal skills with an ability to work effectively with the public, donors, staff and vendors.

  • Understanding of key fundraising metrics especially when it comes to the goals of a healthy monthly giving program.

  • Integrated/multichannel marketing experience preferred.

  • Must be detail-oriented with strong organizational skills.

  • Experience with CRM (Constituent Relationship Management) and e-CRM software platforms

  • Experience with CMS (Content Management System) software platforms

  • Knowledge of general conservation/environmental issues


  • 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 $64,000 


Please reference Sustainer Program Manager in your subject line and submit your 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.