Director of Philanthropy

Winnakee Land Trust
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Feb 28, 2021
Mar 29, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

Director of Philanthropy

Reports to:  Executive Director                  

Salary: Commensurate with experience

Application Due By: April 1, 2021

About Winnakee Land Trust:

Located in the Village of Rhinebeck, NY, The Winnakee Land Trust is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1989 that has helped protect over 3,500 acres in Dutchess County, NY. Winnakee has on-going programs in land protection, environmental education and, more recently, sustainable forest management. Founded on an American tradition of conservation that dates to the 19th century, for more than thirty years the Winnakee Land Trust has built on that tradition by caring for the land and connecting our communities. Over time, the challenges we face have changed. Today, three great challenges cut across the conservation work we do:

  • A rapidly changing climate;
  • Continued population growth and sprawling development that are fragmenting our natural landscapes;
  • A never-ending onslaught of introduced plants, pests, and pathogens, exacerbated by herbivore populations wildly out of balance with their habitat’s ability to sustain itself.

Over the past two years, Winnakee has experienced unprecedented growth in support and is currently reorganizing to act on a regional scale to meet these challenges and ensure a sustainable future for the natural resources of the Hudson Valley and the communities that depend on them.

Position Summary:

The Director of Philanthropy manages the development department and is ultimately responsible for all fund raising at the Winnakee Land Trust, including annual support from individuals, foundations and businesses, capital campaigns, endowment fund raising, donor cultivation and stewardship, planned giving and the membership program. The Director of Philanthropy reports to the Executive Director and is the staff liaison with the Board Development Committee.  The Director supervises all the staff in the development department and collaborates with all departments in meeting their funding needs.

The director will provide overall direction and vision for the program; develop annual programmatic goals and objectives, prepare the department’s annual budget request, work with the board’s development committee and the executive director to establish and monitor long range plans for the programs, and ensure that development goals of the institution’s strategic plan are being met.

The ideal candidate will have strong fundamentals in major giving, planned giving, capital campaign coordination, annual funds, and donor relations.  The director of development will be an integral contributing member of Winnakee’s administrative team and will thereby have the capacity to contribute to the overall potential and success of the organization.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Work with the Executive Director, Board Development Committee, Board of Directors, and leadership team to develop an overarching fund-raising strategy that includes the following core elements:

Capital Campaigns

 The Winnakee Land Trust will conduct a variety of capital campaigns in support of its underlying mission. The Director is responsible for the design, donor cultivation and coordination of all land-based as well as endowment-focused capital campaigns:

  • Land-based Capital Campaigns

Occasionally, Winnakee will act to protect lands under imminent threat of development using internal, pledged or borrowed funds and will need to repay/replenish those funds with funds raised through individual capital campaigns. Several campaigns may run simultaneously. Such land-based capital campaigns will generally include the following elements:  government agency support, foundation support, major donor contributions and a direct-mail solicitation.  Cultivation activities may include donor visits and conducting field tours of the subject properties.

  •  Comprehensive Campaigns

The Winnakee Land Trust is building an endowment to better support the organization in general, and both fee-title and conservation easement acquisition and stewardship, in particular. Working closely with the Winnakee Board of Directors and the Executive Director, the Director of Philanthropy will be expected to oversee a multifaceted capital campaign with responsibility for the day-to-day planning, coordination and management of the campaign.


Major and Planned Gifts

 The Director will advance Winnakee’s mission by managing and expanding all individual giving programs with a focus on expanding the major gifts program and building the planned giving program by identifying new prospects and deepening existing relationships with major donors through effective identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship:

  • Open Field Society

The Director will be expected to maintain and substantially increase a personal portfolio of, currently, 40 members of our Open Field Society, a giving community of major donors providing dedicated and sustained support to meet future needs.

  • Gifts of Land

As an institution dedicated to the protection and stewardship of natural resources, Winnakee has a special interest in donations of land. Donated properties are either held for long-term sustainable management or sold to generate income. The Director will collaborate with land protection and stewardship staff to strategize, cultivate donors, and execute fundraising plans to support the acquisition of lands to be held by Winnakee in fee-title.

  • Planned Giving

The Winnakee Land Trust’s planned giving program will be integral to its major donor stewardship effort.  The director is responsible for securing major gifts through planned giving vehicles including bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and other appropriate vehicles.

Foundations & Grants

The Director has responsibility for the cultivation and stewardship of partnerships with new and existing foundation, corporate and government funders, and private charitable trusts that will result in increased program and operating funding for the organization.

Community Engagement

 The Director supervises the Annual Giving and Donor Relations Manager including responsibility for Winnakee’s Annual Fund, Membership Program and the production of two major annual membership events and a variety of monthly membership and community outreach events.


Required skills, knowledge, and attributes:

The new director of development will have had significant, successful experience in fund raising, including planned giving programs and in securing major gifts.  Previous participation in the development and implementation of a capital campaign is essential.  In addition, the director should demonstrate:

  • An understanding and appreciation for the mission of Winnakee Land Trust, combined with a desire to be flexible, to understand quickly, and to have a sensitivity for the culture of the institution.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required.
  • Strong fundamentals in major gifts, planned giving, annual funds, donor relations and the design and implementation of capital campaigns.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills, including the ability to communicate with diverse audiences. Public speaking is frequently required.
  • Leadership skills that promote teamwork and create a positive working environment.
  • Superior interpersonal and communications skills, with the ability to foster relationships and to garner respect.
  • The ability to represent Winnakee with a high degree of professionalism and integrity and to inspire and excite donors to give generously by making a compelling case for Winnakee’s priorities.
  • Political savvy, with a forward-thinking, entrepreneurial, and creative approach to fund raising.
  • Strong planning skills, including the ability to anticipate tasks, set priorities, meet deadlines and function smoothly under strict deadlines and shifting priorities.
  • Experience preparing and managing budgets.
  • Experience with the legal environment of charitable giving and ensuring the fund-raising program is in compliance.
  • Experience with planned giving vehicles.
  • Willingness to travel to meet with donors and host fundraising events.
  • Honesty, integrity and a sense of humor


To Apply:

Applications are due by April 1st, but will be reviewed as received. Applications will not be reviewed without a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications. Please send to WLT’s Executive Director, Robert Davis, at In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please write your name (Last, First - Director of Philanthropy) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail. More information about the Winnakee Land Trust may be found at - No phone calls or faxes, please.