Senior Director of Philanthropy

Reporting to the Chief Philanthropy Officer, the Senior Director of Philanthropy is responsible for oversight of the major gifts program ($25,000 or more) including the strategic coordination of all efforts designed to maximize gifts at these levels. Additionally, this position is responsible for oversight of the Corporate and Foundations team, Gift Planning and Stewardship/Research. This position serves as a member of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) Philanthropy Leadership team.

  • Leads and coaches the Philanthropy Team, including but not limited to, interviewing, hiring, training, performance management and assignment of work
  • Oversees complimentary programs including Stewardship, Prospect Research, Gift Planning and Corporate and Foundation Grants
  • Personally manage a small portfolio of high-level donors and prospects
  • Develop and execute annual and multi-year plans for growing the major gifts program
  • Manages and maintains major gifts activity tracking and pipeline
  • Manage short term and long term goal setting and provide end to end oversight on all Philanthropy opportunities and activities

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is seeking an individual who is inspired to be a part of an organization that is committed to protecting wildlife around the globe. A leader to join us in our commitment to provide opportunities to learn about, engage with best-in-class conservation work, and share how that work is changing outcomes for wildlife every day through visits to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

  • Minimum eight (8) years or related professional experience in a fundraising/development unit or department within a complex non-profit organization
  • Seven (7) years or more of experience managing a fundraising team
  • Experience working within a complex academic environment, such as a large state university with multiple colleges, campuses, and programs
  • Bachelor's Degree in related field required
  • Advanced degree in related field preferred
  • Expert knowledge of current and evolving trends in the areas of major gifts, planned gifts, and corporate and foundation relations
  • Impressive record of successful fundraising in a complex organization or university system, including track record of successfully securing gifts of $100K or more
  • Demonstrated success managing a fundraising unit within a campaign
  • Evidence of the ability to plan and execute a fundraising plan from conception to realization
  • Deep appreciation and understanding of an enterprise and the ability to articulate institutional values internally and externally
  • Understanding of proposal development and writing, fundraising principles and techniques; project management skills; and relevant event planning
  • Demonstrated success in proposal writing and submission
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, demonstrating the ability to establish and maintain internal and external relationships
  • Proven experience motivating and managing individuals and teams for maximum performance
  • Proven ability to support employee inclusion and professional development
  • Must have, or be able to obtain, a valid driver’s license at time of hire. Evening and weekend work required


  • Location: San Diego Zoo
  • Duration: Year round
  • Exempt position: Salary commensurate with experience (range $150,000 - $200,000)
  • Candidates must be available for an interview if contacted. Full job description will be provided upon request.

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