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Director of Development

Colorado Outward Bound School
Colorado, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Sep 16, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Annual Fund, Direct Marketing, Donor Relations, Fundraising Administration, Grant Seeking, Major Gifts, Special Events, Programs, Grant Administration, Program Administration and Management, Administrative, Other Administrative
Education, Other Fields
Employment Type
Full Time
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  • The Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) is a nonprofit adventure-based education organization that delivers outdoor programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. Established in 1962, COBS is the first Outward Bound school in the United States and is part of an 11-school network under Outward Bound USA. COBS operates primarily in Colorado and Utah. Each COBS course is built around a skills and content progression that reveals powerful life lessons. While traveling through spectacular wilderness areas and participating in activities, students are challenged to go beyond their comfort zones to discover there is more in them than they know.
  • Mission: To change lives through challenge and discovery.
  • Vision: To create a more resilient and compassionate world with more resilient and compassionate citizens.
  • Our courses are designed to foster personal growth through authentic adventure in the outdoors. We achieve this through a carefully crafted educational framework that includes three key areas.
    • Values:
      • Compassion - Demonstrating concern and acting with a spirit of respect and generosity in service to others.
      • Integrity - Acting with honesty, being accountable for your decisions and actions.
      • Excellence - Being your best self, pursuing craftsmanship in your actions, and living a healthy and balanced life.
      • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Valuing and working to create communities representative of our society that support and respect differences.
    • Design Principles. COBS courses vary in length, age, and intensity, but are all designed around the following principles:
      • Challenge and adventure
      • Cultivation of a supportive environment
      • Progression of responsibility and skills
      • Success and failure
      • Reflection and transference
    • Outcomes:
      • Demonstrating increased self-awareness and self-confidence while demonstrating understanding and compassion toward others.
      • Demonstrating the ability to set goals, inspire and guide others to achieve them; the ability to collaborate, communicate, solve problems and resolve conflicts effectively.
      • Demonstrating social and environmental responsibility and a desire to actively engage in service to others.
    • To read more about the history of Colorado Outward Bound School, including our current strategic plan and latest impact report, please visit our website:

Overview of the opportunity and the position 

The Opportunity:

  • The Director of Development will lead the next generation of COBS’s development efforts and will be responsible for a comprehensive fundraising strategy including major gifts, annual giving, foundations, corporate partnerships, and planned giving. The Development Director is responsible for shaping and executing the long-range strategic plan for COBS’s philanthropic support in alignment with COBS’s overall mission, business model, and strategic plan.
  • Serving as a member of the COBS Senior Leadership Team (SLT), the Director of Development reports directly to the Executive Director (ED) and works closely with the ED, Board of Directors, Board of Advocates, and the Development Committee.
  • The Development Director is responsible for managing and leading COBS’s Development Department which currently includes a Development Officer who is responsible for annual giving and grant writing. This position will be central to setting the direction for the expansion of the Development Department, with the future intention of growing the team to add a third member.
  • The Development Director is responsible for setting and achieving COBS’s development goals, including both annual development and targeted fundraising campaigns. COBS has a current annual development budget of approximately $1,000,000. COBS’s strategic plan has identified philanthropic growth as a priority and COBS is seeking a Development Director who can increase COBS’s level of philanthropic giving to support scholarships, key initiatives, capital projects, and COBS’s long-term sustainability.
  • Working at COBS: The Development Director will join a creative, fun, passionate, and hard-working team of outdoor education professionals who are committed to organizational excellence and student outcomes. While we are all nonprofit professionals, we love our jeans, our office pets, and our healthy outdoor lifestyles. All members of the leadership team balance strategic-level work with execution, modeling the "crew, not passengers" mentality that is central to Outward Bound's ethos. Although this position is based in central Denver (with the ability to work remotely at times), our Development Director will have the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time at our main basecamps in Leadville, Colorado and Moab, Utah, in addition to being part of the larger Outward Bound network.


Using their experience, knowledge, and relentless curiosity, the Development Director will be responsible for the following areas:



Leadership and Collaboration:

  • Collaborates as a member of the COBS Senior Leadership Team to determine and fulfill school needs, goals, and directional strategy to achieve the COBS mission.
  • Leads all development strategies and implementation, including working across departments as necessary; manages, trains, and supports the Development Officer and any other support staff.
  • Helps drive organizational justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) efforts across COBS and in fundraising strategy, including funding to support those efforts.
  • Participates in and attends “All Staff” events, including Board of Directors, Board of Advocates, Executive, Finance, Governance, and Development Committee meetings.
  • Models leadership and helps establish a culture of philanthropy for all COBS staff, including COBS’s program staff and field staff based in Leadville, Colorado and Moab, Utah.
  • Collaborates with the ED and Board of Directors on identifying prospective Board members and Board of Advocates members that meet the school’s strategic direction.
  • Develops scholarship partnerships with external partners and collaborates with the sales and admissions department to meet the commitment to scholarship students.
  • Collaborates and partners with the national Outward Bound development office and Outward Bound USA network of development professionals on national development strategy and fundraising efforts.


Individual Giving:

  • With the COBS ED and Development Committee, sets annual goals and creates a yearly fundraising plan and timeline.
  • Works with individual Board of Directors and Board of Advocates members to establish a plan and timeline for annual giving commitments.
  • Manages a personal major donor portfolio and assists Board members in making the ask of their peers.
  • Researches major gift prospects and participates directly in all major gift asks.
  • Leads direct-mail appeals and pledge process.
  • Builds and cultivates relationships and stewards donors.
  • Creates relevant, compelling engagement opportunities for major givers to the school with the support of the executive director and other departments.


Community Relations and Events:

  • Manages all external donor communications, including thank-you letters, newsletters, an annual report, and print and social media presence in collaboration with other departments.
  • Drives relevant connections with community groups and potential partners.
  • Creates meaningful ways to connect the alumni community with opportunities to give.
  • Leads the strategy and planning of all fundraising events, including COBS’s annual Black Tie and Tennis Shoe Gala, while supporting the Development Department in execution of such events.


Foundations, Grants, and Reporting

  • Researches government, foundation, and other grant opportunities.
  • Leads and oversees the grant writing process, timeline, and reporting; manages internal and external constituents to ensure accuracy in program descriptions, goals, and results.
  • Schedules and leads site visits with foundation officers with the support of the ED.
  • Prepares ongoing development reports for the ED, SLT, and Board of Directors.
  • Oversees Salesforce for development processes; maintains donor and foundation records and ensures the accuracy and efficacy of the donor database.
  • Develops opportunities and support for critical capital projects and other school initiatives including but not limited to COBS’s scholarship program, local education partnerships, staff training and development, and equity initiatives.


The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal skills, qualities, and characteristics:

  • Commitment to COBS’s Mission and Values of compassion; integrity; excellence; and diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • 7+ years of comprehensive development experience. Prior experience working in the Rocky Mountain region’s philanthropic communities is a plus
  • Expertise in the breadth of nonprofit fundraising strategies including major gifts, grants, annual giving, events, sponsorships, and planned giving. Prior experience working with an outdoor-focused and/or school-oriented nonprofit is a plus
  • Experience in leadership, team development, and people management, and working in both a collaborative and independent environment
  • Understanding and experience with strategic thinking, planning, and business acumen to meet school fundraising goals. Must be able to perform under tight deadlines and achieve strict financial goals
  • Possess an entrepreneurial, results-driven style and ability to identify and implement creative approaches to development
  • Proven communicator in oral and written platforms. Ability to communicate the COBS mission and programs effectively and match them to donor interests. Comfortable with presenting to large groups
  • Strong knowledge of regional funders and other nonprofit organizations
  • Strong personal commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and a desire to understand and integrate those principles further into the operations within the organization and industry
  • An authentic connector, natural networker, and driven by relationships
  • Proven ability to successfully cultivate prospects at the executive level
  • Proven ability to solve problems by gathering and analyzing information, identifying alternative options, and collaborating on problem-solving situations  
  • Experience with developing, coordinating, and implementing projects promptly and to completion
  • Understanding of feedback processes and proven ability to give and receive positive and constructive feedback
  • Ability and desire to work collaboratively both within and across organizations
  • Comfortable in multiple environments and settings ranging from rural outdoor course areas to Board of Directors and funder meetings
  • A service ethic and willingness to help where needed and requested, including areas outside of traditional job responsibilities
  • Bachelor’s degree prefered, or a minimum of 3 additional years of relevant experience
  • Comfort and experience working with donor databases, Salesforce preferred
  • Proficient in Office 365 (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams), and video conferencing


Location, Travel, and Physical Requirements:

  • Works from HQ office, Denver, Colorado. Partial work from home opportunities are available.
  • Occasional opportunity to work from an alternative location outside of the Denver metro area.
  • 35% of time traveling to client locations, wilderness basecamps, and organizational meetings. Travel accommodations may be rustic, with limited shower, kitchen, and internet access. May be occasionally exposed to outdoor weather conditions.
  • At times, this travel may include donor field visits which would include outdoor activities such as hiking, carrying a backpack, etc.
  • Due to these expectations, we anticipate that the employee may occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds, may be expected to walk at least a mile at a time in an outdoor, rustic setting, and perform other duties that are associated with outdoor recreational activities.
  • COBS will provide reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Compensation and Benefits

  • This position is a full-time, benefit-eligible position. COBS offers multiple medical plan options (including an HDHP with a corresponding health savings account); dental and vision insurance; employer-paid life & AD&D, short-and long-term disability insurance; employee assistance program; along with additional benefits like pro deals, professional development funds, and flexibility.
  • Compensation $80,000 - $100,000.
  • 20 days of PTO accrue in the first year, with an additional 8 hours accruing the following year, in addition to 7 days of sick leave front-loaded for the year.
  • We offer a 401k, with an annual discretionary match to all FT employees after 1 year of service.


Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Colorado Outward Bound School celebrates diversity and strives to create an inclusive environment for all employees. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, nation origin, age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or any other basis covered by applicable law. All employment is based on qualifications and business needs.


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