- 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
- Mission: To change lives through challenge and
- Vision: To create a more resilient and
compassionate world with more resilient and compassionate
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Challenge and adventure
- Cultivation of a supportive environment
- Progression of responsibility and skills
- Success and failure
- Reflection and transference
- Demonstrating increased self-awareness and self-confidence
while demonstrating understanding and compassion toward
- 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: https://www.cobs.org/
Overview of the opportunity and the
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
Foundations, Grants, and Reporting
- Researches government, foundation, and other grant
- 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
- Oversees Salesforce for development processes; maintains donor
and foundation records and ensures the accuracy and efficacy of the
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Strong knowledge of regional funders and other nonprofit
- 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
- An authentic connector, natural networker, and driven by
- Proven ability to successfully cultivate prospects at the
- 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
- Comfortable in multiple environments and settings ranging from
rural outdoor course areas to Board of Directors and funder
- A service ethic and willingness to help where needed and
requested, including areas outside of traditional job
- Bachelor’s degree prefered, or a minimum of 3 additional years
of relevant experience
- Comfort and experience working with donor databases, Salesforce
- 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
- 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
- COBS will provide reasonable accommodations to enable
individuals with disabilities to perform the essential
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
- 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
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.