Come join and be part of our Kitt Peak Visitor Center (KPVC)
group that supports the day-to-day operations for the Kitt Peak
National Observatory (KPNO) in Tucson, Arizona. AURA’s
Centers enable the next decade of astronomical discoveries through
world-class facilities and science.
We seek an energetic development professional to plan and
establish our first major fund-raising program. The ideal candidate
shares our team’s passion for informal science education,
particularly astronomy education and outreach. It is an exciting
time for Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO). Its highly
regarded Visitor Center is leading the redevelopment of the
McMath-Pierce solar observatory into the unique Windows on the
Universe Center for Astronomy Outreach. Developing a
portfolio of supporters for this project is a key aspect of this
position. KPNO is operated by the NSF’s National
Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, which is managed
under a cooperative agreement with NSF by the Association of
Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).
You will work with the Visitor Center manager to map out a
comprehensive development program and set specific goals. There are
two areas of emphasis: seeking capital support for some aspects of
the Windows project and creating new sources of operating support.
Plan and conduct fundraising, membership, and annual fund
campaigns. Seek capital and operating sponsorship with businesses
and foundations. Work with the Visitor Center team to plan and
conduct special fundraising events. Conduct grant research and
write funding proposals. Develop and maintain dialogues with
individual donors in order to assure their continued engagement.
Develop and maintain basic donor databases and organizational
tools. Provide reports on development activities.
- Research viable grant, gift, and sponsorship opportunities.
Initiate contact and begin donor cultivation.
- Acquire capital support for additional features in the Windows
Center such as exhibits and a planetarium.
- Cultivate personal relationships with prospective donors,
foundation staff, and sponsors with the goal of securing financial
or in-kind support.
- Prepare successful grant or sponsorship requests or proposals.
Shepherd such proposals through the acceptance process and monitor
their consideration status with the prospective foundation,
corporation, or agency. Promptly respond to requests for additional
- Create and send notes, updates, photographs, or other materials
to donors in order to assure continued engagement.
- Prepare periodic or final reports, as required by grant maker
- Plan and conduct appropriate “special events” to introduce
potential stakeholders to the observatory, the Visitor Program, and
the Windows on the Universe project.
- Work with our team members to develop memorable visitor
experiences, especially those for supporting stakeholders.
Energetically network to expand base of contacts for potential
cultivation and solicitation.
- Establish and operate an annual giving campaign to provide
revenue for operations, special improvements, new programs and
- Remain up to date on recent developments in philanthropy, IRS
rules governing planned giving, and deductibility.
- Establish a planned giving program to support Visitor Program
initiatives, including Windows on the Universe.
- Reliably and punctually reports to all assigned shifts.
Dependability and highly reliable attendance are essential in this
- Consistently adheres to all NOIRlab and Kitt Peak policies and
- Performs other safety and security functions during shifts at
Kitt Peak, as required of all staff.
- Work well with, and employs open and tactful communication and
cooperation with, all team members.
- Other duties as assigned
- Bachelor’s degree and three to five years demonstrated history
of successfully leading a development/fund raising program-effort
at a nonprofit organization and delivering results that
substantially impacted the organization for the better.
- Ability to work enthusiastically, cooperatively, and patiently
with all guests, volunteers, staff and key program and community
- Strong and very well-developed engaging public speaking
- Well-developed, persuasive writing skills, particularly as
applied to sponsorship and grant proposals.
- Up-to-date knowledge of IRS codes and tax laws as they apply to
philanthropic giving and estate planning.
- Although most shifts will occur Monday through Friday during
normal office hours, you must have the ability to work a flexible
schedule that could include some evenings and weekends, primarily
in association with fundraising events and VIP tours. Your primary
office will be located in our Tucson-based headquarters building
but some shifts will occur at the observatory.
- Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines.
- Ability to receive continual training, put training into
practice, and accept ongoing constructive feedback.
- Must have well-developed desktop computer skills.
- Provide excellent customer satisfaction service to all current
and potential supporters, guests, and volunteers. Project a
professional image of the Visitor Center team.
- Ability to remain calm and productive under pressure.
- Ability to deal effectively and tactfully with the public,
fellow employees, managers, and volunteers; and respond
professionally to unusual or unexpected situations.
- Organized, energetic, honest, and outgoing with strong work
- Must enjoy working with diverse audiences.
- Valid State driver’s license.
- Ability to pass a background check, per AURA policy.
- CPR and AED certification is required and will be provided by
- Satisfactory completion of any other required safety
- Bilingual English/Spanish.
- Certified Fund Raising Professional.
- Active membership in the Association of Fundraising
Professionals or similar professional organizations.
- Some knowledge in astronomy and familiarity with the night sky
will be helpful to you as you work to strengthen the base of
support for our programs.
- Experience in designing and writing fund raising
- Familiarity with the Tohono O’odham Nation would be helpful;
willingness to learn about their culture is a must.
The physical demands described here are representative of those
that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the
essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be
made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the
This work is mostly carried out in an office environment. Long
periods of sitting may be required.
Given the international nature of AURA’s work, you may need to
travel to the various observatory sites (Arizona, Chile, and
Hawai’i) and other locations for business purposes.
AURA offers a mix-model workspace (office &
virtual) and stimulating environments for all.
We also offer an excellent benefits package and competitive
- Health Benefits – Start first on the month following hire
- Retirement Options:
- 401(a) Money Purchase Pension Plan / 10% Employer
- 403(b) / Your own retirement contribution
- Paid Time Off:
- Vacation / Accrual of up to 24 days per/yr.
- Paid Sick Leave / 8 hour per/mo.
- Holiday Time / 10 days per/yr.
And much more so please explore:
AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is
committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports
programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity,
broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity
throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more
TO APPLY: Share your experience by uploading a
resume and completing an online application. Please list 3
professional references in your application (references will only
be contacted later in the recruitment process) and attach a cover
letter and CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application.
Please name any attachments with the following format:
LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as
part of the application may be sent to email@example.com.
Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates and
qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham
COVID-19 UPDATE: Effective December 8,
2021, AURA will require all U.S. based employees to be fully
vaccinated for COVID-19. Vaccination will be a condition of
employment, with exemptions granted only for valid medical or
religious reasons. This is requirement for all employees working
onsite or from home (telework or hybrid remote work
schedule). Currently the vaccination requirement does not
apply to any future AURA employees working in Chile, regardless of
their nationality or type of contract.
AURA currently offers a mix-model workspace (office &
virtual) and stimulating environments for all, with most staff
working virtually from home during the COVID-19 crisis through
December 2021. The safety of our staff and community is our top
priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in
this new virtual landscape and offers of employment can be extended
and new hires will onboard virtually. Employees are required to be
residents in the Tucson, Arizona, or Baltimore-Washington area
within a limited time from their start date.
Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates and to
qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham
reservation in Arizona.
Veterans, disabled individuals, or wounded warriors
needing assistance with the employment process should request
assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Association of Universities for Research in
Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and
three international affiliates that operates world-class
astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture,
and promote public observatories and facilities that advance
innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing
the operations of the NSF’s NOIRLab, the National Solar
Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory
and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative
agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of
the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with
As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is
considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal
Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an
Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not
discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national
origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity
expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status,
disability, and/or any other legally protected status under
applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity