NOLS seeks a dynamic, collaborative, results-driven Major Gifts
Director (MGD) to lead and guide the growth of the major gifts
team. A proven major gifts track record is a must, along with five
or more years of supervisory experience. The MGD will play a key
role in shaping the future of the organization’s philanthropy
programs and will serve as a critical member of the Advancement
Leadership Team. This is an opportunity to assume a leadership
position at NOLS, working with a great Board and terrific staff,
who share a passion for creating a positive impact worldwide
through strong and resilient programs.
Founded in 1965 and headquartered in Lander, Wyoming, NOLS is an
international nonprofit organization that teaches wilderness-based
skills with a mission to be the leading source and teacher of
wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the
environment. NOLS supports the realistic needs of remote work, and
this role can and will most likely be based remotely.
The mission and impact of NOLS reach far and wide, with 14
locations worldwide and operations in all 50 states. In pre-COVID
times, NOLS enrolled more than 28,000 students and employed nearly
1,400 full-time and part-time staff with an annual budget of
approximately $40 million. With COVID-related shutdowns, the school
is operating in limited domestic and very limited international
capacity and is on a return trajectory from a dramatic downsizing
in April 2020.
Today, there are 360,000 active alumni all over the world who
have completed NOLS courses. A student’s experience ranges anywhere
from four hours to several months in classroom and/or wilderness
settings. Curriculum varies by course type and may include outdoor
skills, wilderness medicine, applied leadership, and risk
With a new President who joined the organization in 2020, the
school is currently having thoughtful and intentional conversations
about the evolution of this influential organization. We are in a
rebuilding phase of both programs and personnel and are examining
the opportunities to re-evaluate long-standing structures and
personnel policies to align with current realities and
Central to NOLS’ mission is an explicit commitment to growing
our understanding and practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This commitment is always evolving as a result of feedback and
input from engaged alumni and staff worldwide.
To learn more about the National Outdoor Leadership School
(NOLS), visit www.nols.edu.
The Opportunity: Major Gifts Director (MGD) is
a new position within our organization, providing a powerful
platform for the successful candidate to build a comprehensive and
innovative major gifts program and team based on experience and
best practices. With an emphasis on face-to-face
relationship-driven fundraising, the MGD will lead and develop
strategies for our major gifts team to secure significant
philanthropic resources from individuals, foundations, and
corporations to support fundraising goals and create sustainable
revenue for NOLS.
Reporting to the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO), the MGD will
oversee other major gift functions including helping to build out
our planned giving program, help create and manage our upcoming
campaign, oversee strategic communications and help strengthen our
stewardship efforts. The MGD will work with the NOLS executive team
and senior managers, the Board of Trustees, and school-wide staff
to develop, communicate, and deliver a philanthropy vision and
multi-year fundraising goals while furthering the culture of
philanthropy at NOLS.
Qualifications: The MGD should effectively
represent NOLS’ mission and philosophy, have high ethical standards
and embrace diversity as a strategic advantage.
Minimum of 5 years progressive
experience in a development department as a front-line fundraiser
supervising fundraising and support staff. Proven track record in
asking and receiving charitable contributions and the ability to
secure financial support from diverse sources.
Strong written, verbal,
interpersonal, and organizational skills.
Flexibility and the demonstrated
ability to think creatively and thrive in a fast-paced, complex
environment, juggling numerous projects and satisfying varied
Skills to manage and implement
change, as well as motivate and mentor staff while increasing
Ability to energetically and
accurately represent NOLS to a variety of constituents including
board, staff, alumni, major donors, parents, and other friends of
NOLS graduate and/or familiarity with
NOLS programming is valued.
Experience in developing and
sustaining strong relationships. Ability to interact professionally
with board and staff members who have diverse professional skills
Experience in planned and estate
giving programs, volunteer management and coordination.
Proficiency with word processing,
spreadsheets and database management software—i.e Raiser’s Edge,
Demonstrated deep understanding of
organization and cultural philanthropy, using a proactive,
innovative, and entrepreneurial approach to fundraising.
Passionate and disciplined commitment
to develop and execute broader organizational strategies to advance
the goals of NOLS.
Key responsibilities and priorities:
- Work in partnership with CAO to set direction, strategy, and
tone, establish metrics and lead a major gifts team, in the
execution of fundraising activities, and campaign planning.
- Work with the Advancement staff to see that plans and goals are
implemented and achieved, timely reports generated, and information
- Evaluate and refine processes to support fundraising success.
Monitor fundraising progress and donor stewardship. Provide
analytical reports to CAO, Executive Team, President, and the
- Partner with and support the President, Board, and Senior
Leadership in advancing fundraising goals. Work closely with the
Board to inspire greater participation in advancement efforts while
capitalizing on board members’ resources, talents, and
- Review and enhance the capacity of the staff and infrastructure
to achieve advancement goals.
- Lead and participate in the solicitation efforts of targeted
individuals, foundations, and corporations and demonstrate the
ability to close the deal.
- Work closely with the marketing and communications team to
build greater visibility through digital communications, social
media, and other cultivation tools.
- Raise NOLS’ profile and strengthen its reputation among donors,
constituents, volunteers, organizational partners, other key
stakeholders, and the general public.
- Develop a strategy to collaborate with key staff and partner
closely with program staff to make certain that fundraising
requests match program needs.
- Build a culture of continuous improvement by using data to
drive decisions and make course corrections when necessary.
- Monitor key fundraising trends and issues. Communicate
implications to the CAO with suggested action.
- Track monthly fundraising progress toward goal achievement and
distribute informative reports on progress toward goals.
- Assist with the NOLS BOT Advancement Committee and
co-lead the Advisory council.
- Significant travel is required.
Leadership or Supervisory Duties
a major gifts team that consists of development officers and
planned giving staff. In partnership with the CAO, play a key role
in building out annual philanthropy plans in support of the
school’s overall strategic vision. Cultivate, solicit, and steward
a portfolio of NOLS major gift prospects in support of these
objectives while leading a team of collaborative and
results-oriented professionals. Work directly with the Board of
Trustees, manage volunteers, and understand school-wide
Funds and/or Property
Develop and monitor
budgets for areas of supervision, obligate NOLS funds, and track
Equal Employment Opportunity
NOLS is an
equal opportunity employer. NOLS is committed to building a diverse
community that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds. NOLS
does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion,
national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or
expression, age, genetics information, disability unrelated to job
or admission requirements, or veteran status. The school’s
nondiscrimination policy applies to all phases of its employment
process, its admission and financial aid programs, and to all other
aspects of its educational programs and activities. Retaliation
directed to any person who pursues a discrimination complaint or
grievance, participates in a discrimination investigation, or
otherwise opposes unlawful discrimination is prohibited.
Criminal Background Check: A criminal
background check is required from all NOLS employees.
E-verify: NOLS Participates In
Motor Vehicle Record: Applicants must be at
least 21 years of age by the position start date and possess a
valid driver’s license. Must have a clean driving history and be
able to meet the criteria for NOLS vehicle insurance
COVID-19 Vaccine Policy:
employees that work at NOLS facilities and who have regular contact
with other employees, students, and affiliates are required to be
fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they meet a medical,
disability, or religious exemption and a reasonable accommodation
is approved. Any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World
Health Organization (WHO) is an acceptable vaccine for
the purpose of this policy. Full vaccination or an approved
exemption is a condition of employment for all new employees.
Employees that work remotely and do not have contact with other
employees, students, or affiliates are not required to be
vaccinated or have an approved exemption.
Work Location and Benefits: Preference for a
remote MGD to be based in Colorado or Utah. Candidates living in or
willing to relocate to any of the following U.S. States may apply:
California, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming.
Salary commensurate with experience. Other benefits include: 403
B, 403 B contribution after one year, Health Insurance, Dental
Insurance, Vision Insurance, Flexible Spending Account, Life
Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance, Long Term
Disability, Employee Assistance Program, Paid Time Off.
To apply, send a cover letter and resume
Gabi Kilko-Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing Date for Applications: December 13,
Thank you for your interest in NOLS. Please consider
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