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Director of Development, Zoo/Conservation Industry

Rhode Island Zoological Society
Rhode Island, United States
Competitive Salary
Closing date
Jul 8, 2022

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Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Alumni Affairs, Annual Fund, Capital Campaigns, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Direct Marketing, Donor Relations, Fundraising Administration, Grant Seeking, Major Gifts, Membership, Planned Giving, Prospect Research, Other Fundraising, Special Events
Academic Centers, Advocacy, Animal Protection, Arts, Community Development, Community Foundations, Education, Environment, Health, Museum, Other Fields, Philanthropic Advisors, Religion, Research, Social Services, United Way, Youth
Employment Type
Full Time
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Roger Williams Park Zoo (RWPZ) of Providence, Rhode Island, is one of the nation’s oldest zoos and home to over 100 animal species. Our culture is built on our core values: community, fun, innovation, diversity, integrity, sustainability, and excellence. We value our role in the community as a treasured place for families and a trusted resource for learning; we create a sense of community for our staff and contribute to the global conservation community.  We provide a fun experience for our guests and believe that a fun environment is essential to create a great workplace. We are willing to take risks, to propose novel ideas and to think “out of the box”.  Bold dreams are welcome here. We act with respect toward all. We value diversity and are intolerant of bias. Integrity and honesty drive our business practices and our relationships with each other and our constituents. We are driven by our vision of greater sustainability in our environmental practices and in our business model. We believe that by establishing a sustainable financial base we can best achieve our goals. We are always striving for excellence. We work to exceed expectations in all areas.


RWPZ is currently recruiting for a full-time, year-round, Director of Development. Reporting to the Executive Director, the individual in this position is responsible for creating and implementing a comprehensive annual fundraising plan including, but not limited to, annual appeals, major gift solicitation, membership, corporate and foundation giving, grant writing, special event fundraising and endowment/planned giving for Roger Williams Park Zoo and the RI Zoological Society. The Director of Development will work closely with the zoo’s senior management team to ensure cross departmental consistency and prioritization of institutional goals. They will also work closely with the Executive Director and members of the Board to plan and execute capital campaigns of varying degrees and size, as warranted. This position is a senior staff management position.



  • Plan, administer, and implement all fundraising activities.
  • Develop annual fundraising, cultivation and stewardship plans in collaboration with the Executive Director and the Board of Trustees.
  • Maintain a proactive, creative leadership role in the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of individual, corporate and foundation contributions.
  • Work with the Executive Director and other staff and board members in the identification, cultivation and solicitation of key donors, major gifts prospects and major capital donors to increase participation in Roger Williams Park Zoo and Rhode Island Zoological Society programs.
  • Prepare verbally or in writing brief talking points about donors/prospects for the Executive Director prior to meetings with these individuals or corporate/foundation leaders.
  • Oversee the management of the membership department, including direct mail acquisition and renewal strategies.
  • In collaboration with the Executive Director, develop, manage and implement all aspects of capital fundraising efforts.
  • Develop and maintain close working relationships with the philanthropic community, individual and corporate donors, sponsors, board members and volunteers.
  • Direct the growth and expansion of Zoo Guardians, the Zoo’s premier membership society, along with other initiatives that drive increased giving from mid-level and major donors and prospects, including strategic fundraising and friend-raising events. Oversee the Zoo’s endowment/planned giving program.
  • Serve as the strategic thought-leader in pursuing potential grants/grantors and manage staff through the grant application
  • Make donor stewardship a priority throughout RIZS, ensuring that all donors are appropriately thanked on a personal level, in a timely manner, and receive regular communication.
  • Supervise, coach and mentor the development staff to achieve department goals and conduct annual performance reviews.
  • Implement best practices for fundraising, communications, events, stewardship, and database management.
  • Direct the preparation and manage the implementation of the Development and Membership Department budgets, including income and expenditure projections.
  • Compile financial, statistical and informational reports (e.g., weekly, monthly, annual reports; sales promotion, incident, special event reports; etc.) as requested by the Board of Trustees, Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer.
  • Act as the principal staff person for the Board of Trustee’s Development Committee.
  • Energize and direct the RIZS planned giving society. Conceptualize and execute plans to grow the number of planned gifts, including bequests.
  • As a member of the senior staff team, act as one of the organization’s weekend and holiday emergency response coordinators and assist at organizational events.
  • Assist with generating written and graphic materials required for development fundraising activities.



Required Experience and Education:

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Communications or Marketing or related field from an accredited college or university.
  • Minimum of six years of progressively successful development experience, including experience with annual funds, major gifts and capital campaigns.
  • Minimum three years of previous managerial experience also required.

Preferred Experience and Education:

  • Recent experience working with diverse populations and fluency speaking additional languages a plus. 


  • Demonstrated ability to:
    • train, lead, supervise and direct the work of others.
    • provide quality customer service to both internal and external customers.
  • Experience in organizing development-related projects from inception to final presentation.
  • Knowledge of:
    • fundraising and Development methodologies, techniques and best practices.
    • principles and practices of publicity, promotion, and public relations.
    • community relations and the development and use of community services.
    • development of analytical tools and reports for benchmarking and progress measurement for internal and external audiences.
    • Altru development software.
  • Extremely strong:
    • oral and written communication skills.
    • analytical skills.
    • organizational and supervisory skills.
    • decision and problem-solving skills.
    • history of personal interaction with giving community.
  • Maintain effective working relationships with other departments, staff, professionals from other zoo organizations, and the general public.
  • Active engagement in the AZA, building relationships with peers at other zoos and promoting RWP Zoo Within the association.
  • Appreciation for:
    • the history and mission of RWP Zoo and an authentic commitment to the mission.
    • the importance of confidentiality regarding information about donor support.
    • the Rhode Island philanthropic landscape.
    • on-line fundraising and social media tools.

Additional Requirements:

  • Proof fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or obtains a qualified approved exemption prior to employment start date. Being fully vaccinated means that an individual is at least two weeks past their final dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine regimen.
  • Ability to work outdoors under various weather conditions.
  • Flexibility to work weekends, holidays and occasional evenings.
  • Occasional travel via all modes of transportation.
  • Successful completion of a background check and valid state driver’s license.
  • Occasionally lifts and/or moves up to 10 pounds.


Interested candidates are encouraged to send a cover letter and resume to:

Roger Williams Park Zoo

ATTN: Director of Development

1000 Elmwood Ave

Providence, RI 02907



We love diversity!  We strongly encourage people of all colors, races, sexual orientations, genders, gender identities, sexual preferences, physical abilities, mental abilities, income levels, backgrounds and experiences apply.

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