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Development Director, Ocean Conservation



Ocean First Institute is a nonprofit organization based in Boulder, Colorado with a research center in Key Largo, FL. Our mission is ocean conservation through research and education. We work to protect the ocean and imperiled species through scientific research, while also educating individuals to take positive action for the environment through community projects and outreach programs. Founded in 2014, Ocean First Institute has reached more than 350,000 students through its outreach programs, released over 2,000 Colorado endangered fish back into the wild and received international, national and regional awards for our collaborative conservation projects.


Ocean First Institute values a diverse, respectful, inclusive and collaborative work environment. We establish and maintain trustful relationships with all staff, contractors, partners, and communities. We believe that hard work, a focus on excellence, and a passion for marine conservation and education is paramount.


Position Summary

The Director of Development will join our dedicated team to build and grow relationships while cultivating and generating financial support through strategic and continuous donor development and grants. They will steward gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations. The Director will focus on building and strengthening donor relationships, establishing major gifts and will be responsible for creating, managing, tracking and presenting to the Board of Directors on our strategy for funding opportunities, grants, proposals, and collaborative opportunities.

Priorities for fundraising include education, research, conservation projects and programing support. The ideal candidate for this position will be a consummate professional and will thrive in a fast-paced, metrics/results-driven fundraising environment.

Our ideal candidate will have a demonstrated ability to maintain focus and employ adaptability while working collaboratively with staff, donors and prospective donors.

We are a small and passionate team. The candidate we are seeking will be responsible for the organization's fundraising effort and its success and will be a dedicated team player who is willing to pitch in wherever needed. This role will support the growth and future direction of Ocean First Institute while also meeting targeted timelines. The Director of Development will report to the Executive Director.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Using a data driven approach, The Development Director will establish fundraising and development goals in conjunction with the ED and Board of Directors by collaborating on organization objectives
  • Participation required during annual forecasting and budgeting process alongside leadership
  • Conduct prospect research and identify potential supporters to create a clear donor engagement plan to effectively steward large donors, foundations, and corporate sponsors
  • Develop and implement a wide array of donor engagement activities from virtual webinars to in-person fundraising events and site visits to meet OFI budget objectives and grow revenue streams
  • Lead and ensure the development and on-time submission of high-quality grant proposals and reports to government and private grantors
  • Increase donation retention rate and re-engage lapsed donors
  • Maintain meticulous records and report to the ED and Board of Directors as required (i.e., produce quarterly as well as annual reports, etc., to share with leadership)
  • Work with ED and BOD on donor acknowledgement efforts and strategies for upgrading and retention
  • Other duties as assigned such as (including, but not limited to newsletter content, phone outreach, direct email campaigns, website content, fundraiser attendance, social media)


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities)

  • Bachelor’s Degree required
  • 5+ years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, science and conservation grant writing, and donor management with a proven fundraising track record
  • Excellent written, verbal, digital and interpersonal communication skills
  • Capable and comfortable presenting to the public, donors, foundations and partners
  • Substantial grant writing and reporting experience
  • Excellent time management skills with ability to prioritize, plan, organize and coordinate multiple activities
  • Able to meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) experience conducting donation analysis to meet strategic fundraising goals
  • Experience working with a nonprofit board of directors and board committees
  • Experience planning one or more types of donor-engagement events
  • Some experience with website content and social media
  • Passion for ocean conservation, research and education
  • Some travel required, night and weekend work as needed
  • Background check required


Physical Demands and Work Environment

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the functions.  While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to use hands or fingers, legs and feet, handle or feel objects, tools, or controls.  The employee required to stand, walk, sit and reach with hands and arms.  Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, and the ability to adjust focus.



  • Opportunities for growth and professional development
  • Paid time off
  • Salary $70,000-$80,000 annually commensurate with experience, and will include a bonus structure


Job Location

Boulder/Longmont, Colorado / South Florida / Potential for Remote Option



Send cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references to Mikki(at) 

More information about us on our website

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