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Development Director, Maritime Education Industry

Northwest Maritime Center
Washington, United States
$90,000.00 - $125,000.00
Closing date
Sep 21, 2023

Right mission, right team, right moment. There are a few rare moments in an organization’s evolution when the planets actually align and you have a chance to be part of something extraordinary. The Northwest Maritime Center is poised for that moment. We are seeking a Development Director who is an experienced, energetic fundraising leader with the chops to help us reach our potential. 


We are building on our 47-year history of engaging and educating through the powerful experiences of the sea. Our work is both broad and deep. From the largest Wooden Boat Festival in North America, adventure races like the Race to Alaska, to an extensive menu of program offerings for K-12 students, including Maritime High School, our region’s first (of which we hope will be many) standalone maritime-focused high school. 


We serve urban and rural students, and our next chapter is the regional scaling of our best-in-class programs. What’s at stake is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect a coming boom in maritime economic activity with the communities who could benefit most. It’s social and educational justice and economic development, in service of environmental restoration. We’ve been calling it the Blue Schools Initiative, and its goal is to connect historically marginalized communities throughout the Northwest to the opportunities of the sea. 


That’s where you come in. If securing the resources to create that kind of community impact quickens your pulse, here’s what you should know about us before you throw your hat in the ring: 

    We’re a growing organization. We’ve grown a lot over the past decade. The cause and result is that we move fast. We’re looking for a Development Director that moves fast, too. We don’t want you to struggle to keep up; ideally we’re catching up to you. 
    We’re looking for proven leadership and development skills. We’re smart, ambitious, and while we’re not rookies, our next Development Director needs to have the experience and ability to transform our collective aptitude into performance. You will have worked in a similar role, in a similar-sized organization, and have not just the template for systemized operations but also enough experience with major donors that you can coach others through it while they get their sea legs. 
    We are regionalizing. For most of our history, our work was centered in and around our Port Townsend campus. Increasingly we are serving Seattle-area students in their home communities and actively looking at other communities to serve throughout the region. As our programs regionalize, the funds that support them need to regionalize, too. An ideal candidate has experience and a professional network raising funds in the greater Seattle area. 
    We aren’t fake. We have a motto around here: “The sea is the most powerful teacher we know.” At the root of what we do are the hands-on, saltwater-in-your-face, real-world experiences of the sea. Our work and work culture reflects that ethic. We do a good job but we aren't sterile. To us, customer service isn't the forced smile and "Have a nice day" as people exit the plane, but honoring people enough to be present and human with them.
    We want to connect more people to the sea. We are working hard to make the sea an inclusive space. Gender, race, sexuality, ability, socio-economic status, geography, and indigeneity have all been reasons why people have been historically excluded from maritime culture & careers. We strive to welcome everyone into the blue parts of their world. As our lead fundraiser, that means that sometimes you’ll be in Carhartts drinking bad coffee in the shipyard breakroom, sometimes you’ll be in muddy rubber boots engaging donors in the cleanup of an industrial river, sometimes you’ll be in formal wear clinking champagne glasses on the back deck of a megayacht. 
    We meet people where they are and inspire them to reach farther. We are a learning organization, and we lead, follow, and get out of the way when it makes sense. We listen to all voices – our direct reports, our colleagues, our constituents, our community, our donors, and our board. The ideal candidate likes people and enjoys spending time with them; is able to listen well and hear differing points of view; and is a willing partner in helping a wide range of collaborators find their place in the organization and the NWMC community.
    We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Sure, JFK might have said that about sending a man into space, but he might as well have been saying it about the Northwest Maritime Center. If it were easy, someone else would already be doing it. This job won't be easy, but you’ll never be bored. You’ll be joining an incredible team of humans dreaming big and working together to pull off something incredible. We’re not going to save the world, but when we’re successful the world will be a little more courageous, resilient, hopeful, and filled with joy.


    Lead fundraising strategy & execution for all NWMC activities in the $4M + range annually
      Strategically partner with CEO in key fundraising efforts Oversee developing & sustaining a robust annual fund including major gifts Institutional giving strategy and leadership Optimize and streamline development messaging, reporting, and forecasting, working closely with Communications & Finance departments Collaborate with NWMC leadership team to align contributed revenue targets with organizational needs
    Lead, inspire, support, and collaborate with a talented and ambitious team of 5 to achieve development goals, develop their potential, and sustain a thriving department Inspire & support Board of Directors to help meet fundraising goals, especially (but not limited to) the Development Committee Build & strengthen individual giving based on 2023 wealth screening data and strategic fundraising roadmap  Provide clear performance goals, reporting, and forecasting to NWMC leadership team and board Grow base of supporters through Adventure Races, Wooden Boat Festival, the Blue Schools Initiative, and other means of support, especially within the greater Seattle area Collaborate on strategy around future special projects and other fundraising campaigns Serve as a member of the staff leadership team collaborating to build  NWMC vision and strategy, so that all the functional areas of the organization are working together for a vibrant and successful organization
    Work with CEO to continue to evolve the organization into a development-centered organization
    Other duties as assigned



While this position’s primary responsibility is in fundraising, the Development Director will work as part of the NWMC team to ensure smooth operations for the organization as a whole. This could include providing information to visitors to the Northwest Maritime Center and helping out in projects and events that require all-hands-on-deck, to helping tie up a vessel coming into our dock because you happen to be standing there. We all pitch in for the heavy lifting now and then—sometimes this is metaphoric; occasionally we all have to actually help lift something heavy.



We are a learning organization. An ideal candidate will have sufficient experience in this or similar roles to help the organization learn and grow, and provide meaningful feedback to both improve organizational functionality, all while balancing considerations between financial, community, and mission goals. 

    A combination of education, experience, and training that provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position  Eight to ten years progressive experience leading independent non-profit fundraising efforts with a supporting team, with organizations raising $6 - $10M annually Record of cultivating and securing significant 6-and 7-figure gifts Knowledge of and experience with fundraising principles, relationship management practices, and major gift solicitation techniques Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive; a team leader who can positively impact operations Experience and skill in training, mentoring, and retaining staff Solid written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively engage with senior management, board of directors, and staff Ability to operate as an effective tactical performer as well as a manager and a strategic thinker



    Knowledge of overall fundraising climate, and significant personal and professional contacts in the Seattle/Puget Sound area Demonstrated effective work in a collaborative environment with multiple priorities and frequent deadlines Communicates effectively to a wide range of individuals and groups in a collaborative work style Demonstrated commitment to professional development efforts to grow fundraising knowledge, including fundraising certifications such as Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Knowledge of government and institutional grant pursuits & fulfillment. Comfortable making well-reasoned judgment calls with less-than-perfect information True excitement about NWMC’s mission and breadth of activities, and possess the ability to provide customer service and donor stewardship in a manner that is simultaneously professional and authentic


    Position will require regular onsite work; some work may be done remotely if desired.  Main NWMC Offices are located at 431 Water St., Port Townsend, WA 98368 Position is full-time, 40 hours/week Reports to: CEO and COO


    Submit your resume and cover letter to, with “Development Director” in the subject line or submit via the online application. Deadline for applications: Open until filled, application review begins September 22, 2023



    $90,000 to $125,000 annually, exempt 100% paid Health, Dental, Vision, and Life insurance + contributions to an HSA account  Matching contributions to a SIMPLE IRA retirement fund after 2 years of employment  Paid time off: vacation accrual (initially at 2 weeks per year), 17 paid holidays in a calendar year, & 10+ days of sick time accrued per year  Full details on benefits


NWMC is committed to equal employment opportunity, striving towards being an antiracist and inclusive organization. We value the diversity of our staff and the communities that we serve, which includes a spectrum of racial, cultural, religious, sexual and gender identities, and abilities. We strongly encourage applications from people who have not seen themselves represented in the industry.

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