Basic Purpose and Responsibilities:
The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) has a key role in advancing
the mission of the Buffalo Zoo. The CAO's primary focus is on
developing and implementing strategies that enhance the
organization's visibility, funding, and engagement. This role
requires exceptional leadership, strategic thinking, and
collaboration skills to ensure the organization's sustained growth
and impact. This position reports to the President/CEO, and is a
member of the executive leadership team. The CAO provides
executive-level leadership to the following departments within
their division: Marketing and Events (includes internal/ external
communication and public relations), Development and Membership,
and helps with Government Affairs. The CAO is also
responsible for oversight of the Zoo during the absence of the
Zoo’s President/CEO. May be called upon to perform additional
duties and/or other responsibilities as delegated by the
To apply, please send resume and cover letter in
Word document or PDF using subject
line: CAO by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
No telephone calls please. Position open until
filled. For more information about the Buffalo Zoo, please
visit our website by the following link: http://www.buffalozoo.org
The Buffalo Zoo:
As one of the crown jewels of Western New York’s cultural and
recreational attractions, the Buffalo Zoo welcomes 400,000+ guests
on an annual basis. The Zoo sits on 23.5 acres and is home to
over 750+ animals, supports many conservation programs, and is a
highly regarded educational facility. Being the third oldest
zoo in the country, the Buffalo Zoo is proud to have several
buildings of historic significance on its campus. The Zoo is
operated by the Zoological Society of Buffalo, Inc., under a lease
agreement with the City of Buffalo. Since 2000, more than $50
million worth of capital improvements to habitats and
infrastructure have been completed with an additional $14+ million
worth of projects currently under construction. Our mission
of Building Community à
Creating Connections à Saving
Wildlife is guiding our master plan that was recently
developed. This master plan will guide the growth and
development of the Zoo for the next twenty years.
- Develop and execute a comprehensive advancement strategy
aligned with the organization's mission, values, and long-term
- Provide visionary leadership to the Marketing and Events
Department and the Development and Membership Department, fostering
a collaborative and innovative work environment.
- Direct reports include the Director of Development and the
Director of Marketing and Events. Oversight of these positions
includes providing guidance, mentorship, and performance feedback,
as well as hiring and training.
With/through the Director of Development and Department:
- Provide strategic direction for capital campaigns, including
goal setting, donor cultivation, major gifts, and campaign
- Collaborate closely with the development team to ensure
successful fundraising initiatives and donor engagement.
- Develop and implement strategies for identifying, cultivating,
soliciting, and closing major gifts from potential and existing
individual donors across the country. Must maintain donor prospect
contact/ meeting schedule (combination of virtual and in-person)
visiting prospects with a focus on developing relationships, gift
solicitation and closing (with CEO and other leadership staff), and
managing and staffing leadership volunteers. Develop, oversee, and
evaluate multiple strategies to raise funds from a broad base of
individuals, institutions, corporations, foundations, government,
- Enable success of executive leadership, departments/teams,
and/or volunteers assisting on cultivation, solicitation,
maintaining relationships, and/or stewardship visits to prospective
donors, by providing expertise and support, including, but not
limited to, scheduling and visit logistics, developing/writing
prospect strategy briefings, and gift request proposals. Lead the
development team in crafting and executing fundraising strategies,
grants/grant writing, donor stewardship, and gift
Marketing, Public Relations, and
Communications: With/through the Director of
Marketing and Events and Department:
- Lead the development of a consistent and compelling brand
narrative that is the base of all media relations, public
communications, and messaging to all constituencies and ensures
both the broad-based public and targeted audience receive timely
communication about the Zoo's impact, successes, and need for
support. Oversee the creation of communication strategies that
enhance the organization's reputation, stakeholder engagement, and
- Proactively identify and manage crisis communication and
reputation management strategies as needed. Develop and execute
marketing strategies that promote the organization's programs,
initiatives, and impact.
- Maintain effective communication with the CEO regarding proper
preparedness for speaking engagements and presentations.
Events: With/through the Director of Marketing
- Lead the planning, organization, and execution of events that
align with the organization's mission and objectives.
- Manage event logistics, budgets, and vendor relationships to
ensure seamless event experiences.
- Leverage events as opportunities to enhance brand visibility,
stakeholder engagement, and networking.
Government Affairs: With the CEO and other
- Cultivate deep and practical relationships with key
governmental stakeholders (city, county, state, federal) on matters
related to the Zoo.
- Monitor and advocate efforts for legislation, funding, and
administrative changes to advance the mission. Participate in
public policy discussions as directed by the CEO.
Financial Management: With the Chief Financial
Officer and other leadership:
- Develop and manage budgets for the Marketing/Events and
Development/Membership departments as well as in the development of
- Ensure responsible allocation of resources to maximize impact
and achieve strategic objectives.
- Implement systems to measure the effectiveness of advancement
initiatives, campaigns, events, and fundraising efforts.
- Analyze data to assess ROI, engagement metrics, donor
participation, and other relevant KPIs.
- Use insights to refine strategies and drive continuous
Education (minimum needed):
- Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Communications,
Marketing, Philanthropy, or a related field.
- Advanced degrees in marketing, development, and/or business are
- Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation and/or
certificate in Fundraising Management are desired assets.
Experience (minimum needed):
- Proven leadership/supervisory experience (5+ years).
- Experience overseeing multiple functions of an organization is
- Expertise in one or more of the following areas is preferred:
including but not limited to Capital Campaign management,
Philanthropy, Development, Communications, Public Relations,
Marketing, or Events management.
- Previous experience working in a nonprofit, educational, or
mission-driven organization is a plus.
- Knowledge and experience in fundraising techniques,
understanding of budgeting principles, proficiency with MS Office
Suite and donor database software.
- Ability to lead and create/foster an atmosphere of trust and
respect amongst and between staff, volunteers, board members, and
all zoo stakeholders.
- Display a positive attitude, show concern for people and the
community, and demonstrate presence, self-confidence, common sense,
and good listening ability.
- Excellent interpersonal skills with ability to communicate
effectively and professionally, utilizing considerable tact and
diplomacy, toward motivating and engaging a variety of
constituents. Ability to foster a collaborative, inclusive, and
results-oriented work environment.
- Self-starter with demonstrated ability to maintain
accountability and work independently while functioning as part of
- May be required to frequently work evenings, weekends, and
- Required to be able to respond in a timely fashion as necessary
- Must possess or be able to obtain within 30-days of employment
a valid New York State driver’s license and have an average or
better driving record based on the evaluation process of our
insurance company. Retention of the position is contingent
upon maintaining the required license.
- Successful completion of a post-offer pre-employment general
medical screen and drug test.
- Successful completion of a post-offer pre-employment background
- Must support Buffalo Zoo’s Vision, Mission, Core Values and
- Must provide proof of negative TB test at hire. TB test
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
essential functions. While performing the duties of
this job, the employee is regularly required to stand; walk; use
hands; reach with hands and arms; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl
and talk or hear. Use computer hardware and software for extended
periods of time (repetitive motion). Sitting for long periods
of time. Specific vision abilities required by this job
include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth
perception, and ability to adjust focus.
Compensation and Benefits:
This is a full-time, exempt position. Annual salary range
is $120,000-$130,000 commensurate with experience. Some of
the benefits available include health plan, HRA/HSA, life
insurance, long term disability insurance, dental, vision, 403B
retirement plan, annual leave, holiday, and sick time
benefits. Benefits are available after the successful
completion of a probationary period review at 60 days of work (sick
time available upon hire).
The Buffalo Zoo is an At Will employer and all Buffalo Zoo
employees are subject to employment eligibility and background
security checks as well as testing for illegal substance use as
allowed by law.
Equal Opportunity Employer
300 Parkside Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214-1999