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Director of Development, Land & Water Conservation, Outdoor Recreation

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
North Carolina, United States
$100,000.00 - $125,000.00
Closing date
Feb 17, 2024

The Director of Development is a new position on the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) team.  This position is responsible for leading, developing and implementing SAHC’s fundraising campaign strategies across a range of giving initiatives. The position supervises SAHC’s development and engagement staff team, and works as a member of that team. The new Director of Development will help guide a major capital campaign, Fulfilling A Promise for Future Generations, Forever, into its public phase, engaging donors of all levels and the broader community to realize SAHC’s strategic plan and vision and secure support for its future.


Location: Across SAHC’s 10-county conservation focus areas in Western North Carolina and East TN, with an emphasis on programming in the Asheville, NC area

Job Category:  Full time, Exempt

Benefits: SAHC covers the full premium for basic medical and a portion of dependent coverage, a healthcare spending account with employer match, life insurance, SIMPLE IRA with up to 3% employer match; Generous leave policy and needs-accommodations including flex time, flexibility for a hybrid work schedule.

Salary:  Salary range: $100,000 – $125,000 depending on experience.

Supervision: This position will be supervised by the Associate Director.

To Apply: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and 3 professional references to Kristy Urquhart, Associate Director – Applicants are encouraged to augment application materials with copies of development documents. Please include “Director of Development” in the subject line.  We encourage Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color to apply. However you identify and whatever your background, please apply if this is a position that excites you. No phone calls please.  Open until filled.

Duties & Responsibilities: The Director of Development is responsible for leading, developing and implementing fundraising campaign strategies across a range of giving initiatives with a goal of increasing financial support to meet or exceed SAHC’s annual budget and strategic objectives. 

Responsibilities include all aspects of non-profit fundraising, ranging from identifying, evaluating, cultivating, soliciting current and prospective major gift donors, to overseeing and preparing grant proposals and corporate funding proposals, to planning SAHC’s calendar of fundraising and donor-appreciation events and other related responsibilities.

SAHC seeks an energetic experienced major gifts fundraiser who deeply appreciates conserving our region’s beautiful open spaces so that people and wildlife can thrive. Someone who loves to engage with donors and tell the stories of the work we are doing to preserve our region’s biodiversity, boost our resilience to climate change, and make a meaningful impact supporting equitable access to green spaces and farmland,. We would be particularly excited to hear from candidates with experience diversifying organizations’ donor portfolios.

SAHC is currently a hybrid in-person and remote workplace. We foresee continuing to offer hybrid working arrangements and flexibility regarding schedules. The successful candidate for this job must live within a reasonable driving distance to SAHC’s office in Asheville, NC. The position requires in-person donor and team meetings, as well as hosting donors at many of our wonderful SAHC preserves.

The Director of Development works collaboratively with SAHC’s Executive & Associate Directors, Development and Engagement team – Communications Director, Membership Director, and Development & Communications Manager, board, and volunteers to achieve strategic fundraising goals and boost community outreach. This position reports to the Associate Director.

In this role you would:

  • Create and implement an annual Development & Engagement work plan and budget with input from senior staff leaders and others. Respond to lessons learned in order to provide long-term program management and ongoing planning; Manage the Development & Engagement team and development budget.
  • Identify, evaluate, cultivate, and solicit prospects for Major, Legacy, and Campaign gifts
  • Work with Membership Director on Corporate Giving, Memberships, and Annual Giving
  • Work with Finance Director on developing organization’s annual budget to meet strategic goals; ensure fiduciary responsibility, compliance, sound financial management and financial accountability for contributions, income, and all other assets.
  • Work with Director of Communication on development-related messaging and review other public communications; provide counsel and guidance on the organization’s communications and marketing from a donor perspective; help draft social media appeal campaigns.
  • Deeply understand and compellingly communicate the organization’s financial needs and goals to diverse audiences;

Work with Development & Engagement team to:

  • Implement strategies to achieve fundraising goals, including emphasis on deepening relationships with donors and developing strategic partnerships implementing fundraising strategies to increase major gifts; corporate gifts and legacy gifts and memberships in order to meet goals in SAHC long-range plans.
  • Execute, measure, and seek to improve all current fundraising programs (events, appeals, membership programs, etc.);
  • Generate excitement and energy around the organization’s mission and activities, encouraging others to provide financial support;
  • Create and implement annual and long-range fundraising plans;
  • Seek grant-making opportunities and prepare grant proposals and corporate proposal packages;
  • Actively seek opportunities to participate in events that position the organization for improved fundraising or visibility;
  • Monitor, analyze, and report on campaign and annual fundraising performance metrics, ensuring progress toward goals;
  • Attend Development Committee and Finance & Investment Committee meetings;
  • Serve as the staff liaison to the Development & Engagement Committee;
  • Ensure that the Development Database (Salesforce) is accurate and up-to-date;
  • Ongoing cultivation of potential and current members, donors, and friends.
  • Represent SAHC at various public outreach meetings and events.


  • Use Zoom and web-based Trustee Hub to improve cloud-based collaboration across staff, board, and committee members.
  • Actively network with other nonprofit land trust professionals and bring forward ideas.

For the best opportunity to succeed in this role, you would have:

Qualifications required to excel in this position can come from professional and lived experiences. Below we describe what we believe to be important qualifications for a candidate while remaining open to diverse backgrounds that can lead to these skill sets. Position descriptions are often presented in a way that leaves qualified candidates, particularly women, people of working-class backgrounds, people of color, and LGBTQIA applicants, feeling unwelcome, intimidated, uncomfortable, and/or unqualified to apply. Recognizing that, we strongly encourage anyone who feels passionate about this work and believes they have what it takes to thrive in this role to apply

  • Strategic planning and management of the public phase of a significant comprehensive capital campaign.
  • Experience in increasingly responsible positions in development, including at least seven years of major gift work involving successful cultivation and closing 5-, 6-, and 7- figure gifts.
  • Experience actively managing a talented team of fundraising professionals with a collaborative, team[1]building approach.
  • Experience monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on fundraising metrics to inform annual and long[1]range planning.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage complex programs and budgets. Knowledge of corporate, legacy, annual, and campaign giving.
  • Experience working with Board members, volunteers and high-end prospects.
  • Possesses creative vision and the ability to translate ideas for new initiatives into measurable successes.
  • Demonstrated ability to cooperatively and productively work with internal stakeholders across functional and departmental lines.
  • Create a culture of accountability and inspiration, guiding the advancement team to attain and exceed fundraising goals.
  • Emotional intelligence, intellectual curiosity, and adeptness in steering through transitions underscore the desired candidate’s leadership qualities.
  • Highly self-motivated. Ability to work independently with minimal initial direction and as part of a collaborative team.
  • Excellent written and oral communications, interpersonal, public speaking, and presentation skills.
  • Ability to effectively collaborate with diverse external groups.
  • Commitment to environmental and conservation issues.
  • Sense of humor.
  • Strong analytical capabilities, including ability to summarize quantitative and qualitative information to help Development and Engagement team make data-driven decisions.
  • Exercises excellent judgment and ability to maintain confidentiality of sensitive information.
  • Experience with Development/CRM databases; Salesforce a plus and proficient knowledge of Microsoft and Adobe programs (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat in particular).
  • General understanding of, and interest in, land conservation work and nonprofit management.
  • Desire to work in a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment.
  • Outstanding planning and analytical skills.
  • Valid Driver’s License and insurable driving record; access to transportation for travel throughout the region.
  • Weekend or evening work is required occasionally, as needed for events.
  • Commitment to continuous learning, reflection, and growth around SAHC’s core organizational values, and goals regarding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).


The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this position. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.


This job has the following physical requirements:

  • Regular and accurate communication with others and completion of work tasks involving the use of phone, computer, web, and video technology, the ability to interact effectively with digital and printed materials, and to operate required job-related equipment.
  • Ability to drive a vehicle to remote locations for donor meetings, tours and events.
  • Ability to lift and carry up to 25 lbs. of event supplies or equipment in the office or the field.
  • Ability to traverse uneven or rough terrain, and to tolerate exposure to outdoor elements and varying weather conditions. This position requires hosting donors on hikes of various levels of elevation and duration.
  • There are occasional duties that occur outside regular working hours for donor meetings and events.
  • Reasonable accommodations will be made to allow a person to perform essential functions.


About Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy:


The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) is an established land trust serving a 10-county region in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Since 1974, we have conserved more than 75,000 acres of the region’s most important lands, including places that offer opportunities to all people to enjoy outdoor recreation, protect scenic beauty, protect rivers and streams that serve the region’s water needs, connect places for wildlife and plants to ensure resilient landscapes in the mountains, and preserve working farmland that supply local foods.


We emphasize proactively:

  • Protecting high-priority tracts identified through strategic conservation planning, mapping and prioritization
  • Helping government agency partners and community partners acquire their highest priority tracts for public benefit
  • Protecting tracts that enhance landscape resilience to climate change
  • Protecting prime soils and working farms.
  • Striving to protect culturally significant sites that can help reverse inequities among racialized people(s) in our communities.


SAHC is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.  SAHC recognizes historic inequities in the conservation field, access to land and ownership of land. These factors cause imbalance in communities, and we commit to purposeful action to correct them. Conservation is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of widely diverse backgrounds, experiences and identities.  We encourage “racialized people(s)” to apply. However you identify and whatever your background, please apply if this is a position that excites you.


We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion or religious creed, mental or physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, military or veteran status, citizenship, or other characteristics protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.


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