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Director of Development, Nature Center/Environmental Education


Director of Development

Irvine Nature Center


Position Summary

The Director of Development (DOD) for Irvine Nature Center will plan, direct, and execute a comprehensive fundraising plan including major gifts, corporations and foundations, annual fund, special events, planned giving and the final phase of a $6.5 million capital campaign. The DOD will drive Irvine’s overall fundraising strategy while playing a leading role in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting major donors, growing the corporate and foundation philanthropic funding base, and supporting Board and volunteer leadership development and engagement. Funds raised support environmental education and conservation. The ideal candidate is an experienced, creative, and inspiring leader able to cultivate relationships with stakeholders while broadening the base of supporters and leading a current team of two full-time fundraising professionals.

The Director of Development will report to the Executive Director and serve on Irvine’s leadership team, attend Board meetings, and present on fundraising progress and opportunities. This is a full-time, exempt position with full benefits.

Position Responsibilities:

Develop and Execute Annual Fundraising Plan: In support of the vision, mission, and strategic plan the Director of Development will create and lead the execution of a fundraising plan. This plan addresses annual fundraising projections with an emphasis on a) diversification of funding, b) new growth in corporate sponsorships, major gifts and annual fund donors, and c) long-term sustainability – planned giving.

  • Develop and implement a multi-year Strategic Fundraising Plan in concert with the organizational Strategic plan. This plan would ideally be shared by all key stakeholders in the organization and focus on the priorities listed above.
  • Evaluate and strengthen current fundraising programming in accordance with the annual fundraising plan.
  • Research and develop new potential significant funding sources.
  • Explore relationships and programs to develop major gifts through individuals, foundations, and corporations.
  • Work collaboratively with the Director of Marketing to create successful appeals, annual report, and partnership opportunities for potential corporate partners.

Donor Relations and Development: Lead the stewardship and development of all donors of Irvine Nature Center in accordance with the Annual Fundraising Plan.

  • Lead Development staff and assist them in developing a strategy to inform and implement unique and meaningful stewardship plans for all donor categories.
  • Manage a dedicated major gift portfolio that focuses on annual operating support as well as for the capital campaign.
  • Oversee the development of collaborative relationships with marketing staff to create successful print and digital fundraising appeals.

Organizational Leadership: Development Director will provide leadership to development staff and serve on the leadership team, as well as provide fundraising support to the Board of Directors.

  • Provide effective leadership and direction to the development staff.
  • Serve as an organizational leader, acting always in the best interest of the entire organization, supporting the overall values and mission. Serve as public spokesperson for Irvine Nature Center when needed or called upon.
  • Build and maintain positive working relationships with staff, Board members, donors, and volunteers at Irvine Nature Center.
  • Generate regular fundraising reports and engage Board Members in fundraising opportunities as requested.
  • Plan in collaboration with the Deputy Director and Director of Marketing the implementation of fundraising events.
  • Partner with Irvine leadership team to promote the importance of DEI to the Center’s mission.
  • Collaborate with leadership to establish, attain, pursue, and report on DEI deliverables, goals and values in accordance with the strategic plan for Irvine, with a focus on supporting diverse and underrepresented communities.

Administration and Communication:

  • Provide oversight to the management of donor database to ensure data integrity and support long- term goals.
  • Provide oversight to the systems that ensure accurate contact reports in Blackbaud’s Raisers Edge when donor interactions occur.
  • Ensure effective coordination (reconciliation) is taking place between Development and Finance to follow appropriate accounting procedures.
  • Responsible for the management of the Development Department Budget, planning and reporting, both with staff, leadership and Board of Directors.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent knowledge, skills, experience, and abilities in a related field are required; advanced studies highly valued.
  • Minimum of five (5) years of fundraising experience with demonstrated success as an individual performer in a fundraising capacity within a nonprofit organization.
  • Proven success in the development and execution of a successful development plan for an organizational fundraising goal of $1 – 2MM annual fundraising budget.
  • Experience with a diverse fundraising portfolio of both public and private funding sources is highly desired.
  • Experience cultivating new donors during and following capital campaigns preferred.
  • Creativity as well as analytical ability to maximize Capital Campaign outcomes and track for strategic and process improvements.
  • Self-motivated individual with the ability to work effectively as part of a team, instilling confidence and trust among fellow staff and external constituents.
  • Good judgment to make decisions in the absence of specific directions.
  • Exceptional organizational and time management skills, with an ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects simultaneously, seeing projects to completion on deadline and with quality.
  • Enthusiasm, poise, professionalism, flexibility, a sense of humor, and a positive attitude.
  • Superior writing skills, including the ability to craft, proofread, and edit persuasive content.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with demonstrated ability to listen well, reflect understanding back to the communicator.
  • High ethical standards, discretion, and confidentiality in working with donor information.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite required. Advanced understanding of Excel and knowledge of Blackbaud strongly preferred. Savvy in working with data to improve processes and outcomes required.
  • Must possess a passion for the organization’s mission.
  • Must possess the ability to relate to diverse communities.
  • Commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.

To apply: Please send your resume, cover letter and three references to

Please note: Employment is contingent upon completing and passing a criminal background check and fingerprinting.

Irvine is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, disability status, or any other applicable characteristics protected by federal state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training 



Located in Owings Mills, Maryland, Irvine Nature Center is the largest independent nonprofit environmental education center in the greater Baltimore region. Our mission is to encourage lifelong engagement with the natural world through environmental learning and green living. At Irvine, we inspire people to explore, respect and protect nature.

Founded in 1975 by Olivia Irvine Dodge, Irvine was originally located on the campus of St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, but its programs were so popular that it eventually outgrew the rented facilities. In June 2008, Irvine moved to 116 ecologically diverse acres in the Caves Valley donated to us by the State of Maryland. In October 2015, a very generous gift from a local philanthropist enabled us to acquire an adjacent property that brings our total footprint to nearly 210 acres. After laying out trails, mowing paths, building boardwalks, and installing directional signs, Irvine opened the property to the public on June 23, 2018.

Our 211-acre property is rich in wetlands, forests, and meadows, making it ideal for our environmental education programs and a treasured resource in a region that is becoming increasingly urban. Our campus includes a 17,200-square-foot visitor center with interactive exhibits, educational gardens, an Outdoor Classroom, a Native American site, an aviary currently housing five raptors, a 66-acre restored wetlands, and 7.5 miles of trails, all surrounded by nearly 1,400 acres of protected land. Irvine’s trails and exhibit hall are open to the public year-round, Tuesday-Sunday.

We offer more than 800 environmental education opportunities each year, including school field trips, outreach to schools and the community, after-school programs, summer nature camp, Scout programs, volunteer naturalist training, a native plant seminar, and countless lectures, workshops, and special events. We also are a popular location for nature-themed weddings and birthday parties. Our popular Nature Preschool has spawned other early childhood education programs that have grown substantially over the past three years.

This wide range of programs and services has enabled us to diversify our funding and ensure our financial sustainability. FY 2023 income was generated by education programs (29%), philanthropy (53%), special events (10%) and investments (8%). Irvine has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

Irvine is led by a Board of Trustees composed of individuals with expertise in law, business, marketing, higher education, the environment and energy sectors, philanthropy, and the non-profit community, as well as representatives from local garden clubs, volunteers, and parents. To find out more about Irvine Nature Center, please visit our website at























































































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