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Director of Philanthropy

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
New York, United States
$140,000.00 - $155,000.00
Posted Date
May 15, 2024


Job Title: Director of Philanthropy

Department: Development

Location: New York/ Washington/ Boston (other east coast locations considered)

Salary: $140,000–155,000 USD dependent on experience

Position Reports to: Chief Development Officer

Position Supervises: Major gift fundraisers



About the organisation:

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC), based at the foothills of Mount Kenya, works as a model and catalyst for the conservation of wildlife and its habitat. We do this through the protection and management of species, the initiation and support of community conservation and development programmes, and the education of neighbouring areas in the value of wildlife.

For the last three decades, our practices have resulted in thriving black rhino habitat and population, which in turn has created a robust ecosystem for a multitude of species including the endangered Grevy’s zebra, elephant, lion, cheetah, giraffe and more. We envision a future where people across Kenya value, protect and benefit from wildlife. This future depends on communities being able to derive their day-to-day livelihoods in ways that are compatible with thriving wildlife habitat. As a result, we invest heavily in the livelihoods of our neighbours through programmes in education, healthcare, water, micro-enterprise, youth empowerment and more.

As a catalyst and champion of this model that puts people at the centre of conservation, Lewa has influenced and supported the conservancy management for both private and community lands across northern Kenya.


Purpose of the job:

The Director of Philanthropy role is a key leadership role in the Development and Communications team and is integral to the delivery of the fundraising strategy, growing income and engagement from High-net-worth individuals. The Director of Philanthropy will have a portfolio of high-level individual donors and supervise the USA Major gift team. The Director of Philanthropy is responsible to exponentially grow our income and support from high-net-worth individuals and family trusts.

The Director of Philanthropy will set target forecasts and goals (and manage) for the philanthropic team. They will: communicate effectively with donors, conduct face-to-face visits, solicit gifts, steward those gifts, track progress, and evaluate performance. Responsible for the development and implementation of a strategy to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward and grow a portfolio of major donors, the incumbent will bring successful stewarding and relationship cultivation experience to the role being comfortable asking for five and six-figure gifts. The Director of Philanthropy must be able to prioritize major donor relationships and collaborate in the identification of potential HNWI and development of those relationships with the Chief Development Officer and development team colleagues.



The job holder will have the following key responsibilities:

Strategy development and planning

  • Work in collaboration with the Chief Development Officer to deliver an ambitious fundraising strategy that will enable Lewa to secure its long-term financial future and maximise its impact.
  • Set multi-year fundraising plans and goals for the philanthropic team.
  • Focus on securing unrestricted support, as well as six-figure commitments that will fund priorities outlined in our strategic plan.
  • Actively manage the major donor pipeline to advance donors towards making major gifts or increasing their gift level of support.
  • Lead and drive philanthropic strategy and activity across the organisation to achieve transformational gifts.
  • Monitor and report on performance through rigorous use of targets and KPIs.

  • Manage and motivate major gifts relationship managers, ensuring that they are accountable for meeting their fundraising goals and are committed to best practice fundraising.
  • Develop and embed an effective donor recognition framework to include outstanding donor engagement and stewardship that moves donors along a journey with Lewa and enables fundraisers to grow the volume and value of prospects and donors in the portfolio.
Prospecting and research

  • Research and prospect potential high-value donors and compile, with the support of the wider team, the corresponding documentation and funding proposals required to secure gifts.
  • Proactively manage, add to and review the prospect pipeline and ensure records are accurate.
Building relationships 

  • Develop and deliver bespoke cultivation strategies for donors and prospects to maximize their giving.
  • Undertake outreach visits to high-capacity individuals, family offices, donor advised funds, and priority prospects, comprehensively following up all opportunities.
  • Understand the giving cycle, develop authentic personal relationships with donors, and know when to ask. Solicit gifts personally and, when appropriate, in tandem with the Chief Development Officer, CEO, Board members and other related staff.
  • Identify areas of Lewa’s work most likely to engage donors and prospects according to their areas of interest or motivations. Balance demand for restricted and unrestricted donations according to the needs of the organization and the donor.
Thanking and stewardship 

  • Create personalized thank-you, acknowledgement and stewardship plan for major donor gifts, including directing communications from the Chief Development Officer or other people in the organization where required.
  • Ensure that all gifts from major donors are properly acknowledged in a timely manner.
  • Ensure that reports are produced and sent to relevant donors on time.
Budgets and reporting 

  • Work with the rest of the team to set and monitor annual budgets for major gifts. Be responsible for delivering against targets for the donor portfolio.
General responsibilities 

  • Maintain the integrity of the CRM system (Salesforce).
  • Contribute to the overall strategy of the Development team.


Experience & Skills

  • Experience in major donor fundraising with a proven track record of soliciting, stewarding and closing 5-6 figure gifts from donors.
  • Experience leading and managing and growing fundraising teams.
  • Skilled communicator and storyteller.
  • Significant experience collaborating with trustees and/or volunteer committees to drive philanthropic income.
  • Sound strategic thinking and planning skills.
  • Ability to work under pressure and with multiple competing priorities.


Job-specific competencies

  • A proven record of fundraising, target forecasting, and target achievement.
  • Evidence of excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and appropriately to different audiences.
  • Proven ability to process and communicate detailed information and present the key data, both verbally and in writing.
  • Strong ability to build robust interpersonal relationships.
  • Experience in Salesforce or similar CRM.


Personal competencies

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to build strong relationships with a wide range of people.
  • Team building and strong organizational and project management skills.
  • Good attention to detail
  • The ability to manage systems, set priorities, and work within deadlines is essential.
  • Flexibility to work outside of office hours when necessary.



  • Minimum of 10 years of professional work experience including a track record for prospecting and stewarding a portfolio of Major Donors and family trusts at the very highest levels.



  • Ability and willingness to travel as required. 


To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to

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