Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute
Director of Major Gifts, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Front Royal, Virginia
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) plays a leading role in the Smithsonian’s global efforts to save wildlife species from extinction and train future generations of conservationists. SCBI spearheads research programs at its headquarters and sprawling 3,200-acre campus in Front Royal, Virginia, the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park (NZP) in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide. Its scientists tackle some of today’s most complex conservation challenges by applying and sharing what they learn about animal behavior and reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration and conservation sustainability.
SCBI scientists study and breed more than 20 species at their headquarters, including those that were once extinct in the wild, like black-footed ferrets and scimitar-horned oryx. Its major research initiatives are organized into five science centers: Conservation Ecology, Conservation and Sustainability, Conservation Genomics, Migratory Birds, and Species Survival. Other initiatives include Virginia Working Landscapes and the Global Health Program. While SCBI is headquartered in Front Royal, Virginia, its work is global in nature. Approximately 250 SCBI scientists and students collaborate with colleagues in more than 25 countries around the world. Since its founding in 1974, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has celebrated many milestones, from endangered species births to reintroductions to the wild to revolutionary scientific studies.
Importantly, SCBI has also focused on training the next generation of conservationists. In 2008, the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation was established at SCBI headquarters, enabling undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students to study with SCBI scientists and George Mason University professors. The Cornell-Smithsonian Joint Graduate Training Program, which has been accepting applications since 2011, allows students to benefit from the dual mentorship of a Cornell faculty member and an SCBI scientist.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute (NZP/SCBI) has built a model fundraising organization and raises approximately $12 million in total philanthropic support on an annual basis to help fund cutting-edge conservation research, support scholarly and leadership positions, and ensure that millions of annual visitors experience animals they may never have the opportunity to see in the wild.
NZP/SCBI is seeking candidates for the Director of Major Gifts dedicated to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. The Director of Major Gifts oversees a major and leadership giving program targeting individual donor support for SCBI’s science and educational programming, developing and managing a corresponding portfolio of current and prospective donors with capacity for gifts ranging from $25,000 to $1 million, while also implementing projects and activities to support the overall NZP/SCBI advancement program. Reporting to the Chief Advancement Officer of NZP/SCBI, with a dotted-line reporting relationship to the Deputy Director of SCBI/Associate Director of Conservation and Science for NZP, the position manages an Advancement Assistant. The Director of Major Gifts-SCBI will have a goal of securing approximately $3 million on an annual basis via restricted, unrestricted, annual, and planned gifts.
Required qualifications and experience:
- Genuine passion for conservation and an interest in helping to save some of the world’s most endangered and beloved species.
- Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree preferred.
- Five or more years of experience in individual major gifts fundraising. A background within a major cultural institution, nonprofit organization, educational institution, or other environment of similar complexity and experience in a campaign environment are preferred. Strong relationships and a track record of cultivating and soliciting donors in Virginia counties near the SCBI facility would be a plus.
- Demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction.
- Sophisticated understanding of large-scale fundraising operations and the complementary roles of various functional areas within. Steeped in modern philanthropy best practices, including those pertaining to research, qualification, cultivation, and stewardship, as well as face-to-face solicitations and proposals.
- Strength in developing the case for support and strategic, innovative fundraising plans, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives. Experience working directly with the most senior levels of an organization and the ability to effectively strategize and engage various groups and constituents.
- Hands-on experience with six and seven-figure gifts, including cultivation through solicitation and stewardship, as well as experience working with annual giving strategies for grooming the next generation of annual leadership and major gift donors.
- A functional understanding of how to effectively leverage various marketing and communication channels and platforms to support initiatives.
- The ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about strategy and process.
- Experience identifying, nurturing, and motivating volunteers, particularly board members, and an appreciation for their role in building an effective fundraising network.
- Skill at goal setting and measuring success, and agility in addressing alternate program directions to meet goals when necessary.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute has retained Diversified Search to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:
Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Practice Leader – Development & Philanthropy
The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174