Director of Development
Tucson, AZ Development
Job Type

Location: Remote in Tucson, AZ; Phoenix, AZ; or Denver, CO


The Development and Marketing Team of the Sonoran Institute is responsible for raising general unrestricted revenues with the goal of covering institutional costs and generating additional revenue for distribution to programmatic efforts as well as supporting the funding needs of specific projects and programs. It is also responsible for communicating the Sonoran Institute brand to current and potential donors and key partners to include identification, cultivation, and stewardship of individual donors, foundations, and corporations. Marketing staff is responsible for communications of key organizational messaging across all media to promote the Sonoran Institute brand.

The Director of Development is responsible for development and implementation of the development strategy for the Sonoran Institute, organization’s development plan, integration of the marketing strategy, and for supervision of development staff. This includes managing a portfolio of major gifts and developing a corporate strategy and developing corporate relationships to support the mission of the Sonoran Institute through financial support, cause marketing, sponsorships, and licensing. The DD will be responsible for prospecting, partner and donor cultivation, solicitation (often in tandem with the Chief Executive Officer, development staff, program directors and program staff), management and stewardship, proposal strategy, contract negotiation, management of consultants and contractors, and management of marketing, recognition and benefits related to corporate partner commitments.


Fundraising and Relationship Management (60% of time):

  • Develop and manage a portfolio of 100+ prospects and donors to engage and solicit for fundraising pipeline
  • Work closely with the Executive Team, board members and lead program staff to develop and implement annual and major gift strategies, and to prepare written proposals for donors and donor prospects; support them in actively managing their personal portfolios of prospect and donor accounts
  • Manage donor relations through a vigorous communication plan, personal visits, phone calls, and small events
  • Ensure donors are appropriately recognized and engaged in the mission of Sonoran Institute
  • Research prospective donors on-line and through other resources
  • Develop and manage direct mail appeals, including annual appeal
  • Raise funds for annual operations, strategic programs, endowment fund, and future support
  • Engage donors in conversation regarding various ways of giving such as outright, workplace, deferred, in-kind, stock, and personal solicitations
  • Promote planned giving and engage supporters in Legacy Society
  • Write grant applications, gift proposals and related donor reports

Donor Cultivation, Special Events and Mailings (30% of time):

  • Plan and implement special events and field trips to engage supporters; plan and manage Board events
  • Collaborate with the Executive Team to develop cases for support and to create and implement project specific fundraising plans and campaigns as appropriate
  • Collaborate with the Executive Team, Board members, and program staff to create opportunities for further cultivation of key donors and prospects
  • Collaborate with the marketing team on annual reports, published lists of donors, and fundraising collateral material

Management and Administration (10% of time):

  • Conduct departmental planning including goal setting, strategy identification, and evaluation to support development and marketing
  • Achieve financial objectives by preparing an annual budget, scheduling expenditures, analyzing variances, and initiating corrective actions
  • Assure sound fiscal operation of development function including timely, accurate gift income and expense budgets, department financial monitoring and reports
  • Implement processes for soliciting and recognizing outright gifts, planned gifts and online gifts which support the annual operations, special projects, the endowment and future purposes
  • Support Executive Team and Board Committees with reports; provide them with necessary tools to meet fundraising goals
  • Provide backup for gift entry and acknowledgement letters
  • Supervise two direct reports


Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, including but not limited to business, environmental sciences, communications or liberal arts
  • A minimum of 8 years of experience in marketing and/or fundraising, including grant writing, direct mail, donor relations, special events

Required Skills:

  • A commitment to natural resource conservation
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to prioritize and balance multiple projects simultaneously
  • Ability to complete tasks with minimal supervision and maintain a high level of confidentiality
  • Experience with web-based tools and collaboration
  • Proven track record in developing and implementing successful fundraising campaigns
  • Proven track record in securing major gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations
  • Energetic, outgoing, flexible, creative, and a proactive problem solver
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft office

Required Behavioral competencies:

  • Ability to work independently – Initiative is a must as well as prioritization
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Results driven, accountable, proactive & able to work autonomously
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Attention to detail a must
  • Problem-solving attitude
  • Flexible, change embracing in rapidly evolving work and market environment
  • Ability to relate to and work with a wide variety of stakeholders
  • Ability to enthusiastically and appropriately represent the organization to the public, funders, staff, and others


  • Spanish language proficiency a plus


  • Standing, particularly for sustained periods of time
  • Walking and moving about on foot to accomplish tasks, particularly for long distances or moving from one work site to another
  • Talking and conveying detailed or important spoken instructions to other workers accurately, loudly, or quickly
  • Hearing at normal speaking levels with or without correction; ability to receive detailed information through oral communication
  • Repetitive motion and substantial movements (motions) of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers
  • Medium work exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 30 pounds of force frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects
  • The worker is required to have close visual acuity to perform an activity such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; transcribing; viewing a computer terminal; extensive reading; using measurement devices; and more

(This job description is intended to indicate the basic nature of the position and examples of typical duties that may be assigned. It does not imply that all of the duties listed will be performed, nor does it necessarily list all possible duties that may be assigned. Successful candidates will be able to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodations.)

Sonoran Institute is committed to a discrimination-free workplace and to providing equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, pregnancy, mental or physical challenging condition, marital status, amnesty, political affiliation, status as a covered veteran, or other protected characteristic in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

Salary Description
$55,000-$97,000 DOE