Director of Development

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Summary of Organization

Since 1992, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) has been the region’s driving force in land preservation and protection. OWLT owns and actively manages 36 nature preserves in Ozaukee and Washington counties, conserving over 7,000 acres in the Milwaukee River, Menomonee River, and Lake Michigan watersheds. The River Revitalization Foundation (RRF) was founded in 1994 by the Kiwanis Club of Milwaukee and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. With unique opportunities within the urban city, RRF has protected 821 acres, including the establishment of the Milwaukee River Greenway and 5 miles of riverfront trail connections along the Milwaukee River.

In 2022, the Boards of Directors and staff of OWLT and RRF began exploring a closer partnership. The result of this exploration was positive with both Boards voting to formally move towards merger. Today, OWLT and RRF are operating under a joint management agreement planning to complete a formal merger on July 1, 2024. The new board representing both organizations will become active on July 1, 2024. Staff are already integrating programs and operations with formal strategic planning and a new branding process to commence after the merger is finalized.

OWLT/RRF is committed to honoring diverse experiences, perspectives, and unique identities while fostering work environments that are inclusive, equitable, and welcoming. The Land Trust does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability in any of its policies or programs.

Opportunities of the Role

This is a unique opportunity for a seasoned Development Director to design and lead the integration of two fundraising programs as the merger process of two organizations is finalized. With a regional, watershed approach, the Development Director will drive the fundraising strategy of the rebranded land trust (yet-to-be named) with an expectation of attracting significant new philanthropic support and government grants. Aligned in mission, each organization has a distinct individual donor base and already enjoys an overlap in foundation giving and corporate sponsorships.

Positioned in strength and stability, the organizations hold more than $2 million in board designated or unrestricted cash/cash equivalents and have secured over $3 million in pledged/awarded, restricted support for the next 2.5 fiscal years. OWLT doubled their donors from 2021 to 2022  (from 500 to 1,000) creating an opportunity to focus on donor stewardship while continuing to build the donor base.

The Development Director will join a newly formulated senior leadership team with the opportunity and expectation of creating and contributing to a new work culture that honors the strengths of each organization as well as the diverse communities and constituencies served by each.

Position Description

The  Director will design, direct, and lead a new fundraising program, integrating programs from each organization including the annual fund, foundation and corporate giving, special events, the creation of  formal major gifts and planned giving programs,  and creation of a donor stewardship program.  The Director will staff a volunteer Development Committee whose role is to partner with staff on fundraising activities with a focus on identification, qualification, cultivation, and stewardship of donors.

The Development Director reports to the Executive Director and supervises the Grants Administrator and Administrative Associate (both new roles to be filled).

Job Responsibilities

Leadership and Management (35% time)

  • Design, direct, and lead the merged organization’s fundraising program, integrating and enhancing programs from each organization including the annual fund, foundation and corporate giving, special events, the creation of  formal major gifts and planned giving programs, and creation of a donor stewardship program.
  • Supervise the Grant Administrator in their creation, management, and implementation of an annual grants plan.
  • Lead and guide a Development Committee whose role is to partner with staff on fundraising activities with a focus on identification, qualification, cultivation, and stewardship of donors.
  • Create and maintain best practice policies and procedures related to fundraising best practices.
  • Create, monitor, and manage annual department expense budget.
  • Recommend annual fundraising goal to Executive Director and Finance Committee using trend analysis of past giving and forecasting of planned growth strategies to inform recommendation
  • Participate in board meetings, staff director meetings, and leadership team;;
  • Secure speaking engagements for Executive Director and Board members;
  • Report to Executive Director and Board of Directors on plans, progress, and fundraising performance;
  • Supervise the Administrative Associate, a newly created position that will have tasks supporting and taking direction from the Director of Development, Executive Director, and Accountant.

Fundraising (50% of time)

  • Create and maintain a personal portfolio of 50 donor prospects using best practice moves management strategies.
  • Create a portfolio of 25 prospects for the Executive Director and support his fundraising activities with planning and preparation.
  • Identify and implement a strategy  to convert gifts restricted for land acquisition to donations to the Annual Fund.
  • Enhance and implement a corporate sponsorship strategy.
  • Enhance the Annual Fund through an integrated mail/email/social media strategy.
  • Design and lead an event strategy (gala to small donor events) to support fundraising objectives.
  • In partnership with the Director of Community Conservation, provide fundraising support and expertise, as appropriate, to community engagement events.

Donor Communications and Stewardship (15% time)

  • Create donor communications such as annual reports and donor newsletters.
  • Assign and manage design for print, email, website, social media by design consultant or staff as appropriate.
  • Coordinate website enhancements and their integration with CRM.
  • Design and implement a stewardship program.

Position Requirements

  • Full-time Exempt Salary – 40+ hours a week;
  • Hybrid 1 day a week with Executive Director approval, on-site presence four days a week including time spent in both the West Bend and Milwaukee offices.
  • After hours and weekends time required to support departmental/organizational activities and outreach needs;
  • Ability to travel in personal vehicle for in-person meetings across Southeast Wisconsin.


The successful candidate will have a successful track record in designing, directing, and leading a fundraising program of at least $1M annually.

  • 3- 5 years successful experience leading a comprehensive development program;
  • Proven experience in major donor solicitation and experience closing 5-figure gifts required;
  • Supervisory experience required;
  • Growth mindset: thrives in a change environment, demonstrated ability to contribute to a positive work culture while building new processes and systems;
  • 2 years’ experience managing large-scale and small cultivation events;
  • Successful experience motivating volunteers and guiding/monitoring their activities;
  • Strong planning, forecasting, and analysis skills;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills;
  • Advanced computer skills required, including experience with Little Green Light or similar CRM database; Microsoft Office 365; remote work platforms (Teams, Zoom)

Salary and Benefits

  • Compensation range: $90,000-$105,000
  • Health insurance stipend of $5,000 (periodically adjusted for inflation)
  • Participation in employer-sponsored 401K with up to 4% match
  • Paid leave includes vacation leave based on tenure, 10 holidays and 10 compassionate days annually

To Apply

Please send your resume, three references, and a cover letter which speaks to specific skills and experience that enable you to fulfill the qualifications and responsibilities detailed above to hiring team will begin reviewing and interviewing candidates on a rolling basis as soon as May 13, 2024, with the goal of having the successful candidate in position by July 1, 2024.

Helpful Resources

River Revitalization Foundation:

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust:

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