Chief Advancement Officer

July 2022 | Boston, MA
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Boston Harbor Now seeks a strategic and creative Chief Advancement Officer to accelerate fundraising and oversee the development program, raising the profile and the funds needed to fulfill the organization’s vision. 

“Today the Harbor is critical to the health and well-being of our citizens
and economy. Looking ahead, as we continue to face the challenges
of climate change, racial and economic inequality, and public health,
I am confident we can come together to create an even more vibrant,
resilient, and welcoming Harbor that benefits everyone.”

 – Kathy Abbott, President & CEO

About Boston Harbor Now

A generation ago, Boston Harbor was quite literally a dump. A swim in the harbor meant a trip to the hospital. Spectacle Island was a smoldering trash pile. The industrial waterfront was suffering from decades of decline and disrepair. Today, the Harbor is a shining example of the transformation that can occur after decades of advocacy, infrastructure improvements and environmental stewardship. Decades of work and billions of dollars in public and private investment laid the groundwork for today’s waterfront renaissance.

Boston Harbor Now (BHN), a nonprofit at the forefront of this transformation, envisions a vibrant, welcoming, and resilient Boston Harbor, Waterfront, and Islands for the benefit of everyone. Their mission is to ensure that these unique regional resources are accessible, inclusive, and properly adapted to the risks of climate change.

east boston skylineBHN focuses on three pillars: Coastal Resilience, Access, and Equity. Current priority projects underway include the Stone Living Lab, focused on finding nature-based solutions to sea level rise, and Harborwalk 2.0, a framework that imagines a bolder vision for the waterfront in Boston as well as surrounding communities and the islands. It goes beyond the existing regulations in anticipation of building a more equitable waterfront that is prepared for the coastal impacts of climate change. As the legislated partner of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park and the City’s partner for the Harborwalk, BHN prioritizes equitable access through their public access program, activation and programs to make these spaces more inviting, operational and infrastructure improvements, and awareness and promotion.

This work results in multiple benefits including the increased utilization of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park, waterfront and open spaces by an increasingly diverse audience, effective shoreline adaptation to prepare for climate change and sea level rise, improved equitable connectivity to, along, and across the Harbor, and thriving maritime industries and port of Boston.

For more information about Boston Harbor Now, please visit:

Commitment to a Representative Staff and Board

BHN is committed to a diverse board and staff that reflects the communities served throughout Greater Boston. As seen in the Changing Faces of Greater Boston report from the Boston Foundation, Boston is becoming more diverse in race and ethnicity. BHN has made progress and is actively recruiting more racially diverse board and staff leadership.

  • 26% of Board of Trustees are people of color
  • 41% of Board of Advisors are people of color
  • 22% of staff are LGBTQ+ or nonbinary
  • 40% of staff are people of color

Following the nation-wide protests of racial injustice in 2020, staff also initiated a 3-year effort for an all- staff diversity, equity, and inclusion training program with an outside facilitator. The BHN board has also formed a DEI working group with the goal to have BHN’s values be a part of who they are and how they operate. BHN is currently working with a diversity consultant to develop and execute a strategy based on the following commitment:

“Boston Harbor Now is an intentionally diverse workplace. We are intentional about hiring, developing, and retaining people of color at all levels. We don’t just accept differences – we celebrate them, we value them, we promote them, and we thrive on them for the benefit of our employees, volunteers, supporters, partners, and community. We recognize that people bring their personal histories to work and that we make better decisions when we include a wide range of experiences and opinions. Diversity refers not only to race and gender, but also to an array of human differences including culture, ethnicity, geography, socio-economic position, ability, sexual preference, experience, background, perspective, and more that exist in the community and are reflected in the workforce. We value using a race equity lens to manage the organization and create spaces for conversations on race and ongoing staff engagement and empowerment to redesign policies, practices, services, and programs. Boston Harbor now strongly believes that diversity plays an essential role in our mission, fostering innovation and creativity, attracting the best candidates to our team, and enhancing our ability to serve.”

About Philanthropy at Boston Harbor Now

Boston Harbor Now - children on boatBHN seeks broad community and financial support to make progress towards goals of equitable access for all people and the sustainability of the Boston Harbor and Islands. Supporters are committed to the future of these marvelous places as a 21st-century model for public access and climate resilience. BHN raises money for its advocacy work and for park improvements and programs on the waterfront and on the Harbor Islands. BHN’s mission and programs span nonprofit sectors allowing prospects and donors with wide-ranging interests and priorities to connect at BHN on a multitude of issues – including climate change, social justice, access for under-served groups, arts and culture, health, and education.

Since BHN’s founding in 2016, the organization has doubled its fundraising revenue from $1.5M to $3.5M annually. A number of fundraising vehicles have been created and need to be further developed and accelerated to increase unrestricted as well as restricted giving. BHN has had success with both individual and institutional giving, particularly in terms of increasing support from the Board and through sponsorship of two events per year. BHN continues to grow its base for annual giving as well and recently launched a Membership Program and Business Partners Program. The incoming CAO will benefit from a Salesforce database that is set up for donor tracking, with clean data and screening information that is updated annually. BHN is committed to continuing to build a comprehensive development program, particularly as it relates to identification, cultivation, and solicitation of new constituents. It is important to note that BHN does not have a built-in constituency like schools and hospitals.

BHN’s board is highly engaged, consisting of 21 Trustees, 7 Ex-Officio Trustees, 30 Advisors, and 3 Trustees Emeriti. As philanthropy is a primary responsibility of each Trustee, there is no separate Development Committee. Trustees have been generous in sharing their networks and with their individual financial support; 100% of them give to BHN annually and Board Giving has more than doubled since FY19. Advisors bring a range of content expertise and serve as a pipeline for Trusteeship.

About the Chief Advancement Officer Position

This is an important opportunity to join a diverse team of talented individuals who work closely with public agencies, communities, and private and nonprofit partners.

Boston Harbor Now - art installationAs a member of the executive team and reporting to the President & CEO, the CAO will work collaboratively as a member of the Executive Team to lead, manage, and implement all aspects of development while serving as an important external ambassador. The CAO will partner with the President & CEO and Board to lead and implement a comprehensive development plan while working closely with the communications team on development marketing and the integration of fundraising messaging. Key priorities of the CAO will be to develop and implement strategies to grow existing donors, to identify, cultivate, and steward new funding sources, to prioritize Board development and recruitment, and to implement sustainable systems that enhance and measure productivity. The CAO will manage a team of three development staff: a Director of Development, a Development Coordinator, and a Development Assistant.   

The right candidate will be a collaborative and innovative development professional with a track record of creative, strategic leadership and management. A team player, capable of communicating and working effectively with the Board and a diverse and growing staff, they will collaborate to make strategic decisions to raise the profile and the funds to fulfill the organization’s vision.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Staff Management

  • Oversee a comprehensive, proactive development plan focused on major gifts, annual giving, foundation and corporate grants, and prospect identification and engagement that generates diverse financial support for the organization
  • Collaborate with the Executive Team and staff to develop and implement BHN’s strategies and initiatives and maximize growth in fundraising
  • Strategize and partner with CEO in board recruitment, development, and support
  • Lead, manage and cultivate the development staff and incorporate all staff and volunteers in the development function
  • Work in collaboration with the Chief Administrative Officer to ensure the organization’s fiscal practices and approaches result in timely and accurate budgets, adequate/strategic funding, and employee understanding of programmatic finances to execute on Boston Harbor Now’s priorities.
  • Create a development communications plan and work with the communications team to integrate of fundraising messaging into organizational marketing.


  • Partner with and support the President and CEO and Board of Trustees on all major fundraising initiatives, including implementing a comprehensive development strategy for individual, corporate, foundation, and government grants
  • Develop relationships with various external stakeholders, knitting together the work of BHN’s communications and marketing efforts, approach to philanthropy, and key strategic partnerships
  • Manage and solicit a portfolio of important, long-term individual donor and partner relationships
  • Oversee research of funding sources and trends and development of proposals to position Boston Harbor Now for future growth
  • Monitor development information and performance, presenting analysis to Board and staff
  • Increase all sources of donations over time, consistent with the organizational strategy and plans

Key Qualifications

Ideal Qualifications

  • Experience setting best practice standards and achieving ambitious fundraising goals, supervising fundraising staff, budgeting, and development communications
  • Record of success identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding a portfolio of individual donors at the 5- and 6-figure gift level
  • Demonstrated ability to grow a sustainable fundraising program; elevating donor relationships and increasing gifts over time from non-built-in constituencies
  • Ability to establish productive and collaborative relationships with a multitude of stakeholders including Trustees, donors, staff, volunteers, and philanthropic partners
  • Experience supervising staff and working effectively as part of an executive team
  • Experience as a strategic thinker—who is creative, innovative, and takes initiative
  • Committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Excellent verbal, written and problem-solving skills, strong knowledge of use of media and external partnerships, demonstrated ability to expand brand awareness
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented with excellent management skills
  • Ability to multi-task and meet deadlines; can work within an ambitious, fast-moving environment while also driving toward clarity and solutions; demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities and guiding investments in people and systems.

Additional Valued Experience

  • Fundraising for an organization focused on civic engagement, DEI, public education, transportation, environmental advocacy, or public health highly preferred
  • Relevant experience with board governance and demonstrated board recruitment skills
  • Exposure to collaboration with government agencies


The salary range for this position is $140k – $170k, commensurate with experience.

All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Mary Plum

Senior Consultant

Development Guild DDI

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