Chief Development Officer

March 2023 | Littleton, MA
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New England Forestry Foundation seeks a high achieving Chief Development Officer to partner with leadership to take the fundraising program to the next level.

About New England Forestry Foundation

two women walking in a forestThrough the application of its core expertise in conserving forestland and advancing Exemplary Forestry, NEFF helps the people of New England sustain their way of life, protect forest wildlife habitat and ecosystem services, and mitigate and adapt to climate change. A focus on innovation has enabled NEFF to conserve more than 1.2 million acres and inspire the era of large easement conservation with the success of the pioneering Pingree Forest easement. This success made NEFF one of the three largest land trusts in the nation by acres conserved – a status the organization retains to this day. They currently own more than 150 properties outright that are open to the public with no charge for admission, ensuring New Englanders have access to all the recreational opportunities that forests provide.

NEFF actively manages their lands as demonstration and education forests, applying advanced practices in Exemplary Forestry and modeling tools and techniques that private landowners learn from and often adopt. They advocate for policies and incentives that encourage and sustain private forestland ownership, ensuring that landowners have economically viable alternatives to selling their land for development. In addition, NEFF educates landowners and the public about the importance of forestry through outreach and programming and stewards conservation easements that have been entrusted to them, ensuring that landowners’ conservation intents are sustained in accordance with their expressed wishes.

The organization is future-focused and committed to innovation and ongoing education. NEFF helps prepare the region for a future where forestry is increasingly important, not only to keep forests healthy in the face of climate change, but also as part of a global environmental solution to climate change.

NEFF’s programmatic focus on forests and climate change over the last ten years has positioned it to make a significant contribution to fighting climate change while leaping forward in its historic mission to improve forest management. Careful scientific analysis and modeling based on NEFF’s historic management achievements on its own forests have allowed it to recommend a joint forest management and building with wood solution that can offset fully 30% of New England’s required climate emissions reductions in the next 30 years. This “30 Percent Solution” is a game changer with global consequences and realistically achievable with continued financial support. The Chief Development Officer will be well positioned to leverage NEFF’s existing strong position based on a long track record of successful fundraising. In addition, the USDA recently awarded $30 million to NEFF under their Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program for the New England Climate Smart Commodities Partnership project. NEFF partners with other organizations and supporters to achieve the 30 Percent Solution and numerous strategic initiatives are in place to expand the region’s land protection capacity, further forest education, and ensure that NEFF fulfills its mission.

Philanthropic support has been key to the success of NEFF in preserving forests and the new Chief Development Officer will join the organization at a time of significant fundraising success and increased commitment and momentum to engage new donors.

For more information about New England Forestry Foundation, please visit

About Philanthropy at New England Forestry Foundation

trees with golden leavesNEFF’s development program has grown organically over the past 25 years. It started as a one-person department with support from volunteers and increased its capacity with staff and outside consultants in 2001 when NEFF and its Board raised the funds to close the largest forestland conservation easement in the United States. Since that time, the organization has developed a more intentional and effective annual giving strategy. With the hiring of current Executive Director Bob Perschel more than ten years ago, philanthropic program delivery has continued to gain momentum and the organization has attracted both more supporters and a several-fold increase in philanthropic support.

The organization is in a period of growth, having nearly doubled staffing and budget since the start of 2013. More attention has been placed on building strong, climate change focused projects and utilizing the content expertise of senior staff to increase fundraising capacity. NEFF is also a leader in analyzing and synthesizing information on the region’s forests to not only illuminate opportunities and problems but also inform policy on how to improve forest management, both on its own lands and in the region.

In January 2022 NEFF closed out the first phase of a multi-year comprehensive $25 million campaign, The Forest to Cities Campaign, completing about a third of the financial goal. The onset of Covid-19 necessitated a pause in campaign activity and a recently secured USDA grant has also had an impact on the scale, case for support and timeline of this campaign. This represents an opportunity for a Chief Development Officer to develop and launch a new campaign focused on NEFF’s 30 Percent Solution and securing significant support for the Exemplary Forestry Center, which will drive forward regional and national efforts to combat climate change.

Priorities for development for the next several years include:

  • Growing unrestricted donations to support organizational initiatives
  • Growing the number of annual contributors
  • Building and launching a new 30 Percent Solution campaign

This is a prime moment for a mission-oriented and skilled fundraiser to join a vibrant and growing organization.

About the Position

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will report to the Executive Director and work collaboratively and think creatively with members of the NEFF development office and senior staff, the Campaign Leadership Team, and the Board of Directors. They will manage a team of four and lead all aspects of the fundraising program, with a focus on growing the base of support and increasing major giving.

Working at both the strategic and tactical level, the CDO will use their skills and experience to help secure higher levels of giving, engage new donors, manage a robust portfolio of current supporters, offer strong leadership to a motivated team, and ensure that metrics and best practices are in place to guide NEFF’s fundraising work. They will be inspired by the work of the program staff and will partner with senior leadership and volunteers in deepening donor engagement.

Key Responsibilities


  • red brown marmot percheed on a tree branchPartner with the Executive Director and Board in taking NEFF’s philanthropy program to new levels, particularly with individual major gifts.
  • Provide leadership for all facets of the development team including planning, goal setting, implementation strategies, staff investments and ROI, achievement and performance measures, and volunteer engagement.
  • Serve as a strategy partner and member of NEFF’s senior leadership team.
  • Participate at meetings of the Board of Directors and select Board committees to provide advice and counsel, and report on development related issues and operations.


  • Manage top philanthropic relationships via a portfolio of leading individual and institutional donors and prospects.
  • Work with the Development Committee, Board of Directors, and other staff to manage campaign prospects and ongoing major donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Assist in strategizing and implementing cultivation and recognition events.
  • Implement donor stewardship and transition strategies to ensure campaign supporters are well engaged with NEFF moving forward.

Management and Mentorship

  • Continually assess the fundraising program and evaluate department performance to ensure optimal achievement of philanthropic capacity for NEFF.
  • Develop strong and collaborative working relationships with the senior leadership and program staff of NEFF to understand the organization’s mission, impact, and work to effectively engage colleagues, donors, and the public.
  • Supervise 4 direct reports (Development Manager, Development/Communications Specialist, Development Associate, and Executive Assistant).
  • Prepare and oversee the management of the annual Development budget.

Key Qualifications

  • Minimum of five years of development experience, preferably in the areas of major gift fundraising and managing components of a capital campaign.
  • Track record of securing major gifts at the six-figure+ level.
  • Keen interest in conservation, forest ecology, and the environment required.
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, self-motivated, creative, strategic, professional, and able to manage multiple projects under tight deadlines.
  • Excellent analytic and strategic-thinking skills.
  • Superior written and verbal communication and listening skills, including editing and proofreading.
  • A collaborative colleague dedicated to working as a member of a team.
  • “Can do” spirit and a sense of humor.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Experience with Raiser’s Edge a plus.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience, with range beginning at $125,000 annually.

New England Forestry Foundation offers a comprehensive benefit package for full time employees and a friendly working environment. The position will initially be based at the organization’s Prouty Woods headquarters in Littleton, Massachusetts, which offers access to hiking trails and a lake for swimming as well as ample parking and easy access to major commuting options. NEFF has offered a fully remote working environment during Covid-19 and expects to maintain options for flexible schedules and remote work.

New England Forestry Foundation is an equal employment opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, religion, alienage or national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. NEFF commits to respecting and learning from different perspectives, reflecting the diverse citizens and communities of New England. In hiring, mentoring, and managing staff, the organization seeks to maintain a diverse, supportive, friendly, and discrimination-free workplace.

Apply to this position using the form below or email your resume and cover letter in confidence to:

Tracy Marshall

Senior Vice President, Principal

Development Guild DDI

Apply Now

Please complete this form to be considered for this role.

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