Director of Philanthropy

August 2022 |

American Rivers is seeking a dedicated, energetic, and strategic Director of Philanthropy to grow major giving support in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

About American Rivers

aerial view of a riverClean, healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our communities and are vital to the public’s health, safety, and quality of life. Most Americans live within a mile of a river or stream, and all our drinking water comes directly or indirectly from rivers and streams. Protecting and restoring rivers helps protect clean drinking water, creates jobs and recreation opportunities that benefit the economy, and revitalizes natural heritage for future generations.

Founded in 1973 the mission of American Rivers is to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers, and conserve clean water for people and nature. American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 355,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

For more information, please visit

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at American Rivers

American Rivers embraces and celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that they do, and seeks to build and embody diversity in their organization and throughout the conservation field. To achieve their mission and vision, they cultivate diversity, promote equity, and foster inclusion in all aspects of their work. The life experiences, knowledge, innovation, and talent that everyone can bring to American Rivers provides unique perspectives, experiences, and competencies which are critical to the organization’s effectiveness in protecting wild rivers, restoring damaged rivers, and conserving clean water for people and nature.

Rivers Connect Us is more than their slogan, as the beauty of rivers is that they connect all people and communities.

About Philanthropy at American Rivers

aerial view of river flowing against rock faceRaising around $15M in philanthropic revenue annually, American Rivers is poised to enter a period of significant growth. Together, American Rivers’ CEO Tom Kiernan (appointed February 2021), staff, and Board of Directors have developed a North Star Framework to provide an integrated, aspirational, and bold vision to improve the health of rivers and waters given the concurrent crises of climate change, racial injustice, and biodiversity loss.

American Rivers is currently engaged in a Strategic Plan refresh with the goal of aligning their current Strategic Plan (2020 – 2024) with the North Star.

To achieve these ambitious goals, fundraising will play a critical role in providing sustainable revenue for the organization. Specifically, American Rivers sees growing and expanding its national major gifts program as a priority in those efforts.

About the Position

hands scooping water out of a riverReporting to the Senior Director of Philanthropy, the Director of Philanthropy, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions, will be responsible for securing major gifts of $10,000+ from individual donors. This position will work from a home office, preferably in New York City or the greater Philadelphia area, traveling throughout the region to meet with donors and prospects up to 50 percent of the time.

The Director of Philanthropy will partner with the President/CEO as well as Board Members and other leadership staff and volunteers. This person will have a history of success in cultivating, soliciting, and closing major gifts from individuals; developing portfolios of individual donors and prospects with major gift potential; and building relationships and sustainable donor engagement strategies. They will also possess a deep understanding of best practices in major gift philanthropy as well as the ability to see the big picture and translate strategy into targeted goals and actions. This role is for someone who likes to build programs, identify prospective donors, and develop case statements.

This is an opportunity to join a talented, passionate and fun team of three other major gift directors who work closely together and support each other.

Key Responsibilities

  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit a portfolio of major gift donors in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with donors capable of giving at least $10,000.
  • Build a pipeline of potential new donors and develop a plan for introducing American Rivers to the philanthropic leaders of the region.
  • Work with conservation leadership to develop necessary case statements for major donors in the region.
  • Develop and execute personalized solicitation strategies for each donor/prospect in assigned portfolio and ensure that donor contact reports are compiled and maintained.
  • Prepare and conduct donor briefings for President/CEO’s visits and solicitations.
  • Work with CEO, Board Members, Advancement, and Major Gifts colleagues to manage high-profile leadership volunteers who comprise American Rivers’ national advisory council and contribute personally significant gifts. Additionally, leverage their networks on behalf of the organization.
  • Lead efforts to launch a River Council in the region, ensuring members are appropriately supported, trained, and engaged on American Rivers programs and opportunities.
  • Work collaboratively with regional director and major gifts staff to plan and execute regular meetings/events and individual interactions.

Key Qualifications

  • 7+ years of major gift fundraising experience
  • Proven success closing five-figure gifts including the ability to evaluate, qualify, and move prospects through the identification, cultivation and solicitation cycle. Six-figure gift experience a plus.
  • Experience interacting with high-net worth individuals and the ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality.
  • Excellent communication skills coupled with strong writing and presentation skills.
  • Proficiency with donor database/CRM applications (ROI preferred) and in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills as well as the ability to prioritize and manage time efficiently.
  • Ability to travel frequently to meet donors and attend functions.
  • Interest and/or experience with planned giving principles and vehicles.
  • Knowledge of and/or interest in conservation as well as a personal commitment to American Rivers’ mission.

American Rivers is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce and complies with all applicable Federal and State laws, regulations, and executive orders regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action in its programs and activities. American Rivers does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, genetic information, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and veteran’s status. American Rivers is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.

All employees and interns working in any American Rivers office location; attending in-person meetings with staff or external partners, vendors, and donors; or traveling on American Rivers business must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless a reasonable accommodation is approved.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:


Jesse Bryan

Senior Consultant

Development Guild DDI

Related Posts

Interested in this position or other new career opportunities?