Senior Director of Development, Advocacy

April 2019 | New York, NY Download PDF

About National Audubon Society

A Legacy of Conservation Success
The National Audubon Society is one of the oldest, largest, and most influential conservation organizations in the United States. Since 1905, passion for birds and nature has been the driving force behind Audubon’s conservation legacy. It inspired our important role in some of the most significant victories for birds and the environment, including the establishment of the first National Wildlife Refuges, the banning of DDT in 1972, landmark legislation like the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, and the establishment of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The most effective network in conservation
Audubon’s legacy of success is built upon the strength of our national network of more than one million members, 463 chapters, 23 state offices, 41 nature centers, 23 wildlife sanctuaries, and the four million people we reach each year, both on the ground and online. Dozens of international partnerships extend our reach and impact throughout the Western Hemisphere, supporting protection of migratory birds both in the U.S. and on their wintering grounds in the Caribbean and Latin America.

National Audubon Society - girl with bird21st Century Results
Audubon’s blend of science, education, and policy expertise has enabled us to play a leading role in many of the last decade’s most important victories for birds and conservation, from Congressional passage of the RESTORE Act that delivers $20 billion to restore the Gulf coast, to new protections for Greater-Sage Grouse on 67 million acres in the American West.

The Turnaround Story: Leadership at Audubon
The National Audubon Society is a $120M+, 700+ employee, 1.4M member organization that works seamlessly across large geographical areas to protect birds and people and the places they need to thrive. But it wasn’t always this way. Only under the leadership of David Yarnold, who joined Audubon in 2010 as its 10th President and CEO, has Audubon been able to make good on its claim of having the most effective network in conservation. When launching a new case study about Audubon in the fall of 2017, the Harvard Business School remarked, “It was the most impressive turnaround of a legacy organization we’ve ever seen.”

About Development at National Audubon Society

It is an exciting time to join Audubon’s development team of 65. At the midpoint in our five-year strategic plan, Audubon is now embarking on the most ambitious multi-year fundraising effort in our 100+ year history—a nine-figure campaign that generates the resources needed to achieve the goals laid out in our strategic plan, substantially increases annual operating revenue, recruits new volunteer leadership and major donors, and raises Audubon’s profile in the conservation sector (and nonprofit space more broadly).

Led by Chief Development Officer Sean O’Connor, Audubon is tackling this campaign amid a complete reinvention of its development operation. Less than a year ago, Audubon made the pivotal decision to reorganize development staff across the country—shifting the reporting lines of all state- and center-based development staff, who had historically reported through our state office infrastructure, to create one national development team.

This fundamental shift in culture was driven by a relatively simple and straightforward idea—how do we create the conditions that will enable all Audubon donors to make their biggest gift to their greatest passion?

Audubon’s Approach to Advocacy

Through its Advocacy Center, the National Audubon Society identifies transformative conservation policy solutions and mobilizes the most effective conservation network in America to secure real protections for birds and the places they need now and into the future. The Center houses four key functions:

  • Policy leadership that generates innovative solutions to improve implementation of bedrock laws like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act and as well as secure habitat protections on private and public lands,
  • A bipartisan government relations team that ensures Audubon is a visible, trusted and influential resource to federal congressional and agency decision makers,
  • A campaign team with the savvy and skill to bring Audubon’s network of bird-lovers and partners to bear to win policy victories and fundamentally change the politics of conservation at the local, state and federal levels, and
  • A C4 organization, the National Audubon Society Action Fund, that enables Audubon’s advocacy and growing political influence from the ground up.

The Advocacy Center knits together and drives Audubon’s policy agenda by leveraging Audubon’s best assets: we are local everywhere, we innovate pragmatic and science-based conservation solutions, birds allow us to make conservation policy tangible and personal, and we have a membership and agenda that builds broad coalitions and catalyzes bipartisan accomplishments.

About the Position

National Audubon Society - March For ScienceReporting to the Vice President of Strategic Giving, the Senior Director of Development, Advocacy is a critical member of Audubon’s Development Leadership. This newly created position will be responsible for building an advocacy-focused funding stream and raising Audubon’s profile within the political landscape and among its organizational peers. The Senior Director will partner with colleagues across the organization—particularly the Policy team—as well as with Executive leadership.

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop, implement, and manage an advocacy fundraising plan—that includes communications, engagement, and stewardship strategies–focusing on individual major gifts
  • Lead the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of a personal portfolio of advocacy donors
  • Create a workplan based on landscape scan and assessment to engage Audubon constituency members in strategic activities leading to campaigns
  • Chart an ambitious path for growth in Audubon’s advocacy fundraising, including both c3 and c4 support—that will dramatically expand Audubon’s impact within the policy and advocacy landscape
  • Work collaboratively with other Development staff members, Policy Leadership, the Executive Team, and the President’s Office

Key Qualifications

  • Prior experience with advocacy fundraising and/or political fundraising is a must—ideally 8-10 years in this type of environment with progressive responsibilities
  • Passion about conservation and environmental issues is a must—interest in Audubon’s mission is ideal
  • Proven track record of closing gifts of $100,000+ gifts
  • Keen fundraising strategist who can effectively engage new and existing donors as well as an ability to foster strong working relationships with colleagues and external partners
  • Proven ability to meet or exceed fundraising goals—and comfort operating in a metrics driven environment
  • Ability to function collaboratively as a member of a national distributed team
  • Passionate about inspiring donors to make a difference with their giving
  • Ability to work independently, prioritize projects, and manage time efficiently
  • Good sense of humor appreciated
  • Willingness to travel—potentially as much as 25% of the time.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent required

Audubon’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Just as biodiversity strengthens natural systems, the diversity of human experience strengthens our conservation efforts for the benefit of nature and all human beings. Audubon must represent and reflect that human diversity, embracing it in all the communities where we work, in order to achieve our conservation goals. To that end, we are committed to increasing the diversity of our staff, board, volunteers, members, and supporters, and to fostering an inclusive network of Audubon Centers and Chapters in all kinds of communities, from rural to urban.

National Audubon Society - March for Science 2Equity, diversity and inclusion is not only a best practice for business, it’s a strategic imperative. Our business and conservation strategies are enriched and made stronger by the contribution of the experiences, perspectives, and values of diverse individuals and communities.  Protecting and conserving nature and the environment transcends political, cultural and social boundaries, and so must Audubon in order to expand our network’s reach and engage more people in protecting birds and habitat.

We are dedicated to providing a work environment that prioritizes fairness and respect. At Audubon, all employees are treated equally and are encouraged to achieve their fullest potential. We respect the individuality of each member of our community, and we are committed to a workplace free of any kind of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, national or ethnic origin, politics, or veteran status.

Read more about our approach to EDI.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Katharine Kaplan
Vice President
Development Guild DDI

Development Guild DDI is a proud member of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Council.

To learn more visit the AESC website and read Our Search Standards.


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