Director of Development

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

The Natural Resources Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, charismatic, innovative, organized, and responsible individual with an appreciation for nature and the environment to join its team. The Director of Development, along with the executive director, is responsible for planning, implementing, and overseeing NRF’s fundraising initiatives and activities to support its programs and operations and build financial resilience for the future.

The Director of Development, in collaboration with the executive director, board of directors, and NRF Donor Relations Committee works to create and sustain relationships with individuals, businesses, foundations, and agencies to secure funding to achieve our mission and meet our $1.1 M operating budget.

The Director of Development will collaborate with individuals and organizations to direct funding through our diverse ways to give, which include outright and planned gifts for NRF and our conservation programs, as well as creating spend down funds or permanently endowed funds held within NRF’s Wisconsin Conservation Endowment – a portfolio of 100+ funds that provide sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife.

The Director of Development will also support the expansion of a donor community and fundraising approach that aligns with our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. We strongly encourage applications from individuals who have a passion for conservation and the work outlined below, even if their professional experience does not align perfectly with the experiences listed. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin supports paid professional development opportunities and training and encourages support from fellow staff members.

Primary Responsibilities

Advancement, Development, and Fundraising

  • Set and meet ambitious annual revenue goals, steering NRF’s overall fundraising strategy to secure and maintain diverse funding sources and support annual needs and long-term organizational resilience.
  • Identify new strategies and areas of emphasis, based on up-to-the moment awareness of the national funding landscape and opportunities, demographic and giving trends, best practices, and emerging data.
  • Lead NRF’s fundraising efforts, working collaboratively with the executive director, director of conservation programs, communications director, and program staff.
  • Manage an annual portfolio of approximately 100-120 donors and prospects.
  • Produce and distribute major donor cultivation and stewardship communications including personal thank you correspondence, thank you calls, written updates and impact reports.
  • In collaboration with the executive director and key staff, shape and presentan ambitious revenue budget for board of directors’ approval.
  • Work with the executive director, communications director, and key staff to ensure accurate and compelling communications are developed that represent NRF in donor forums effectively.
  • Coordinate with the executive director and other key staff tocraft effective program asks that direct fundraising where it is needed most.
  • Be fluent in NRF’s work and impact on Wisconsin’s lands, waters, andwildlife.
  • Stay abreast of trends and changes in conservation philanthropy, ensuring that NRF’s development work is nimble, innovative, and effective within our rapidly changing landscape.

Organizational Leadership

  • Contribute to the organization-wide implementation of fundraising goals and strategies within NRF’s Strategic Plan.
  • Set and lead the agenda for the fundraising department, including the development, implementation, and progress reporting of three-year strategic plan goals and one-year targets that align with overall organization priorities.
  • Serve on relevant internal teams/committees that engage with fundraising and serveas the staff liaison for the Board of Director’s Donor Relations Committee.
  • Embrace and foster NRF’s organizational culture that is consistent with our mission and values and model a supportive work environment, work-life balance, and a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, & justice.

Other Duties as Required

Minimum Qualifications

  • A commitment to NRF’s mission and values.
  • At least five years relevant nonprofit development/advancement or foundation philanthropy experience.
  • A proven history of major gift solicitation from individual donors.
  • Comfort engaging with donors and prospective donors on a regular basis in-person, via Zoom, or phone.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience building and maintaining long-term relationships with fundraising constituents.
  • Effective organizational and project management skills.
  • Strong client service orientation and attention to detail.
  • Working knowledge and use of MS Office Suite and donor database management tools.
  • Donor research experience.
  • Knowledge of and love for Wisconsin.
  • Experience working directly with aboard of directors and executive leadership.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Experience managing budgets and teams.

Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrated expertise in nonprofit fundraising systems and best practices with deep and current knowledge of the overall philanthropic field and how strategies fit together.
  • Excellent oral and written communication abilities including experience in effectively crafting solicitations, including both written and in person “asks.”
  • An awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Expertise in donor communications, including donor acquisition, and strategies for donor stewardship and engagement.
  • Experience and knowledge of equity-centered and donor-centered fundraising principles.
  • Aptitude for creating compelling narratives around conservation science.
  • Available to periodically attend/participate in NRF events and programs, with occasional work on nights and weekends
  • Ability to work periodically in natural environments and outdoor weather conditions
  • Capacity to collaborate with financial experts and data.

Salary Range and Benefits

  • $70,000 to $85,000 per year to start, based on experience and qualifications
  • 16 days paid time off
  • Flexible, hybrid work schedule
  • Private office
  • Free parking
  • Office on Capital City Bike Trail
  • Ten paid holidays
  • GHC health and Delta dental insurance (NRF pays 75% of individual health & dental insurance premiums)
  • Life, short-term and long-term disability insurance (NRF pays 100% of basic premium)
  • Two paid NRF Field Trips
  • 403(b) retirement plan – 4% contribution
  • Flexible spending account
  • Madison Metro Bus Commuter Pass
  • We encourage life-long learning and support ongoing professional development

How to Apply

A complete application will include:

  • Cover letter which speaks to your experience and how it meets the qualifications of this position
  • Resume
  • Three professional references

Please combine the requirements above into one pdf and email to Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application Deadline

This position will remain open until filled.


  • 211 S. Paterson St., Madison, Wisconsin

This position has the flexibility to work a hybrid schedule. A minimum of two days per week at the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin office preferred.

About the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (NRF)

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin believes that nature has inherent value and that people can make a positive difference. NRF is a statewide nonprofit organization that works to protect Wisconsin’s natural heritage by supporting critical conservation work through grant programs, engagement, and partnership development. NRF offers opportunities for people to experience Wisconsin’s outdoors through a statewide Field Trip Program and provides a means for people to help protect Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife through our diverse ways to give.

NRF is based in Madison, Wisconsin around four lakes and the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk Nation. The Fox (Meskwaki) and Sauk tribes also lived in the area. We strive to be a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just conservation organization. We are integrating our commitment to DEI throughout our operations and programs.

Diversity Statement

We believe diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation at the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. We value the contributions of every person and respect the ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinions enrich our work and communities. We believe excellence is promoted through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

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