Posted 14 Apr
Woodland Park Zoo

Director of Development

Seattle, WA, United States Full Time

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, award-winning Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is famed for pioneering naturalistic exhibits and setting a standard for zoos all over the world.

The zoo is helping to save endangered species in Washington State and around the world. By inspiring visitors and others to learn, care and act, Woodland Park Zoo is making a difference in our planet's future.


A historic regional anchor mobilizing today’s global impact, Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo seeks to answer humanity’s greatest question: How do humans fundamentally change our relationships with nature?

Driven by the visionary leadership of President & CEO Alejandro Grajal, PhD, Woodland Park Zoo is poised to revolutionize our industry with a bold, transformative strategic plan that will undergird successful fundraising programs for global wildlife conservation, science and ecological education, data-driven animal welfare advancements and the innovative embrace of technology to accelerate powerful social change.

The Director of Development will join a fast-paced, forward-thinking fundraising program supported by a cohesive new Advancement division composed of Communications, Marketing, Membership and Public Affairs. Learn more at


The Director of Development has the primary responsibility of providing oversight, strategic leadership and execution of Woodland Park Zoo’s foundational philanthropic divisions major gifts, grants, annual giving, special campaigns and development communications in concert with the Vice President of Development and Chief Advancement Officer. The Director will supervise a minimum of five direct reports, commit to advancing research-based practices and integrating new fundraising platforms as appropriate while facilitating strategies for donor engagement with zoo leadership, select Board members and other VIP donors as appropriate.


Leads, develops and oversees the major gifts, grants and Development communications programs, including oversight and strategic direction on creation and implementation of annual fundraising plans to accelerate Woodland Park Zoo’s overarching goals and brand within a fully integrated Advancement division.

Works with zoo leadership across departments, Board members, volunteers and Advancement colleagues to strategize and implement cultivation, solicitation and stewardship (including donor recognition) plans for major gift, planned giving, foundation and annual giving donors and prospects.

Oversees a robust annual giving program managed by the Annual Giving Officer charged with building and stewarding the pipeline for new major gift donors, growing a strong base of unrestricted annual gifts and developing digital fundraising strategies.

Responsible for a specified group of major and leadership gift prospects.

Coordinates with the Vice President of Development to ensure the growth of the zoo's gift planning program through marketing and recognition efforts, yearly cultivation and stewardship programs and personal contacts with donors and prospects.

Provides staff support for the Board Development Steering committee.

Works closely with all Development staff, including the Information Services and Philanthropic Initiatives team, and Advancement team colleagues to ensure successful integration of the major gifts, grants, planned giving and annual giving program with other Development programs and zoo departments including: Animal Management, Animal Health, and Marketing and Communications.

Oversees the budget development for the Major Gifts, Grants, Planned Giving and Annual Giving programs.

Serves as a member of the External Relations leadership team providing overall leadership and management for the department.

Serves as a contributing member of the Puget Sound community and the zoo’s Senior Leadership team.

Performs other duties as assigned, including strategic oversight of Woodland Park Zoo’s international Travel Program.


This position supervises two major gifts officers, an annual giving officer, two grant and development writers. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Demonstrated ability to execute strategic development objectives.

Multi-functional, well-rounded development fundraising, major gifts, foundations, annual giving and gift planning experience, including campaign experience.

Proven major gifts experience including having raised five- and six-figure gifts.

Experience managing, overseeing and mentoring teams as well as managing budgets.

Ability to work effectively in a team environment, including leading teams in solving problems, setting priorities, meeting deadlines and implementing programs.

Strong proficiency in both written and oral communication skills.

Excellent interpersonal, emotional intelligence and social skills with the ability to work with a diverse community.

Demonstrated research, organization, writing, event-planning and public-speaking skills.

Excellent organizational and problem solving skills.

Passion for wildlife, conservation and education and enthusiastic commitment to zoo’s mission, diversity and Core Values.


Bachelor's (B.A. or B.S.) degree from an accredited four-year college or university; and eight or more years of demonstrated successful fundraising experience in a diversity of fundraising environments. Diversified experience with large and small non-profits is desirable as is an advanced degree.


Valid Washington State Driver’s License


Competent and proficient computer skills, including Microsoft Office programs, databases, spreadsheets, word processing, the internet and email. Knowledge of planned giving software and/or Raiser’s Edge preferred.


Ability to read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and technical journals, financial reports, and legal documents. Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from customers, regulatory agencies, or members of the business community. Ability to write speeches and articles for publication that conform to prescribed style and format. Ability to effectively present information to top management, public groups, and/or boards of directors.


Ability to work with mathematical concepts such as probability and statistical inference. Ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations. Understanding of algebra.


Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions. Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form and deal with several abstract and concrete variables.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to walk; sit; talk or hear; and use hands to finger, handle, or feel. The employee is occasionally required to stand; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; and taste or smell. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to outside weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

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