Development Director | Sonoma Ecology Center

Sonoma Ecology Center is a 29-year-old nonprofit with a mission to work with our community to identify and lead actions that achieve and sustain ecological health in Sonoma Valley. We are respected throughout the North Bay and beyond for our contributions to important initiatives in land, water, biodiversity, and climate.

Each year, we provide in-depth environmental science instruction to over 1200 students, manage over 4,000 acres of public and private land including Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, the Sonoma Garden Park, raise thousands of native plants and restore critical native habitat, and provide research and technical support on timely issues affecting the region. We have over 25 professional staff and manage numerous large grants and contracts, often in partnership with other nonprofits and agencies that, by working together, significantly leverage our work and impact.



The Development Director will work closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to strategize, plan, structure, implement and manage a comprehensive Development Program integrated with the mission, goals, and activities of Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC). The director position will oversee and engage in donor cultivation and solicitation; be responsible for the organization’s branding, community engagement, and public relations strategies. The development director can articulate the case for financial support effectively so that potential supporters clearly understand the vision and strategy of SEC’s mission and programs.

The Director position will manage a team of three: Community Engagement & Outreach Coordinator, Volunteer & Event Coordinator, and a Development Assistant.


ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (include but are not limited to)  


  • Oversee creation and execution of the Annual Development Plan, including donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship; major gifts; planned giving; business memberships and events.
  • Establish and track revenue targets for each revenue channel.
  • Develop and manage a rolling 2-year calendar of development activities to guide longer-term strategies.
  • Develop the annual department budget; monitor and compare budget to results. Provide reports to the ED and board as needed.
  • Develop and maintain a Business Partners program for sponsorships.
  • Provide Board development training as needed.



  • Implement the cultivation & solicitation strategy for major gift donors. Elements include:
    • Research and identify major gift donor prospects.
    • Develop a donor solicitation strategy for major gift prospects, using metrics to assess progress.
    • Develop and use major donor fundraising and marketing tools.
    • Weekly face-to-face meetings with donors and prospects, including the Executive Director and board members as needed.
    • Facilitate SEC Ambassador Programs – Leadership Council/Emeritus Board.



  • Implement a strategy for event activities internally and externally:
    • Oversight of events from start to finish, including sponsorship and food/wine solicitations, volunteer coordination, budget management, and tracking success metrics.
    • Establish an annual legacy event unique to SEC’s mission



  • Establish and manage an ongoing planned giving program:
    • Production of appropriate policies and guidelines.
  • Identify planned giving prospects.
  • Work closely with ED and board, and select board members to cultivate, steward, and solicit planned giving prospects.
  • Track and measure the effectiveness of messaging and marketing strategies.



  • Responsible for the development database’s integrity and the donor acknowledgment process with the help of a Development Assistant:
    • Develop and maintains database definitions, structures, and procedures.
    • Ensure accuracy of data entry and integrity of all donor information, past and present
    • Process and acknowledges all gifts within three days.
    • Oversee data entry volunteers as needed.



  • Convene regular Community Engagement (CE) team meetings.
  • Oversee the strategic planning, implementation, and administration of Community Engagement programming as it relates to and supports the Annual Development Plan
  • Work with CE team on marketing, communications, outreach, and volunteer recruitment strategies.
  • Review CE outreach materials and events for consistency with Development goals
  • Oversee production of SEC’s annual Impact Report.
  • Collaborate with SEC Program Managers to ensure funders’ community outreach goals are met.



  • Strong commitment to the organization’s mission
  • Demonstrated understanding of accepted principles of charitable giving, especially in the areas of capital campaigns, major gifts, corporate sponsorships, and individual donor cultivation and solicitation
  • Strong leadership skills; ability to perform under pressure and optimize team resources to attain department and organizational goals
  • Fundraising software and tools expertise. Ability to create, generate, analyze and interpret database reports
  • Experience with marketing, communications, public relations
  • Proficient in creating and managing complex budgets
  • Ability to work well as part of a team and comfortably in ambiguous situations
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal skills
  • Strong decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • Detail-oriented, and excellent time management, prioritization, and organizational skills, to manage multiple project schedules and responsibilities in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to speak effectively in public
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite



  • Proficiency in Spanish
  • Foundation relationship management and grant writing experience
  • Utilization of social media tools for community engagement and donor cultivation/solicitation
  • Experience with GiftWorks donor database system



  • Bachelor’s Degree in business, finance, communications, community relations or a closely related discipline
  • minimum of 5 + years related fundraising experience
  • minimum of 2+ years of management experience



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. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands and fingers; handle or feel objects; tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop; kneel; crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell. The employee must occasionally lift and move up to 30 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.

This job primarily operates in an office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets, and fax machines.

This is a full-time position, and general hours of work are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm; however, this position requires evening and weekend work. After successful completion of the 90-day introductory period, your FSLA status will be reviewed.

This position requires frequent local travel, off-site meetings with prospective donors, lunches, evening events, fundraisers, errands, and regular attendance at Manager’s meetings, CET meetings, and Board meetings. One must be flexible in your schedule to accommodate all of these expectations.

One must maintain a current driver’s license and personal auto insurance at all times. One must have a reliable vehicle and a working cell phone.

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

All qualified applicants will be given equal consideration without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding, veteran, military status, genetic information, and marital status or familial status.


After successful completion of the 90-day evaluation period, full-time employees are offered the following:

Eligibility to enroll in one of two Kaiser Permanente health insurance plans, of which, SEC pays 60% of the employee’s premium (not that of dependents), paid holidays, vacation accrual, sick accrual, and the ability to enroll in a self-funded TIAA 403(B) account.

How to Apply:

Please send your cover letter, resume, and three references, to Celina Briggs, Human Resources Specialist,, preferably in one PDF document. No phone calls, please.

If you need assistance in the application process or during the interview process, please contact the Human Resources Department. We will try to provide reasonable accommodations when considered appropriate.

All offers of employment at Sonoma Ecology Center are contingent upon clear results of a thorough background check. Background checks will be conducted on all final candidates and on all employees who are promoted, as deemed necessary. Final candidates must complete a background check authorization form and return it to Human Resources upon request.

A DMV background check is also required for this position.

Classification:                                                                                               Reports to:

Non-exempt                                                                                                  Executive Director

Full-time (40 hours per week)

Wage range: $33-$35 per hour