Development Director

Friends of the Forest Preserves

Chicago, Illinois

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $110,000-$120,000 per year
Required Experience 7+ years

Development Director

Reports to: Executive Director

Start date: June 3, 2024 or until filled

Salary range: $110,000 to $120,000

Schedule: Full-time, four days, 32 hours per week


Mission: We unite people to protect, promote, and care for the forest preserves in Cook County.

Our community advocates for the responsible management of the nearly 70,000 acres of forest preserves in Cook County through advocacy, engagement, and stewardship of the land. Some of the best natural areas in Illinois are right here in Cook County, right outside your urban backdoor. Join our team and help us ensure they are here for the next 100 years.

Friends is an organization that gets things done with our members, volunteers, staff, board, and partners. We believe in work-life balance and are here for the marathon, not the sprint (not that we don’t sprint on a regular basis).

Operating Budget: $3,750,000

Summary: Friends of the Forest Preserves seeks an experienced and enthusiastic development professional to serve as Development Director for our award-winning conservation organization. The Development Director will be responsible for leading and building the Development Department in collaboration with the Executive, Finance and Administration, and Program Directors. This new Director position will lead all development efforts in collaboration with the Executive Director, other directors, and staff, including corporate, events, individual, government, and earned income sources. The Director will manage two current employees while working to build the team as needed.  

The focus of this position will be to engage our 2,500 member base through communication and events in order to grow our nascent major donor program. The ideal candidate will be a collaborative team player,  committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a passion for conservation. 


  • Maintain and elevate culture of philanthropy with staff, board, and volunteers
  • Develop major gifts strategy to increase leadership and multi-year gifts, including consistent donor prospecting, moves management, and facilitating meetings and engagement events 
  • Focus team and develop program on donor engagement, top prospects, and moves management
  • Increase board engagement and support development committee
  • Recruit, manage, train, supervise, and support professional development of Grants Manager, Development Operations Manager, Events Contractor, and new hires as needed
  • Oversee fundraising events and secure sponsorships
  • Develop and implement series of member cultivation events
  • Ensure membership program engages diversity of people
  • Serve as member of senior management team and collaborate with Executive, Program, and Finance and Administration Directors to set direction and strategy for organization
  • Draft and manage departmental budget
  • Other organizational needs as required


  • Highly interested and committed to open space preservation and conservation
  • Minimum of 8 years experience in development, individual giving expertise preferred, with minimum of 4 years in leadership role
  • Experience and expertise in collaboratively managing team of direct reports
  • Ability to manage up by supporting Executive Director, Board of Directors, and other volunteers in fundraising
  • Self motivated, eager, and dependable
  • Excellent verbal, written, administrative, and organizational skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and experience working as team player with people of different races, ages, and backgrounds
  • Dedication to supporting and empowering direct reports, while holding them accountable to Friends’ goals and values
  • Access to car and ability to drive occasionally mainly within Cook County
  • Availability on nights and weekends as needed


  • 100% coverage for individual of health and dental insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, and $100,000 of life insurance
  • 403b retirement account with 3% match starting at 1 year of employment
  • 4 weeks of vacation
  • 2 weeks of sick time
  • 11 paid holidays

To apply: Submit cover letter, resume, and two references via the Friends’ website at https://fotfp.org/who-we-are/jobs/. Incomplete applications may not be considered. Please NO calls, faxes, office visits, or emails.

Friends of the Forest Preserves strongly encourages people of all identities to apply. We strive to include people of every race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, and/or sexual orientation. Friends is an equal opportunity employer, in addition to observing all legal protections of special status, promoting diversity in the conservation community.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Admin & Leadership