Vice President, Individual Giving

Wildlife Conservation Society

New York , New York

BACKGROUND

Preserving the habitat of the near-extinct Gorillas; advancing protections for the Amazon Basin, home to the largest continuous rainforest; crushing two million tons of ivory in NYC’s Central Park to build awareness of the threat of elephant poaching – these are a few of the varied and recent accomplishments of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which has been fighting tirelessly for more than a century to save wildlife and wild places worldwide.

Viewed widely as the gold standard in global conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) delivers its impact through a network of programs in 64 countries and five facilities in New York, including the Bronx Zoo. The organization works to protect such species as tigers, gorillas, elephants, whales and many in the United States, including wolverines and caribou. Further, WCS addresses the planetary challenges of climate change, wildlife health, along with balancing the needs of conservation with local livelihoods and natural resource use. Founded over 120 years ago, WCS has more than a century of field-based experience and collaboration with the scientific community, and partnerships with governments and local communities that impacts more than 4 million people annually. It has grown into an organization with a global staff of 3,700 and an overall budget of $271million.

WCS's commitment is long term and its current goal is to conserve the world's largest wild places in 16 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world's biodiversity. Looking forward, the WCS 2020 strategy is an ambitious plan to engage with a rapidly changing world with clearly defined goals and a rigorous focus on measurable impact.

WCS Programs include:

  • Global Conservation Initiatives: WCS has established long-term conservation projects in threatened wild environments worldwide. With a focus on coastal areas and forest land, WCS works in partnership with parks, governments and community groups to protect natural resources and their related biodiversity.
  • Saving Wildlife: WCS program staff study what wildlife need to thrive and invests in protecting the environments that sustain them. Recent efforts have focused on the wellbeing and safety of gorillas and bonobos, tigers and snow leopards, Humpback Whales and dolphins, elephants, and critically endangered turtles and tortoises.
  • Conservation Solutions: WCS partners with the scientific community to advance knowledge and understanding of key issues that impact wildlife, such as climate change and illegal wildlife trade.
  • Building a generation of conservationists: Each year, WCS inspires 1 million+ people to value nature and become advocates of conservation through visits to its network of acclaimed wildlife parks, which include the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, New York AquariumProspect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo

THE POSITION

WCS is hiring a Vice President, Individual Giving (VP) to serve as a partner to and senior strategist for the Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Resources (EVP). This is a unique opportunity for a proven, sophisticated development professional with excellent management experience and a track record of building high-performing teams, to reframe and enhance the individual fundraising effort and ensure the future of one of the world’s premier conservation groups. The Vice President will be responsible for driving the development of the individual giving fundraising strategy and building a high-performing team charged with raising more than $20m+ annually.

The successful candidate will be a senior fundraiser with the vision, technical skill and management experience needed to build a thriving, donor-centric program that includes major gifts, principal gifts, planned giving, and the annual fund and patrons program. The ability to be creative, have a hands-on work and leadership style, and show results will be key to the VP’s success.

This position will be located in New York City and supervise staff in New York and San Francisco.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • In partnership with the EVP and two additional Vice Presidents, develop a strategic plan for the Global Resources (GR) department that showcases WCS as the premier global conservation organization and successfully inspires donors to invest in the mission and work of the organization.
  • Create and direct all aspects of the individual donor effort, including the creation of a comprehensive individual giving plan.
  • Manage, direct and build out a high-functioning individual giving team (in NY and CA), including principal gift officers, major gift officers, planned giving, and the annual fund and patron programs to increase and maximize the revenue from individual donors. Establish new standards of performance and a metrics-based evaluation.
  • Work closely with the EVP to build out a more robust Board, capable of contributing 7 and 8 figure gifts to WCS as well as advancing Board engagement and recruitment.
  • Work with the head of planned giving to develop an effective planned giving program that delivers a robust and reliable stream of planned gift revenue.
  • Refine and improve WCS’s annual fund and patrons’ programs to optimize donor experience, annual revenue, and support pipeline creation.
  • Develop a plan for successfully targeting and securing anchor donors to WCS and use them to inspire additional larger gifts.
  • Work with the Global Resources leadership, President and Program heads to develop an inspiring narrative for investing in “Big Bets” through WCS.
  • Collaborate with other Global Resources VPs to strengthen donor operations (donor communications, events, donor research, data management) and support institutional fundraising efforts as needed.
  • Develop strong relationships with program personnel and effective ways to communicate their work to our donors and prospects, while encouraging collaboration with the Global Resources team.
  • Increase the sophistication and effectiveness of donor engagement and solicitation. Work with individual giving team to build donor-centric cultivation methods that best identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward individual donors; develop effective moves management strategies that harness the many assets of WCS.
  • Provide leadership and mentoring to the individual giving staff; train and supervise a team of front-line fundraisers tasked with securing six, seven and eight-figure gifts.
  • Directly manage a select pool of high net-worth donors; participate in one-on-one cultivations and solicitations with donors.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor's degree required, advanced degree preferred.
  • Minimum 10 years’ progressive fundraising experience in major gifts fundraising, to include 3-5 years at a senior management level with comparable staff and budget responsibilities; ambition as well as a love of fundraising.
  • Excellent management skills, particular experience with large, autonomous teams.
  • Demonstrated ability to raise 7, 8 and potentially 9 figure gifts from individuals.
  • Strong leadership skills, with an entrepreneurial spirit and strong business and management skills; demonstrated ability to inspire and motivate staff, donors, and potential partners a must.
  • Strong analytic and project management skills; demonstrated experience overseeing and executing complex or multiple time-sensitive projects, including meeting financial goals, project deadlines, and coordinating the work of key staff and partners.
  • Ability to succeed in a highly complex organization—strong ability to influence and persuade others.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; outstanding interpersonal skills, judgment, and ability to collaborate with a wide range of colleagues at the local and global levels.
  • Appreciation and knowledge of wildlife and broader conservation history and strategies. Direct experience working with nonprofits working with wildlife and/or conservation is a plus.
  • Willingness and ability to travel.

HOW TO APPLY

Please submit a resume and cover letter to WCSVP@drgnyc.com