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Vice President for Development

Department: Development
Reports to: President
Location: Washington, D.C.

Background and Opportunity

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Land Trust Alliance is a $16 million, national conservation organization with 70 staff whose mission is to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America. Land trusts harness three fundamental American values: private initiative, community cooperation and a deep connection to the land, and they created the Alliance over 30 years ago to expand their effectiveness and political strength. Today, the Land Trust Alliance leads a network of 1,700 land trusts with 12,000 staff, 15,000 board members, five million members and more than 50 million acres conserved.  

The Alliance works with Congress to pass tax incentives and funding that help make it possible for landowners to conserve their property. It serves as a university for land conservation that trains the people who do the work to conserve cherished farms, forests, parks and trails. It strengthens community-based land trusts by providing leadership development, training, research, standards, and accreditation services. The Alliance also provides legal strategy and funding to help land trusts defend conserved land from legal attacks and ensures that the land stays protected forever. To build broad public support for land conservation, the Alliance is now implementing a bold national communications plan.

The Alliance is committed to dramatically increasing the pace and quality of land conservation in America. To meet this challenge, we have launched a $35 million capital campaign and have already secured 75 percent of that goal as we move into the public phase of the campaign. At the same time, the Alliance exceeded all of its annual fundraising goals and has increased individual giving four-fold in recent years. The capital campaign will fund key strategic initiatives and boost our individual giving to a higher level so that those initiatives can be sustained over time.

The staff, board, members and supporters of the Alliance comprise a national non-partisan movement that is marked by its passion, collegiality and professionalism. You will work with a remarkable group of people who are committed to conserving America’s most cherished natural lands. This is an extraordinary opportunity to make a profound difference in the national conservation movement at a critical moment in its history.


The Vice President will manage all of the Alliance’s fundraising and membership activities including individual giving, major gifts, foundations, corporate giving, government partnerships and capital campaigns. Working closely with the Board of Directors, the President, Executive Vice President, COO/CFO, and other senior managers, this position will implement an organization-wide development strategy to successfully complete the current capital campaign and accomplish the organization’s annual fundraising goals. S/he will be a “player/coach,” not only managing the 14 member department, but maintaining his/her own donor portfolio, participating in solicitations, attending events, and coaching and inspiring the rest of the professional and volunteer solicitation team. This will involve frequent and demanding travel throughout the country.  The Vice President will be a seasoned fund-raiser, strong communicator able to articulate the Alliance’s vision and values, and serve as an ambassador for the Alliance with donors, partners and the broader conservation community. In short, the Vice President is a dynamic leader, an effective spokesperson, a skilled manager and an excellent fundraiser.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership, vision and strategic thinking to generate the fundraising needed to advance the mission of the Land Trust Alliance.
  • Bring the current capital campaign to a successful and timely conclusion. Provide hands-on staff leadership for the volunteer Campaign Cabinet and Regional Committees.
  • Manage annual giving, foundation grants, corporate gifts, government partnerships, major gifts, land trust membership and planned giving programs.
  • Work closely with COO/CFO to ensure close coordination with other Alliance departments.
  • Personally manage a portfolio of key individual, foundation and corporate donors.
  • Mentor and support major gift officers and assist in closing key gifts. Lead strategy and prospect review meetings in regional offices.
  • Manage the activities of the Corporate Council.
  • Build enthusiasm, confidence and support from all staff for fundraising activities.
  • Represent the Alliance by speaking at meetings, conferences and events.
  • Provide encouragement to staff, training and opportunities for professional development.

Desired Background and Personal Attributes

  • An undergraduate degree is required; an advanced degree or professional training is considered a plus.
  • Authentic connection to the work and mission of the Land Trust Alliance.
  • A proven and demonstrated level of success in leading fundraising efforts including implementation of capital campaigns or similar initiatives.
  • Extraordinary skill and a demonstrated record of success in making direct asks for support, including all phases of cultivating and soliciting major donors, foundation and private corporations.
  • Intellectual agility and demonstrated ability to think strategically.
  • Entrepreneurial drive and creativity to identify and pursue new opportunities.
  • Demonstrated success as a manager in building a team and achieving fundraising goals.
  • Considerable experience motivating, developing and retaining a professional staff for a growing organization.
  • High energy level and drive for results.
  • Enthusiasm, sense of humor and ability to create a positive work environment.
  • Authenticity and personal integrity.
  • A passion and deep commitment to land conservation and the mission of the Land Trust Alliance.
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Ability to track metrics and be accountable for results.
  • Readiness to travel frequently and stamina to sustain enthusiasm.
  • Experience managing institutional growth and change.
  • Excellent writing, editing and speaking skills. Ability to create an inspirational and persuasive case for the Land Trust Alliance.
  • Strong people skills and the ability to build cooperative relationships with development staff and other managers.

Compensation for the Vice President for Development includes a competitive base salary commensurate with experience and an excellent package of employee and health benefits. The Land Trust Alliance is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability or marital status.

The Land Trust Alliance has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please send your resume, expression of interest, and salary history to Kara Teising, Partner, Nonprofit Executive Search by email.

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