Colorado Nonprofit Association

Philanthropy Director

Palmer Land Conservancy (Palmer) is one of Colorado’s leading nonprofit land conservation organizations and one of the country’s first 100 nationally accredited land trusts through the Land Trust Alliance. Our mission is to protect land and water for the well-being of nature and people. Since 1977, the organization has permanently protected 138,000 acres, including 20 public parks and open spaces, working farms and ranches, wildlife habitat, and scenic views. These are the places where we all live, work, and play.

We are a team of professionals who work with private landowners, as well as local, state, and federal partners, to be a catalyst for community health, resiliency, and prosperity. Through these partnerships, we can achieve a lasting impact on our mission and begin to ignite a culture shift for conservation. We are committed to organizational excellence, valuing our people, diverse backgrounds and experiences, equitable access, and expanding the tools we need to succeed. At Palmer, we believe people ultimately make this work happen. The more a community cares about its land and water resources, the more willpower there is to preserve and protect them. Similarly, the more a community has access to the outdoors the healthier its population is, with a higher quality of life. We believe that connecting people to nature and ensuring the benefits of this work are accessible to everyone is a priority.

Our main office is in downtown Colorado Springs, and we have satellite offices in Pueblo and Salida. More info at palmerland.org.

The Opportunity

The Philanthropy Director will arrive at a time of remarkable growth and opportunity within the organization. Guided by the bold and ambitious goals of its new strategic plan, Land for Life, the organization is relentlessly focused on the urgency of conservation and the need for immediate action. Combined with fiscal strength and a drive for innovation, Palmer is projected to grow 40% over the next three years to achieve its priority land and water conservation outcomes. The Philanthropy Director will play an integral role in resourcing the outcomes of the strategic plan through the management and growth of the organization’s fundraising programs. The Philanthropy Director has the strong potential to advance into a Vice President of Philanthropy position within the next eighteen months. Preference will be given to candidates involved in a multi-million dollar comprehensive campaign.

Position Summary

Joining the External Affairs team and reporting to the Vice President of External Affairs, the Philanthropy Director should possess significant experience in a broad range of fundraising strategies, thrive in a fast-paced entrepreneurial setting, and be skilled at helping donors achieve their conservation goals through giving opportunities that are aligned with the organization’s strategic priorities. This position has three focus areas over the next three years: 

1) grow the annual fund by 110%

2) ensure Palmer grows its membership base from 525 members to 2,000 members

3) develop and execute fundraising strategies at all giving levels.

The Philanthropy Director has one direct report, the Philanthropy Manager, and will collaborate with the full team, including the VP of External Affairs, Communications Manager, and Community Outreach Coordinator to deliver on all objectives. The role may be supported by external campaign and planned giving consulting, as needed. 

Core Responsibilities:

– Create the strategy to effectively manage, build, and steward a portfolio of individual and family donors, foundations, and corporate sponsors.

– Define priority prospects, donors, and sponsors for the organization and then create and manage tailored engagement, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship plans for each. 

– Oversee the enhancement and daily management of Palmer’s donor and prospect research, donor data management, and donor communications to ensure outstanding donor stewardship and inform donor and departmental strategy.

– Lead colleagues, Board, and community volunteers in implementing fundraising plans and donor stewardship programs, including Palmer’s donor member affinity groups (Land Lovers and Millennium Society) and campaign committees to achieve revenue goals.

– Inform outreach programs and public events to optimize donor/sponsor pipeline development in partnership with Palmer’s community engagement team.

– Provide exceptional management and mentorship for direct reports, supporting team effectiveness, efficiency, and enjoyment, including promoting professional development.

– Develop a deep foundation of experience in Palmer’s work through the study of, and participation in, Palmer’s priority initiatives. Regularly attend and support Palmer community and landowner events.

– Serve as an ambassador of Palmer’s work and Palmer’s fundraising program in the organization and in the community through professional networks, public speaking engagements, and event attendance. 

– Continuously seek and explore new opportunities for funding with aligned philanthropic and corporate partners.

– Develop and manage annual budget on both the revenue and expense sides.  

– Develop monthly, quarterly, and annual giving reports and provide strategic analysis and overview for the President & CEO and Board of Trustees.

Qualifications of a Successful Candidate:

– Experience leading and managing a successful fundraising program within a growing and dynamic organization.

– A history of systematically and over time engaging staff and volunteers to achieve ambitious goals through excellent vision, alignment, and execution skills. 

– Proven track record of donor engagement, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship with planned and current gifts of cash and non-cash assets. 

– Strong technical proficiency with CRMs and other donor research tools.

– Ability to optimize resources— time, financial, human, and other resources—and the skill to teach and lead others to doing the same. 

– Deep affinity for, and unwavering commitment to, mission-centric, collaborative, ethical fundraising that is fun, inclusive, and impactful.

– Passion for thinking and working entrepreneurially in a fast-paced environment, including possessing a knack for finding undiscovered opportunities and problem-solving to mutually beneficial outcomes. 

– Desire and ability to effectively communicate to large and small audiences in various formats and settings.

– Travel and extended work hours, including some weekends and evenings, are likely. The ability to traverse steps, uneven surfaces, and non-developed pathways in and outdoors, as well as lifting, bending, and long periods of sitting, may all be required. A valid driver’s license with the ability to drive distances up to 6-8 hours in a single day and after dark is necessary.