Development Director

Position Summary:

The North Carolina Aquarium Society is seeking a Director of Development in its Raleigh, NC office to lead fundraising efforts on behalf of the North Carolina Aquariums.

The N.C. Aquarium Society is a 501c3 nonprofit whose purpose is to support the N.C. Aquariums. Formed in 1986 and based in Raleigh, the Society leads fundraising efforts for the Aquariums’ capital projects and conservation programs, operates gift shops at the Aquarium and Pier locations and manages Aquarium membership programs. 

The N.C. Aquariums at Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores, and Roanoke Island, along with Jennette’s Pier at Nags Head, are among the State’s most popular attractions with 1.3 million annual visitors. Their mission: To inspire an appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments. The Aquariums operate under the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Reporting to the President of the Society and working with the Board of Directors, the Director of Development will create and oversee the implementation of a strategic approach to fundraising. The Director is responsible for identifying, soliciting and stewarding major gift donors; developing strategies to grow the Annual Fund; soliciting planned gifts; creating and managing alternative sponsorship and giving programs; creating and implementing capital campaigns for exhibit projects; planning and implementing fundraising events; overseeing the Society’s marketing efforts and brand enhancement; and managing the Aquarium membership staff and programs to grow membership rosters.

The Director of Development is expected to live and work in the Raleigh, NC metro area, with frequent travel across eastern NC, especially the coastal region.

Job Responsibilities:

• Develops, implements, and monitors progress toward short and long-term fundraising strategies and goals.

• In coordination with the Aquarium Society President, Development Committee and Aquarium Division, oversees the planning and implementation of major gift campaigns and sponsorships, including capital campaigns for facility improvements.

• Coordinates grant-writing efforts to secure funding for projects.

• Oversees membership staff and programs; insures the professional creation and management of membership promotions, dues/benefits plans, web interface, events, renewals, member communications, databases, budget preparation, reporting and other functions associated with a large, robust membership program.

• Plans and conducts an aggressive annual giving program to include business membership initiatives, social media and other communications.

• Oversees a planned giving program aimed at providing long term support.

• Plans and implements marketing efforts for the Aquarium Society using a variety of communication strategies; manages contracted services for public relations, website, communications and branding; oversees the editing and design of the North Carolina Aquarium Society Annual Review; coordinates public relations and marketing efforts with the Aquarium Division.

• Cultivates, tracks and manages relationships with donors through written and verbal communications.

• Sustains effective Board of Directors relations; assists with board meeting planning and logistics.

• Oversees prospect development, including the planning and execution of special events designed to grow donor interest and participation.

• Maintains effective communications with the Board Development Committee including scheduling and managing the committee’s meetings, agendas, minutes and engagement activities.

• Produces a quarterly development report in close coordination with the Development Operations Manager.

• Direct supervision of the Development Operations Manager and the Membership Coordinator including all normal supervisory responsibilities; Direct supervision of any contracted services as needed for capital campaigns, marketing efforts, event planning or other fundraising efforts.

• Performs other related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications:

• A Bachelor's degree (B. A. / B. S.) from a four-year college or university.

• A minimum of five years of experience in non-profit fundraising with a proven track record in major gift development, management of annual funds, planned giving programs, membership programs and grant writing.

• Demonstrated excellence in organizational and managerial skills. High level communication skills, especially in the areas of proposal writing, correspondence, and public speaking.

• Knowledge of fundraising techniques and technologies, particularly major gift fundraising.

• Experience with special events planning and management.

• Possess the skills to work with and motivate staff, board members and other volunteers.

• Have the desire to get out of the office and build external relationships.

• Exhibit personal characteristics to effectively and persuasively engage with a wide variety of individuals, including high-wealth donors, legislators, and civic and community leaders.

• Be a “self-starter” and goal driven to initiate donor visits and fundraising calls.

• Be organized, detail-oriented and exhibit “follow through” on tasks and goals.

• Display a positive attitude, show concern for people and community, demonstrate presence, self-confidence, common sense and good listening ability.

How to Apply 

Interested candidates who meet required qualifications should submit resume and cover letter to:  [email protected].  

Compensation: Commensurate with experience; competitive benefits available.

The North Carolina Aquarium Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

 For more information about the North Carolina Aquarium Society and this opening, please visit our website at 

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