Senior Director of Development

director of deelopment

Send Nominations or Cover Letter and Résumé to: Donna Russell | Senior Consultant | 857-445-4927 | [email protected]

About Climate Nexus

Climate Nexus was formed in 2011 to change the national dialogue on climate change. At the time there was very little appetite in the United States to act on global warming, due to weak public understanding of the threat, media coverage that was out of step with the science and characterized by both sidesism and a false debate about whether climate change was occurring, driven by misinformation from fossil fuel companies and their political allies. 

Over the past decade, Climate Nexus, with its network of partners, has moved the public debate beyond  whether climate change is happening toward how we strengthen commitments to climate action. Climate  Nexus has helped alter the public will for action on climate change, which has soared, reshaping U.S.  politics and policy. Climate Nexus has an $12 million budget with a trajectory to grow to $15 million over the  next five years. 

  • Supporting Organizations and Building Partnerships: Climate Nexus, by design, sits at the  nexus of the many organizations and people who work on climate change. Climate Nexus provides  pro bono support to organizations that work on climate change and clean energy, helping them to  identify, target, and reach audiences with content that connects to their worldview and values.  
  • Informing the Media: Climate Nexus leverages its subject expertise and connections, often getting  the news before the media. Reporters rely on Climate Nexus for breaking news and deeper feature  stories, fact-checking the science, and connecting them to the best spokespeople. They count on  Climate Nexus to deliver swiftly, accurately, and with integrity.
  • Producing Cutting-Edge Content: Climate Nexus has more than 40 experienced staff members, including former journalists, campaigners, and experts on climate science,  economics, policy, and politics and employs pollsters, digital marketers, and video producers. This allows Climate Nexus to create content, filling gaps in media coverage, projecting trends, and identifying issues of importance. Climate Nexus’ in-house news service, Nexus  Media, reaches millions of people a month through its website, social media channels, and commercial journalism partnerships.
  • Innovative Digital Communications: Climate Nexus is meeting people where they get their news,  amplifying the content of trusted mainstream outlets and promoting original content. This puts into  practice the constantly evolving tactics of digital media and brings persuasive content direct to the  social feeds of targeted audiences. 
  • Listening to the People: Climate Nexus has its own in-house polling, data science, and market  research capacity that allows it to understand audiences’ worldviews and values and to conduct  polls for the organizations it serves, including two dozen unique clients.  
  • Influencing and Empowering Political Leaders: Climate Nexus regularly briefs members of  Congress and their staff on its latest public opinion research, which shows strong voter support for  climate action. Climate Nexus also works with partners — from advocates and local governments to  trade associations and scientists — to arm them with data, hone their pitches to the Hill, and  increase their impact. 

The Role 

Climate Nexus is seeking its first full-time Senior Director of Development. The SDD will be charged with  advancing the mission by increasing the level of involvement and philanthropic commitment from  foundations and individuals. This position will be responsible for identifying, cultivating, and soliciting  significant philanthropic gifts, cultivating prospects, and stewarding donors — working closely with executive  and senior staff — using moves management. The SDD will build on the strong base of funding and create  a robust development program. 


  • Strengthen and expand prospect and donor engagement strategies to broaden the scope of  foundation support. 
  • Build a robust major gifts program engaging individual philanthropists of high net worth dedicated to  impacting climate change. 
  • Maintain and grow a portfolio of 150-plus donors; create new opportunities for donor cultivation and  stewardship. 
  • Develop pre-meeting strategies and provide guidance to staff and peers in advance of donor meetings  to ensure maximum engagement. 
  • Partner with the team to engage a minimum of six to eight meaningful donor contacts and an average  of two solicitations per month. 
  • Conduct ongoing prospect research to expand the donor pool, diversify funding streams, and create  and update donor strategies. 
  • Engage with the Donor Advisory Group members, in coordination with leadership, to identify known  prospects linked to each member to introduce and engage new prospects to Climate Nexus. Serve as the central hub of fundraising and development efforts across the team.
  • Provide ongoing training and support to Climate Nexus senior staff working with donors to guide  moves management and deepen engagement with high-level donors, cultivate prospective donors,  increase engagement with current donors, and revitalize past donors. 
  • Prepare and review letters of intent, proposals, and other donor-related materials as needed. Track appropriate follow-up after meetings in a timely manner, including post-event follow-up, thank  you letters, and responses to special requests from prospects. 
  • Collaborate with the Director of Finance, as well as other senior members of staff, on proposal  budgets and development of the yearly revenue strategy aligned with the operating budget.  Ensure that fundraising data is entered into the CRM HubSpot, working with a data entry assistant. Stay abreast of philanthropy trends and issues affecting established interest areas of Climate Nexus. Create and maintain the fundraising calendar, including renewals, new prospects, and reporting  deadlines. Coordinate materials with contact managers, finance, and fiscal sponsor. 

Required Qualifications: 

  • At least eight to 10 years of major gift and institutional fundraising experience with demonstrated  success in personal solicitations of $100,000 and above. 
  • Ability to identify and engage high-net-worth individual donor prospects and move them through the  gift cycle. 
  • Able to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward prospects and donors. 
  • Experience building new donor programs, identifying giving opportunities and thinking creatively to  establish matches between donors and Climate Nexus’ programs and funding priorities. Excellent verbal, written communication, and public speaking skills. 
  • Ability to engage and support volunteer leadership with their efforts in fundraising, consultation, and  advocacy. 
  • Exceptional organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple priorities. 
  • Experience managing up, collaborating with team members, and taking initiative with minimal  supervision. 
  • Ability to grasp and articulate complex programs in a way that meets the interests and passions of  donors. 
  • Unquestionable integrity and commitment to professional ethics, and the ability to responsibly handle  sensitive and confidential information with discretion. 

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Skill in successfully managing multiple projects on tight deadlines and under pressure in a dynamic  and open environment. 
  • Knowledge of and experience with environmental and climate change issues. Experience with HubSpot or other fundraising tracking software. 
  • Comfort with G-suite, Slack, and other office software.

Location is flexible. Climate Nexus has offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City although our staff is  currently fully remote. Remote candidates will be considered, although occasional travel to our New York or  D.C. offices will be required when it is safe. 

Climate Nexus is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace and considers qualified applicants for  employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity,  military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.