Development Associate

The Wetlands Initiative - Chicago, IL (30+ days ago)

The Wetlands Initiative

Development Associate—Individual Giving

Are you passionate about the environment and interested in increasing the impact of a rapidly growing nonprofit? Are you ready to take the next step in your fundraising career, and work as a key new component with an experienced team? Then this position might be for you.

The Wetlands Initiative seeks a Development Associate that will be part of a small, collaborative fundraising and communications team that supports TWI’s regional ecological restoration projects. This new full-time position with benefits will provide support to senior staff with a focus on the identification, cultivation, and stewardship strategy for individual donors capable of making gifts to the organization of at least $1,000.

The ideal candidate will have 2+ years’ professional experience in fundraising as well as an engaging personality for interactions with colleagues, donors, and prospects. He/she should be highly skilled at multitasking and managing priorities independently; have strong computer skills including familiarity with donor database software; possess strong communications skills both verbal and written; and demonstrate consistent and close attention to detail. These functions will be carried out mostly during normal office hours and mostly at our downtown Chicago office, but some in-state travel and evening/weekend hours will be required, especially for special events. As the Wetlands Initiative has a small staff and an “all hands on deck” culture where all employees pitch in during major events and initiatives, flexibility and adaptability are key to the position. The Development Associate will report to the Director of Development and Communications.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Develop individualized cultivation/stewardship plans for current and prospective major donors.
  • “Manage up” to the Director of Development and Communications and the President by teeing up personal donor meetings and prompting key donor moves.
  • Coordinate and support the organization’s senior staff members to prepare them for events and donor visits, and for making asks.
  • Work with existing donors including members of the Board of Directors to identify new major prospects; support and encourage board members’ networking and donor-cultivation efforts.
  • Build and continuously refresh prospect lists.
  • Design and carry out donor-recognition steps for major individual donors.
  • Consistently and promptly complete a thank you sequence for all new donors and annual fund donors.
  • Plan small major-donor cultivation events or gatherings.
  • Build and maintain a prospect list based on monitoring major individual gifts made to other conservation organizations in Illinois.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Director of Development and Communications and as required by the organization.

Required qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree, preferably in liberal arts or the humanities.
  • At least 2 years’ full-time professional experience in not-for-profit fundraising.
  • Strong communication skills both written and verbal.
  • Solid organizational skills, and user skills with office software including word processing, spreadsheet, and database programs.

Desired qualifications:

  • Paid and/or volunteer experience at a conservation organization.


This is a full-time position with full benefits including health insurance, 403b retirement plan, and vacation and sick days. Starting salary range is $50,000-$58,000, with room for significant professional growth over time.

The Wetlands Initiative is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, veteran status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or marital status.

Job Type: Full-time

Salary: $50,000.00 to $58,000.00 /year