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20 Apr 2021

Full-Time Development Associate—Individual Giving

The Wetlands Initiative – Posted by mpetrosino Chicago, Illinois, United States

Job Description

The Wetlands Initiative seeks to bring about a world with plentiful healthy wetlands improving water quality, climate, biodiversity, and human well-being. To make that vision a reality, TWI designs, restores, and creates wetlands. You can learn more about our mission and growth here:


The Wetlands Initiative seeks a Development Associate who  is passionate about the environment and interested in using their fundraising skills on behalf of a rapidly growing nonprofit. The Development Associate will be part of a small, collaborative fundraising and communications team that supports TWI’s regional ecological restoration projects. This 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 enjoy working in an office; 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.
  • Build and maintain donor relationships with those contributing through workplace giving programs or third-party portals.
  • 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.
  • Perform regular reviews of giving activity with accounting staff.
  • 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.
  • Passion for conservation and the environment.
  • Strong communication skills both written and verbal.
  • Solid organizational skills, and user skills with office software including word processing, spreadsheet, and database programs.

How to Apply

Submit a resume, brief cover letter, and 2-3 references at

Job Categories: Conservation. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 40,000 - 60,000.

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