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29 Apr 2021

Full-Time Director of Development

Earth Species Project – Posted by [email protected] Anywhere

Earth Species Project

Job Description

The Earth Species Project (ESP) is a nonprofit dedicated to decoding animal communication and translating non-human language.

We work with biologists and machine learning researchers, including luminaries from Cornell, Imperial College of London, Simons Institute, University of Oxford, MIT, UC Davis, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the Internet Archive, and the Jane Goodall Institute.

We have the honor to be supported by some of the world’s most forward-looking philanthropists and groups, including the Internet Archive, and TED Audacious 2020, as a founding member of Project CETI, a seven-year multi-university collaboration. Our work has been the subject of NPR’s Invisibilia documentary, “Two Heart Beats a Minute” and “How to Talk to Animals” on Wall Street Journal’s The Future of Everything.  

This earth-shot aims to enable every person to more deeply understand our co-inhabitants on Earth and in so doing, to permanently alter human perspective and culture.

We are hiring a Director of Development to spearhead our fundraising efforts.

Purpose of role

The Earth Species Project is seeking a Director of Development to build the fundraising infrastructure and significantly expand the donor portfolio. Our team of researchers is growing as we make significant progress towards decoding animal communication. You would be developing personal communications to engage our major donors throughout the year, increasing all metrics of success, from growing the major donor base, to donor retention and overall revenue.

You will be joining a small and nimble team that seeks to raise $3-4M+ per year in direct donations. The Director of Development will report to the Executive Director, and work alongside the leadership team.

As the Director of Development, you should be a talented communicator and savvy storyteller. You are as good at listening as you are at speaking, and can be exceedingly persuasive, especially in the form of in-person requests. You are a quick study: absorbing the organization’s projects and personnel and describing them persuasively to others. You have the creativity and vision to lead fundraising initiatives of all kinds—from a capital campaign to an intimate dinner or trip with biologists to the field. You are delighted to ask others for all kinds of support. You keep meticulous records of donor interactions, interests and preferences. You have lots of energy, set goals, meet your deadlines and will go all out to get a job done well. No task is too unimportant for you to handle and no challenge is too daunting for you to tackle.

You are excited about the wonder of the natural world, of frontier science, and the transformative potential of speaking cross species.

Development Strategy & Execution

  • Execute a strategic plan for increasing the revenue generated from donors in a portfolio with a concentration on seven+ figure gifts
  • Generate approximately $3-4M per year in sustainable annual revenue, with appropriate increases in each subsequent year
  • Effectively represent, create artifacts, and articulate the work of ESP, presenting a compelling case for support of the organization
  • Meet one-on-one with prospects/donors and coordinate staff and volunteers in the cultivation and solicitation of major gifts prospects
  • Work closely with operations to institutionalize knowledge (e.g., notes, history of contact, dossiers, etc.)
  • Provide direct support to the founders and leadership for donor and sponsor related responsibilities including scheduling meetings with donors, meeting with donors, donor gifts, donor community, and donor communications
  • Informed by staff, stay abreast of changes and innovations in policy, animal research, and artificial intelligence relevant to major donor prospects
  • Draft and edit of proposals, grants, and reports
  • Craft and join bespoke field expeditions for major donors

Required Skills

  • At least 7 years of professional fundraising experience, including at least three years of direct major gifts experience
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and charisma, a high level of comfort with direct donor interaction, including discussions of personal and family finances
  • Strong analytical skills with facility to analyze donor data
  • Well-developed communication skills, including excellent writing ability and public speaking skills
  • Impeccable attention to detail
  • Ability to work with a high degree of autonomy and accountability
  • Memory for names, details, and adept at connecting the dots
  • Strong existing donor network


  • Competitive pay, health insurance, and ample PTO
  • Work with top biologists and conservation luminaries
  • The job is remote, located anywhere in the world. Our team spans the Bay Area, Hawaii, Utah, Miami, and Poland
  • Spend time in the field with the animals we are studying (For example, and as the pandemic allows, kayaking with feeding humpbacks in Alaska; freediving with sperm whales in Tonga; visiting Gelada monkeys in Ethiopia)

The Earth Species Project is a globally distributed team endeavoring to make a global and social impact. Creating a culture  where all can thrive and be their authentic self is essential to our mission. We believe our success depends on our diversity and fostering an inclusive environment that supports creativity and innovation. As an organization we are committed to promoting equity and belonging both in our work and in our workplace environment. We are committed to equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestry, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. We also consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements.

How to Apply

Applications should be submitted here.

Job Categories: Wildlife. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 100,000 and above.

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