Deputy Director of Development

Climate and Wildfire Institute Published: January 25, 2024
Bay Area/Sacramento Region, CA
Skill Level
Senior Level, Mid Level
Job Type
Fundraising / Membership
(Number of Job Posting Views: 5)

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The Climate & Wildfire Institute (CWI), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, connects science to public policy and decision-making to accelerate solutions to a fast-changing climate. As a boundary organization, we bring communities and cross-sector leaders together, putting science into action to build climate and wildfire resilience.

Bringing climate and wildfire science to policy and decision-makers speeds the implementation of science-based approaches at the regional and local levels, a critical component to ensuring solutions are practical and accessible to even our more vulnerable communities.


CWI is seeking our first Deputy Director of Development to build and implement our fundraising systems from the ground up for our organization of more than $5 million annual operating budget. Our ideal candidate is an experienced, flexible team player and independent doer who embodies the values of collaborative, courageous leadership. You’ll report directly to the Executive Director and serve as a thought partner to support organizational growth in the coming years. As part of the Leadership Team, you will establish and build CWI’s fundraising capacity and develop realistic revenue goals that can be met or exceeded to ensure CWI’s long-term sustainability. For this position, work in the environmental and/or climate change sector and an understanding of climate change issues is preferable. 

  • LOCATION: Northern California or Nevada - Bay Area/Sacramento Region/Reno/Tahoe area. Some travel required.
  • REPORTS TO:  Executive Director (ED).
  • APPLICATION WINDOW: December 2023-January 19 or until position is filled.
  • AREA:  Northern California or Nevada - Bay Area/Sacramento Region/Reno/Tahoe area. Some travel required. 
  • TYPE OF POSITION: Full-time, permanent, exempt.
  • SALARY + BENEFITS: Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience (range: $120,000-$140,000 per year), with generous benefits package. Benefits include PTO, paid holidays, retirement plan, and medical, vision, and dental coverage. 
  • ANTICIPATED START: Preferably Spring 2024.


The position includes the following primary responsibilities that will create a “runway” for success.

Fund Development Planning + Implementation 

  • In collaboration with the ED, the Leadership Team, and the Board of Directors, you will create and implement the organization’s first high level and comprehensive 1-3 year fund development plan.
  • This will include reviewing and analyzing CWI’s current financial state and intended future state; assessing the organization’s strategic goals and objectives and how those map back to revenue goals; defining the structures and processes needed to set up a streamlined and successful development team; developing, integrating, and refining organizational messages for donor and institutional outreach; and creating an annual calendar of development activities. 

Development of Inclusive Systems and Processes

  • You’ll innovate creative and streamlined systems and processes for successful and efficient fundraising.
  • This will include curating and managing multiple systems to track and retain individual donor and institutional relationships as well as clear communications systems between key leadership and the development team as it grows.
  • Working collaboratively with the team, you will facilitate inclusive decision-making processes and collaboratively test and adjust systems as needed to meet overall needs.

Institutional Giving - Government and Philanthropic Grants

  • With deep knowledge of and potentially connections to the foundation world, you will support the ED in building and maintaining institutional donor relationships. 
  • Familiarity with philanthropic as well as government grant processes - from prospecting to grant writing, grant awards and tracking  - is critical.
  • With the ability to collaboratively manage and construct complex government grant applications, you will ensure grant proposals - potentially developed with other partners - will be submitted and awarded. 

Individual Donor Outreach, Cultivation, and Stewardship

  • Cultivating individual donor relationships will set up the conditions for diversified revenue growth.
  • You will provide ongoing support to the ED in donor outreach strategies, cultivating ongoing relationships and ensuring all donor information is tracked accurately so relationships can be maintained and leveraged.
  • You will serve as the ED’s “guide-by-the-side” in developing new relationships, and supporting her efforts to secure large donations while providing ongoing learning and development resources to the ED, Board, and Leadership Team. 

Strategic Thought Leadership 

  • Your efforts will create the conditions for success that will allow our ED to focus on topline development decisions and relationship-building with potential foundations and donors.
  • A knowledge of ongoing development trends and an understanding of shifts in philanthropic giving will be important in adjusting development strategies over time. 

Board Engagement

  • You will work collaboratively with the ED to present a Development Board report for each Board meeting that highlights development strategy aligned with the organization’s overall mission and goals.
  • As a thought leader, you will work closely with the ED to advocate for short and long-term development decisions that will inform the Board’s understanding of development processes and strategies.
  • You will also lead the effort to establish annual Board contributions and provide the Board with the support needed to leverage their funder connections. 


  • In collaboration with the ED and the Board, you will support the annual budgeting process, including how projects, programs, and operational revenue goals are integrated into a full budget that is attainable.
  • You will track funds over time, and make assessments about how much is to be raised annually, considering what funds have been secured and/or are expected with realistic growth goals. 

Organization Development 

  • An understanding of intersecting components of non-profit and organizational life will be important to collaboratively build and support CWI’s growth over time.
  • This includes a willingness to contribute and support CWI’s organizational growth. 


As the Deputy Director of Development, you must have 8-10 years of proven development experience (preferably in the environmental/climate change space). Concrete evidence of interacting with institutional and individual donors and a track record of securing funds from private foundations and public agencies is required.  

Systems Thinking/Knowledge of External Environment

  • Have a deep understanding of the nonprofit lifecycle and how to create and implement development strategies that will evolve CWI from the start-up phase into ongoing growth and maturity for sustained success. 
  • Have a systems approach to organizational growth - including an understanding of how strategy, structure, process, and culture informs fund development and vice versa. 
  • Understand the foundation environment, the overall development space, and preferably climate change/environmental issues to increase the chance of securing project and operations funding. Have the ability to adjust strategies based on shifts in the external environment. 

Fundraising Management Skills 

  • Have proven fundraising and management skills, including a deep understanding of the processes related to applying for, securing and maintaining philanthropic and government grants. Manage complex government grant processes and write grants as necessary.
  • Have experience hiring, recruiting, and managing a fundraising team.
  • Oversee, monitor, and analyze fundraising data as well as tracking and retention systems and make adjustments as needed. Be detail oriented. 

Creative Risk-Taker

  • Be confident in domain expertise and openly share what does (and doesn’t) need to be developed and implemented; be willing to take risks and challenge traditional thinking or perceived knowledge about fundraising, including being able to identify organizational “blind spots” and offer potential solutions.
  • Have a high level of professional experience in managing ambiguous and complex situations, as well as collaborative, institutional partnerships. 
  • Based on expertise, support CWI’s leadership and Board as necessary about fundraising expectations and accountability.


  • Be a team player, leading from a place of equity and inclusion.
  • Provide proactive collaboration and networking skills across diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Have comfort with and success in cultivating and building donor/philanthropic relationships, with an established process for doing so.


  • Ability to attract and sell CWI’s brand value to donor and foundation prospects and clearly communicate complex programs and impacts.
  • Have excellent grant writing and presentation skills as well as an understanding of how to create compelling messages for potential donors.
  • Have an understanding of and experience with testing key messages with funders (and adjust development communications strategies accordingly).


  • Ease in using Google workspace/G Suite. 
  • Familiarity with project management programs.
  • Proficiency in using donor management software and CRM systems.


  • Please click "Apply" on Company Website" below to submit cover letter, resume, and references. 
    • Cover letter that illustrates an overall understanding of fund development and implementation and how your experience would benefit CWI
    • Resume that includes tangible accomplishments and impact
    • Three references required (please provide name, email address, and phone number)

Note: If you are selected for the final candidate pool, we will require work samples, including but not limited to: writing samples; a sample fund development plan; and samples of funder pitches. 

  • All letters will be treated as confidential per California state law.
  • Applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States. CWI will not sponsor applicants for work visas at this time.
  • Any questions? Feel free to reach out at

CWI is dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive, and authentic workplace. We encourage and welcome applicants who are BIPOC and LGBTQIA+. Successful candidates will demonstrate evidence of a commitment to advancing DEI both internally and with our partners and funders. If you’re excited about this position but are uncertain if your experience aligns with the full qualifications listed above, we still encourage you to apply or reach out to discuss. You might just have the qualities we’re looking for! 

CWI is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. 

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!

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