Director of Development

Bald Head Island Conservancy Published: May 26, 2023
Bald Head Island, NC
Skill Level
Mid Level
Job Type
Fundraising / Membership

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About to celebrate its 40th anniversary, the The Bald Head Island Conservancy (Conservancy) is an environmental non-profit organization that champions the sustainability of barrier islands through research and education, including a well-known, well-loved Sea Turtle Protection Program.

Bald Head Island is a barrier island on the southeast North Carolina coast accessible only via ferry from Southport, NC. In addition to 8 miles of sandy dunes and beaches, this barrier island includes nearly 200 acres of protected maritime forest along with a vibrant salt marsh ecosystem. The island has approximately 220 permanent residents but welcomes up to 10,000 visitors per week during the summer season. 

The Opportunity

The Bald Head Island Conservancy (Conservancy) seeks a new Director of Development to join its team of passionate professionals, interns, and volunteers in pursuing our mission to Discover, Learn, Conserve, and Preserve in an unmatched setting of maritime forest, salt marsh, and beaches on Bald Head Island, North Carolina.

The Director of Development plans and carries out a comprehensive fundraising program, cultivates donor relations, and organizes fundraising events/engagements on Bald Head Island (BHI) and in locations across the region where BHI visitors reside. The ideal candidate is team-oriented, has five or more years of successful non-profit fundraising experience, and will bring a strong commitment to growing philanthropy that extends the Conservancy’s reach on BHI and throughout the region. The next development leader will have entrepreneurial vision, the energy and experience to engage local communities, as well as an excitement for promoting the Conservancy’s coastal conservation mission.

Position Overview

  • The Director of Development reports to the Executive Director, supervises a Marketing Coordinator and Environmental Content Creator and is an integral part of the 7-member staff executive team (Executive Director; Chief Scientist; Campus & Facilities Manager; Senior Educator; Finance Manager; Director of Retail Operations). This team collectively manages another 10 permanent staff members as well as 20+ seasonal staff and interns, and several dozen volunteers.
  • This position oversees initiatives to strengthen the financial growth and stability of the Conservancy by working with the Executive Director to establish goals and implementation plans that support a comprehensive fundraising program and by participating in organizational strategic planning and decision-making as a member of the executive team. Significant work has been done to organize fundraising records and establish annual development planning, yet there is more to accomplish. Knowledge and use of current best practices from the field of philanthropy is expected.
  • The Director of Development generates and maintains active, collaborative relationships with board members, donors, staff colleagues, volunteers and key members of the Bald Head Island and Brunswick County communities. Working with the Marketing Coordinator and Environmental Content Creator, the Director of Development ensures that the Conservancy’s communications plan supports and enhances all areas of the organization. The new leader must be an energetic and dedicated networker who enjoys communicating the Conservancy’s story to groups of all sizes and in written materials.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Work closely with Executive Director on fundraising goals and communicating the Conservancy’s mission.
  • Supervise a Marketing Coordinator, Environmental Content Creator, and seasonal interns.
  • Lead a team effort to create and execute major programmatic and capital fundraising initiatives (including campus expansion and 40th anniversary events).
  • Work closely with the Board of Directors’ Development Committee on fundraising activities.
  • Develop, execute, and manage the strategies of a comprehensive fundraising program including annual giving, major and planned giving, membership program, special events, and capital projects.
  • Create, cultivate and steward donor relationships with individuals, foundations and corporations, with an emphasis on developing new donors and fostering loyalty and positive engagement with existing supporters.
  • Manage a donor database (currently eTapestry) to ensure complete and accurate fundraising records, timely acknowledgements, and useful reports.
  • Organize on- and off-island “neighborhood” fundraising events/engagements.
  • Assist the annual budgeting process by recommending fundraising budgets and goals.
  • Participate occasionally in education and outreach activities with Conservancy staff.

Position Qualifications

The Bald Head Island Conservancy is a great fit for professionals who believe in the Conservancy’s mission and its commitment to the sustainability of barrier islands through environmental research and stewardship. Candidates should possess strong personal drive and motivation, demonstrate exemplary professional behavior and values, and be resourceful, responsible, and collaborative.

Additional skills and characteristics include:

  • Minimum 5 years of proven non-profit fundraising experience and success.
  • Strong passion for the mission and goals of the Bald Head Island Conservancy and appreciation for the splendor of southeastern US coastal environments.
  • Proven leadership in fundraising activities including membership development, special events and annual giving.
  • Experience leading major-gifts fundraising and familiarity with planned giving.
  • Strong knowledge of non-profit fundraising strategies and best practices for donor cultivation, solicitation, stewardship, and event planning.
  • Working knowledge of private foundations and grant writing.
  • Experience developing and managing business/corporate sponsorships.
  • Able to build and maintain long-term relationships with current and potential donors.
  • Active networker who inspires, educates, and moves people to act.
  • Proficiency with fundraising databases (e.g., eTapestry).
  • Articulate, professional, positive attitude.
  • Creative, strategic thinker with strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Provide monthly development dashboard reports for the Executive Director and Board, continuously assessing progress towards goals.
  • Travel as needed, including a ferry commute several days per week to BHI.
  • Demonstrated excellence in organizational and managerial skills.
  • Ability to work effectively with and appreciate people of all backgrounds.
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred.
  • Must be able to work occasionally on nights, weekends, and holidays.

The Location

Bald Head Island is part of the Smith Island Complex in southeastern North Carolina’s Brunswick County bounded by the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean. The Smith Island Complex is nationally renowned for its maritime evergreen forest and extensive dune, beach and marsh communities supporting an abundance of coastal plant and animal species, including nesting sea turtles. The island is accessed only by a 25-minute passenger ferry from the historic mainland town of Southport.

The Village of Bald Head Island has 220+ permanent residents, 1,200 homes, and is a popular vacation destination for thousands of people each year. The Bald Head Woods Coastal Reserve offers nature trails and unparalleled birdwatching. Old Baldy, North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, rises above the trees, marshes and Village to provide panoramic coastal views for visitors who climb to the top. In addition to its maritime history and natural splendor, Bald Head offers visitors activities such as golf, fishing, watersports, spas, and family club experiences.

Salary and Employee Benefits

  • The salary range for this full-time, exempt leadership role is $75,000+ and will be commensurate with the candidate’s competencies and experience. The Conservancy can offer a hybrid work schedule balancing home work with time on the island.
  • The Conservancy also provides a comprehensive benefits package that includes
    • 80% of BCBS health, and 100% of dental, vision and short- and long-term disability insurance
    • SEP IRA with a Conservancy contribution of 7% gross salary after one year of full-time employment
    • Ferry tickets and parking at mainland ferry provided by BHIC and golf carts for on-island transportation
    • Paid vacation leave; 13 paid holidays; 3 paid personal days; parental leave

More About Bald Head Island Conservancy

The Conservancy’s 17 permanent staff members include scientists who collaborate with government agencies and universities on environmental monitoring and research projects related to nesting sea turtles, barrier island sustainability science, and wildlife conservation, all of which assist the Village of Bald Head Island with management decisions. Staff educators conduct programs year-round for regional K-12 schools, Scouts, island visitors, and residents.  The Conservancy campus consists of the Barrier Island Study Center with research labs and offices, Fleming Education building with live animals and education exhibits, Turtle Central gift shop, and a dormitory for seasonal interns and visiting researchers/educators.  Conservancy staff live on the mainland and commute by ferry to and from the island, which provides many opportunities to build relationships and community during the 25-minute ride. Staff work on-island 3 to 5 days per week, with provisions for at-home telecommuting as required.

The Conservancy’s 2022-2023 annual budget is $2.2 million with diverse revenue sources comprising retail sales (47%), development funds [annual fund/gifts (12%), membership (5%), sponsorships (3%), events (9%)], foundation grants (6%), conservation contracts and research grants (11%), education programs (5%), and other (2%).  A highly engaged 18-member Board of Directors oversees the operations of the organization and assists with financial, outreach, and fundraising activities.

The Conservancy’s operations activities have successfully followed a strategic plan developed in 2019. A new planning process is anticipated for Fall 2023 and will include guidance for a major campus reimagination plan to be implemented over the next 5 to 10 years. Visit the Conservancy’s website at to learn much more about this dynamic organization.

To Apply

  • Please click "Apply" below to email, in one document, a cover letter (including how you learned about this opportunity) and your resume to Chris Shank, Executive Director.
  • Applications will be reviewed beginning March 17, 2023 and will be accepted until the position is filled. Anticipated start date is June/July 2023.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Conservancy actively welcomes and encourages diversity in all hiring decisions. It provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard for race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, genetic information, or veteran status.  

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