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Director of Development

Submission deadline: April 14, 2014

LightHawk seeks to inspire and encourage environmental action through the unique perspective of flight by using passionate volunteer pilots and aviation. Founded as a non-profit in 1979, LightHawk’s 12-person staff mobilizes aircraft and donated services of over 200 volunteer pilots to help protect wildlands, wildlife, fresh water and ocean habitats throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America.


We are looking for an energetic, results-oriented Director of Development to lead all aspects of fundraising strategy and implementation. This is a full-time, home office-based position with benefits. You must be able to travel conveniently to the Denver area, and we will give strong preference to candidates living in Denver or the Front-Range area.

As a member of LightHawk’s Executive Management Team, you will lead a 2-person Development and Communications staff and work directly for the Executive Director.  This job is about creating, managing and participating in your own campaigns and programs with a passionate team.

You should be passionate about the analytical side -- developing marketing and fundraising strategies, campaigns, metrics and goals. However, you must have an outgoing personality and an equal passion for cultivating donors and asking for their support – both individually, and in cooperation with the Executive Director. Our internal team culture is a collaborative platform from which you can build financial support by creating compelling narratives about LightHawk’s work for constituents, supporters, and the media.

You will be right at home in LightHawk’s organizational culture if you:

  • Are self-directed, and enjoy the self-sufficiency of a home office – while valuing collaboration with your colleagues.
  • Are an agile, creative, analytical problem solver with a focus on concrete results.
  • Demonstrate personal excellence, and enjoy seeing others achieve it as well.
  • Believe strongly in LightHawk’s mission to advance conservation through the aerial perspective. What we do is more than just a job; it is a calling.

You will be joining a fiscally stable organization with an accumulated one-year operating reserve and a 3-star Charity Navigator rating. We emphasize traditional major gift and foundation philanthropy along with emerging corporate and strategic partnerships and a technology-related earned income stream.


  • 5+ years of development experience in multi-person departments.
  • Bachelor’s degree (minimum), advanced degree (preferred).
  • Track record of successful relationship building and personal fundraising with annual fund, major donors, and organizations.
  • Experience with effective fundraising campaign development and management.
  • Familiarity with the local philanthropic community.
  • Superb verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills and flawless attention to detail.
  • Self-motivated and highly organized, with the ability to manage responsibilities independently while working with a small, tight-knit staff.
  • Strong leadership skills and a collaborative spirit.
  • Experience with social media as a tool to raise awareness and generate income.
  • Proficiency with Word, Excel, and experience with web-based software.
  • Previous experience with sophisticated information technology systems is a plus.
  • Travel flexibility for LightHawk meetings as well as donor cultivation and stewardship. (Approximately ten 3-5 day trips per year.)


Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits include health, dental and vision insurance, employer-contributed 401K plan, vacation, sick and personal days, reasonable flexibility in work schedule, home office expense reimbursement, and hardworking, supportive colleagues. LightHawk is an equal opportunity employer.


Please email your application in the following format to Patti Carter, Development Assistant:


FROM: <your email>

SUBJECT:  <your name> -- Director of Development

BODY: Leave blank.


This should be a single attached PDF file, named “Lastname Firstname - Director of Development.pdf”, for example:  “Sinatra Frank - Director of Development.pdf”.  The file should include: 

  • An original cover letter including the date you are available to start and the following information:
  • Your interest in the position and the organization;
  • Why you are the ideal candidate for LightHawk; and,
  • How you epitomize the qualities we value in LightHawk staff.
  • A list of three professional references complete with phone number, email address, and an explanation of their relationship to you. We will not contact references without your prior consent.
  • A résumé no longer than (2) pages outlining your educational and professional experience as it relates to this position.
  • Two personal writing samples: (1) a grant proposal, and (2) an individual donor cultivation letter. Maximum of ten pages for writing samples.

Submission deadline: April 14, 2014

We will not consider mailed or faxed submissions, incomplete submissions, nor submissions failing to follow directions.

Please, no calls until contacted by us. We strongly encourage you to review our website before submitting your application.