Chief Development Officer

Sustainable Conservation
San Francisco, CA



Sustainable Conservation helps California thrive by uniting people to solve the toughest challenges facing our land, air, and water. They bring together business, landowners and government to steward the resources that we all depend on in ways that make economic sense. Because they know that common ground is California’s most important resource.




Founded in 1993, Sustainable Conservation’s founders challenged conventional wisdom at the time by asking a simple, but bold question: “What if protecting the environment could also be good for business?” Not your typical environmentalists, Sustainable Conservation’s visionary founders hailed from the corporate world. Concerned by the time, money and goodwill lost to avoidable courtroom and political battles, they considered the private sector an untapped ally in solving California’s pressing environmental challenges. Working with business – not against it – they knew California could achieve true sustainability, balancing both environmental and economic needs.


Today, Sustainable Conservation has an impressive record of achievements; one of these many achievements is legislation that phases out copper from vehicle brake pads, making the state’s urban waterways safer for salmon and other species, saving cities billions of dollars in potential environmental clean-up costs, and enabling manufacturers to provide safe, reliable brakes for drivers.


Sustainable Conservation has received numerous awards from both public and private institutions, the most recent being the NOAA Excellence in Habitat Restoration Award in 2018.




Sustainable Conservation seeks a dynamic leader to serve as the Chief Development Officer in leading the organization to its next level of conservation and fiscal success. The leader will build on the organization’s impressive track record and expand Sustainable Conservation’s contributions to conservation throughout California. 


The Chief Development Officer will exercise leadership and management responsibility in developing fundraising strategies to meet ambitious contributed revenue goals and deepen relationships with existing and potential major donors in California. They will function as an organizational leader and highly collaborative member of the senior management team and will hold organizational responsibility for the success of fundraising programs, individual giving, cultivation and special events, corporate giving, and private foundations.


The position will report directly to Sustainable Conservation’s Executive Director, Ashley Boren.


Key Responsibilities




o   Provide leadership, management, and mentoring to development staff; provide guidance on best practices and strategy when needed


o   Partner with the Executive Director, Development staff, and Sustainable Conservation board in order to deliver effective strategies for donors


o   Partner effectively with colleagues to ensure that every donor has an optimal level of interaction with Sustainable Conservation board, leadership and program staff




o   Develop, refine and implement strategies for fundraising that maximize potential giving


o   Direct the work of the Development team in order to implement fundraising programs and donor cultivation opportunities that maximize giving


o   Manage an active portfolio of major donors and prospects by creating and implementing personalized cultivation and stewardship plans and gift requests for each donor within portfolio; assign other donors as appropriate


o   Play a key role in fundraising and ensure Sustainable Conservation’s ability to cultivate and solicit major donors, foundations, and corporations to significantly increase contributions


o   Analyze reports on donor interactions to make strategic decisions to maximize giving opportunities; prepare and present information and progress to Sustainable Conservation’s senior management team, the board, and partners

 Professional Experience/Qualifications



·         Ten or more years of substantial and progressively responsible professional experience, including at least four years of experience supervising professional staff

·         Demonstrated experience overseeing complex or multiple projects through to success, including meeting financial goals and coordinating the work of key staff and partners

·         Demonstrated success in fundraising; experience with major donors, foundations, and corporations; track record of soliciting and closing six-figure gifts with experience in seven-figure gifts a plus


·         Exceptional leadership skills, with an entrepreneurial spirit and strong management skills; demonstrated ability to inspire and motivate staff, board, donors, and potential partners a must

·         Strong strategic and implementation skills; ability to grasp the opportunities and challenges of the organization and the role

  •                Outstanding communicator; excellent speaking, writing and interpersonal skills
  •                Experience understanding a donor database (Donor Perfect preferred) and high comfort level analyzing and applying data to hone strategies and achieve goals


Personal Characteristics:

·         Willingness and ability to travel routinely throughout the region and California, as needed

·         Personal values consistent with the mission of Sustainable Conservation



·         Bachelor’s degree required


A highly competitive compensation and benefits package will be made available to the qualified candidate



Leadership Search Partners is conducting this search on an exclusive basis on behalf of Sustainable Conservation. Interested candidates should apply via email by sending a resume and a letter outlining qualifications as PDF or Word documents to Stacey Konner at, with “Sustainable Conservation CDO” in the subject line.


Inquiries may be made, in confidence, to Search Consultant Scott Staub at

EOE STATEMENT Sustainable Conservation welcomes diversity and is committed to providing equal employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or any other characteristic protected under federal or state law.


LEADERSHIP SEARCH PARTNERS is a search firm focused exclusively on the nonprofit sector. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the firm works with local, national, and international nonprofits to help them hire exceptional senior-level leaders.