Philanthropy Associate

Development Washington, District Of Columbia





JOB TITLE:  Philanthropy Associate

CLASSIFICATION: Professional 2

SALARY: $47,000 - $52,000

FLSA:  Exempt

DEPARTMENT:  Development

LOCATION: Washington, DC

REPORTS TO: Senior Director, Philanthropy

LAST REVISED:  April 2022



The Philanthropy Associate is responsible for managing projects within the Development department in support of major gifts fundraising. Working directly with the Major Gifts team, this position will play a key role in the development and growth of Defenders’ major gift efforts and ensures that all stakeholders are engaged. Key tasks include managing a small mid-level portfolio, making regular stewardship calls and sending emails, creating visit briefs and call sheets, entering and maintaining information in the database, supporting various stewardship and cultivation efforts, and coordinating special projects as needed.



Major Gifts Donor Relations  

  •           Supports cultivation, stewardship and solicitation strategies, major donor events planning and major donor communications and collateral. 
  •           Makes thank you calls to mid-level donors as directed.  
  •           Sends thank you emails to low dollar high capacity donors as directed.
  •           Manages a small portfolio of strategic mid-level donors. 
  •           Maintains major gift-related tracking documents. 
  •           Ensures accuracy of donor records by entering, uploading and updating donor or prospect information and interactions into the database.  
  •           Creates call sheets, visit briefings and prepares trip materials for major gift directors.  
  •           In coordination with colleagues across the department, supports the development and execution of donor relations activities, including high-touch cultivation mailings, appeals, and stewardship activities.  
  •           Provides timely and accurate donor lists for major gifts activities, with the support of database colleagues as needed. 
  •           Maintains and regularly updates a Development team library of Defenders’ materials, such as program-related factsheets and donor gifts, working with the Publications department to create or update materials and with Marketing to order gifts. 
  •           Participates directly in donor outreach and engagement, including phone calls, proposal or report submission, etc., as appropriate. 
  •           Shepherds expense reports and assists with travel arrangements and itineraries for major gift activities, as needed.  
  •           Complete special projects as assigned. 



  •           Assists major gift directors in managing and updating their portfolios through documentation, reporting and database management.  
  •           Maintains informational materials for donors such as program-related factsheets, proposals and reports; proactively look for gaps in material content. 
  •           Supports the vice president of philanthropy and directors of philanthropy in all aspects of stewardship and solicitation; schedule and participate in key meetings and planning sessions as needed. 
  •           Maintains the highest level of confidentiality related to donor/prospect information. 
  •           Provides additional support for revenue and acknowledgment processing, especially during periods experiencing a high volume of donations. 
  •           Provides supplemental support for major gifts research when necessary. 
  •           Performs other duties as assigned. 




Education: Bachelors (B.A./B.S.) degree or equivalent

Experience: 4 years of relevant experience

An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for All Defenders

  1. Personal interest in and commitment to conservation;
  2. Ability and willingness to model the tenets of Defenders’ Commitment Statement: Mission, Transparency, Respect & Trust, Appreciation, Empowerment & Accountability, Professional Growth, Fairness, Diversity, Safety, Work/Life Balance, and Pride;
  3. Ability to approach work in a collaborative and inclusive style, with a solutions-oriented manner;
  4. Ability to work independently as needed, problem solve, and exercise sound decision- making skills in fluid environments to meet job expectations and achieve goals in an accurate and timely manner;
  5. Ability to represent Defenders to external entities and the public in a professional manner while exercising tact, diplomacy, and discretion;
  6. Demonstrates a willingness and ability to productively engage and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives;
  7. Ability to clearly and accurately communicate with internal and external stakeholders, in both verbal and written forms;
  8. Ability to effectively navigate through change and maintain flexibility;
  9. Ability to effectively address and manage conflict;
  10. Working knowledge of Microsoft Outlook and Word.


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Professional 2



  1. Ability to accurately maintain electronic and physical records
  2. Anticipate and meet the needs of internal and/or external stakeholders delivering excellent service


  1. Ability to clearly and accurately communicate with internal and external stakeholders
  2. Ability to articulate complex ideas clearly, accurately and concisely
  3. Ability to convey effective messages to broad and diverse constituencies
  4. Ability and willingness to effectively represent Defenders’ interests in external environments
  5. Ability to exert influence and build consensus with internal and external stakeholders

Critical Thinking

  1. Ability to handle sensitive and confidential matters with discretion
  2. Strong research and data analysis skills, including ability to gather and synthesize information from multiple sources to produce high quality work products in a consistent, efficient, accurate, and timely manner
  3. Creative problem-solving and troubleshooting skills with willingness to experiment and innovate new methods.
  4. Facilitate and promote the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies into Defenders’ work.

Project Management

  1. Ability to work well under pressure and tight deadlines while balancing competing assignments
  2. Ability to remain flexible and adaptable to shifting priorities while remaining responsive to urgent requests
  3. Ability to take ownership of a project or process and to use problem solving skills to resolve issues
  4. Ability to manage deadlines on multiple cross-functional projects in a dynamic environment
  5. Demonstrated ability in managing competing interests on complex issues

Conservation Knowledge

  1. Familiarity with Defenders’ legal, scientific, and/or political issues
  2. Familiarity with national and regional social, political and ecological landscapes

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Philanthropy Associate

  • Strong technological aptitude with advanced skills using Microsoft Suite and database software.
  • Detail-oriented with strong organizational skills and ability to manage multiple projects independently.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including ability to communicate effectively and professionally with executive staff and board members and to build productive relationships with high net worth donors and major gifts prospects.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with high degree of autonomy and accountability and to be a team player.
  • Commitment to goal attainment, high degree of initiative, and ability to motivate and engage constituents and colleagues.
  • Strong interest in development and/or familiarity with environmental philanthropic circles.



Physical Activities

Check all that apply


(N)Never, (O)Occasionally or (C)Constantly

Ascending or descending ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles and the like.


Moving self in different positions to accomplish tasks in various environments including tight and confined spaces.


Remaining in a stationary position, often standing or sitting for prolonged periods.


Moving about to accomplish tasks or moving from one worksite to another.


Adjusting or moving objects up to __ pounds in all directions.


Communicating with others to exchange information.


Repeating motions that may include the wrists, hands and/or fingers.


Operating machinery and/or power tools.


Operating motor vehicles or heavy equipment.


Assessing the accuracy, neatness and thoroughness of the work assigned.



Environmental Conditions

Check all that apply


(N)Never, (O)Occasionally or (C)Constantly

Low temperatures.


High temperatures.


Outdoor elements such as precipitation and wind.


Noisy environments.


Hazardous conditions.


Poor ventilation.


Small and/or enclosed spaces.


No adverse environmental conditions expected.



Physical Demands

Check only one


Sedentary work that primarily involves sitting/standing.


Light work that includes moving objects up to 20 pounds.


Medium work that includes moving objects up to 50 pounds.


Heavy work that includes moving objects up to 100 pounds or more.



Visit to apply.


All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.


Defenders requires employees who engage in in-person work activities, including business travel or onsite work, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An applicant (i) who is disabled or pregnant or who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination or (ii) who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice may request an exemption from this vaccination policy. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with applicable law. Any medical information concerning an applicant's disability will be treated as a confidential medical record in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws. 

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, creed, religion, sex national origin, ethnicity, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, personal appearance, family/parental status, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristic in all personnel actions.


Please be advised this position is union-eligible.