Foundation Relations Associate

Development Washington, District Of Columbia




JOB TITLE:  Foundation Relations Associate

CLASSIFICATION: Professional 2

SALARY: $47,000 to $52,000 per year

FLSA:  Exempt

DEPARTMENT:  Development

LOCATION:  Washington, DC

REPORTS TO:  Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations

LAST REVISED:  March 2022


The Foundation Relations Associate plays a key role in Defenders’ foundation fundraising program. The Associate is responsible for writing and editing grant proposals, reports, and other written communications to funders and helping to manage and grow the portfolio of foundation donors and prospects, while overseeing general Foundation operations including: internal reporting and submission tracking, database management, cultivation mailings, restricted revenue tracking and basic prospect research.


Grant Proposals and Reports

  • Work with Defenders’ program and senior staff and Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations to develop compelling proposals, concept papers, letters of inquiry, and reports describing a variety of conservation initiatives for private and corporate foundations and government agencies.
  • Work with program and Finance staff to prepare financial information, including grant budgets, invoices and financial reports, for foundation donors and prospects.
  • Participate in select program planning sessions.

Grants Management

  • Monitor and communicate proposal and reporting deadlines to Program and Finance departments.
  • Work with Vice President of Development, Finance and Program departments to communicate and monitor grant allocations and expenditures.
  • Monitor and report on restricted and unrestricted revenue.

Fundraising Strategies and Prospect Research

  • Develop and implement fundraising strategies for a small portfolio of foundation donors and prospects, with lead responsibility for general species and habitat-specific proposals.
  • Identify prospects for specific programs and conduct high-level research and analysis of foundation funding trends as part of fundraising strategy development.
  • Ensure that funding proposals reflect Defenders’ current program goals and strategic plan.


  • Enter foundation interactions in database for portfolio contacts.
  • Pull reports from database for Foundations team.
  • Prepare briefing materials for foundation visits for portfolio contacts.
  • Work with Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations and other staff on annual budget and periodic revenue reporting.
  • Manage Foundation pipeline and deadlines through the donor database and other tracking documents and distribute on a timely basis.
  • Track and report on restricted and unrestricted foundation revenue for weekly, monthly and quarterly Board updates.
  • Manage subscriptions to foundation prospect research tools.
  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


Education: Bachelor’s (B.A./B.S.) degree or equivalent

Experience: 2-3 years of relevant experience in foundation fundraising, preferably in a conservation, environmental, advocacy or related field.

  • Experience with donor management and engagement.
  • Experience with government grants and/or cause-related marketing is a plus.
  • 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 Foundation Relations Associate

  • Proven track record in raising funds from foundations, preferably for a conservation or environmental organization.
  • Demonstrable skill in writing excellent proposals and other grant-oriented materials.
  • Strong knowledge of foundations and recent trends in environmental grant making.
  • Research, computer literacy and fundraising database skills.
  • Ability to work under the pressure of deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Detail oriented with sharp eye for proofreading and data management.

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.