NatureServe has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please follow the link above to submit your application. 


Since the early 1970’s, NatureServe has been the authoritative source for biodiversity data throughout North America. To protect threatened biodiversity, NatureServe works with over 60 organizations and 1,000+ conservation scientists in the U.S. and Canada to collect, analyze, and deliver standardized biodiversity information, providing comprehensive spatial data to meet both regulatory and conservation needs. NatureServe and its network partners develop and manage data for over 100,000 species and ecosystems, answering fundamental questions about what exists, where it is found, and how it is doing.


NatureServe works with environmental groups, governments, scientists, the public, and industry to leverage the power of science, data, and technology to guide biodiversity conservation and stewardship.  We believe that by engaging early and with sound science, we can achieve the best outcomes for biodiversity.  For almost 50 years, leading conservationists and decision makers have turned to the NatureServe Network as the most reliable source for biodiversity data and expertise.



The NatureServe Network is comprised of program staff (1000+) who are experts in their fields and includes some of the most knowledgeable field biologists in North America.  Throughout the Americas, NatureServe works with this extensive set of partners to develop hemisphere-wide data sets. In the rest of the world, NatureServe contributes to foundational biodiversity knowledge products, implements biodiversity dashboards to visualize data, and supports regions and nations in measuring the effectiveness of their conservation activities.



NatureServe seeks a dynamic and highly collaborative leader, with a commitment to conservation, to build a comprehensive fundraising program that advances the organization’s mission and strategic goals by generating sustainable growth in philanthropic revenue. This is an exciting and unique opportunity for an experienced advancement professional with hands-on corporate and foundation relations experience and demonstrated success in building programs from the ground up.  NatureServe recently adopted a new strategic plan that emphasizes diversification of the organization’s funding model, and the work of this leader and their team will be critical to the organization’s ability to meet its strategic goals and priorities in the next three to five years.   


This role offers an authentic opportunity to champion biodiversity, fight for environmental conservation, and protect species from extinction.  The NatureServe Network together with NatureServe’s strength in science and technology, deliver the crucial building block in the biodiversity conservation battle.  Join NatureServe and directly support them in their vitally important work.          



The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will be charged with creating a programmatic fundraising model, inclusive of corporate and foundation relations, individual major gifts, annual giving, and donor communications.  They will collaborate with colleagues across the organization to leverage existing organizational relationships as well as to identify new potential sources of philanthropic support.  A key member of NatureServe’s Executive Team, the Chief Advancement Officer will work closely with colleagues across the organization to apply moves management strategy to the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of both individual and organizational donors.  The CAO reports to the CEO and will lead a team of three development staff in operationalizing the organization’s fundraising strategy, which will complement income from contractual work and government relations.

As NatureServe seeks to shift to a mixed-funding model with greater emphasis on philanthropy, the CAO will play a critical role in fostering a culture of philanthropy across the organization - both among the staff as well as the Board of Directors. They will partner with the CEO to identify opportunities to meaningfully engage staff and Board in fundraising activity and dialogue, including offering coaching and guidance to increase individual’s confidence and impact in philanthropic conversations with prospects and donors.

Location for this role is flexible, but Arlington, Virginia is preferred. NatureServe offers flexibility in terms of remote work, with the expectation that the CAO will travel as needed for staff and donor meetings.



The Chief Advancement Officer will oversee the development and staffing of the following functional areas over time: 

To begin, priority will be given to solidification of fundraising strategy and operations and the development of a corporate and foundation relations program. Development of additional focus areas – individual giving, annual giving, and donor communications – will be supported by three direct reports, including the Development Associate and two new development roles that the CAO will define in collaboration with the CEO.

Fundraising Strategy & Operations

  • Develop and implement a multi-year fundraising strategy that is inclusive of diverse revenue streams—including foundations, corporations, and individuals.  As part of this strategy, set, monitor, and report on measurable goals for revenue sustainability and growth.
  • Partner with CEO and Executive Team to define NatureServe’s fundraising priorities as related to the organization’s strategic priorities.
  • Work closely with the Operations team to forecast annual revenue goals, perform monthly revenue reconciliation, and manage donor reports to maintain accuracy and financial accountability. 
  • Develop and maintain internal systems that increase transparency and integration of data across the organization.  This includes evaluation of existing technology and tools, such as NatureServe’s CRM.
  • Recruit, hire, coach, and supervise a team of three development staff members and manage budgets related to the fundraising team.

Corporate and Foundation Relations

  • Collaborate with colleagues across the organization to research and identify philanthropic potential within existing organizational relationships, and to identify new prospective corporate and foundation funders, with an emphasis on major national and international foundations.
  • Create and manage cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies for the most promising corporate and foundation prospects, partnering with NatureServe leadership and/or key staff members as relevant.
  • In partnership with CEO and key staff, manage a portfolio of the organization’s highest capacity corporate and foundation funders (current and prospective).
  • Oversee creation of a philanthropic grants process, inclusive of grant application drafts and submissions, post-award reporting, and stewardship for current and prospective grant-related funders.

Individual Major Gifts

  • Identify and prioritize individual major gift prospects, leveraging existing relationships in NatureServe staff and Board member networks.
  • Create and manage cultivation and solicitation strategies for the most promising individual major gift prospects, partnering with NatureServe leadership and/or key staff members as relevant.
  • In partnership with the CEO, manage a portfolio of the organization’s highest capacity major gift donors (current and prospective).
  • Support and advise the CEO, the Board of Directors, and other senior staff on cultivation and solicitation of major gift donors and prospects.

Annual Giving

  • Oversee creation and implementation of a segmented annual giving strategy that seeks to increase donor retention and overall commitment levels.
  • With Development Associate, partner with Communications staff to develop and implement an annual giving solicitation strategy, with an emphasis on digital engagement.

Donor Communications

  • Oversee creation and implementation of a segmented donor communications strategy, inclusive of stewardship materials that compellingly illustrate the impact and outcomes of NatureServe’s work.
  • Partner with Executive Team and Communications staff to create case statements for fundraising priorities.  Ensure staff and Board members have the necessary tools to communicate this information consistently and with impact to external audiences.

Board Management

  • Partner with CEO in managing fundraising-related activities of the Board of Directors, including the creation of annual engagement plans for each Board member and management of Development Committee.
  • Identify opportunities to enhance Board confidence and impact in fundraising conversations.

These key responsibilities are not meant to be all-inclusive and may be subject to change at any time.


  • Bachelor’s degree and ten years of related work experience preferred.
  • Proven track record in fundraising from diverse sources, including experience applying moves management and facilitating leadership gift conversations with individual, corporate and/or foundation donors.
  • Demonstrated experience with and knowledge of the grant seeking process, including grant writing, submission, and reporting.  A record of successful grant awards from major national and/or international foundations preferred.
  • Proven track record of leading people and processes within complex organizations, including coaching and motivating teams to successfully reach and/or exceed fundraising goals.
  • High ability to effectively manage processes and projects for multiple priorities in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively, iteratively, and creatively with a diverse set of stakeholders, including scientists and researchers, to co-create processes and solutions that meet the needs of the organization as well as donors and funders.
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, energy, and enthusiasm with the ability to build long-term relationships and represent the organization to external audiences.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communications skills, including the ability to write and present fundraising materials to a diverse set of audiences.
  • Ability to distill science and/or technical information into a compelling message for various audiences.
  • Ability to engage and support volunteer leadership with their efforts in fundraising, consultation and advocacy.
  • Demonstrated flexibility, self-awareness, professional integrity and cultural competence - including commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Financial Acumen; ability to forecast and track philanthropic revenue.
  • Background in science or conservation a plus.


  • Ability to travel independently to attend meetings.
  • Ability to converse verbally and in writing with donors, prospects, and other business partners.
  • Ability to maintain a full-time position with some extended hours required to travel and attend donor events.
  • Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; viewing a computer terminal; extensive reading.


  • NatureServe offers full-time employees a comprehensive benefits package that includes:
  • 401K savings and retirement plan with matching contributions
  • Health and dental insurance
  • Short and long-term disability
  • Annual and sick leave
  • Life insurance
  • Telework/Flex work/4.5 Day Work Week


Salary range in the Arlington, VA/Washington DC and surrounding metro area: $140,000 - $160,000.  Salary is based on experience and location. 



An equal opportunity, reasonable accommodations employer, NatureServe complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you need accommodation in the employment process or this document in an alternative format, please contact our office at 703-908-1840 or We stand in support of equality for and advancement of all people based on their qualifications and actions alone without regard to color, gender, age, religion, national origin, or disability.

This position has been filled.