Chief Development Officer, John Ball Zoo

Job Title

Chief Development Officer


John Ball Zoo

About the Position


Reporting to the CEO, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) spearheads all fund development activities. The CDO creates, develops, and directs the implementation of short- and long-range plans and strategies to develop, lead, manage, and promote all aspects of John Ball Zoo’s advancement efforts. The CDO serves as a liaison to the Board of Directors giving guidance to the development and implementation of the Zoo’s fundraising plans.

Department: Senior Leadership

Reports To: Chief Executive Officer

Classification: Exempt

Job Duties

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following, other duties may be assigned

  • Demonstrates leadership by establishing credibility; acting with integrity; showing commitment; inspiring, motivating and guiding team to achieve Zoo objectives & goals.
  • Works collaboratively with other staff, develops and implements budget for responsible departments.
  • Serves as a member of the JBZ executive leadership team, and participates in long-range goal setting, planning and decision-making processes.
  • Ensures implementation of appropriate office systems, processes, and guidelines to support all fundraising projects and operations, including research, gift acknowledgement, and the donor and member database.
  • Ensures adherence to best practices and highest ethical/conduct standards in all areas of the department and principles set forth by Associate for Fundraising Professionals code of ethics standards.


  • Designs, develops and implements a comprehensive, written plan for development (fundraising) that addresses the needs of the Zoo including; major gifts, special gifts, planned giving, annual fund raising, grants, membership, corporate sponsorships, and fundraising events
  • Execute successful campaigns/initiatives to provide funding that strengthens operations, programs, exhibits, visitor experiences, infrastructure, and endowment
  • Provides executive leadership in the productivity and effectiveness of the department by assisting the CEO, the Board of Directors, and the staff in advancing the mission of the Zoo.
  • Collaborates closely with the Board of Directors to establish achievable philanthropic, sponsorship, events, and membership.
  • Create and manage a multi-year development plan to support the zoos strategic and facilities plans including setting and meeting the departments operating budget including contributed revenue goals for annual fund, foundation grants, board of trustee giving, fundraising events, and membership
  • Implements workable, practical, and sustainable processes that enhance productivity in all areas of Institutional Advancement.
  • Develops and implement strategies to identify, cultivate, and steward new funding sources.
  • Participates in the identification, cultivation, and training of Zoo Board members.
  • Participates and provides support to the Board on selected development calls.

Donor Relations

  • Builds and strengthens existing and new relationships with key external constituencies such as; individual donors, foundations, corporations, federal and state agencies, and community leaders.
  • Reviews proposals and acknowledgment letters, and provides oversight of the stewardship plan.
  • Provides timely and accurate financial updates for the CEO
  • Promotes an atmosphere of teamwork, enthusiasm, and commitment to the Zoo’s missions and goals.


  • Provides leadership, direction and supervision to multiple individuals and teams, maintaining strong working relationships with all functional areas of John Ball Zoo.
  • Identifies and creates opportunities for individual growth and continued development for direct reports, coach and deliver performance appraisals and when necessary, administers disciplinary actions for subordinate staff.



  • Thrives in a mission oriented environment, and is motivated by the Zoo’s mission and brand to help lead the organization to achieve its higher goals.
  • Ability to lead, motivate, and manage work teams to support organizational objectives and goals.
  • Able to think creatively and strategically to successfully mediate and negotiate with individuals and groups.
  • Ability to interact positively with a wide array of individuals from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Basic computer literacy and working knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet, desktop publishing, computer graphics, multimedia presentation and database applications.
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize and show flexibility with daily responsibilities
  • Calm and effective problem solver

Required SPECIALIZED Knowledge and/or Skills

  • Ability to communicate professionally and persuasively both orally and in writing to convey credibility and expertise in advising donors on confidential and sometimes complex financial matters.
  • Excellent public speaker
  • Thorough knowledge of best practices in fundraising and evaluation of outcomes.
  • Experience in developing and executing strategic fundraising plans.
  • Strong relationship builder capable of interacting with opinion leaders, donors, members, and support staff.
  • Knowledge of relevant fundraising software; (knowledge of and experience in use of RAISER’S EDGE is preferred).


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a relevant field; Advanced degree/certification is preferred
  • 10+ years of progressively responsible and demonstrably successful experience in the private sector fundraising
  • Minimum 7 years of supervisory experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation preferred


  • While performing the duties of this job, the associate is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and talk or hear.  The associate is often required to stand, walk, and reach with hands and arms.  The associate must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds. 
  • Must have sufficient mobility with or without assistive devices to access all areas of outdoor and indoor attractions at the Zoo.
  • Must be able to work in somewhat close proximity to exotic and domestic animals and tolerate exposure to animal dander, animal wastes and other zoonotic contaminants as well as dust, dirt, pollen and other airborne contaminants and occasional exposure to inclement weather, high humidity, and to extreme hot and cold temperatures.
  • Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • In large part, the incumbent will work in an office environment. The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.
  • Incumbent will also work outside (providing guided tours to donors/constituents) and may occasionally be exposed to inclement weather; pollen, mold, dust, dirt and other airborne contaminants; and temperature variations. 
  • May be required to work occasional nights and weekends to support fundraising events


Strategic Thinking- Sees the big, long-range picture. Aligns the direction, products, services, and performance with the rest of the organization.

Fostering Communication-. Mobilizes teams, and builds momentum to get things done by communicating clearly and consistently, investing time and energy to engage others.

Networking- Engages people, organizations, and partners in developing goals, executing plans, and delivering results.

Planning and Organizing- Align people, work and systems with the organizational strategy to harmonize and meet longer-term organizational objectives

Builds Relationships- Builds rapport by listening to, discussing and negotiating with, and rewarding, encouraging, and motivating others.

How to Apply

Please use this link for reference:

The contact is Sarah Bokina

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