Director of Development

Openlands, a Chicago based non-profit environmental organization, seeks a highly skilled individual to maintain and cultivate valued relationships with individuals and organizations who invest in Openlands’ efforts to preserve the natural open spaces of Illinois.

Position Description

The Director of Development oversees multiple areas of the development program, including annual solicitation of support from corporations, foundations and individuals. The Director of Development plays a critical role in developing and tracking revenue targets for the organization’s ambitious fundraising goals. This position reports to the Vice President of Development and manages three or more development staff and interns.

Essential Functions

Development Leadership & Staff Oversight

  • In partnership with the Vice President of Development, the Director of Development oversees the execution of a robust pipeline of both annual and long-term institutional and individual giving totaling $4M+ annually.
  • Supervise and support a creative, energetic, and high-performing development team of staff and interns in carrying out development objectives.
  • Foster productivity, accountability and job satisfaction for direct and in-direct reports through the regular use of performance metrics, portfolio reviews, and donor strategy meetings.
  • Understand organizational and project goals, financials, and best practices for charitable giving.
  • Liaises effectively with various individuals, including program staff, and external consultants such as corporate and foundation leadership and program officers.
  • Oversee the tracking of annual revenue targets for the organization and has accountability for the oversight of monthly and quarterly tracking and forecasting, including fundraising progress reports to the Board of Trustees.

Fundraising Activities:

  • Execute meaningful and customized fundraising plans for a defined portfolio of prospective and existing individual and foundation partners, including arranging site-visits, workdays or tours; making appointments for leadership and program staff with potential funders; and working with staff and board to ensure donor retention and effective stewardship.
  • Draft high-quality competitive proposals, grant and impact reports, and other fundraising communications to support the best practices of corporate and foundation engagement, as needed.
  • Develop proposal budgets along with the Vice President of Finance and program staff leads.
  • Develop and oversee a Corporate Partners Program, ensuring corporations receive benefits that span the entire year and are tailored to align with their company goals. Develop communications that illustrate the impact of their membership.
  • Identify and manage the solicitation of Corporate Sponsors for the Annual Luncheon, as part of, but not limited to the Corporate Partners Program.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • BA/BS degree required, Certified Fund Raising Executive certification a plus.
  • 5-7+ years of development, fundraising, non-profit management, or related experience with demonstrated experience in annual fundraising; donor development, including a track record of cultivating and closing $5,000+ gifts; major gifts; and/or corporate and foundation gifts; and prospect identification.
  • Experience supervising staff and managing goal achievement.
  • Experience building and maintaining long-term relationships with constituents such as individual major donors, corporations, or foundations.
  • Experience cultivating and closing gifts of $5,000 or more.
  • Experience, coursework or other training in current and evolving trends in charitable giving, particularly in the area of campaigns, major gifts or planned giving.
  • Strong analytical skills; excellent written and oral communications skills.
  • Experience managing multiple programs and balancing multiple priorities effectively.
  • Experience with donor database and fundraising software.
  • Ability to work under deadlines and to maintain close adherence to funding/reporting schedule.

Openlands is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ qualified individuals based on individual merit. Openlands does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment based on that individual’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, housing status, or any other non-merit factor protected under state, local or federal laws.

Equal Employment Opportunity applies to all personnel actions such as recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, training, transfer, termination, and opportunities for training. Openlands is committed to a fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team.

To Apply

This position is open until filled. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position to Please include “Director of Development” in the subject line.

Please note that applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Work Environment

  • Loop office is ADA accessible.
  • This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and scanners. Employee is regularly required to talk, hear, see, and communicate effectively via computer.
  • Smoke- and drug-free environment.


  • Salary range is market competitive. Benefits include health, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b)-retirement plan, paid holidays and vacation time. This is a full-time exempt position.

Openlands is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

About Openlands

Openlands was among the first urban conservation organizations in the country, beginning in 1963. The organization protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree­lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities.

Working at both a regional scale and within Chicago’s neighborhoods and utilizing a number of conservation tools—land acquisition, ecological restoration, community engagement and education, technical assistance and planning, and policy and advocacy―Openlands adopts and implements long-term solutions that balance the growth of our region with the responsibility to protect and care for our open spaces and natural resources for generations to come. In its 50+ years of work, Openlands has preserved thousands of acres of landscapes; Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, Openlands Lakeshore Preserve, and park spaces of all sizes in Chicago and the suburbs.

With 28 professionals and an annual operating budget of $7M+, Openlands has an ambitious programmatic agenda. In Chicago we offer a range of programs including Birds in My Neighborhood—revealing nearby nature to children, Space to Grow—engaging communities in creating green and vibrant schoolyards, and tree planting and tree care throughout many neighborhoods. Across the region we acquire and restore land in the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, continue our years of work in the Calumet region, advocate for and protecting the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and lead efforts to ensure high-­­quality local farmland and local food.

More information about Openlands can be found online at