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Director of Principal Gifts, Global Development Department


Washington, DC

Employer:  World Resources Institute
Category:  Nonprofit - Social Services
Job Type:  Full Time


The Global Development Department (GDD) raises all unrestricted and core institutional funding and coordinates program fundraising across WRI seven Global programs (Cities, Climate, Energy, Food, Forests, Water, Ocean), four Centers of Excellence (Business, Economics, Finance, Equity), and 12 International Offices. The GDD is organized into four teams grouped by fundraising sector: corporate, government (bi- and multi-lateral), foundation, and individual philanthropy. These sector teams manage strategy and cultivation (for a select number of donors that are centrally managed by Global Development) or provide support to Programs, Centers, and International Offices with fundraising, funder coordination, relationship management and stewardship, prospect research, strategy development, events, and donor communications. WRI’s Development fundraising model is decentralized, meaning that fundraising is undertaken and managed both in the Global Development Department and within WRI’s Programs, Centers, and International Offices.


Job Highlight:

Now is the time to move from commitments to impact on climate change—WRI is at the forefront of this urgent transition. WRI has the knowledge, convening power and tools to drive change and is now seeking a Director of Principal Gifts (Director) to build opportunities to secure new investments that will equip and enable us to meet these global challenges.

The Director is a self-directed and goal-driven professional who will serve as a core member of the Global Development Department. As an entrepreneurial thought- and action-partner for WRI Board, staff, and leadership, the Director is tasked with championing a shift in the way WRI secures philanthropic support. By expanding WRI’s high- and ultra-high-net worth individual donor base of high-six- to eight- figure gifts, the Director will lead WRI’s transition from a heavily institutional funding base to one that leverages support from individual donors with the capacity to make transformational contributions to the work of WRI. The ideal candidate will have significant experience as a front-line fundraiser, demonstrated success with principal gift program creation and transformational gift solicitations, including for campaign support, an understanding of the motivations of philanthropists, and strong communication skills. They will also have played an instrumental role in successful capital campaigns. The Director will report directly to the Executive Vice President, Governance and Development; they will be supported by the Individual Giving Coordinator and the Senior Manager, Pipeline Management & Strategy.


What you will do:

Principal Gift Strategy & Implementation (60%)

  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and secure principal gifts of $500K+ from individuals and private and family foundations, with a keen focus on expanding this base of support
  • Build WRI’s portfolio of blended gifts (cash + annuities/bequests) through increased prospecting and relationship stewardship strategies
  • Make direct, face-to-face solicitations, and assist the board and other staff with their solicitation (e.g., provide portfolio development support, strategic counsel, and help with donor communications)
  • Build and lead a Principal Gifts team to align with WRI’s strategic goals

Principal Gift Leadership (20%)

  • Work closely with global team members WRI leadership and volunteer leadership, including the Board of Directors, Individual Philanthropy team and Program Staff to develop principal gift opportunities, aligned with organizational priorities, and build cases for support
  • Work with the Global Development Department to align resource mobilization efforts and set revenue targets in line with WRI’s 5-year strategy
  • Prepare strategy, pitch, and meeting materials for principal gift solicitations conducted personally and/or with key leadership members
  • Collaborate with the Senior Communications Manager, Individual Giving to develop compelling proposals for support at the Principal Gifts level
  • Collaborate and coach team members on best practices for expanding principal gifts relationships

Principal Gift Administration (20%)

  • Leverage systems and software to track and cultivate donors and prospects, including our donor database and wealth screening tools
  • Create and implement moves management plans
  • Acknowledge principal donors through public and private recognition
  • Track and report progress using specific metrics

What you will need:

Education: You have completed a Masters degree. CFRE Certification preferred
Experience: You have 10+ years of experience and 3 years of experience in a supervisory role in a frontline fundraising role with an emphasis on successfully closing 6+-figure gifts and managing high-net-worth donor portfolios

  • You have worked in a past role that required developing and executing winning fundraising strategies and techniques, particularly in principal gifts or campaigns
  • You have worked in past roles that require collaboration and influence skills internally and externally
  • You have managed a team of direct reports
  • Knowledge of CRM software required

Languages: You have verbal and written proficiency in English
Requirements: Existing work authorization is required where this position is based. WRI is unable to authorize visa work authorization. This position will require some travel to meet donors.

This position is remote-eligible and only for consideration within the United States where WRI is state registered and in a major metro area, with an easily accessible airport (i.e. New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago).

Potential Salary: Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors. WRI offers a competitive remuneration and benefits package.


How to Apply:

Please submit a resume with cover letter by the date of (December 7, 2022).


What we offer:

  • A competitive salary
  • Access to the WRI global network with the opportunity to exchange with and learn from passionate colleagues working at the cutting edge of their fields across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the US
  • The chance to have an impact and to develop your career within a mission driven organization with access to varied learning and training opportunities
  • A workplace that strives to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of our work
  • The opportunity to join and get involved in different working groups and affinity groups to shape the future of WRI
  • Long-term commitment to hybrid working model with flexible working hours
  • Generous leave days that increase with tenure


About Us: Founded in 1982, World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. WRI has a global staff of over 1,800 people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps, and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

Our mission and values: WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. Our values are shared ideals that bind us together: Integrity, Innovation, Urgency, Independence, Respect.

Our culture: WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. We are committed to providing equal opportunities in employment, we embrace all diversity and encourage women, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, Afro-descendants, and Indigenous people to apply. Recognizing our strong commitment to gender equality, WRI has also been awarded EDGE certification.

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