Development Director Employment Opportunity
NICHES Land Trust in Lafayette, Indiana
Position Posted January 18, 2023
NICHES Land Trust is seeking a full time Development Director to join our staff and elevate our conservation efforts. The ideal team member has a strong background in fundraising or business development, is passionate about NICHES’ mission, and is a visionary thinker for a future with large, connected tracts of biodiverse habitats.
The mission of NICHES Land Trust is to protect, restore and sustain Northern Indiana’s ecosystems by providing habitat for native species and offering natural places for the education, appreciation, and enjoyment of current and future generations.
NICHES Land Trust was founded in 1995 by a diverse group of volunteer community members concerned about local natural areas disappearing. 27 years later, NICHES protects and stewards over 4,320 acres of native habitat across a 13-county service area, employs 6 full-time staff, engages over 900 members, maintains 15+ miles of hiking trails free and open to the public, and receives over 11,500 hours of volunteer service annually. NICHES has gained recognition across the state as a leader in high-quality stewardship work. Every year NICHES’ staff work with our supportive community of volunteers and local partners to acquire more acres, conduct prescribed fires, implement restoration projects, remove invasive species, and engage the public in the land we protect. NICHES is very proud to be entering its seventh year of being fully accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, https://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/home.
How to Apply
Please email a resume and cover letter to with “Development Director” in the subject line.
Applications accepted through February 24, 2023. Application review and interview process will begin immediately.
Contact our Executive Director, Shannon Stanis, with any questions at or 765-423-1605
NICHES Land Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in employment based upon race, color, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, creed, sex, gender, or other legally protected class.
NICHES knows that diversity is vital to life and encourages candidates of all backgrounds and life experiences to apply.
The Development Director (DD) is responsible for coordinating all fundraising activities supporting NICHES Land Trust’s mission, with the goal of increasing overall annual contributions and grant funding to meet or exceed the annual budget and strategic objectives. The DD functions as the primary major and planned gifts fundraiser, grant writer, and donor database manager. The DD leads the Development Committee alongside the committee chair. The DD will maintain engagement with the Board of Directors, foundations, donors, businesses, and volunteers. The DD works closely with and is supervised by the Executive Director (ED). The DD will also participate in the planning and implementation of marketing and outreach to support all fundraising efforts, including leading social media outreach.
NICHES has an annual operational budget of $635,000 with additional funds raised annual for acquisitions and endowment growth. NICHES is on track to meet the ambitious goals in our strategic plan, including having 8,000 acres protected by 2030 and a stewardship facility constructed in the next few years. The DD is a member of NICHES’ leadership team and is key to achieving these goals. The DD is responsible for embodying NICHES’ core values and operating within standards and practices to uphold our accreditation status through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The DD confidently communicates about NICHES’ mission-focused programs, inspires donors to make gifts, and helps donors navigate a variety of giving opportunities.
Location: Lafayette, Indiana. NICHES headquarters is located at Clegg Memorial Gardens.
Team members must be willing to occasionally travel across our service area for meetings with donors, events, and other work duties and across the state to meet with regional partners.
Start Date: April 1, 2023 or sooner
Salary: $50-60,000 annually, based on experience. This an exempt, salaried position at 40 hours/week.
Benefits: NICHES accrues vacation and sick paid time off (2 weeks each for the first year of employment), 10 paid holidays, and retirement benefits. NICHES matches up to 3% contribution to a simple IRA.
Management and Planning (25%)
- Develop and implement a long-term fundraising plan aligned with the NICHES’ mission and strategic plan
- Set goals and monitor progress for all development programs including major gifts, planned giving, business supporters, foundations and special appeals
- Maintain donor database for tracking prospects, pledges, gifts, grants and correspondence with constituents
- Manage online giving systems, online information collection systems and donor database
- Participate with the staff and Board in the periodic revision of the Strategic Plan and ensure that strategic benchmarks are met
- Develop metrics, with the ED, for tracking progress towards short and long-term fundraising goals; provide the ED, Development Committee and Board with ongoing updates about all fundraising activities
- Lead the Development Committee alongside Development Chair
- Employ best practices and maintain the highest ethical standards in all aspects of NICHES fundraising
- Work with Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator (VOC) to administer, develop and update NICHES website including efficient systems for online giving
- Assist the VOC with the production of media materials for print and online
- Review all public communications from the organization
Major and Planned Gifts (50%)
- Oversee cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of all major donors
- Build and maintain trust-based relationships with existing and prospective members and donors
- Develop and implement methods to attract new donor prospects
- Identify, manage, and solicit a portfolio of prospective major donors, including new prospects and potential upgrades among existing donors
- Promote planned giving program throughout NICHES communications and cultivate individual prospects for planned gifts
- Acquire network of contacts to help increase NICHES presence in targeted regions and identify new supporters and potential major donors
- Plan and implement annual major donor recognition dinner
Grant Writing (15%)
- Coordinate the grant seeking process, write proposals, and steward funders
- Research and identify new foundation funding prospects
Professional growth and other (10%)
- Seek and take opportunities that grow and enhance understanding and skills of Development Director position
- Develop/enhance understanding of NICHES work and strategies to allow for informed conversations about the organization
- Partner with stakeholders in our service area to elevate conservation efforts regionally
- Other duties as assigned
Skills and Qualifications
For conservation and the mission, goals, and values of NICHES Land Trust:
- Outgoing and friendly personality with the ability to meet new people easily and quickly earn their confidence, including staff, Board Members, donors, government agency and private foundation staff and media
- 3-5 years of experience (minimum) in nonprofit, foundation, association fundraising or other similar business development
- Commitment to environmental stewardship and NICHES’ mission
- Demonstrated experience with grant writing, capital campaigns, annual giving, major giving, and planned giving
- Bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management, business, or other relevant field
- Experience building and maintaining long term relationships with fundraising constituents
- Experience in asking for and closing gifts of $10,000 or more
- Experience in managing and tracking multiple prospects and donors
- Desire to work in a highly collaborative team-based environment
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Self-directed, assertive, with high levels energy and initiative
- strong skills in written and oral communications
- Strong organizational skills and time management, including the ability to manage multiple priorities and activities at a time and delegate effectively and motivate others
- Experience, coursework, other training, and knowledge of best practices and emerging trends in development work
- Demonstrated proficiency at budgeting, financial management and project management Ability to utilize the organization’s resources efficiently and promote growth
- Knowledge of fundraising software, preferably Blackbaud’s Razor’s Edge, and other support tools
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Sharepoint
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