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Vice President of Development at Ocean Institute

Company: Ocean Institute
Date Posted: February 6, 2018

JOB TITLE: Vice President of Development 

Reports to: CEO

Status: Full Time

FLSA Status: Exempt

ABOUT THE OCEAN INSTITUTE: The Ocean Institute (OI) has redefined its future through a newly developed strategic plan and priorities that include research, education, conservation and excellence. Located on the waterfront in Dana Point Harbor, the Ocean Institute is a federally recognized 501c3 nonprofit. Working at OI offers a unique educational environment and ability to demonstrate your appreciation for the ocean. Its enviable location creates the opportunity to build meaningful bonds within the community, as well as inspire and influence future stewards of the ocean. OI’s mission “Using the ocean as our classroom, we inspire children to learn”, allows anyone with a passion for the ocean to utilize their skills in a positive, productive environment.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Ocean Institute seeks a Vice President of Development with a demonstrated track record of accomplishment in effectively managing a nonprofit Development Office responsible for generating charitable revenue that is essential to the successful operation of a multimillion dollar annual budget. Equally important, the candidate will have the proven experience of fostering an organization-wide culture that prioritizes, nurtures and values philanthropy and donor relationships. The VP of Development will demonstrate his/her experience in applying best practices and innovative approaches to the administration of Development Office revenue-generating programs, including foundation grantwriting, major gifts, corporate sponsorships, membership and appeal fundraising events, and planned giving. This includes the skillful management of staff, budgeting and reporting, the utilization of technology, and marketing and communications in relation to fundraising and stewardship. The position will work closely with the CEO, the Board of Directors (BOD), and the Board of Directors Development Committee, while working collaboratively with department leaders and program directors to develop, execute and measure fundraising initiatives that support specific education programs, research initiatives, general operations, special projects and a future capital campaign.



  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • CFRE preferred
  • Seven to ten of years of senior-level professional experience in fundraising and specific experience in foundation grantwriting, major gifts, membership and related fundraising programs
  • Capital campaign experience preferred
  • Computer proficiency essential to include Microsoft Office, Raiser’s Edge or a comparable donor record keeping database, Adobe Creative, or a comparable graphic design program
  • Excellent executive management skills required to include strategic and development operations planning, staff leadership, budgeting, creative writing and salesmanship
  • Superior organizational skills required as well as attention to detail, self-motivation, multi-tasking and delegation of work, and a principled work ethic that demonstrates initiative, innovation, responsibility and accountability
  • Leadership experience and performance that contributes to excellence in the workplace is expected, and must also be applied to maintaining high and meaningful volunteer engagement, especially at the Board of Directors level
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills and the ability to communicate effectively with diverse constituents including staff, board members, donors and the general public
  • Experience with group facilitation, meeting management, and project evaluation
  • Reliable transportation



The Vice President of Development will be responsible for the following:

  • Design, implement, and manage OI’s annual Development Plan
  • Lead and manage the development team to include Board of Directors Development Committee, staff, volunteers, and contractors
  • Identify and involve appropriate partners in program and fund development efforts• Develop and maintain trusted relationships with donors and partners
  • Manage a Development Office evaluation plan to effectively assess staff performance, program effectiveness and quality, and the achievement of rigorous fundraising revenue goals
  • Monitor and report on development program income and expense budgets
  • Develop and maintain a robust donor community and vital records utilizing Raiser’s Edge
  • Oversee the following development programs:
    • Foundation Grants
    • Major Gifts
    • Capital Campaign (Co-Manage)
    • Membership, Annual Appeal and Corporate Giving
    • LegaSEA Estate Planned Giving
    • Fundraising Events (Co-Manage)

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER: Ocean Institute is an equal opportunity employer without regard to race, religion or religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), color, sex (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and any related medical conditions), gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, transitioning status, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, uniform service member status, military and veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, age, protected medical condition, genetic information, mental or physical disability, holding or presenting a driver’s license issued under Cal. Vehicle Code Section 12801.9, or any other category protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

TO APPLY: Send cover letter, resume detailing specific fundraising experiences and accomplishments, a minimum of four professional references and two unique development-related writing samples to