Director of Development

Heal the Bay invites nominations and applications for the position of Director of Development. This senior director will generate gifts, grants, and other charitable revenue to support Heal the Bay’s efforts to improve the long-term quality of life for the human and wildlife inhabitants of California’s treasured coastlands. This is a rare opportunity–ideal for the fundraising leader who is professionally and personally motivated to make an impact now! Climate change and pollution threaten California’s beaches, rivers, and coastal wildlife. Join the passionate team at Heal the Bay to help make Santa Monica Bay and its watersheds safe, healthy, and clean. The successful candidate’s vision, enthusiasm, and fundraising expertise will support science, advocacy, community outreach, and education to create positive change in our environment.

About the Organization

Heal the Bay is an environmental organization dedicated to making southern California’s Coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean. To fulfill our mission, we use science, education, community action, and advocacy. Heal the Bay has an annual budget of over $4 million and more than 15,000 members. Progress toward our mission is achieved by effectively combining science, advocacy, community outreach, and education to create positive change in our environment. 

We strongly encourage applications from individuals that reflect the diversity of Los Angeles County, including but not limited to people of color, LGBTQIA and other communities that environmental organizations, including Heal the Bay, have not adequately engaged. 

Position Summary

Reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer as a key member of the organization’s senior staff cabinet, the Director of Development leads the organization’s fundraising and grants administration efforts that generate more than $6 million annually. As the chief fundraiser for Heal the Bay, the Director of Development conducts ongoing communications with major donors, foundation program officers, public sector agencies, and senior corporate officers to sustain and grow contributions from these partners.

The Director of Development is expected to be an effective public ambassador for Heal the Bay and will address diverse audiences in a wide variety of settings on behalf of the organization. The Director of Development will coordinate major donor appeal meetings and foundation site visits, often in concert with institutional representatives, including board members, the Chief Executive Officer, or other senior staff. Heal the Bay plans to carry out a capital campaign to build a new aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier. The Director of Development will be the primary internal coordinator of activities carried out by the capital campaign consultants and the campaign fundraising committee.

Heal the Bay produces several successful fundraising events, generating at least $1.3 million in annual gross proceeds. The Director of Development will work closely with staff and consultants to ensure sponsorship and onsite revenue goals are achieved, taking ownership of coordinating pledges from event sponsors, board members, and special guests.

The Director of Development actively collaborates with Heal the Bay’s board of directors, senior staff, and the staff of the Development department to set and measure progress toward achieving annual and long-range fundraising goals. In this highly collaborative role, success depends on building mutually respectful working relationships with fellow executives and program teams, understanding and persuasively articulating Heal the Bay’s projects, initiatives, and strategic priorities. The Director of Development will also work closely with Heal the Bay’s communications team to support fundraising objectives and ensure consistent institutional branding.

Heal the Bay is committed to a healthy, safe, and inclusive workplace environment. The Director of Development will be a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion–both as an organization leader, and in alignment with donors, foundation grantmakers, and corporate sponsors who value diversity and inclusion as principles of ethical stewardship.

The successful candidate will be relentlessly goal driven, sustaining a singular focus on accountability–of both their own work and that of the Development team. To be seriously considered for this opportunity, applicants must demonstrate a history of directly initiating, sustaining, and expanding charitable fundraising results. The selection committee is eager to meet candidates who can demonstrate progressively senior professional employment, consulting, and/or volunteer roles that reflect a passion for protecting the environment.

The Santa Monica Bay and its environs are diverse in flora, fauna–and people. The future of Heal the Bay depends on engaging directly with and generating enthusiasm for its mission among prospective donors, volunteers, staff, and advocates from the region’s ethnically diverse communities. The Director of Development will support and coordinate, as directed by the CEO, Heal the Bay’s efforts to develop, implement, and measure the impact of methods to achieve greater visibility, affinity, charitable giving, and volunteer support among all who have a stake in the organization’s mission.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities 

Fundraising, Stewardship, and Communications 

  • Develops and leads the implementation of a multi-year Development Plan, in consultation with Heal the Bay’s executive and board teams.  
  • Manages a portfolio of major donors and prospects; is personally and actively engaged in the cultivation, solicitation, stewardship, and documentation of donor relations.
  • Leads development team in executing three major fundraising events:  gala, golf tournament and water agency luncheon. This includes generating gifts and sponsorships.
  • Researches, explores, and executes methods to establish and leverage for fundraising impact relationships with private sector and philanthropic leaders and organizations. 
  • May spend up to 20% of time on local (LA County) travel to develop and cultivate major donors. 
  • Guides the creation of donor-related materials, including print, direct mail andelectronic appeals, stewardship communications, and event sponsorship appeal packets.
  • Leads the development of written proposals and verbal appeals, ensuring that supporting materials are prepared for all grant requests and major donor meetings. 
  • Solicits, either personally or with other senior team members, a targeted number of major gifts annually. 
  • Develops and measures the effectiveness of methods to build a pipeline (tracked in Salesforce) of prospective major donors.
  • Is an effective and compelling public spokesperson, leveraging appearances to increase the community of and enthusiasm among stakeholders.
  • Creates opportunities in coordination with the CEO to raise Heal the Bay’s profile throughout the region by successfully leading and supporting strategic partnerships, special and public events, and issue campaigns.
  • Ensures timely, transparent, and comprehensive information is provided to accounting and data management of impending gift requests to ensure compliance with accounting procedures.
  • Manages and takes personal responsibility for the documentation of all fundraising activity, preparing and providing monthly briefing and periodic full reports to Heal the Bay board and senior staff of department objectives and ongoing fundraising activities.  
  • Strictly observes and demonstrates respect for nonprofit and fundraising ethical principles of transparency, regulatory compliance, and donor stewardship. 


  • Hires, supervises, and evaluates up to four Development staff, ensuring that they have the support and resources to succeed. 
  • Oversees the preparation of Development department reports, monitoring progress and adjusting resources to achieve outcomes as described in fundraising plans.
  • Conducts regular team and individual meetings with Development staff to shape and support donor relations, gift prospecting, foundation proposals, and private sector sponsorship appeals.
  • Devotes approximately 10% of time to senior staff collaboration and general administrative activities across the organization.
  • Continues professional and network development through ongoing training and climate/conservation community activities. 

Leadership Team & Board of Directors

  • Participates actively and productively as a collegial member of the senior staff to support Heal the Bay’s strategic and operational success.
  • Conducts respectful and productive meetings with Heal the Bay board members to support both their own giving and to leverage their capacity for referring major gift prospects among their networks.  

Management Approach, General Skills, Experience, and Education

  • At least ten years of senior fundraising leadership and gift solicitation experience.
  • Demonstrated success cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding high net-worth individuals, with a track record of securing five-figure (and greater) gifts, and increasing major donor gifts.
  • Experience preferred in capital campaign planning, fundraising, or other campaign support roles.
  • Strong ability to persuasively express and describe the mission and programs of Heal the Bay to a wide variety of different audiences. 
  • Proficiency in Salesforce or similar donor relations database; ensure that Development staff are skillfully maintaining Heal the Bay’s donor data system.
  • Resourceful and creative problem solving and goal achievement style, bringing a blend of coaching and “lead by example” management approaches.   
  • Flexible, collegial, and supportive interpersonal workplace style.  
  • Ability to perform under pressure with grace in a dynamic workplace environment.
  • Superior professional working style, including the ability to work effectively with the executive leadership, board of directors, major donors, and prospects in an effective manner.
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills.
  • A clear understanding of 501(c)(3) nonprofit legal issues/structures.


  • The salary and compensation package is very competitive, with the annual salary range from $120,000 to $150,000. The actual salary offer will depend on the finalist’s experience and demonstrated capacity for success. Heal the Bay offers an excellent benefits package.
  • This is a full-time (exempt) position, with occasional evening and weekend work required. The position requires being based in Los Angeles County, California with a current flexible “in office” requirement of at least two days a week.

Learn more about Heal the Bay.

Application Information 

How to apply: Please send your resume and cover letter by 5 p.m. Pacific on January 20, 2023, to with the subject line “Heal the Bay”.

Qualified individuals that reflect the diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of Los Angeles County are strongly encouraged to apply for this opportunity.

Heal the Bay is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.