Chief Development Officer at Farm Sanctuary


***Initial Application Review: September 23, 2022***

Summary: Reporting to the CEO and a member of the senior leadership team, the CDO provides leadership and direction for all development programs. This entrepreneurial leader will establish a sustainable, comprehensive, major-gifts focused development program to support and further Farm Sanctuary’s mission. The CDO oversees a 13 – member Development team, all of who are remote staff. The CDO will work in partnership with the CEO to optimize the Development team and its  organizational design/functional alignment for future philanthropic success. Farm Sanctuary seeks candidates who are dynamic, highly-organized, goal-oriented, and strategic, with a  keen sense of organizational diplomacy and deep experience in philanthropic best practices. The successful  candidate will be an engaging fundraiser and skilled communicator who can articulate clear, compelling reasons to support a national organization that advances and promotes compassionate vegan living.


Overall Development Strategy and Goal Setting

  • In consultation with the CEO, set annual and multi-year fundraising goals. Construct a  comprehensive strategy and execute plans to establish the infrastructure and processes for a  sustainable, comprehensive, major-gifts-focused development program, including annual fund,  membership, individual major gifts, foundation and corporate giving, planned and endowment giving,  and capital and special campaigns; increase awareness of and affinity for Farm Sanctuary’s mission in  the philanthropic community; secure increasing levels of funding to meet current and future capital,  programmatic, and operational needs.
  • Collaborate with the CEO to identify and refine giving  priorities, and to translate those priorities into compelling opportunities for philanthropy and  persuasive proposals.
  • Work in tandem with the Chief of External Affairs to align marketing and communications targets to revenue targets and develop new channels and campaigns to attract donors.
  • Develop and implement an overall strategic plan for events in support of constituency engagement and  enhancing the organization’s profile. Maximize events and the guest experience so they are highly valued by patrons and other constituents, are cost effective, and appropriately relate to donor  discovery and/or major and principal gift strategies.


  • Oversee the hiring, managing, mentoring, training, and evaluation of an experienced and highly talented staff. Set appropriate annual goals and monitor progress on a regular basis in order to maximize staff performance.
  • Optimize processes, systems, and infrastructure. Oversee growth, maintenance, and enhancement of  staff members’ technological proficiency and tools.
  • Prepare regular reports regarding development activities and progress for the CEO, senior  leadership team, board of directors, and, as appropriate, for broader distribution.
  • Analyze development activities and benchmark with other organizations to ensure Farm Sanctuary is  on track and employing best practices.
  • Ensure sound fiscal management and efficient allocation of resources, as well as compliance with all  federal and state laws, regulations, and accounting standards related to charitable giving.

Prospect Strategy and Frontline Fundraising

  • Oversee the ongoing discovery of new major and principal gifts prospects, identification of lower-level  donors to the organization who may have greater capacity, and both traditional and non-traditional sources of potential support whose interests may align with organizational priorities. Maintain knowledge of important developments within regional and national funding environments as they  relate to Farm Sanctuary’s mission and projects.
  • Provide mentoring and strategic support to members of the Development team for the planning,  coordination, and execution of initiatives tailored to achieve major gift prospects’ awareness,  involvement, and commitment. Evaluate various gift opportunities and giving vehicles and recommend the most suitable for respective prospects.
  • Personally manage a portfolio of current and prospective donors at the highest levels of giving capacity,  including both individual and institutional sources, moving them through the stages of cultivation,  solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Lead and oversee effective cultivation and solicitation opportunities that involve the CEO, board  members, and other senior management and programmatic staff. Exercise sound judgment and  efficiently communicate prospect strategies when involving administrative or board leaders.
  • Ensure high-quality, individualized, and meaningful stewardship of donors, including coordination with  colleagues throughout the organization as needed.
  • Develop a government grants program for Farm Sanctuary and expand Farm Sanctuary’s corporation and Foundation portfolio.


  • Strategically partner with the Chief External Affairs Officer to devise marketing and communications initiatives in support of Farm Sanctuary’s philanthropic goals and to optimize diverse platforms for donor engagement.
  • Work with CEO, President and Founder, and Chief of External Affairs to develop innovative new platforms for fundraising including possible new uses for sanctuary land, corporate sponsorship, cause related marketing, merchandise opportunities.

Working with the Board of Directors

  • Actively partner with the CEO and board leadership on board management, including identification  and recruitment of new members, education of board members about their role in advancing a culture  of philanthropy for Farm Sanctuary, cultivation and solicitation of their financial support, leveraging of their respective networks to expand the donor base, and development of action plans that maximize  the skills and abilities of board members to further the goals of the institution.


  • Bachelor’s degree required; professional fundraising certification preferred.
  • Minimum of 10 years of development experience in roles of progressive professional responsibility,  with a working knowledge of all areas within development, including major gifts, foundation and  corporate relations, annual giving, prospect research, and operations, preferably within a national-scale  nonprofit organization or other environment of similar complexity.
  • Minimum of five years of senior-level development management experience, including creating and managing a budget.  A supportive and accessible management style and strong record of recruiting and developing talented  individuals. A history of increasing the effectiveness of a development program and staff through established objectives and performance standards.
  • Fundamental and thorough understanding of what constitutes a comprehensive development program and the complementary roles of the various units therein. Must be steeped in modern philanthropy best practices and able to effectively integrate functions.
  • Particular strength in developing the case for support and strategic, complex, and innovative  fundraising plans, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives. Demonstrated  ability to translate concepts into multi- stakeholder initiatives.
  • Demonstrated ability to strategically move individuals and institutions across the spectrum of prospect  development. A history of securing six and seven-figure gifts, including cultivation through solicitation  and stewardship, as well as experience working with annual giving strategies for grooming the next  generation of annual leadership and major gift donors. Success in securing gifts from both defined and  undefined constituencies.
  • Proven ability to develop, balance, and coordinate donor bases on a national scale.
  • Demonstrated ability in working with marketing and communications in support of achieving  philanthropic goals. A functional understanding of how to effectively leverage various communication  mediums and distribution channels for optimal exposure and impact.
  • Experience identifying, nurturing, and motivating board or other volunteer leaders, and a sophisticated  understanding of their role in building an effective philanthropic network.
  • Highly developed skills in organizational efficiency and project leadership, including demonstrated  accomplishments while working with cross-functional teams. Skill at goal setting and measuring  success, and agility in addressing alternate program directions to meet goals when necessary.
  • The ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about development strategies and processes. Knowledge of fundraising information sources and familiarity with research  techniques for prospect research. Experience working with large data sets and/or reviewing financial  statements preferred.
  • Alignment with Farm Sanctuary’s values of compassion, understanding, integrity, transformation, and freedom.
  • Familiarity and commitment to equity, social justice, and Farm Sanctuary’s mission
  • Able to effectively strategize and engage various groups and constituents, including administrative,  programmatic, research, and volunteer leaders; individual and institutional fundraising prospects,  existing donors, and major benefactors; and corporate partners.
  • Outstanding organizational skills, with the ability to effectively implement and complete projects on a  timely basis and to manage multiple priorities. A self-starter who is intellectually curious and possesses  a sense of urgency, clear set of priorities, strong work ethic, and the ability to adeptly navigate a complex, high-expectation environment. Must be highly analytical with exceptional attention to detail,  a creative approach to problem solving, and the ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities. A  commitment to continuous improvement.

Job Specifications:

  • This is a full-time, exempt, remote position.
  • The salary range for this position is $130,000-145,000, commensurate with experience and qualifications.
  • Travel as needed to support Farm Sanctuary priorities, including personal cultivation and solicitation,  strategic communications, and special events.
  • Competitive benefits package, including 13 paid holidays; generous paid time off; health, dental, vision, and life insurance; 403(b) plan; flexible spending accounts; long-term disability insurance; free access to CALM meditation app; access to the Nivati wellness platform

The job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required for this position. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change or new ones may be assigned at any time with or without notice.

Any photos or videos taken in the scope of employment and/or related to Farm Sanctuary are considered work product and intellectual property of Farm Sanctuary.

Farm Sanctuary is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, disability, or age.

Tagged as: animal sanctuary, business development, community, executive, management, strategy

About Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming, advocate for institutional reforms, and encourage a new awareness and understanding of farm animals and the benefits of cruelty-free, plant-based living. In recent years, science has confirmed the inhumane and destructive impact of animal agriculture — a food system based on interrelated oppression and injustice.

As the founding farm animal Sanctuary in the U.S., Farm Sanctuary has rescued and provided refuge for countless survivors of the animal agriculture system. Today, at Farm Sanctuary’s Los Angeles, CA and Watkins Glen, NY Sanctuaries you will find nearly 1,000 rescued animals—each with an individual story to tell. These survivors are ambassadors, representing the billions of farm animals currently in the system. They, and others like them, have changed the hearts and minds of a generation.

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