Director of Development, Philanthropy

Position Summary 

SELC seeks a Director of Development, Philanthropy to join our four-person fundraising leadership team. Reporting to the Director of Advancement, this person manages the daily operations of SELC’s major gifts and special events program. The heart of this position is supervising a regional team of development officers, coordinating with them and the development operations team to build portfolios that encompass four- to seven-figure donors and prospects, and guiding their approaches and solicitations to broaden SELC’s funding from individuals and family foundations with a special focus on $10,000+ gifts. The successful candidate will have proven management skills, a deep connection to SELC’s mission, at least ten years in a professional fundraising program, and personal experience in developing prospect strategies; working with high-net-worth individuals; mobilizing board members; and identifying, engaging, and soliciting new prospects. 

This is a full-time position. We prefer for the position to be based in our Charlottesville, VA Headquarters office, but will give consideration to qualified candidates near one of our offices in our six-state region. SELC currently has a hybrid work model that offers employees the flexibility to work at home two days a week. We require all staff to be vaccinated and boosted and to provide proof of vaccination in order to come to work in our offices.  

Be Part of Something Powerful at a Pivotal Time for the Environment: 

Solutions start in the South: using law, policy, and communications to champion the air, water, communities, and natural treasures of the South, the Southern Environmental Law Center is raising the bar for environmental protection and enforcement for the entire nation. This is an organization that thinks big and acts boldly to take on the major issues of our time, particularly addressing climate change and righting environmental injustices. 

Our consistent, 37-year track record has earned SELC a reputation as one of the most effective non-profits in the U.S. And due to our professionalism and solid fiscal management, we have enjoyed 15 straight years of 4-star Exceptional rating from Charity Navigator.  

It is a particularly dynamic period in the Southern Environmental Law Center’s history—which brings exciting challenges. We recently adopted a new ten-year strategic plan, and it will be the development team, enhanced by this new Director of Development, Philanthropy position, that will organize, deploy, and lead SELC’s willing board and staff to raise the foundation grants, annual revenue, and endowment gifts needed to achieve SELC’s ambitious long-range vision. SELC’s current fiscal year budget is $38.95 million.         

Essential Functions:

  • Be a collegial, collaborative member of the leadership team headed by SELC’s Director of Advancement and including our Director of Development, Operations and Director of Foundations. It is this group that charts the fundraising plans, goals, activities, and budget that align with SELC’s ten-year strategic vision and yearly program implementation—and ensures coordination and top performance in and among all areas of the program. 
  • Under the guidance of the Director of Advancement, help to create and realize a multi-faceted fundraising and engagement program that continues to broaden and deepen SELC’s base of annual major gift and future-oriented endowment support.  
  • Supervise a team of eight development officers. This includes working with the leadership team to set performance metrics, then tracking, assessing, and giving individual feedback on performance and growth.  
  • Work closely with the development information systems team to ensure that good leads are coming out of the database and into development officer portfolios, and that important information is coming “out of the field” and captured effectively by development offices to inform future plans. SELC uses a moves management approach in Salesforce.  
  • Collaborate each season with the development leadership team to set the conceptual framework for SELC events (mainly in-person, but also digital). It is then this position’s responsibility to oversee both the event team’s implementation of the planning and hosting, and the development officers’ post-event face-to-face follow-up calls. High-touch and carefully curated, SELC special events are a crucial vehicle for cultivating existing donors and, even more importantly, identifying and engaging prospects.      
  • Have a seat at the table for many concept and strategy-setting meetings relating to relationship building and fundraising, then take the lead in ensuring that development officers faithfully implement these strategy decisions. This is a central hub position that needs to work effectively with SELC fundraisers, SELC’s Executive Director, Management Committee members, attorneys, trustees, longtime donors and other volunteer leaders to synch our program priorities to potential donor interests.   
  • With approximately 20% of his/her time, manage a portfolio that includes current and prospective donors. Some, but not extensive, travel is required for this position.  

Desired Background & Personal Attributes:

  • Bachelor’s degree.  
  • Minimum ten years of professional fundraising experience. We are seeking someone who has both managed a portfolio of current major/leadership donors and done prospecting to qualify interest/capacity and bring in first-time gifts.  
  • Previous experience managing frontline fundraisers, preferably during a period of revenue growth or institutional expansion.    
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, particularly in the context of donor/prospect actions.  
  • Strong environmental interest. Connection to or familiarity with the Southeast is a plus.  
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Ease with picking up the telephone and welcomes face-to-face contact.  
  • Intellectual curiosity, and ability to quickly grasp and thoughtfully articulate complex concepts a must. 
  • Proven ability to work with a wide range of individual styles, both in the office with colleagues, and externally with donors and volunteer leaders.  
  • Demonstrated success in setting priorities, coordinating multiple projects, handling details, and working effectively under pressure.  
  • Proficient in Outlook, Word and Excel and donor management software. Familiarity with Salesforce a plus. 
  • Previous experience as a member of a management team a plus. 

Scope and Opportunity:  

The Director of Development, Philanthropy is a chance to pioneer a newly created management role, with a successful nonprofit known for its effectiveness and results, at a time that has never been more critical for our region’s environment and health. Thanks to the loyalty and generosity of our supporters, the Southern Environmental Law Center has tremendous momentum, and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to partner with SELC’s executive leaders, office directors, and program heads to continue building the relationships and revenues that will keep SELC strong and robust into the future.  

The position will be joining a seasoned, sophisticated fundraising and engagement team that includes senior development officers with leadership gift, planned giving, and campaign expertise; an accomplished development information systems/research team; event staffers who plan and execute dozens of high-touch events a year; a foundations staff including writers and administrators; and in-house designers and writers who create customized print and digital materials for our use. With a 37-year track record of raising money for this unique organization, we have a lot of successful approaches to share, and we look forward to your good ideas.   

This is a role that requires a high level of management expertise, sophisticated fundraising knowledge, and project management. The ideal candidate must be able to guide direct reports on successful strategies and best practices for all aspects of frontline fundraising and donor relations. This person must also collaborate effectively with colleagues to create a cohesive and highly functioning department. The ideal candidate will be friendly, confident, curious, and flexible; have a demonstrated knack for being a strategic planner and creative problem solver; and display emotional intelligence, managerial courage, and a strong interest in SELC’s environmental mission. 

About SELC:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is one of the nation’s most powerful defenders of the environment, rooted in the South. With a long track record, SELC takes on the toughest environmental challenges in court, in government, and in our communities to protect our region’s air, water, climate, wildlife, lands, and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of over 170, including more than 80 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, DC.

At our core, we are place-based, rooted in our region, and connected with the communities and clients we serve. We believe in an equitable and inclusive workplace that reflects the rich racial and cultural diversity of our region and allows diverse perspectives to come to the forefront. We approach our work with the highest level of integrity, holding ourselves to high standards with an emphasis on honesty, accountability, and thoughtfulness. We value collaboration and camaraderie, realizing we are strongest when we work together and knowing that everyone has a critical role to play. We strive for impact through a strategic, bold, pragmatic, and ambitious outlook that is dedicated to achieving powerful results. We believe in these values and in the power of SELC. We hope you consider joining us. Learn more at


SELC offers salaries competitive with other leading environmental non-profits nationally and provides an excellent benefits package. The starting salary range for this position is $135,000-$155,000, commensurate with experience. For more details about our benefits, please visit our Careers page

To Apply:

To apply, click on the ‘Apply Now’ button below to be directed to an online application where you may upload your application materials. Applicants must submit a cover letter and resume. Cover letters should be directed to the Director of Development, Operations. Interested persons should apply immediately, however applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

SELC is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to fostering an inclusive workplace environment. We are eager to welcome new team members who share this commitment. We still have much progress to make, but our goal is to create and maintain a staff that, at every level, reflects the rich racial and cultural diversity of the communities where we work and the clients that we serve. Persons of all backgrounds—including people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and LGBTQ candidates—are strongly encouraged to apply.