Director of Advancement

Based in Tampa, Florida, the Florida Aquarium, Inc. is a $22MM nonprofit environmental education organization with whose mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire stewardship of our natural environment. The Aquarium is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility and has recently been ranked by Coastal Living Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Aquariums in North America.” Parents Magazine ranked the Aquarium in their top five “family-friendly aquariums in the country.”
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Reporting to the Vice President of Advancement, the Director of Advancement will direct and oversee the coordination and implementation of the Major Gift and Corporate Sponsorship programs for the Aquarium. In addition, the Director of Advancement will be responsible for managing and expanding a portfolio of individual major gift prospects, and meeting goals for contributions with an emphasis on recruiting new high level Aquarist Circle donors. The position will create and sustain relations with a base of regular, renewable donors to the Aquarium’s programs, projects and priorities. The Director of Advancement will also develop, implement and solicit gifts for the Corporate Sponsorship Program and is expected to follow moves management in identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding gifts for both individuals and corporations.
  • Partner with the Vice President in creating the Advancement annual plan not limited to capital campaign plans, goals, fundraising events, and donor events.
  • Work with the Vice President to develop calendars, goals and action plans for individual and corporate programs.
  • Manage an active donor portfolio of at least 100 individual donors and prospects.
  • Develop strategies for each prospect and track prospect relationships with the Aquarium.
  • Develop and implement strategies for the effective stewardship of all donors; execute plans for meetings/moves for each prospect.
  • Meet or exceed annual and capital fundraising goals in conjunction with solicitation team.
  • Monitor annual fund campaign results and moves management on a monthly basis.
  • Communicate with the Vice President to identify areas of concern and priority. Provides weekly and monthly reports on annual fund and corporate giving progress.
  • Actively listen to individuals and groups; Act as a liaison to the Advancement team with respect to prospects and donors regarding donor interests and opportunities for involvement.
  • Prepare effective leadership giving materials such as briefing notes, proposals, letters and reports that are compelling, accurate, professional, and on brand.
  • Coordinate donor recognition and donor benefits including recognition events.
  • Deliver extraordinary customer service to all Aquarium guests and internal customers.
  • Staff liaison to the Development Council.
  • Other duties as required by the Vice President of Advancement.
  • Minimum of five years experience in an Advancement Department, foundation, or other nonprofit setting, preferably focusing on annual giving, individual gifts, prospect/donor management.
  • Knowledge and demonstrated success in the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship process.
  • Authentic connection to the work and mission of the Aquarium.
  • Experience in design, management, and implementation of fund-raising initiatives, including capital campaigns.
  • Ability to interact positively with all levels of the organization and community.
  • Effective team member who can support, facilitate, and participate in activities that promote team effectiveness; demonstrate the ability to support team and organizational goals.
  • Proven track record of securing large individual and corporate gifts.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills including flexibility and the ability to listen, negotiate, and collaborate.
  • Careful attention to detail, superior organizational skills, ability to work under pressure, and meet deadlines; demonstrated ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously and autonomously.
  • Ability to establish action plans with specific long-range goals for the Aquarium; allocate resources in the most efficient and effective manner.
  • Experience in the environmental field is strongly preferred along with knowledge and appreciation of the ocean environment and the role of science in developing conservation strategies.
  • Maintain social, ethical, and organizational values and norms; building trust and confidence with staff and with internal and external customers; respecting the confidentiality of personal and proprietary information.
  • Effectively communicate and express ideas verbally and non-verbally. Prepare and tailor presentations to the characteristics and needs of the audience.
  • Express ideas clearly and concisely in written form, through memoranda, letters, reports, and other documents.
  • Institute follow-up methods for monitoring people and projects.
  • Take action to achieve goals; be a self-starter and proactive; assert oneself to support others in the achievement of their goals.
  • Originate action in anticipation of the needs of both internal and external constituencies.
  • Database management skills, preferably with fundraising CRM systems. Knowledge of fund raising software, Raiser’s Edge preferred.
  • Computer capabilities of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook)
  • Creativity, patience and a sense of humor.
  • Bachelor’s degree in related field; Master’s degree preferred.
  • CFRE certification preferred.
Compensation for the Director of Advancement includes a competitive base salary commensurate with experience and an excellent package of employee and health benefits.

The Florida Aquarium, Inc. has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please send your resume, expression of interest, and salary history to: Jessica Martinez, Recruiter,

The Florida Aquarium, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to workforce diversity.