Colorado Open Lands

Employment at Colorado Open Lands


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Director of Development

Colorado Open Lands, a Colorado-based state-wide land trust, is seeking an experienced Director of Development to lead the planning and implementation of this organization’s development work.

Organizational Overview:
The “new” Colorado Open Lands (COL) is the result of 2013 merger of Colorado Open Lands, a land trust, and Colorado Conservation Trust, a land trust advisory and capacity-building organization.  These two non-profits merged from respective positions of strength and together bring more than four decades of experience and accomplishment in innovative land conservation.

Because of the increased strength of the new COL, the Board of Directors is committed to undertaking bold, innovative initiatives to achieve its mission as we launch a new 10 year strategic plan to exponentially increase the pace of land conservation in Colorado in a way that more deeply connects our work to Coloradans.   These pending initiatives will reinforce COL’s statewide and national leadership in the private land conservation industry.

Forty-four years of combined effort has created an exceptional platform.  Colorado Open Lands now seeks a philanthropy leader with the vision and drive to achieve lofty land conservation goals and thereby create a perpetual gift of essential conserved land for generation after generation of Coloradans.
This position will afford the right person the opportunity to join with a new President to create a professional legacy of real and enduring meaning.  COL has completed a new strategic plan to elevate the organization to a higher level, and seeks an innovative leadership team to take it there.  Accomplished fundraising executives, non-profit leaders, and philanthropy leaders are welcome to inquire about this exciting opportunity.

About COL:

  • A Colorado-based, state-wide land trust organized under 501(c)3 of the IRS code.
  • Works to conserve land with substantial conservation values including watersheds, wildlife migration corridors, view sheds, heritage, recreation properties and local food production.
  • Stewards 296 conservation easements covering 264,806 acres in 40 counties. 
  • With partners, has permanently conserved nearly 400,000 acres in Colorado.
  • A well respected staff of 14.  
  • Maintains $10 million in financial assets with a $2.4 million annual operating budget and $10 million in annual land conservation transactions. 
  • Benefits from broad public support for land conservation and has received millions of dollars from public and private sources.
  • Guided by a bold new strategic plan to significantly increase the pace of land conservation and organizational growth.


Reporting to the President, the Director of Development serves as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting Colorado Open Lands.  In partnership with the President, this position is responsible for all fundraising and development activities. The successful candidate will help forge new relationships to build COL’s visibility, impact, and financial resources. The Director of Development will also design and implement a comprehensive development plan that includes major donors, foundations, a membership program, a planned giving program, corporate partnerships and direct mail/on-line giving campaigns and implement the infrastructure needed to double a $2.5 million operating budget over the next 5 years.

S/he will expand and diversify COL’s donor base/pipeline and work closely with other team members to secure funding for new initiatives. In addition, the Director will work closely with the board of directors and support board members as they take on a more active fundraising role.  The Director will carry a major donor portfolio and be responsible for the solicitation of major gifts.


  • Support and partner with the President and board members on all major fundraising initiatives
  • Support the President, board and senior staff in donor portfolio management
  • Collaborate with the entire COL team to develop and implement COL’s development strategy to include a diverse portfolio of support from corporate, foundation, government grants, major individual donors, and other sources.
  • Raise $1 million annually in general support funding, increasing each year over the next 10 years.
  • Have primary oversight and responsibility for development and execution of all fundraising proposals by various program and philanthropy staff members; write and archive proposals with a long-term relationship-management approach
  • Oversee research of funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position COL ahead of major funding changes or trends
  • Oversee the maintenance and improvement of database management and a system of donor monitoring, cultivation and stewardship for all COL donors
  • Monitor all donor information; provide and regularly present statistical analysis to board and senior leaders
  • Develop and implement a donor stewardship program aimed at cultivating new donors and deeper ties with existing donors
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive planned giving program
  • Develop and manage an exclusive high-level donor giving circle
  • Create and manage a strategically focused membership program
  • Design and implement an effective direct mail and online giving program.
  • Lead the development of appropriate philanthropy communications and materials
  • Identify, develop, and mentor the development team
  • Serve as a key member of the senior leadership team in guiding the overall direction of COL


  • 10-plus years of professional leadership experience in a nonprofit organization; demonstrated success in a development function (managing and forging relationships with multiple donor sources)
  • Tangible experience of having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral; ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and build long-term relationships
  • Flexible, adaptable and collaborative style; a leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives
  • Bachelor's degree required, Master's preferred
  • High energy and passion for land conservation
  • Ability to construct, articulate, and implement annual strategic development plan
  • Strong organizational and time management skills with exceptional attention to detail
  • Donor-centric focus
  • A professional, approachable and resourceful style; the ability to work independently and as a team player, to take initiative, and to manage multiple tasks and projects at a time
  • A sense of humor

Colorado Open Lands offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including health benefits, paid leave and retirement benefits. 

EOE Statement

Colorado Open Lands is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Application Process
All applications will be accepted with confidentiality through February 6, 2015.  Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter electronically to the attention of Colorado Open Lands at:

Interested in a Career in Land Conservation?

We receive calls periodically from individuals who would like to shift into a conservation career or get more in-depth experience in land conservation techniques. We are sometimes asked what set of qualifications might make a person more competitive as they prepare to make this transition. Click here for some resources and suggestions.

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