The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.


Director of Development

The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens in Greater Palm Springs, California, is conducting a nationwide search to fill the key leadership role of Director of Development. We are looking for an energetic and enthusiastic professional who values conservation education to create and manage fundraising programs and institutional advancement. This organizational leader collaborates closely with others on the team to generate effective special events, donor communications, and outreach efforts that serve the advancement goals of the institution. In addition to personal efforts in donor cultivation and grant writing, the Director of Development manages department employees, collaborates with other division heads and department managers, and supports the President/CEO. This position is one of eight senior managers on the Park leadership team. Come and be a part of a great organization that has been working to conserve desert plants and animals for more than 50 years!

Over the last 5 years, the Development Department has been responsible for an endowment that is now more than $60 million. An ongoing capital campaign has raised $45 million in gifts and pledges as we work to build the zoo of the future. The Living Desert is in a mecca of country clubs and the area has one of the highest levels of net wealth in the country. Come join a winning team! 


Important skills associated with this position include:

· Strategic planner for donor program development and implementation, demonstrating real results in engagement and stewardship

· Proven experience in capital campaign management, planned and annual giving

· Donor cultivation with proven success in acquiring six- and seven-figure gifts

· Ability to manage and motivate volunteers

· Excellent organizational abilities, particularly related to donor records and special events coordination

· Modern management and business practices

· Excellent leadership and interpersonal relations

· Excellent written and verbal communications, with outstanding public presentation skills

The ideal candidate will have experience in donor management software and be highly adaptable and willing to learn and operate Park-specific POS, CRM and donor management systems. The ideal candidate will have an undergraduate degree (or higher) with course work in communications, public relations and /or management, as well as a

minimum of ten years applicable experience; experience may substitute for all or part of educational qualification. CFRE Certification a plus. Must hold or obtain a valid California driver’s license and be insurable under The Living Desert’s automobile policy.

The salary and benefits for this package align with national standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and regional salaries for comparable positions. Hiring packages are negotiated with the organization’s President/CEO.

ABOUT THE LIVING DESERT: The Living Desert is a 50-year old conservation organization located in the heart of the Coachella Valley in Southern California and was recently named the # 1 zoo in North America. With the cities of Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, and Indio among those within the market area, The Living Desert is a major component in the resort, hospitality, and entertainment-driven economy. Having the mission of desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation, the organization welcomes more than 550,000 visitors annually to the zoo and botanical gardens. The Living Desert operates with a budget of more than $17 million and is governed by a Board of Directors and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information visit


The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens has partnered with Aspen Leadership Group in the search for a Director of Development. You may view the position prospectus or submit an application via this link:

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