WaterWatch of Oregon Hiring Full-Time Development Officer

WaterWatch of Oregon is seeking a Development Officer to help develop and implement strategic fundraising for the organization to meet its annual budget and fund expansion set forth in WaterWatch’s Strategic Plan.

WaterWatch is a non‐profit organization founded in 1985 with a mission to protect and restore streamflows in Oregon’s rivers for native fish, wildlife and the people who depend on healthy rivers. It also works to protect and restore free flowing rivers, remove obsolete dams and other artificial barriers to native fish, advocate for sustainable groundwater management, and secure balanced and equitable water policies and investments in a climate changed world. WaterWatch was the first organization in the nation to work at the intersection of streamflows and water policy, and our work has become a model for similar efforts in other western states.

We are seeking a highly motivated individual with prior conservation non-profit development experience – and especially, a willingness to ask for gifts to support a mission-driven organization.

We are looking for someone who is outgoing, motivated, energetic, strategic, tech-savvy, and who enjoys working with diverse people and organizations to get things done. A passion for conservation and river protection is important. The desire to build the capacity and power of WaterWatch to secure ecologically appropriate and equitable water policy reforms and implement the WaterWatch mission is critical. This position requires someone active, engaged and invested in our mission, and enthusiastic about development and building WaterWatch’s capacity to implement the mission.

Description of Duties and Responsibilities

This position will report directly to WaterWatch’s Executive Director, but also work closely with the Communications Manager, board members and other staff to implement strategies to meet the organization’s annual budget and fund expansion set forth in the Strategic Plan. Position duties include:

  1. Membership: Oversee and carry out WaterWatch’s membership program.
    • With the Executive Director, direct, implement and coordinate the membership program to retain and expand WaterWatch’s regular and monthly membership.
    • With the Communications Manager, produce all membership fundraising communications, including member renewal mailings, special appeals, an end-of-year accomplishments report, and membership elements of a quarterly newsletter.
    • Manage WaterWatch’s monthly donor program as well as several online giving portals.
    • Work with the Executive Director and Board to increase membership, online giving, and monthly membership on an annual basis.
  1. Events: Oversee and carry out WaterWatch’s annual auction and smaller fundraising events.
    • Work closely with the Auction Committee, board, and a strong group of volunteers and staff to plan, budget and carry out the auction successfully.
    • Manage relevant event data including guests, volunteers, budgets, sponsors, and donations.
    • Coordinate other fundraising events and provide support to house parties and smaller gatherings intended to introduce people to WaterWatch and/or raise funds.
  1. Communications and Outreach: A mixture of leading and assisting other staff with development-related communications and development-related outreach with members, major donors, and prospective donors to support development efforts and strategies.
    • Assist with development-related messaging and utilize persuasive messaging to reach broad audiences and expand WaterWatch’s membership base.
    • Lead communication efforts for annual auction and other fundraising events in tandem with the Communications Manager.
  1. Database Management and Reporting: Manage and analyze donor and prospect information in WaterWatch’s donor database.
    • With support from the Administrative Assistant and staff, ensure timely entry of donations, event data and preparation of routine fundraising and other reports as needed to support fundraising efforts, reporting, and planning.
    • With support from staff, acknowledge all gifts and thank all donors in in a timely manner, including writing and mailing prompt thank-you cards.
    • Use the event and membership databases to track donations, record and report information about past, current and prospective donors, including major donors and event attendees and develop strategies to move donors to higher levels of giving.
  1. Other Development:
    • Major Donors: With the Executive Director, staff and the Board, work to obtain productive, in-person meetings with donors and prospects and secure their support.
    • Relationship Building: With the Executive Director and Senior Fundraiser and Advisor, develop substantive relationships with existing WaterWatch donors through face-to-face meetings, river trips/field trips, donor education, donor recognition, gift acknowledgement and attentive response to donor requests and inquiries.
    • Grants: Assist as needed with foundation and grants prospecting, research and reporting.
    • Corporate Giving: With the Executive Director, plan, oversee and implement a corporate donor program. Part of this program currently involves auction sponsors and donors.
    • River Defender Program: Build on emerging momentum in WaterWatch’s River Defender Program which seeks bequests and other forms of legacy giving to the organization.

This position reports to the Executive Director but will involve working and coordinating with WaterWatch’s entire staff and Board.

Required Qualifications

    • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum two years of relevant development professional experience, with track record of success in event management and individual gift fundraising.
    • A genuine willingness and enthusiasm to ask for monetary gifts to support the mission.
    • A track record of securing financial support for a mission-driven organization.
    • Experience working in a non-profit setting with a mission-driven staff and board, preferably in water or river conservation.
    • Strong, clear written and verbal communication skills.
    • Ability to articulate the mission and make persuasive and compelling presentations to current and potential donors.
    • Some prior knowledge, or a genuine willingness and curiosity to learn about water and river conservation issues, equity and policy reform.
    • Proven ability to establish priorities, manage multiple projects, work in a team environment, and meet milestones and deadlines.
    • Skilled at using technology and software for donor and event management. Proficiency with social media platforms, tools, and analytics. Proficiency with Salsa CRM/equivalent, WordPress/Equivalent, Greater Giving/equivalent and Microsoft Office.
    • Ability to think strategically and organize tasks required to meet an objective. Includes ability to delegate tasks and effectively manage volunteer help.
    • Experience with development of culturally appropriate outreach materials for target audiences.
    • Ability to work cooperatively in a team environment.
    • Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends.
    • Demonstrated emotional intelligence.


  • Track record of managing large nonprofit events (250+ people) in Portland, Oregon.
  • Experience with conservation nonprofit fundraising in Oregon.
  • Specific knowledge of and interest in rivers, fish and wildlife, and water issues in Oregon.
  • Development-specific certifications or training a plus.

Compensation and Benefits

The starting salary range for this position is $57,000 to $62,000 per year depending on experience. Benefits include an allocation for Regence “gold” level health insurance plan, dental and vision insurance; 401(k) retirement plan option with employer match up to three percent; Paid Time Off (PTO) of 20 days per year to start with and increasing PTO based on years of service; and recurring six‐week sabbatical eligibility after seven years. In addition, salaried employees are eligible for compensatory time off for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

WaterWatch values diverse perspectives and experiences and seeks candidates who will help foster an equitable and inclusive organization. WaterWatch embraces, respects and values individuals regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or ancestry.

WaterWatch provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender assignment, gender identity or expression, national origin, (dis)ability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

Instructions for Applying

Applicants should submit a cover letter explaining how you would contribute to achieving WaterWatch’s mission, resume, and three references combined into a single PDF document to neil@waterwatch.org by 5 p.m. PST on Friday, April 12th, 2024. The deadline for first consideration is April 12th, but we will continue to accept and review applications on a rolling basis after the deadline until the position is filled.

Visit our WaterWatch Careers page for more, or go to the PDF posting for this job.