Development Director

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2020
 Full Time
 Large scale
 Business Management
 Carbon Farming

Position Description

San Diego Food System Alliance (“the Alliance”) uses the power of collaboration to cultivate a healthy, sustainable, and just food system in San Diego County. Founded in 2012, the Alliance is a network of over 150 organizations working across sectors to promote collaboration, influence policy, and catalyze transformation in the food system.

Grounded in a shared vision for change and informed by the experience and expertise of its network, the Alliance envisions a food system that elevates social, environmental, and economic equity for all. The Alliance was officially launched out of a recommendation from the San Diego Food System Assessment and the Urban-Rural Roundtable, convened by Roots of Change, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts and City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. 

About the Position:

Reporting to and in partnership with the Executive Director (ED), the Development Director will spearhead the development efforts of the San Diego Food System Alliance, raising support and awareness for the Alliance and San Diego County Food Vision 2030.

A new position in a growing organization, the Development Director will build the strategy, team, and operations for development, with a focus on cultivating lasting relationships and realizing significant, multi-year funding opportunities with foundations, corporations, individual philanthropists, and government agencies at all levels. In addition to building the overall fundraising strategy, the Development Director will be directly responsible for stewarding a portfolio of current and prospective donors and deepening their engagement with the Alliance.

The Development Director will have strong relationship-building skills and be comfortable with soliciting five, six-figure gifts to ensure that annual fundraising goals are met or exceeded. A successful candidate will demonstrate strength in building a portfolio and a commitment to qualification best practices. As a newer organization, the greatest emphasis is on new prospect and donor outreach. The Director will need to be exceptional at time management, balancing the proposal development and stewardship pieces of the position with consistent dedication to prospect outreach, particularly by phone and virtual formats during this time. 

The Development Director must be a strong relationship-builder and manager who is comfortable setting up systems, juggling multiple projects, and creatively connecting the dots between fundraising, communications, and programming. The Development Director will collaborate with the Associate Director, and programs and communications staff. This role is both strategic and tactical, requiring systems thinking as well as the ability to oversee detailed tasks including researching and writing grants, donor appeals, and acknowledgements as well as reporting and record keeping. The Development Director will be responsible for managing contract grant writers as well as possibly staff and/or interns to support development efforts. 

San Diego Food System Alliance’s annual operating budget is approximately $1 million. As the Food Vision 2030 plan unfolds, the Alliance will build its programmatic capacity to support the implementation of Food Vision 2030 as a backbone entity. Working closely with the Executive Director, the Development Director will be responsible for developing a strategy to fund the growth of the Alliance and exploring opportunities to mobilize resources to actualize Food Vision 2030 goals. The ideal candidate is extremely strategic, organized, thrives in system level work, fantastic story-teller, enthusiastic about food justice causes, and an accountable team collaborator. 


The Development Director will be expected to work closely with the Executive Director at the Alliance’s headquarters in Little Italy as well as to work remotely, as appropriate. 


Under the supervision of Executive Director:

  • Develop and execute San Diego Food System Alliance's annual fundraising plan, including grants, major gifts, corporate partnerships, and special events 
  • Contribute to high-level strategic thinking and serve as a thought-partner to the Executive Director in designing plans and goals that move the organization forward and compel donors to support the work
  • Develop and maintain ongoing relationships with donors and prospects 
  • Create and execute a strategy for a large sustained base of annual individual donors
  • Oversee organization of special donor events, working with vendors and staff 
  • Oversee and execute the development of proposals, appeals, acknowledgements, and reports, working with contractor grant writers and staff 
  • Manage the implementation of CRM system (Neon) data entry and gift processing

What success looks like in the first year: 

  • Working closely with the Executive Director, develop and implement an annual fundraising strategy to secure a minimum of $1 million in operating support. Actively contribute to strategy development to mobilize significant resources to support with actualizing the goals of Food Vision 2030. Build a strong pipeline of prospects, engage and deepen relationships with existing donors, and increase overall giving to and community awareness of the Alliance.

Education, Experience, and Skills:

  • Relevant skills include strategic thinking, effective relationship building, project management, communications, and ability to stay very organized. A strong candidate will have familiarity with the food, health, wellness, San Diego and California philanthropic landscapes.
  • Bachelor's degree or higher, or equivalent experience
  • 5+ years experience in development, comfortable making big asks and cultivating major gifts
  • Demonstrated excellence in communications and leadership 
  • Knowledge of CRM systems
  • Strong proposal development skills
  • Very organized and ability to manage a growing portfolio

Work Environment and Physical Demands:

  • Shared co-work spaces provided in Little Italy. Flexible work environment with low to moderate noise level.
  • Currently, our team is working remotely due to COVID-19.
  • Work is generally sedentary in nature, but requires moving around for up to 30% of the time and occasional lifting up to 30lbs.
  • Requires reliable access to transportation throughout San Diego County for meetings and events.
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