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Development Associate 

Category Development and Donor Relations  
Position Development Associate  
Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  
Exempt/Non-Exempt Exempt  
Compensation Anticipated Starting Salary - $44,000 - $47,000 per year plus a comprehensive benefit package  

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to the conservation and research of the Sonoran Desert Region with the goal of making the Sonoran Desert accessible, understandable, and valued. We are a fusion experience zoo, botanical garden, aquarium, art gallery, natural history museum, and research institute. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has recognized the Desert Museum for over 25 years of continuous accreditation.


Our Philanthropy Department invites applications for a Development Associate.


Position Description
Job Title: Development Associate
Department: Philanthropy
Supervisor: Director of Philanthropy
FLSA Status: Exempt
Compensation: Anticipated Starting Salary: $44,000 - $47,000 per year plus Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s comprehensive benefit package which includes medical, dental, vision, employer-funded health reimbursement account, life and LTD insurance, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts, 403(b) retirement plan with Roth option, dual-level membership, paid holidays, personal business time, sick leave, and vacation.

Reporting to the Director of Philanthropy, the Development Associate plays an important role in the Desert Museum achieving its annual funding objectives. Key responsibilities include: event coordination and planning; administrative duties and data input, identifying, qualifying, cultivating, soliciting, and communicating with donors, business, and foundation funders; planning, writing, and editing sponsorship and grant proposals; entering data about, tracking, and reporting on donors and donations; and meeting and exceeding annual revenue goals.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

General Fundraising

  • Assist in planning and implementing the annual Desert Museum Gala fundraiser
  • Plan and coordinate on-site and off-site donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship events and activities.
  • Oversee giving programs like Arizona Gives Day, Giving Tuesday, Amazon Wish List, and processing of in-kind donations.
  • Plan and schedule fundraising campaigns to reach potential contributors and upgrade periodic donors to recurring donors.
  • Share the responsibility of coordinating production and editing the Desert Museum's donor and member newsletters; provide development input for other institutional materials (including annual report, website, collateral, etc.) as directed.
  • Make appointments for Executive Director, Director of Philanthropy, board members, and other key Desert Museum constituents with business leaders, foundation officers, donors, and other prospects; arrange on-site tours for donor prospects.
  • Maintain strict confidentiality of all information, with particular emphasis on donor and donation information.
  • Negotiate and secure agreements with other organizations for exchange of mailing lists, information, and cooperative programs.
  • Assist in managing Philanthropy volunteers and interns, as appropriate.

Database Maintenance and Reports

  • Work in Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge donor database system. Maintain accurate and current donor tracking and acknowledgement systems (including data entry of donor information and gifts; documentation of all identification, qualification, screening, cultivation, solicitation, actions, and stewardship activities; generation of donor acknowledgement letters; and articulation of gift impact and benefits to funders), ensure timely data entry and acknowledgement of gifts, and develop all analytical and tracking reports needed by Development, Member Services, Finance, and Marketing, as well as other end-users.
  • Compile monthly reports and reconcile these with Finance to ensure accurate and consistent revenue reports.
  • Collaborate with other departments to maintain an effective interface between Raiser's Edge (and other applicable member/donor databases and information management systems) and the Desert Museum’s websites.

Grant Writing

  • Acquire and maintain a sound understanding of the Desert Museum’s history and programs; use that familiarity to better understand grant funding needed to accomplish projects and activities.
  • Identify, research, screen, and rate prospective grant funders; develop and manage a grants calendar, including deadlines and restrictions; ensure all submission and reporting deadlines are met
  • Compile information for, write, and edit grant inquiries and proposals, consistent with each funders’ priorities, preferences, and guidelines.
  • Review program, project, and activity budgets for which grant funding is sought and make recommendations to present it clearly and effectively to prospective funders
  • Manage grant applications, keeping in contact with grant-making entities, and providing additional and supportive materials when requested.

Supervisory Responsibilities
Assist in managing Philanthropy volunteers and interns, as appropriate.


Note: Please be prepared to upload a letter of interest with your resume when submitting your application & completed questionnaire. Application review will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Please understand that if offered a position, you will be required to successfully complete a pre-employment drug screen & criminal background check, and provide the equivalent of a satisfactory 3-year Drivers History Record as a final condition of employment.


Position Requirements

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent, preferably in business, philanthropy, or communications.
  • Previous experience in nonprofit fundraising.
  • Demonstrated record of meeting or exceeding revenue goals.
  • Demonstrated writing skills; previous writing experience (especially in development) preferred.
  • Experience with proposal writing.
  • Willingness and availability to work a flexible schedule, including nights and weekends when necessary, as well as work remotely.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Strong written communications skills; ability to write clear, structured, articulate, and persuasive proposals.
  • Strong event coordination skills.
  • Strong editing and verbal communication skills.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy of all information.
  • Strong organizational skills, including meeting deadlines, prioritizing tasks, and managing multiple priorities.
  • Knowledge of fundraising techniques and strategies.
  • Familiarity with prospect research techniques.

Computer Skills
To perform this job successfully, an individual should be proficient with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook); donor management software (Blackbaud Raiser's Edge NXT is a plus); charity auction, email marketing software (Constant Contact preferred), Internet-based donor research, e-communications, and social media.

Mathematical Skills
Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.

Reasoning Ability
Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to professionally deal with high-stress situations and deadlines. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.

Language Skills
Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence, professional email communications, and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public.

Physical Demands
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to use hands to handle, or feel. The employee is occasionally required to stand, walk and sit. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.

Work EnvironmentThe work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


The above description reflects a general overview of the responsibilities and position requirements for this job classification. It is not intended to be a complete description of all duties and requirements that may be inherent in the position. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is an equal opportunity institution that values a diverse workforce. The Museum is a drug and alcohol free workplace and participates in E-Verify.

Open Date 9/16/2022  

This position is currently accepting applications.

Apply Now


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