Riveredge is more than a nature center. Its legacy as a pioneer in the areas of land restoration, research, and inquiry-based education throughout Wisconsin serve as a strong foundation to its future initiatives. Today, Riveredge is reimagining the role of the nature center by empowering and supporting communities to live in harmony with their natural environment in a way that encourages exploration, adventure, and fun.
Riveredge has a 50-year history as a leader in environmental education in the state of Wisconsin. The Center provides science-based, inquiry-oriented, outdoor experiences to over 45,000 learners of all ages each year. The mission of Riveredge Nature Center is to promote conservation through education that awakens curiosity, engages the body, and explores connections to nature for all generations. Through this, Riveredge envisions healthier human and natural communities.
The Development Specialist will work as part of the Riveredge Nature Center team of staff and volunteers. This position is responsible for supporting fundraising initiatives through the timely preparation of grant applications, drafting foundation proposals, prospect research for designated and operational funding through a variety of sources, and aiding with other organizational communication pieces as needed. This position supports the success of special events and other aspects of day-to-day operations and administrative functions. The Development Specialist reports to the Director of Development.
Riveredge seeks a dynamic individual with exceptional creative writing and organizational skills to fill this position.
Work closely with the Director of Development to support the team’s success in philanthropic initiatives
Develop and submit grant applications (for designated projects/programs and general operating support) in a timely manner
Research and build relationships with prospective granting agencies (family and corporate foundations, businesses, and government)
Keep accurate records of all grant applications utilizing consistent organizational tracking tools and eTapestry database
Work with program staff to assist with grant applications for designated projects
Oversee and ensure completion of all grant requirements in partnership with program staff (publicity, reporting, letters of acceptance, Board communications, etc.)
Work with the Marketing & Communications Manager to ensure funding partners are appropriately recognized
Assist in the development and regular review of sponsorship opportunities for all programs/events
Identify additional sponsorship opportunities to help support Riveredge programs, events, and initiatives
Develop and submit sponsorship requests for all Riveredge programs and events.
Research and build relationships with new businesses, foundations, and individuals as it relates to Riveredge’s overall growth.
Meet with corporate partners on a regular basis to ensure relationship is a match with their philanthropic and/or marketing goals.
Work with the Marketing & Communications Manager and Special Events Coordinator to ensure sponsors are appropriately recognized in marketing materials and during events.
Aid in the creation of sponsorship recognition materials.
Assist in stewardship to ensure exceptional care and gratitude for all sponsors.
Attend networking events and donor meetings/visits as appropriate
Work closely with Marketing & Communications Manager to forward the work of both departments and ensure they complement each other.
Work closely with Special Events Coordinator to attend and assist in special events: River Valley Bike Ride, Farm-to-Table Gala event, Yule Log Dinners, Maple Syrup Suppers, Outdoor Pancake Breakfast, etc.
Participate in programs, events, and staff meetings of the Education and Research & Conservation teams as necessary to fully understand the programs and initiatives at Riveredge.
Assist in staffing the Visitor Center approximately one weekend day per quarter (in addition to other weekend events).
Work with all members of the Administration team and undertake additional assignments as necessary
In addition to the Primary Duties, the Development Specialist is expected to meet the following expectations set forth for all staff members of Riveredge Nature Center:
Meaningfully contribute to the Riveredge staff team. This includes helping with projects, programs, and events that may fall outside of the primary duties or departments of this position description.
Foster an inclusive and supportive environment through personal actions such as supporting and helping other staff members and volunteers.
Provide high-quality customer service experiences to all guests and volunteers.
Regularly participate in staff meetings and internal professional development trainings.
Seek out professional development opportunities outside of Riveredge Nature Center to further personal growth.
Identify opportunities and contribute to efforts to realize additional earned and contributed revenue such as, but not limited to, specialty programs, membership recruitment, in-kind donations, grants, and gifts.
Strive for excellence and innovation.
The Development Specialist position is designed to support opportunities that aid Riveredge in achieving annual 2-3% revenue growth through:
Increasing membership households
Increasing annual fund contributions as well as undesignated/operating grants and gifts
Increasing designated grants and gifts
Increasing event & program sponsorships
Supporting the implementation of earned revenue growth strategies
Performance Evaluation & Compensation
When we work together, Riveredge succeeds. When Riveredge succeeds, we all benefit. All staff members at Riveredge will have regular and consistent contact with their supervisor(s). All staff members will receive a yearly, formal performance review from his/her direct supervisor. Performance will be evaluated based on overall job performance, teamwork, and progress related to yearly goals. Pay increases will be given based on job performance. Yearly pay increases are not guaranteed. When financially allowable, high performing employees will receive greater compensation based on performance that is consistently above expectations.
Bachelor’s degree in English, communications, journalism, non-profit management, or related field.
Excellent creative and persuasive writing skills paired with a passion for writing.
A minimum of 2 years experience as a grant writer, in a nonprofit organization, and/or in a communication position.
Strong organizational skills and a natural ability to manage projects and deadlines.
Proven success in fundraising/grant writing/securing sponsorships.
Experience working with donors and volunteers.
Self-starter and a well-developed ability to set and meet goals and outcomes.
Ability to easily communicate evaluation outcomes and program impacts.
Enthusiastic, positive, motivated, and likes to have fun on the job.
Ability to work as a member of a team by sharing decision making while personally assuming and also asking for responsibility and accountability.
Personal interest in conservation education, connections to environmental issues, and community wellbeing.
Excellent computer skills, comfort using email and internet. Must be proficient in using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and iPads.
Experience with Google Suite (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets), Adobe Suite (In Design, Photoshop), Wordpress, social media platforms, eTapestry, Trello, etc.
Telecommuting is allowed.
Additional Salary Information: Benefits & Working Conditions
This is a full-time, salaried position and provides the following benefits. Specific salary (commensurate on experience) and details of benefits will be presented in the offer letter.
Short and long-term disability paid 100% by Riveredge,
Matching retirement contributions (currently 4%),
Paid holidays, vacation, and sick leave package
Optional participation in a health insurance and dental insurance programs
Additional working conditions include:
Work evenings and weekends on an occasional basis (average one weekend per month).
Assume occasional travel within the state.
Salaried positions include the opportunity to appropriately use a 1:1 compensation time structure for weekend and night hours worked. Employees are required to keep documentation illustrating appropriate use of this compensation time benefit.
When approved by the employee’s direct supervisor, limited hours (up to 20% of time) may be spent telecommuting remotely on an as-needed basis. Please consider this option when you are not feeling well or are working on projects that can be more efficiently completed in an environment free from distraction.
About Riveredge Nature Center
THE VISION: Healthier human and natural communities.
THE MISSION: Riveredge Nature Center supports conservation through education that awakens curiosity, engages the body, and explores connections to nature for all generations.
CORE VALUES: At Riveredge Nature Center, we value...
1. A Sense of Place
The land at Riveredge has always and continues to be the heart-center of all that we do. For 50 years volunteers and staff have labored to care for this land, to showcase the rich diversity of its habitats. The result is a gift to everyone who walks its paths. Our land—prairies, forests, wetlands—inspires our work to bring nature to communities. From schoolyards to
backyards, Riveredge is committed to connecting everyone to nature where they are.
Adventure is a priority, in those we hire, how we work, and the experiences we provide. Through outdoor adventures on the land, in the tree tops, and along the river, we challenge our bodies and refresh our spirits while developing a deep appreciation for the natural environment. We are committed to connecting all generations to the natural world and, just as importantly, to each other. We use adventure to re-engag...e current “Riveredge Kids” and connect new audiences with the natural world.
Our hands-on, inquiry-based programs help learners of all ages build lifelong relationships with the natural world. Our educators draw in students by fostering wonder, curiosity, and delight. The student’s discoveries transform and deepen their understanding of the world around them. Riveredge has a history of being a leader in research; it mentors students in education, land
stewardship and ecological studies and serves as a resource for professional researchers.
Joy in the outdoors is a fundamental principle we foster every day—for our visitors, volunteers, students, board, and staff. Time spent in nature each day often results and happiness and well-being. Increasingly, research shows the physical and mental health benefits of time spent outdoors. We are working to promote the great outdoors as the best preventative medicine!