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Senior Director of Individual and Campaign Giving - The Morton Arboretum

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The Morton Arboretum

Senior Director of Individual and Campaign Giving

The Morton Arboretum is a magnificent outdoor museum with a mission to collect and study trees, shrubs and other plants from around the world, to display them across naturally beautiful landscapes for people to study and enjoy, and to learn how to grow them in ways that enhance the environment.  The Arboretum’s goal is to encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world.  The Morton Arboretum is strategically positioned to achieve its vision of being the leading center of tree expertise, inspiring the world to plant and protect trees.  

Joy Morton, the founder of The Morton Salt Company, was a visionary. When he founded The Morton Arboretum in 1922, transforming his Thornhill estate in Lisle, Illinois located 25 miles west of Chicago, he wanted to continue his family legacy to plant trees. The inspiration for the Arboretum had its origins in his own family tree.  J. Sterling Morton, his father, was the originator of Arbor Day in 1872 and “Plant Trees” was their family motto. Certainly, he did not know how the world would change nearly 100 years later, but he bestowed a gift that would allow the Arboretum to grow for generations to come.

Operating on a $27 million annual budget, the Arboretum is led by Gerard T. Donnelly, Ph.D., President and CEO, and a 21-member Board of Trustees representing business and community leaders.  The Morton Arboretum's vibrant staff includes 135 full-time, 100 part-time, 100 seasonal employees, and 1,000 volunteers, who work in areas such as plant collections and grounds, tree research, education, visitor services, and administration.  The management team leads staff to achieve the goals of the Strategic Plan: strengthen The Arboretum’s leadership in tree science and education, build capacity and grow outreach and service to the public, improve the vigor of the urban forest in the Chicago region, save trees from extinction through global collaborations, and provide leadership to the world's arboreta.

The Opportunity  

Reporting to the Vice President of Development, the Senior Director of Individual and Campaign Giving is a new leadership role to be filled by a key strategist and implementer with proven success of growing major donors.  S/he will provide strategic direction for increasing unrestricted, restricted, planned and campaign gifts from individuals.  S/he will manage three direct reports who oversee Planned Giving, Major Gifts, and Donor Relations.  The Senior Director will play a key role in the strategic leadership of the upcoming capital campaign in partnership with the Vice President of Development and President/CEO. S/he will manage a personal portfolio of individual donors/prospects, supporters who have the capacity to make gifts in the five- and six-figure range, making it their priority to instill a profound understanding of the importance of saving and planting trees.  This position will work closely with the President/CEO, Vice President of Development, high-level fundraising volunteers, and the Arboretum’s scientific and program leadership to identify, maximize, and capture donor-giving potential.  Inherent in this role is the opportunity to enhance and expand the major gift program of the Arboretum, while preserving the deeply-rooted traditions and decorum, which benefactors, since the Arboretum’s hallowed beginnings, value and trust.  

The Qualified Candidate

The Morton Arboretum is seeking an accomplished and seasoned fundraising professional to serve as its Senior Director of Individual and Campaign Giving.  S/he will be self-motivated, results-oriented, resourceful, creative, highly energetic, and intelligent, with exceptional interpersonal, communication and organizational skills and the ability to appreciate and encourage a team perspective.  The successful candidate will be passionate and knowledgeable about the Arboretum’s mission, polished and persuasive in their presentation, a savvy manager who excels at relationship building with internal and external constituencies alike.  A strong preference will be given to those individuals who bring a proven and progressive background in major and planned gifts fundraising.  A working knowledge of the local philanthropic marketplace will add significant value to the qualifications the candidate brings, but is not a requirement.

Specific Requirements Include:

•    Deep commitment to the Arboretum’s mission with a genuine willingness to continually learn about its programs and strategic alliances.

•    A minimum of 7 to 10 years of professional development experience with an established nonprofit organization in related field or higher education.

•    Successful and progressive background in donor solicitation and stewardship processes.

•    Strong working knowledge of strategy development and moves management system in the cultivation and solicitation of five- and six-figure gifts from individual donors.

•    Demonstrated experience in Capital Campaigns and Planned Giving.

•    Accomplished fundraiser with best practice knowledge and skills to successfully motivate, engage, and interact with senior leadership, Trustees, high-level donors and volunteers.

•    Outstanding ability to discern and respond to patrons’ interests to meet both donor and institutional goals.

•    Proven ability to effectively motivate and manage staff teams, and to build cohesive, collaborative partnerships with peers in a fast-paced, complex environment.

•    Exceptional leadership, planning, and organizational skills.

•    Superior supervisory and project management skills.

•    Excellent verbal, written and presentation communication skills.

•    Hands-on experience with Raiser’s Edge and proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite.

•    Bachelor's degree; CFRE credential preferred.

This position offers a competitive salary with excellent benefits.

The Morton Arboretum is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria.  Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/D/V

To Apply

This search is being managed by Heather A. Eddy, CFRE, President and CEO of Alford Group Executive Search. To apply, candidates should submit their cover letter and resume and complete the online application at No applications will be accepted via email. Questions may be addressed to Kathrene Wales at  All inquiries will be held in strict confidence.

Alford Group Executive Search is a retained search firm dedicated to providing recruitment services of exceptional quality and strengthening public and not-for-profit institutions through professional staffing solutions.

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