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Director of Institutional Relations

Petaluma CA

The Director of Institutional Relations will be responsible for organizational efforts to secure new and continued foundation and agency funding for priority programs and manage all aspects of Point Blue’s institutional relations. Reporting to the Chief Science Officer, the Director will collaborate with leaders across the organization including Development and Program (Group) Leadership to understand and solicit support for strategic initiatives. This role will also monitor and produce required reporting for projects and grants, develop foundation proposals and reports, engage with staff scientists in the production of technical proposals, and support the advancement staff in formal communications to major donors.

The Director, along with the Science Grant Writer will maintain foundation and agency support at the current level of $4 million annually and grow support among current and new funders. The current foundation and agency portfolio includes a robust mix of annual and multiyear grants that support a wide variety of programmatic needs. Continuing Point Blue’s excellent relationships with funders and expertly communicating the results of current work and the requirements to accomplish future work will be an important focus of this role.

In additional to well-demonstrated interpersonal skills, this role requires significant project management, writing and editing skills, detail-orientation and the ability to learn Point Blue’s conservation work and communicate it with passion and accuracy.

Point Blue has over 120 current conservation projects, approximately half of which are funded through contracts. Currently income by source is roughly 50% from contracts, 30% from foundations, and 20% from individuals. Much of Point Blue’s work is funded by contracts and government agency grants secured by the science staff who are the primary contacts and producers of the contracts. This role plays an important role in supporting the development of matching funds as required in their grants and by supplementing funding for important, strategic, but underfunded research and outreach programs to drive the organization’s overarching goals. The Director will be expected to understand the work of Point Blue’s conservation scientists and develop a fluency in describing their work clearly and accurately to inspire support through relationship building with key contacts and in written form.



Develop and maintain a management plan for sustaining funding from agencies and foundations that includes viability assessments and probability of potential new prospects and expanded funding opportunities.

Meet or exceed annually established foundation fundraising, relationship development, and stewardship goals to support strategic priorities.

Work collaboratively with the President/CEO, Chief Science Officer, Group Directors, Advancement Team members, and other staff leaders to identify, cultivate and secure support from existing or new funders.

Strengthen the integration and coordination of Program, Administration, and Advancement departments by developing positive relationships and fluid internal communications.

Increase successful grant solicitations, ensure accurate and informative reporting, and build strong long-term relationships with funders.

Manage all aspects of Point Blue’s institutional relationships while maintaining its reputation as an excellent partner and grantee.



Deepen and expand existing relationships with institutional funders through developing strategic relationship engagement plans that utilize the internal resources of the organization and lead to successful cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.

Create opportunities for funders to deepen their knowledge of Point Blue by arranging visits to research and program sites and facilitating conversations with key Point Blue leaders as appropriate.

Research, identify, and engage new institutional funders to build a greater base of financial support for the organization.

Personally engage in relationship development with new and existing institutional donors.



Work with Chief Science Officer and the Advancement Team to develop institutional fundraising goals, strategy, and tactics.

Manage, develop and write (as required) accurate and timely letters of intent, proposals, reports, correspondence, and other communications as needed.

Work with Finance and Program staff to ensure project budgets for proposals and reports are well-constructed and reflect organizational guidelines.

Ensure the continuity of information flowing to donors is consistent and reflects the most recent and accurate information available.

Coordinate and track all proposals and reports to foundations, agencies and other major funders in order to provide timely and accurate business decision-making information to the executive team and to ensure fulfillment of obligations to funders.

Track matching funds grant requirements and facilitate appropriate development in collaboration with other internal partners.

Coordinate the development of technical proposals and reports, as well as the creation of draft summary versions for lay audiences.

Support the organizational fundraising goals by participating and providing guidance on donor recognition, and other fundraising activities, assist with the development of major donor solicitations and stewardship efforts.

Maintain accurate and timely records of all relevant interactions with funders and potential funders in the donor database; monitor personal and departmental productivity.

Develop the Institutional Relations budget and ensure timely and accurate expense management.

Manage the Science Grant Writer and external vendors as required.



A successful Director of Institutional Relations will likely have:

Experience working with scientists or similarly technical professionals, supporting the dissemination of their work through strategic relationship building and written communication.

Significant success growing financial support, ideally for another conservation or scientific organization.

Experience cultivating new institutional relationships and deepening existing relationships through strong interpersonal skills and communicating the value and relevancy of programmatic work in effective proposals.

Excellent written communication skills; clear, accurate and compelling writing and editing skills.

Strong attention to detail while also able to see and communicate strategic, big picture vision and priorities.

Proven ability to work well among other high-performing professionals.

Ability to manage multiple, simultaneous projects and deadlines while maintaining a high level of accuracy.

Proven project management skills; able to assemble information from a variety of sources to create a clear work plan and interpersonal skills to ensure successful implementation.

Experience working in diverse, matrixed teams while focusing on strategic priorities.

Knowledge of conservation community.

Experience with fundraising database programs (Raiser’s Edge preferred) as well as MS Office, PowerPoint, and other standard office software.

Bachelor’s degree or higher or comparable professional experience.


For a full description and application instructions:


Posted March 8, 2018

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