Skip to content Skip to navigation

Chief Development Officer

List Date: 
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Close Date: 
Sunday, September 1, 2019



The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) pioneers collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges. Our scientists explore dynamic ocean systems from marine life to environmental conditions to coastal economies. We infuse our discoveries into the policy arena and design solutions with fishermen and seafood business to protect fishery resources, harvest them responsibly, and market them as premium quality food. We share our discoveries with the public and nurture a culture of leadership in communities that depend on the sea. Our education programs cultivate science literacy and build a foundation of collaborative problem-solving among our next generation of leaders, scientists, citizens, and stewards. Each year, we serve over 25,000 stakeholders from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia.

The Chief Development Officer (CDO) leads the development and execution of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s (GMRI) annual fundraising activities, long-term capital funding initiatives, and marketing and communications efforts. The CDO works with the President, Management Team, Strategic Gifts Committee, and Board of Directors to implement operating and capital campaigns to drive GMRI’s emergence as an international center for marine research, education, and community impact. The CDO reports to the President. 

The Chief Development Officer fosters a culture of philanthropy within the organization and assures that the organization’s corporate culture, systems, and procedures support donor-centric fundraising. The CDO:

  • Leads staff and volunteers to institutionalize philanthropy and donor-centric fundraising practices within the organization;
  • Plans and coordinates implementation of strategies to engage, develop, and steward donors to support the organization;
  • Assures development and maintenance of appropriate systems for fundraising, including volunteer and donor management, research and cultivation, gift processing, and recognition;
  • Maintains accountability and compliance standards for donors and funding sources;
  • Supports the development and implementation of marketing and communications strategies to enhance GMRI’s visibility and credibility in our regional, national, and international marketspaces.

The CDO works directly with board members, volunteers, and GMRI staff to define institutional development strategies, develop fundraising materials, research prospective donors, cultivate/solicit/steward donors, document/track pledges and gifts, and increase the public’s awareness of GMRI’s work.


Strategic Planning: The CDO participates with the President, Management Team, staff, and Board to develop the organization’s mission and direction.

  • Provides input to long-term strategic planning across the organization.
  • Participates as a member of the Management Team overseeing operational planning, policy development, and cross-functional management.
  • Ensures that fundraising strategies are carried out in keeping with the organization’s values, vision, mission, and plans.
  • Monitors developments in philanthropy and fundraising to inform the staff and Board on current issues, trends, and opportunities.

Development Management: Provides general oversight of all of the organization’s fundraising activities and manages day-to-day operations of GMRI’s development function.

  • Manages a development and communications team of 10 staff.
  • Assures sound fiscal operation of development function, including timely development, implementation, and monitoring of budgets.
  • Represents the institution to donors, prospects, regulators, development committee(s), and fundraising volunteers.
  • Fosters smooth operations in GMRI’s development function through forward planning and timely resolution of disruptions.
  • Assures stability by creating a working environment that is rewarding to staff and volunteers.
  • Establishes performance measures, monitors results, and evaluates the effectiveness of GMRI’s development efforts.
  • Manages development of and compliance with GMRI’s fundraising and philanthropic principles, policies, and procedures.
  • Ensures compliance with code of ethics for fundraising executives.

Fundraising Management: Designs and assures implementation of cost-effective fundraising programs while maintaining a high level of quality and a solid return on investment.

  • Leads planning of annual and long-term fundraising initiatives, including goal setting, strategy identification, benchmarking, and evaluation.
  • Coordinates development staff selection of funding prospects for capital, strategic operating, or program funding requests to assure prospects are targeted for GMRI’s highest priority needs aligned with prospect interests.
  • Supports board members, President, other fundraising volunteers, and staff to identify, cultivate, and solicit charitable gifts.
  • Develops and implements ongoing, personalized strategies for stewarding donors and volunteers.
  • Supervises event planning and management.

Personal Portfolio: Maintains a personal fundraising portfolio of current and prospective major donors and serves as a key representative of GMRI in public and private donor cultivation forums.

  • Communicates with current and prospective donors in a continuous cycle of research, strategy, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Engages staff, volunteers, and board members as part of prospect research, cultivation, and solicitation efforts.
  • Solicits contributions on behalf of the organization, with a primary focus on major strategic contributions and capital contributions.
  • Attends public, private, and donor centric events throughout the year as a key representative of the institution.

Marketing & Communications: Supervises GMRI’s marketing, branding public relations, and communications strategy and initiatives in coordination with the President, internal communications staff, and external advisors.

  • Monitors and cultivates institutional sensitivity to GMRI’s competitive position in the complex web of GMRI’s local/state/regional/national/ international research, education, community, and donor markets.
  • Develops and manages GMRI’s brand strategy.
  • Supervises management of GMRI’s brand standards and media.
  • Develops and oversees implementation of GMRI’s public relations strategy.
  • Supervises communication staff’s media outreach and response strategies.
  • Oversees development staff implementing community relations activities.

Volunteer Management: Works with the President, committee chairs, and Board Chair to ensure volunteer fulfillment of fundraising roles and facilitate the optimum interaction between management and volunteers.

  • Works with the President and volunteer leadership to assure development committees and the Board function effectively in fund development.
  • Engages volunteers in development strategy process, encourages questioning, and promotes participatory decision-making.
  • Develops agendas for meetings so that development committees can fulfill their responsibilities effectively.
  • Develops an annual calendar to cover crucial development issues in a timely fashion.
  • Informs the President and volunteer leadership on the condition of the fundraising programs and on all important factors influencing it.
  • Evaluates the performance of fundraising volunteers annually and reports to the President and Nominating Committee.

Database Management: Oversees evolution and maintenance of a relational management database for fundraising and communications purposes and of systems for recording, tracking, and reporting.

  • Provides regular reports on institutional development and communications to the Strategic Gifts Committee, Board, President, donors, and prospects.
  • Oversees development of relational data base file management and verification procedures to assure a high level of file integrity.
  • Assures regular monitoring and maintenance of prospect research and gift record files to provide an audit trail for all gifts and pledges.

Other General Responsibilities

Human Resources: Identifies, selects, develops, motivates, and evaluates human resources, both professional and volunteer, to support development activities.

  • Manages development and communications team of 10 staff.
  • Establishes personal accountability for development staff, and evaluates performance annually.
  • Hires and manages external fundraising counsel, as appropriate.
  • Serves as member of Nominating Committee to identify and recruit GMRI board members who will support GMRI’s mission.
  • Leads efforts to identify, cultivate, recruit, develop, and manage fundraising volunteers and leadership.
  • Identifies and supports educational programs in fundraising, grantsmanship, estate planning, corporate social responsibility and information technology management for staff and volunteers.
  • Works with the President, Board Chair, and Strategic Gifts Committee Chair to define expectations for fundraising volunteers and evaluate performance.

Required Qualifications

We are seeking a thoughtful leader and strategist with strong interpersonal skills, experience managing multiple tasks in a demanding environment, ability to relate comfortably with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds, willingness to travel to meet with donors, a sense of humor, and interest in working in a lean, rapidly changing organization. 


  • Minimum five-years of service in a strategic management role in a non-profit, public, or for-profit organization.
  • Successful track record cultivating and securing significant funding from individual, corporate, foundation, state, and federal funding sources.
  • Leadership responsibility for developing and executing strategies to accomplish ambitious goals.
  • Service in a marketing management, strategic consulting, or development role for a rapidly growing organization.
  • Four-year undergraduate degree required.

Other Preferred Qualifications

  • Interest in marine science, marine stewardship, and/or Gulf of Maine community desired, but not required.
  • Graduate or professional training in marketing, strategic planning, and/or development desired.


To apply for this position, CLICK HERE to submit cover letter and resume.  Note that you will be navigating away from the GMRI website.  Applications will be reviewed upon receipt. Questions should be referred to However, we will not accept resumes sent to this address. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. This position will remain open until filled.

We are proud to confirm our long-standing policy and commitment to providing equal access and equal employment opportunities in all terms, conditions, processes and benefits of employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.  Our employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.

Applicants and employees are encouraged to voluntarily self-identify their race/ethnicity, gender, disability status and veteran status to assist us in fulfilling various data reporting requirements of the federal government. This self-identification is completely voluntary, will be kept strictly confidential and separate from your application data, and used only to meet federal reporting requirements. Providing or declining to provide this information will not result in adverse action of any kind.