Employment: RGS Seeks Next Director of Development


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Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society

Director of Development


The Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society (RGS/AWS) seeks to recruit a Director of Development.


About Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society

Founded in 1961, the three pillars of the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) and its companion organization, the American Woodcock Society (AWS) are: Healthy Forests, Abundant Wildlife and Sporting Traditions. The early pioneers of RGS envisioned an organization that would seek to improve the woodland habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and many other kinds of forest wildlife. The traditions and values that framed RGS’s early days shape RGS’s mission today:

“The Ruffed Grouse Society is North America’s foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat using scientific management practices.”

RGS/AWS has taken steps to enhance the impact of its science programs, chapter and volunteer engagement, fundraising operations and overall organizational structure. Moreover, RGS/AWS has undertaken a major upgrade in its technology platform. These improvements include migrating many of its systems to cloud-based technology to improve security and reliability. They are also implementing new systems for managing membership information, improving data security and enable members to manage their accounts online.

New e-commerce modules are providing better member experiences. Online event registration and sponsorship support a more user-friendly check-out experience on the web store. These internal improvements, when combined with a talented and motivated staff, enable RGS/AWS to operate with agility in achieving financial stability, delivering meaningful mission impact, generating member enthusiasm, and effectively delivering its message.

Making the work possible is a talented and engaged team. RGS/AWS consists of a twenty-five person staff. The professional staff includes finance and operational personnel, regional biologists, member relations and regional directors and fundraisers. About 40% operate from the headquarters in Pittsburgh and the remainder are field-based. RGS/AWS’s Board is comprised of 16 individuals. The board meets at least three times annually – twice in-person and at least one additional meeting via conference call. The current annual budget is approximately $5 million. Currently, there are 111 active chapters within the organization.  

The Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society hold a unique position in the conservation world. The term “niche” understates the role. Today’s pivotal times in forest wildlife conservation offer challenges and opportunities. The ability of RGS/AWS to meet its responsibility hinges on financial growth and sustainability.

Financial sustainability means more than a “development” program. Borrowing from university models RGS/AWS is building an “advancement” approach that integrates philanthropy with communications and marketing, member engagement, and the latest technological advances. Building a philanthropic culture will be strategized, created and implemented across disciplines including the board of directors, staff, and volunteers.

About the Position: Director of Development

The Director of Development will play a key role in building a philanthropic culture and the mechanisms for RGS/AWS to attain financial sustainability. It will be the Director’s primary responsibility to support RGS/AWS’s drive to reach a new level of fundraising growth.

The Director will also work as part of an executive team including the President, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications Director, and Conservation Policy and Programs Director.

The overarching goals for the Director of Development include:

  • Provides strategic leadership, inspiration, planning, and oversight for all major donor fundraising and planned giving efforts of RGS/AWS.
  • Expands major-donor contributions by directly cultivating gifts from a portfolio of donors and managing the fundraising work of the President and a team of major-donor representatives. The Director is expected to devote at least 50 percent of his or her time to travel, visiting major donors.
  • Develop an assessment system to determine current and potential status of donors for financial contributions.
  • Creates a high quality donor engagement and stewardship program that appropriately recognizes donors, generates good will, and facilitates sustained giving.
  • Creates and delivers a world-class planned giving program at RGS/AWS.
  • Works closely with the President, the Board of Directors and the Board Development Committee.
  • Manages the Development Department, including staff and external vendors. This includes annual budgeting and responsibility for staff directly working for the Development Department.
  • Collaborates closely with fundraising, membership recruitment, event planning and communications activities in other departments.

Professional Qualifications

The Director of Development should possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Senior-level development professional with 10+ years of experience, to include a history of securing six- and seven-figure foundation grants, developing and implementing prospect strategy and crafting powerful proposals.
  • Propensity for strategic leadership, inspiration, planning, and oversight for the fundraising and membership recruitment efforts of RGS/AWS.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain relationships with major donors.
  • Proven ability, willingness and enthusiasm to coach and lead others (staff and volunteers) in major donor work.
  • A record of success in developing and sustaining a comprehensive fundraising program.
  • Proven experience with planned giving campaigns.
  • Proven experience with capital campaigns.
  • Effective management and leadership ability, including the ability to manage people and to work together across disciplines within the organization.
  • Strong competence in working with budgets. Skills in dealing with evaluation and performance measurement metrics. Experience in making group presentations.
  • Strong work ethic and willingness to travel often for weekend and evening meetings.
  • Undergraduate degree required.

Personal Attributes

  • A commitment to becoming an advocate of RGS/AWS’s mission.
  • Passionate commitment to the values and mission of RGS/AWS and a demonstrated conservation ethic.
  • Highest level organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Personal creativity and strategic vision coupled with an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas – a sense of inquisitiveness and intellectual curiosity.
  • Ability to inspire trust, lead and facilitate with strong interpersonal skills and ability to move from ideas to action.
  • A collaborator and team builder - a superb professional and personal presence.
  • Persuasive communicator with excellent listening, speaking, and writing skills.
  • Personable, articulate, and diplomatic.
  • Trustworthy and possessing the highest level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards.


Compensation for the Director of Development includes a competitive base salary, and a package of health and employee benefits.

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter responding specifically to the experience and qualifications being sought to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at resumes@explorecompany.com. Refer to RGS/AWS/DOD in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

The Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society is an equal opportunity employer and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.

All correspondence will remain confidential.








Mission Statement

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America's foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.

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