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Director of Development

Cambridge, MA

Job Summary

Reports to: Executive Director, Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability (primary) and has a dotted-line reporting relationship with the Director of Priorities and Initiatives, University Development Office (UDO)

The Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability develops and promotes durable, effective, and equitable solutions to the climate change challenges confronting humanity. The Institute pursues its mission by strengthening the Harvard-wide community of scholars, students, practitioners, and staff working towards climate solutions by strengthening research, teaching, and engagement in climate and related environment issues. With the Institute’s support, Harvard scholars address the climate challenge in their classrooms and their laboratories. The Institute also leverages Harvard’s convening power to engage and influence government, business, civil society, and communities in ways that lead to a sustainable future.

Philanthropy is essential to the Institute’s success. For this reason, the Salata Institute is seeking an experienced development professional, who is deeply knowledgeable of the philanthropic space in climate and sustainability, especially as this space intersects with higher education. The successful candidate will draw on a solid understanding of climate and sustainability issues to engage prospective donors and Harvard University faculty and staff in developing and executing funding strategies that yield real-world results.

Position Summary

Reporting to Executive Director of the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability and working in close coordination with colleagues in Harvard University Alumni Affairs and Development (AA&D), the Director of Development is responsible for managing a portfolio of major gift prospects, corporations and foundations who are either in early stages of a relationship or have had no prior relationship or affiliation with the Salata Institute or Harvard University. This position would spend approximately 70% of time actively fundraising, and 30% on internal administrative duties. The Director of Development will develop strategies to introduce the Salata Institute to prospects, qualify their interest and capacity to give, and develop cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies for assigned donors. The position will also advise on the development and implementation of select Salata Institute events that would serve to engage potential climate funders. The Director of Development will partner closely with the Executive Director and the Director of the Salata Institute, and AA&D on the management of the Salata Institute Advisory Board. The incumbent will have a track record of entrepreneurial spirit and initiative and will have familiarity with a network of climate philanthropists. Important to the success of this position are deep and broad knowledge of climate issues and the various perspectives and nuances of the climate field across many disciplines, and the aptitude to learn quickly and be conversant about Harvard’s work in this area.

Position Description


  • Secures funding for climate research, education, and public engagement at Harvard University, focusing on the endeavors of the Salata Institute. Approaches donor engagement with a donor-focused lens and listens for interests that match the needs of the Salata Institute or of other parts of the University.
  • With the help of the AA&D Research department, own network of climate philanthropists, and networks of faculty affiliated with the Salata Institute, identifies prospects, including individuals, foundations, and corporations, with a focus on previously unaffiliated sources to build their portfolio.
  • Qualifies potential prospects through personal interaction and connecting potential donors to faculty and academic leadership.
  • Manages a portfolio of a majority of seven and eight-figure prospects. Engages prospects and develops solicitation strategies. Matches donor interest with funding priorities. Responsible for proposals and gift documentation. Works with colleagues in the Salata Institute and the UDO on recognition and stewardship plans. Writes stewardship reports.
  • Coordinates with fellow fundraisers on any outreach to alumni and other previously affiliated prospects. Expected to record interaction with all external entities.
  • Manages involvement of volunteers, the Director of the Salata Institute and climate faculty members with fundraising, including preparing briefings prior to visits and arranging for appropriate follow-up.
  • Researches individuals in “discovery” and collaborates with peers across the University to leverage any existing Harvard connections.
  • Builds strong working relationships with colleagues within the University Development Office and with School fundraising partners. This individual would strictly adhere to working openly and collaboratively with our school fundraiser partners, coordinating on shared prospects.
  • Portfolio assignment of any existing relationships this individual may have with climate philanthropists previously affiliated with Harvard, would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Oversees volunteer management of the Salata Institute Advisory Board. These responsibilities would include: collaborating with the Director and Executive Director on agenda creation, meeting content, working with Salata Institute staff on meeting logistics, drafting pre-reads for members, meeting follow up, drafting communication from the Director to Advisory Board members, and internal communication on the activities of the Board. The Director of Development will be responsible for communicating with assigned fundraisers, tracking touchpoints with members between meetings, and attending SAIB meetings, along with the Director of Priorities and Initiatives.
  • Serves as climate and sustainability subject matter expert in Harvard University’s development organization. Advises communications and engagement strategies for climate and informs the case for support and gift opportunities. Serves as a resource for fundraisers and for donors with questions about climate; is available to attend joint visits.
  • Actively builds knowledge and understanding of climate initiatives across Harvard by developing relationships with colleagues across campus, attending events, reading articles, and participating in training activities.
  • Expected to live by the values of inclusivity, respect, transparency, collegiality and collaboration.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • A minimum of eight years’ successful, progressively responsible development experience, with a significant portion of that time dedicated to climate and sustainability.

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