Director of Development

Director of Development
Organization Esplanade Association
Location Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Job Type Full Time
Application Deadline Feb 1, 2020

About the Esplanade Association

The Esplanade Association is the only independent nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing and enhancing the Charles River Esplanade, one of Boston’s most beautiful and iconic public parks. The Esplanade Association works to revitalize, enhance, and maintain the park while engaging the community by providing educational, cultural and recreational programs for the millions of visitors each year who come to enjoy the riverside green space.

Formed in 2001 as a friends group to help restore and enhance the Esplanade, the Esplanade Association has been the catalyst for over $30 million in park improvements. Notable accomplishments include the restoration of the Hatch Shell Oval and the Lotta Fountain, commissioning four art murals, rebuilding the community boating docks, installing new wayfinding signs and maps throughout the park, and partnering to renovate youth sports fields. This work has been accomplished in public-private partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which stewards one of the largest state parks systems in the country and works to protect, promote and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources.

The Esplanade Association hosts a series of events throughout the year to celebrate the Esplanade and invite visitors to enjoy the space, including the Esplanade 5K Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the Summer Dock Party, and the Moondance Gala. The Esplanade is also the location for the popular Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on July 4th. Through a variety of free and inclusive programming, events, and volunteer opportunities the Esplanade Association brings thousands of children, students, and families to the park for free exercise classes, day camps, and educational events. The Esplanade Association also works to establish new and innovative practices to preserve the park for future generations, engaging and educating the community on sustainable practices and environmental topics

The Esplanade Association’s work includes:

Projects to significantly improve the use, aesthetics, and safety of the park. Through capital projects and planning, the Esplanade Association restores and revitalizes structures and landscapes, reactivating underutilized and fragile parts of the park.

Park Care to restore and enhance the park’s landscape — making it greener, healthier, and more beautiful. The Esplanade Association’s horticulture and stewardship staff utilize the best management practices in land care to improve soil health, manage invasive plants, expand native plantings, and care for our urban tree canopy. In 2015, the Esplanade became a certified wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. In addition, the esplanade Association hosts over 3,000 volunteers each year to help with park maintenance.

Programs that enrich the enjoyment and health of visitors to the park, connect people from diverse backgrounds and communities, and promote park stewardship. Signature programs include:

River Fit-

The Esplanade Association partners with organizations around Boston to offer a diverse array of professionally-led outdoor fitness classes to people of all ages and abilities, including Zumba, Yoga, and Bootcamp. All classes are free and open to the public.


Children in the Park (ChiP) is a program designed to increase access to recreational activities on the Esplanade for Boston-area youth living in neighborhoods with limited access to green space. The Esplanade Association partners with Associated Grant Makers’ Summer Fund to serve children ages 5 to 17 years who attend one of a network of about 70 day camps that provide a safe place for recreation, academic enrichment and promote cross-cultural understanding.


The Esplanade Association’s free riverfront music series provides producers and performers of color an opportunity to host a free concert on the stage of the famed Hatch Shell during monthly events throughout the summer. Sponsored by The Boston Foundation.

Advocacy for public policies and resource allocation that help protect and improve the park for the benefit of its diverse users. By partnering and working with donors, legislators, and other organizations, the Esplanade Association advocates on behalf of the park to ensure that the land and natural environment is protected for generations to come.

The Esplanade Association’s work has led 64-acre park to become revered for its natural & cultivated beauty, riverfront access, miles of populated running trails, thoughtful programming, and more. It’s an exciting time to join a growing team at a small, visible, and successful non-profit!

Position Description:

The Esplanade Association (EA) is seeking a sophisticated and highly-motivated fundraising leader to serve as the Director of Development (“DoD”) to build a team and provide direct oversight of the organization’s mission advancement efforts.

Reporting to and partnering with the Executive Director, the DoD will work closely with the Board of Directors and the EA team to ensure that the Esplanade Association’s projects, programs, events, and broader engagement initiatives resonate with and inspire its visitors, donors, and other key stakeholders. The DoD will be responsible for serving as lead strategist for growing sustainable philanthropic revenue streams, managing and executing the organization’s first capital campaign, and formalizing processes and procedures that improve EA’s cultivation, stewardship, research, and data management functions.

The DoD is responsible for fostering a culture of philanthropy and stewardship within the organization and leading the execution of the Moondance Gala, annual fund and membership efforts – collectively $2m to $3m per year – and the forthcoming Securing Our Future capital campaign. This leader will bring strategy, organization, adaptability, and a hands-on and collaborative approach to implementation of EA’s strategic priorities. A highly proactive and effective fundraiser, this leader will be comfortable working directly with and soliciting individual, corporate, and foundation gifts. Our DoD will be an effective and highly personable communicator and easily form relationships with our existing team, Board, and stakeholders while always striving to share our mission-focused work in more and new places externally.

Ideal candidates will foster a results-focused environment that includes clear goals, team-building, regular feedback, and transparent accountability. The DoD will have demonstrated experience in leading a development organization and deep fluency in corporate, foundation, and major individual gifts in a fast-paced, relationship-oriented operating environment.

The DoD will immediately lead a process to make 1-2 FTE hires to further build the organization’s development department and to position EA for an exciting next phase of fundraising and donor engagement.

The Director of Development’s principal responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Enhancing and serving as chief architect of a modern fundraising operation by building a high-performing development organization; ensuring clear expectations with the team while establishing new systems, processes and structures;
  • Setting and achieving clear, ambitious annual and long-term revenue targets, while improving annual fund/membership engagement, the diversification of funding sources, and the success of major giving programs;
  • Overseeing, leading, and successfully completing the organization’s first capital campaign in partnership with the Executive Director and the Capital Campaign Committee of the Board of Directors;
  • Maintaining and building upon the strength of the annual Moondance Gala and Summer Dock Party events, partnering with internal and external partners on event logistics; build and lead additional cultivation and fundraising events and opportunities;
  • Overseeing the organization of assigned portfolios of donor prospects – including individuals, corporate, and foundation prospects – to the Executive Director, members of the Board, and other senior development positions; provide leadership in the strategy and implementation of cultivation, solicitation, acknowledgment, and stewardship efforts associated with these prospects;
  • Managing a Board-level Development Committee and effectively collaborating to leverage the networks and relationships built by organizational leadership in support of EA projects and programs;
  • Working closely with outreach staff in crafting fundraising and public messaging materials, including direct mail, owned-media channels, and fundraising collateral materials;
  • Increasing the effectiveness and productivity of the team by serving as a coach and mentor, motivating team members with energy and passion, and charting a course for the professional development of all direct reports;
  • Managing annual development department budget, including the development of performance metrics and analysis procedures for both revenue and expense line-items; compliance with all legal, regulatory, and accounting rules associated with organization’s fundraising work; and
  • Other duties as required.

Position Qualifications:


  • Energetic with strong interpersonal and writing skills,
  • Goal-oriented and can move between hard data and relationship building seamlessly, understanding both of their value,
  • Creative at engaging existing, new and lapsed funding partners through program, events, volunteerism and marketing deliverables,
  • Collaborative team member who is a self-starter, with a talent for identifying and building innovative and strong relationships to create sustainable revenue sources.


  • Have a background and record of success in managing a development department, major gift cultivation and/or capital campaigns,
  • Are happy, kind, outgoing, and easily understand and authentically communicate the mission and vision of a non-profit organization,
  • Have worked with connecting prospective donors with capital project opportunities and successfully matched donor interest with an organization’s strategic priorities,
  • Are results-oriented, collaborative, detail-oriented, positive, calm, and passionate.


  • Minimum of Bachelor’s degree, preferably in relevant business, management or philanthropic curriculum (or equivalent experience), and at least 10 years of progressively responsible fundraising, business development and/or sales experience is required. An advanced degree is a plus.
  • Superior demonstrated skills in oral and written communication skills; in ensuring results within complex and dynamic circumstances; in organizing and strategizing in developing relationships.
  • Ability to work independently or with a group and a proactive approach to problem solving
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and an ability to learn and adapt to new technologies and ways of completing tasks.
  • A genuine interest in parks, horticulture, and/or the management of a dynamic, historic public space is a plus
  • A set of existing relationships in residential communities abutting the Esplanade a plus.
  • Will be required to complete an iCORI background check


  • Work hours are Monday through Friday, but occasional weekend days will be required.
  • Flexibility is required to accommodate evening and weekend events, holidays, and some limited travel.
  • Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.
  • Paid Time Off, Health, Dental, HSA, 401k, and Commuter benefits are available.

Application Process:

Please email cover letter, resume, and 3 references to: [email protected] with job title in the subject line.
Cover letter must address the following question: What is your favorite public space and why?

The Esplanade Association embraces a philosophy that recognizes and values diversity. Our goal is to attract, develop, retain and promote a talented and diverse workforce in a culture where all employees will contribute to their fullest potential. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, nonprofit need, and wanting to enjoy who we work with.