Development Manager


Condition: Full-time, Exempt – Professional, Weekdays with some evening and weekend work

Location: Twin Cities Metropolitan Area with some travel throughout Minnesota; hybrid in-person and remote

Salary Range: $60,000-68,000


Freshwater Society is a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire and empower people to value and preserve our freshwater resources. Founded in 1968, we were the first freshwater biology research lab in North America. Over the last fifty years, the organization has shifted focus from exclusively research to incorporate education and public policy work. Collective action and sound physical science remain the heart of Freshwater’s mission.

Today, Freshwater works to tackle many complex water issues in Minnesota and downstream that threaten water quality, public health, and quality of life. As everything that happens on land impacts water, we engage in this work through a variety of programs that align to build community, professional, political, and science leadership and capacity.

In alignment with our mission, we strive to activate our organizational values in our internal and external operations:

  • We value safe and reliable water for all Minnesotans and everyone downstream.
  • We value equity and inclusion of diverse perspectives in shaping our shared water future, and seek to rectify the historical and continued exclusion of marginalized communities in the making of water policy and budget decisions.
  • We value community-led solutions that foster equitable and durable change.
  • We value science and evidence-based principles as a basis for our advocacy and action.
  • We value convening collaboratively and serving as a catalyst for constructive dialogue and change.
  • We value teamwork, transparency, integrity and shared leadership.
  • We value sustainability in our operations (reducing water use and energy consumption, reaching carbon-neutral impact and zero waste production).


Freshwater’s Development Manager supports the cultivation of resources and relationships our programs require. They report to the Executive Director and collaborate across the organization. They embody our vision and values, providing critical support to organizational leadership to position the organization for the future. This individual will be responsible for maintaining strong relationships with existing donors while also growing revenue, supporting strong corporate and foundation relations, and expanding our membership statewide.


Solicit individuals and institutions – 50%

  • Oversee a robust individual giving program that successfully moves donors through the development cycle from acquisition, solicitation, stewardship, to upgradation.
  • Support the Executive Director in securing and growing major and planned gifts.
  • Manage a grants calendar and proposal submissions, help increase the rate of proposals to state and national funders, and partner closely with program staff on proposals and special initiatives.
  • Collaborate with the Communications and Marketing Coordinator on the production of annual appeals and all advancement communications including the donor impact report.
  • Manage a donor portfolio.
  • Oversee gift processing and gift acknowledgements in partnership with support staff.

Organizational advancement – 20%

  • Assist the Executive Director in the design and execution of a strategic and tactical annual development plan that aligns with organization work plans and goals.
  • Support the Executive Director in preparation and monitoring of a comprehensive development budget.
  • Grow and deepen engagement with Freshwater’s membership base statewide and lead team collaboration to increase revenue from state and national funders.
  • Broaden the organization’s impact by collaborating with internal and external partners to build relationships with new communities, with particular focus on apartment dwellers, rural communities, low-income communities, those with language barriers or disabilities, young people, and communities of color.
  • Staff the development committee of the Board of Directors and cultivate fund development volunteers.

Coordinate fundraising and member events – 20%

  • Lead the planning and execution of the annual fundraising event with support from an internal planning team.
  • Staff the annual event steering committee (a subcommittee of the development committee) charged with “filling the room” with donors and sponsors.
  • Curate a handful of smaller-scale events each year such as “house” parties, member gatherings and donor appreciation events in partnership with Board and staff.

Utilize data and evaluate results – 10%

  • Ensure the integrity of Freshwater’s donor database and the timely recording of contact reports.
  • Prepare quarterly and bi-annual progress reports and adjust for results.
  • Collaborate across the organization to harvest data and stories that convey the impact of community support.


  • Make a set number of asks and contacts each month (established in partnership with Executive Director).
  • Meet monthly with program staff to write grants and develop program, project, and general operating funding.
  • Update the development plan yearly to include strategies and tactics for fundraising activities, evaluation methods, and trends.
  • Respond to donors in a timely fashion and report to them impact of their investments.
  • Partner with the Communications and Marketing Coordinator on the production of communications assets with an eye to fund development and organizational advancement.


  • Proven successful fundraising experience
  • Track record of moving prospects through the stages of the development cycle
  • Self-starter with a goal-driven attitude (needed to initiate donor visits and fundraising calls); and a desire to get “out the door” to build relationships with people
  • Ability to manage a strategic development plan, track success, and make adjustments as needed
  • Collaborative style with a strong ability to meet deadlines and excellent follow-through
  • Ability to communicate about Freshwater’s work and why it’s important
  • Creative thinker with a strong ability to draw out stories from our community and mission
  • Ability to work remotely or in-person as needed
  • Demonstrated commitment to inclusion, antiracism, and justice


  • Knowledge of community-centric fundraising principles
  • Experience planning engaging in-person and virtual events
  • Established relationships with Minnesota grant makers
  • Experience with Bloomerang or other relational databases

To apply:

Send cover letter and resume as one PDF document to Melissa Martinez-Sones, Interim Executive Director:

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.