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Director of Development

Come join us at the Great Plains Zoo! The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is seeking a Director of Development. The Director of Development will be responsible for the successful growth and retention of funding partners needed to build and strengthen the financial position and facilitate growth of the Great Plains Zoo. This individual will also assume responsibility for all activities related to fundraising and development of private support.

This individual is passionate about and embraces the mission of the Great Plains Zoo; is responsive, goal driven, organized, and self-confident with excellent time management, planning and multi-tasking skills. The incumbent must be adept synthesizing information, thinking critically and articulating our mission in a compelling manner.

Responsibilities include:

  • Generate revenue through pursuing, securing, and facilitating corporate sponsorships and philanthropic gifts. This will be accomplished through strategic planning, effective writing and communication skills, and by working in collaboration with others to identify appropriate opportunities which directly benefit the Great Plains Zoo. This position is deadline driven, fast paced and responsive to multiple audiences.
  • Provide energetic and entrepreneurial leadership and strategic direction for development initiatives at the Zoo including corporate sponsorships, marketing relationships, individual giving, annual giving, planned giving, major gifts, capital campaigns, and corporate and foundation fund-raising, and grant writing.
  • Provide strategic vision and leadership needed to design and successfully execute the Zoo's fundraising plan.
  • Assume primary responsibility for Zoo's performance against annual fundraising targets.
  • Build on organizational strengths and deepen the Zoo's fundraising capacity, advancing and/or developing channels for institutional and individual giving.
  • Create written proposals and grant requests, make presentations to individuals, corporate partners and service clubs; set and follow up on meetings; ensure all information is databased and accessible.
  • Oversee all in-house development department functions including, but not limited to acknowledgements, database management, membership development, coordinating appeal mailings and other related mailings; donor research and special events support.
  • Responsible for development reporting, internal control and financial compliance.
  • Cultivate major individual donors through strategic and appropriate relationship building.
  • Identify and develop new sponsorship and philanthropic opportunities.  
  • Conduct thorough research on prospective donors and summarize findings in a clear and concise manner.
  • Represent the Zoo and/or leadership team as needed at speaking engagements, meetings and professional events.

Qualifications Include:

  • Bachelor's degree and a minimum of 5 years of related work experience required. 
  • Experience working with non-profit organizations with a proven track record of success in the solicitation of corporate sponsorship and philanthropic gifts is preferred. 
  • Familiarity with fundraising software is beneficial.

The preferred candidate will also possess the following:

  • Exemplary leadership skills, modeling high expectations, respect and a sense of humor within and between departments.
  • Strong presentation skills, self-motivated and detail oriented.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, capable of expressing ideas in a clear and concise manner.
  • Ability to write clear, structured, articulate and persuasive proposals.
  • Strong editing skills.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects concurrently and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to provide quality customer service to both internal and external customers while working in a fast-paced environment.
  • MS Office product proficiency.

The Great Plains Zoo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to foster a greater understanding of our natural world through Education, Conservation, Recreation and Discovery. The Great Plains Zoo cares for more than 1,000 animals from around the world and offers up-close views of animals often not found in larger zoos, including giraffes, tigers, black rhinos and a national award-winning Snow Monkey exhibit. The Zoo is an accredited member of the AZA and sees over 300,000 visitors annually.

The 45-acre Great Plains Zoo is located in Sioux Falls, SD, a growing community with:

  • A metro population of 259,000
  • A healthy economy and a robust arts and cultural scene
  • Recognition from Forbes magazine as the best small metro area in the nation for business and careers (Oct 2018).
  • Coverage from Wall Street Journal (May 2017) under the headline “As Many Midwest Cities Slump, Sioux Fall Soars.”

Complete the employment application form below, and upload your cover letter and resume:







Proof of U.S. Citizenship or immigration status will be required upon employment. Criminal convictions are not an absolute bar to employment, but will only be considered in relation to specific job requirements.

  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor FSioux Falls
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N
  • A really great zoo featuring some exotic species and I liked the focus on conservancy/breeding to preserve species for the rhinos. The safari area's cheetah was awesome to see. During a week day going, it was quite open to walk around and enjoy without too much crowding.

    Joseph H
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world. ¬†The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones. ¬†Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T
Admission