Senior Manager, Foundations and Donor Relationships

Environmental Law Institute (ELI)

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

Are you passionate about protecting the environment? Are you a skilled development professional with an expertise in cultivating relationships with foundations and individual donors? If you are up for the challenge of supporting our mission of fostering innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress, then the Environmental Law Institute needs you as our Senior Manager for Foundations and Donor Relationships.

What Would You Be Doing Exactly?

As a part of ELI’s Development team, you will play a key role in our outreach to Foundations, donors, members of the ELI Board of Directors, and assisting with the annual Award Dinner.

Foundation Relations

The Senior Manager will ensure the creation and implementation of strategies to identify, cultivate, solicit, and expand a multi-million dollar grant portfolio. The senior manager is responsible for cultivating, securing, and stewarding major foundation relationships from the initial introduction through grant approval and management in coordination with the Grants and Contracts Manager. Additionally, the senior manager manages the foundations pipeline, dashboard, and the grant funding process, working with the program staff under the direction of the Vice President of Development and Membership with the support of the Vice President of Programs and Publications. The role includes researching and identifying new foundation prospects and, in concert with the program staff, conceptualizing, writing, and reviewing concept papers/proposals.

  • Help develop the overall foundations’ strategy and pipeline to ensure that annual foundation revenue is secured and growing and that current and prospective funders are appropriately cultivated and stewarded.
  • Develop and refine internal systems (pipeline, dashboard, others) to track and monitor all foundation funding opportunities from cultivation to stewardship.
  • In collaboration with program staff, frame and structure proposals and outline clear program goals, activities, and outcomes aligned with organizational priorities and tailored to foundation focus area(s).
  • Research and identify new funders and trends in corporate and institutional support.
  • Help to build and steward relationships, including having introductory meetings to present programs and explore potential fit as well as participating in grant check-in meetings, etc., when necessary.
  • Structure proposals and program objectives tailored to foundations’ priorities.
  • Review, edit (and write when appropriate) and submit concept papers and proposals.

Donor Relations

Coordinates outreach to new individual donors and stewardship of current donors under the guidance and direction of the Vice President of Development and Membership.

  • Develops strategy for and manages small donor program and project-specific fundraising initiatives.
  • Supports the Development Team with year-end giving program, by managing Giving Tuesday campaign, writing solicitation emails, and following up with major donors on their yearly gifts.
  • Identifies and cultivates major donors by creating and implementing moves management plans
  • Makes direct solicitations, and assists staff and volunteer fundraiser with their solicitation efforts

Board Relations

Liaison for the ELI Board of Directors, supporting the Nominating Committee chair with their Governance and Nominations Committee responsibilities, including board assessment and nomination functions. Supports the VP of Development and Membership in scheduling and set up for multiple meetings of the Board along with assorted committees meeting separately.

  • Administers annual board assessment via SurveyMonkey and presents results in report to the Board, in coordination with the Nominating Committee chair.
  • Maintains and updates prospect list, in coordination with the Governance and Nominations Committee.
  • Organizes the New Board of Directors orientation session and prepares related materials.
  • Coordinates press releases for new Board of Directors.

Award Dinner

Assists the Vice President of Development and Membership with soliciting Award Dinner sponsors and individual ticket buyers, tracks pledges and contributions; strives to achieve or exceed fundraising goal; coordinates with the honoree and staff; assists with seating assignments for all 700 guests; runs volunteer program; and manages event registration.

  • Assists with the day of timeline, helping resolve in real time any issues that arise.

What do you need to thrive in this role?

Having a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree will be essential in thriving in this position. You should also have at least 5 years of development experience with an emphasis on foundation fundraising, including track record of success in securing multiple six-figure foundation grants and an extensive foundation portfolio. Although an environmental background or degree in environmental policy or a J.D. in environmental law is preferred, it is not required.

The Development & Membership department is collaborative by nature and the Senior Manager must be able to interact in a professional manner with people from diverse racial, ethnic, political, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We employ anti-racist practices and principles while striving to support ELI’s culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Other skills needed but not limited to include:

  • Baseline knowledge of, or experience in, environmental issues
  • Strategic mindset and ability to understand how to connect the program to larger strategic goals and outcomes
  • Experience conducting grant research and identifying new opportunities
  • Excellent organization and coordination skills, to work with a variety of teams on numerous applications and related projects
  • Superb attention to detail and ability to reliably adhere to deadlines
  • Outstanding professional writing communication skills including a demonstrated excellence in writing proposals and donor stewardship communications.
  • Excellent presentation and public-speaking skills and confidence in cultivating and soliciting high-level foundation officers and donors.
  • Ability to build and maintain positive and authentic relationships and a desire to understand the interests and motivation of foundations and donors.
  • Proficiency with standard office software, including Microsoft Office, donor management software such as eTapestry.
  • Basic website development skills are an asset
  • Ease in taking initiative and working independently
  • Project management and program development experience and training will be considered an asset
  • Demonstrated ability to:
    • represent ELI publicly in a manner consistent with our mission and values
    • manage events and projects effectively and efficiently while producing high quality deliverables
    • collaborate effectively with others
    • effectively manage multiple projects/events and establish priorities with moderate supervision
    • confidentially and professionally communicate and interact with ELI stakeholders
    • manage through crisis scenarios (in the context of event management)

Who is ELI?

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is a research and education “think and do” tank that makes law work for people, places, and the planet. We envision a healthy environment, prosperous economies, and vibrant communities founded on the rule of law.  Our mission is to foster innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress.

What can you expect from ELI?

The annual salary for this position is $70-80,000 annually and is commensurate with experience. ELI’s total compensation includes excellent benefits including:


  • Health/Dental/Vision insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Employer-paid life insurance & disability insurance
  • Long Term Care insurance
  • Pre-tax transportation benefit
  • Fitness Incentive
  • 403(b) Retirement Savings Account with employer match
  • Paid time off


Ready to apply? Here’s how…

Submit an application package via ELI’s online application system. Simply visit to get started. Note that your submission must contain the following uploaded documents (Word or PDF format), as follows:

  • Cover letter, addressing your personal goals and interests, as well as your experience and interest in carrying out the duties outlined above.
  • Current resume.
  • writing sample that involves fundraising, such as outreach to donors or a grant proposal


Candidates passing the initial applicant screening process will be requested to provide references.

ELI will accept applications for this position until 11:59 pm EST Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. However, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the post may be filled prior to the closing deadline. You must use ELI’s online application system; ELI cannot accept applications submitted by email, USPS or other shipping service, or hand delivery.


Please note that to comply with vaccine mandates for employers who are federal contractors and to ensure the health and safety of the ELI workforce, any offer of employment from ELI is contingent on candidates providing proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.  ELI management will consider requests for religious or medical exceptions, consistent with applicable law.

ELI is an equal opportunity employer firmly committed to achieving an inclusive, diverse workforce that values every individual. We firmly believe that hiring individuals with varying perspectives and backgrounds contributes to our success as an organization, and we strive to create an environment that fosters inclusiveness. As such, minority candidates and candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.







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