Director of Development

Updated: 5 months ago


University Administration


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 Senior Associate Director for Climate 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.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Solid understanding of climate and sustainability issues.
  • Preference for background in building new programs and new relationships. Track record of meeting ambitious development goals.
  • Demonstrated success in major gift fundraising, including issue-based fundraising for climate with a preference for experience in higher education fundraising. 
  • Track record with entrepreneurial fundraising preferred.
  • Excellent written, interpersonal, and verbal communication skills. 
  • Must be a collaborative problem solver and bring an entrepreneurial approach to designing creative donor engagement strategies.
  • Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously, provide sound strategic advice, and demonstrate excellent judgment on complex issues.
  • Ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines, as well as the ability to work successfully both independently and as part of a team.
  • Experience in sharing inspirational narrative to donors showcasing fundraising priorities.
  • Ability to maximize giving potential and giving inclination using all available resources.
  • Experience staffing high-level academic or other leaders in prospect meetings/trips preferred.
  • Experience working with volunteers preferred.
  • Able to work nights and weekends as required.
  • The position requires an extremely high level of professionalism, sound and mature judgment, and collegiality.
  • Position requires initiative, creativity, collaboration, and academic curiosity.

Additional Information

Extensive travel (up to 70%) may be required to accomplish these goals.

Harvard University supports a hybrid workplace model which will actively support some remote work. Specific days and schedules for on-site work and remote work will be discussed during the interview process. Please note hybrid workers must reside in a state where Harvard is registered to do business (CA, CT, GA, IL, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VA, VT, and WA).   

Harvard University continues to place the highest priority on the health, safety and wellbeing of its faculty, staff, and students, as well as the wider community. Please note that all new employees will be required to provide confirmation of primary series COVID-19 vaccination upon hire, as detailed on our COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Webpage . Harvard University Health Services employees and other health care individuals are also required to be up to date on vaccination as described by the CDC. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. Additional information regarding this requirement, exemptions, verification of vaccination status, and other related policies and resources may be found on the University’s COVID-19 Information Website .  


We invite you to visit Harvard’s Total Rewards website to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Job Function

Alumni Affairs and Development

Department Office Location

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

303060 Development Sr Specialist

Work Format

Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)


Salata Institute for Climate &Sustainability


Office of the President and Provost


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening

Education, Identity


Full time. Monday through Friday. 35 hours per week. 

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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