Vice President of Development & Membership

Apr 11, 2018, 09:50 AM
Location : Harpers Ferry, WV / Washington DC
Department : Development & Membership
Supervisor : President & CEO
Type : Full-time
Position Summary:

Reporting to the President and CEO and serving as a member of ATC’s Executive Team, the Vice President leads and oversees all aspects of Development & Membership to ensure achievement of revenue goals through renewals, direct mail, acquisitions, annual gifts, major gifts, foundation relations, corporate partners, planned gifts and other strategies while providing an exceptional donor and partner experience.

The Vice President is expected to sustain an exceptionally strong and resilient team of high-performers who can adapt quickly to changing needs and circumstances, and can operate in a culture that highly values significant input and collaboration.

The Vice President should be a dynamic leader possessing sophisticated financial and management capabilities. The candidate must have the presence, stature, and sophistication to engage the highest levels of leadership in ATC such as volunteers, top donors, and partners to build and facilitate philanthropic activities. The Vice President must have considerable experience in cultivating and developing a volunteer Board of Directors with a demonstrated ability to form effective and trusting relationships. This leader must have a credible and deep commitment to the mission of ATC and outstanding written and oral communications skills. The Vice President should possess an enthusiastic and optimistic outlook that draws in and inspires others to envision even greater levels of involvement with the organization especially focusing on the preservation and conservation of the Trail.


The Appalachian Trail is not just a path in the woods; it is an environment that provides an extraordinary experience for millions of people to enjoy every year. From mountains that spark awe into the eyes of many, to flowing streams that trickle along its majestic countryside, the A.T. provides a special place where people can escape and relish in one of America’s greatest treasures.

As guardians of the Trail, we manage a greenway of more than 250,000 acres, protect hundreds of threatened and endangered species, advocate for the broader protection of the Trail’s natural and cultural resources, connect and engage with younger, more inclusive populations to empower them to become future stewards of the Trail, and rally local communities to help protect the A.T.

Leading a high functioning and devoted membership and development team, and collaborating with a committed leadership team and Board of Directors, the Vice President of Development & Membership will greatly impact the work of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in achieving our mission to preserve and manage this nationally and internationally renowned American jewel.


Essential Duties/Responsibilities:


  • Partner with President & CEO, Board of Directors and Executive Team to review, enhance, and implement a comprehensive development plan that supports the goals of the ATC's strategic plan.
  • Provide strategic leadership in collaboration with the Development & Membership team in all facets of fundraising, including planning and implementation, major donor identification and cultivation, and coordination of Board efforts. Participate at meetings of the Board and appropriate committees to provide counsel and report on fundraising related issues and operations.
  • Work closely with the President & CEO and Board Members on Board recruitment and engagement in fundraising.
  • Coach, mentor, and motivate a team of philanthropy professionals, and draw upon their potential and talent, individually and collaboratively.
  • Provide resources needed for staff to execute their responsibilities effectively, including coaching and promotion of professional development.
  • Promote a dedicated team ethic, departmental cohesion, and morale.  Ensure retention of top talent.   



  • Cultivate, solicit and steward top philanthropic relationships with a portfolio of at least 30 leading individual, corporate and foundation supporters and prospects. Proven success in securing $100,000 plus gifts desired.
  • Identify donor funding opportunities that match the ATC's institutional priorities and operational needs.
  • Analyze trends and new thinking in philanthropy and apply best practices to ATC fundraising programs.
  • Oversee prospect and donor research and direct and support strategic internal fundraising efforts.
  • Prepare briefing materials for President for assigned prospects as circumstances require.
  • Develop and implement plan for a more targeted planned giving program.
  • Explore strategies from continued growth in digital fundraising.
  • Provide regular updates and analysis to the President & CEO, Executive Team, Board and committees.
  • Prepare gift plans.
  • Focus on in-person interactions.
  • Participate in any prospects meetings or phone calls as requested by other gift officers. 



  • Oversee and manage all Development & Membership functions, including renewals, direct mail, acquisition, major gifts, corporate and foundation gifts, annual gifts, planned gifts, and a potential capital campaign. Ensure effective cultivation and stewardship of donors.
  • Assess current Development & Membership tools, programs, procedures and performance, identify areas for improvement and implement best practices to ensure achievement of department revenue goals while ensuring a positive donor and partner experience.
  • Develop and advocate for annual budget and operating strategies for Development & Membership. Monitor and interpret revenue and expenses, as well as trends, and report on progress regularly.    
  • Manage changes to vendor relationships/contracts to achieve cost savings.
  • Develop strong and collaborative working relationships with colleagues at ATC and develop internal processes to strengthen and streamline internal fundraising efforts.
  • Create strategies and opportunities to attract talented professionals to join a growth-oriented development program.
  • Provide leadership and professional development opportunities to team members.
  • Maintain effective communication with HR and ensure that staff understand organization procedures and decisions. 

  • Strong passion and enthusiasm for the ATC's mission.
  • 10+ years of combined fundraising, membership and management experience especially with non-profit organizations.
  • Demonstrated success building philanthropic relationships and support through individual, corporate, and foundation donors.
  • Demonstrated experience leading a comprehensive fundraising team that includes membership, major gifts, corporate and foundation support, annual giving and planned giving.
  • Strong management skills that include the ability to motivate, unify, influence, and hold staff accountable to ambitious standards and achievement of goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish solid working relationships with Board members, high-level volunteers, and other senior staff. Leadership experience in a successful capital campaign.

Other desired qualifications and attributes include:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required.
  • Experience with foundation grants and corporate relationships is desired.
  • Excellent persuasive writing skills; excellent interpersonal communication skills; and ability to problem-solve and meet multiple deadlines.
  • Competence with word processing, spreadsheet and database skills.
  • High degree of initiative and a team player.
  • Ability to travel approximately 30 percent.
Physical Demands:
Work Environment:


Traveling from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is the longest continuously marked footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2190 miles in length. An estimated three million people visit the Trail every year, and about 4,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail annually. The Trail was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. It is managed under a unique partnership between public and private sectors that include, among others, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, an array of state agencies, and the 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs. Volunteers from these clubs are responsible for most of the day-to-day work of keeping the Trail open—building and repairing shelters and other structures; monitoring and protecting the corridor; monitoring rare plants and invasive species; and developing management plans for their respective Trail sections.


Located 60 miles outside of Washington, DC, Harpers Ferry is a historic town found at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah River.  It is the easternmost town in West Virginia, situated where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia meet, and easily accessible to Frederick, Montgomery and Washington counties in Maryland and beautiful, rural Loudoun County, Virginia.  Notable attractions include Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the Harpers Ferry Historic District.  It is one of only a few towns through which the Appalachian Trail passes directly.  Predominant outdoor activities include white water rafting, fishing, mountain biking, tubing, canoeing, hiking, zip lining, and rock climbing.

To Apply:

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please submit your resume and expression of interest to Chris Spagnola, Senior Recruiter, at [email protected], and Jonathan McIntosh, Recruiter, at [email protected].

ATC Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

ATC encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness with all employees and volunteers to enable participation and contributions to their fullest potential. We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization, and recognize that diversity contributes to an effective and successful organizational culture and mission. The ATC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and/or expression), national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, political affiliation, union membership, or any other status protected by the laws and regulations in the locations where we operate.

Position Type : Careers - Full Time