Development Director

Development Director

Prairie Rivers Network Website
  • Prairie Rivers Network
  • Champaign, IL
  • Full Time

Prairie Rivers Network seeks a highly motivated and optimistic individual that is passionate about the environment and people to serve as the first Development Director and lead our fundraising and marketing efforts to the next level.

About Prairie Rivers Network

At Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) we protect water, heal land, and inspire change. Using the creative power of science, law, and collective action, we protect and restore our rivers, return healthy soils and diverse wildlife to our lands, and transform how we care for the earth and for each other. Our programs confront many of the root causes of environmental degradation in Illinois while addressing the sources and impacts of climate change and advancing just and equitable solutions. Learn more at

The Opportunity

The Development Director will be leading the fundraising efforts of one of the most-effective and respected environmental advocacy organizations in Illinois, with a strong history of successes in achieving change, including momentous recent policy victories. At a time of great need for transformative change in the face of climate change and to implement a new vision for caring for the world and each other, this position presents a remarkable opportunity for an individual passionate about realizing resilient communities of life and inspiring the public to join with us in pursuing our mission.

This is a full-time position that will ideally be located in the Champaign-Urbana area, but candidates residing in other Illinois communities will be considered with an expectation of frequent trips to the Champaign office. A hybrid telework schedule is possible.

What You Will Do at PRN

Leadership and Organizational Advancement

  • Lead the Fundraising team to support PRN’s mission; advocate and speak for clean water, river protection, wildlife conservation, and climate mitigation and adaptation; collaborate with local, regional, state and national partners to pursue resources, policies, programs and strategies that will ensure the long-term health and beauty of Illinois’ communities, rivers, and habitat.
  • Provide strong, collaborative leadership with the staff and board to achieve the organization’s fundraising goals consistent with our Five-Year Strategic Plan.
  • Advance PRN’s core values and competency within the fundraising team and across the Organization to ensure that the values driving the social change we advocate for are reflected throughout our work, particularly with regard to equity and environmental justice.
  • Develop and deepen long-term relationships with team members, donors, funders, and community partners to advance our mission.

Team Management

  • Ensure PRN’s Fundraising Team progress toward long term goals; assess and develop opportunities which align with organizational priorities while retaining the flexibility to act quickly and opportunistically.
  • Collaboratively develop and oversee the implementation of strategic, effective work plans; regularly evaluate fundraising goals and initiatives to measure success and adjust accordingly; support the development of PRN’s Five-year Strategic Plan.
  • Lead, mentor, challenge, and retain a qualified and motivated fundraising team; inspire confidence and trust; effectively delegate program responsibilities, cultivate a culture of accountability, and successfully manage the team to work collaboratively together and across the Organization.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director to foster open communications including fundraising reports with the Board.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director and Operations Manager to develop, administer, and monitor the fundraising budget.
  • Manage program grant cycles including developing grant proposals, meeting key deadlines and deliverables.


  • Actively gather and seek out stories and opportunities to drive mission narrative and content authentically through community leveraging multi-channel communication strategies.
  • Work collaboratively with the Programs and Communications Teams to support and develop creative and effective communications to advance organizational goals and share success stories.
  • Be an advocate and external face of and effectively represent the organization in order to increase its impact and visibility.

Fundraising & Development

  • Develop, lead, and implement all fundraising strategies and activities for PRN in partnership with the Executive Director and PRN team.
  • Grow and expand all aspects of foundation, corporate, and individual fundraising.
  • Successfully build and maintain relationships with a diverse portfolio of major individual donors, foundations and corporate donors.
  • Research and develop relationships with new funders and work closely with program team members to develop new grant proposals and secure grant renewals.
  • Develop and implement a robust Individual Major Donor Cultivation Plan.
  • Grow the PRN Endowment and planned giving.
  • Develop and implement creative membership campaigns, engage supporters in stewardship programs and events that deepen engagement and meaningful collaboration between PRN and its members.
  • Maintain accurate and timely records, member contacts, and follow up on visits, phone calls and other strategies for members and prospective donors in Salesforce.
  • Provide marketing strategies and lead the communications team.
  • Advance powerful stories to mobilize and inspire others to action and giving through a variety of media (written, presentations, video, social media, etc.)
  • Work closely with fundraising, communications, and program teams to integrate fundraising and program goals and ensure PRN’s fundraising priorities are represented in all of our communication channels.
  • Primary liaison to the board’s Fundraising & Communications Committee and other committees as needed.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Director to support PRN’s mission.

What You Will Bring to PRN

  • Joy of building relationships with people and asking for donations.
  • Friendly and outgoing attitude with a great sense of humor that has a passion for people and helping the community in environmental protection.
  • Excellent communications and listening skills with enthusiasm for public speaking as well as ability to express complex issue in easily understood written form.
  • Enthusiasm for working in a team-based organization and with volunteers and diverse communities.
  • Organized, flexible, and can work independently or in a team.
  • Time management skills to efficiently prioritize multiple responsibilities.
  • Creativity and willingness to bring new perspectives and ideas.
  • A can-do and will-do attitude, meaning no task is too daunting nor too basic


  • Experience organizing campaigns or fundraising/outreach events is required.
  • Experience generating donations from businesses and major donors is required.
  • Experience securing grant funding from private foundations is required.
  • Familiarity with environmental advocacy and river conservation is a plus.
  • Familiarity with EveryAction or similar CRM database is a plus.
  • May require travel and weekend work.
  • Valid driver’s license with either access to own vehicle or eligibility to rent is required.

What We Offer


The Development Director is a full-time professional position with a starting salary of $60,000-$95,000 depending on experience.


We believe staff is more effective in a work culture that values a work-life balance and a family-friendly atmosphere with flexible scheduling.

Benefits include:

  • 15-20 vacation days
  • 12 general paid time off days
  • 11 paid holidays plus winter break from Jan 24 through Jan 31
  • 403(b) retirement pan with 5% employer match
  • Up to 12 weeks parental leave (4 weeks paid; 8 weeks unpaid)
  • 100% employer paid health insurance for the individual employee
  • Employee assistance program


A remote telework schedule is expected for candidates outside the Champaign-Urbana area. Candidates in C-U may have a hybrid telework schedule.

To Apply

We want to get to know you. We value great writers with creativity and inspiration. Tell us why you really want to join our team.

Interested candidates should email their cover letter, resume, and writing sample (grant application, solicitation letter, press release, or whatever makes you shine) to:

Subject line of your email should be “Development Director Application” and attach your cover letter, resume, and writing sample with the file name consisting of “Last name, First name Resume/Cover Letter/Sample.”

Please: no phone calls, drop-ins, or paper applications.

Hiring Process

Applications will be considered until the position is filled. We will acknowledge, by e-mail, receipt of each application within 5 business days.

Prairie Rivers Network is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We strive to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental justice in all aspects of our work and organization. We recruit, employ, train, compensate, and promote regardless of race, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law.

We recognize that people come with a wealth of experience and talent beyond just the technical requirements of a job, therefore our job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Your experience, which may include paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work, helps build the competencies and knowledge that translates to our openings. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of excellence. Therefore, we encourage people from all backgrounds to apply to our positions.


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