Associate Director of Advancement

Posted: 05/29/2022

About Us

NOLS' (National Outdoor Leadership School) mission is to be the leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment. Our community—staff, students, trustees, and alumni—shares a commitment to wilderness, education, leadership, safety, community, and excellence.


We are a nonprofit global wilderness school that supports thousands of students each year all over the world.  Our school began in a small cabin in Sinks Canyon, Wyoming in 1965 as the National Outdoor Leadership School. At that time, we were primarily an outdoors skills school, doing our work in local mountain ranges and exploring what it meant to teach leadership in the backcountry. Today, we are NOLS, a multifaceted wilderness school headquartered in Lander, Wyoming with locations in seven U.S. states and six countries, that supports thousands of students each year all over the world in both field & classroom courses. 


NOLS is committed to creating and fostering environments that are welcoming, equitable, and inclusive for all of our past, present, and future students, instructors and staff. We seek to celebrate the breadth of diversity represented within our community, while keeping our eyes on the continued journey that we must walk, run, or stroll to create spaces made with everyone in mind. It is important that our hiring practices reflect our commitment to diversity and we strongly encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups.


The Advancement office is a small but mighty team of kind, compassionate adventurers who prioritize working hard and playing harder! We seek experienced fundraisers to grow our team in anticipation of a capital campaign–please read on to see if you might be a good fit!



The  Associate Director of Advancement (AD) cultivates, solicits, and stewards a regional portfolio of major gifts ($100,000+) and leadership annual fund ($2,500+) prospects and donors in support of the school’s mission and goals. The AD manages and leads strategic development donor acquisition efforts for the cultivation and support of newly identified prospects. This position requires understanding and applying key principles to create loyal and generous donors with focused energy on “out-the-door” fundraising work. The AD must be motivated to learn and be able to work collaboratively with colleagues, donors, board members, and other volunteer leaders across the organization. They are experienced in designing and executing strategies to move new or annual fund level donors to a major gift level. They will be responsible for direct solicitations to meet funding needs and will listen for opportunities to secure gifts of assets or other non-cash gifts, such as planned gifts. They have demonstrated success in developing substantive donor relationships and in engaging and supporting natural partners in executing donor strategy.  


The Associate Director of Advancement  provides opportunities for donors to receive recognition and increase future giving. They are a passionate advocate and spokesperson for NOLS and can communicate about the various programs in detail and can confidently discuss legacy giving opportunities. The AD will be required to use the NOLS donor database, participate in the development of proposals, and lead or assist in donor events. The AD understands and complies with all NOLS gift-related policies and procedures and ensures ethical compliance, as defined by the organization and the Association for Fundraising Professionals. 



  • Ability to energetically and accurately represent NOLS to a variety of constituents including alumni, major and leadership annual donors, board, staff, parents, and other friends of the school. NOLS program experience preferred. 

  • Experience building and maintaining long-term relationships with fundraising constituents to help our donors accomplish their philanthropic goals and ambitions. 

  • Demonstrated experience in developing comprehensive donor strategies that include a variety of ways of giving.  

  • Understanding of major and planned gift fundraising and associated tax laws. Capital and endowment campaign experience preferred.

  • Experience in actively asking for and closing planned gifts; a good understanding of different giving vehicles and related laws and tax benefits preferred. 

  • Expert project management skills, initiative, flexibility, discretion, and thoughtful decision-making to achieve ambitious performance objectives for outreach to constituents, including personal and virtual visits, gift solicitations, gift closures, and stewardship. 

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills and ability to build rapport, identify donor interests, and write customized giving proposals that include pertinent materials to donors and prospects. 

  • Experience researching and analyzing large groups of data to uncover prospects. 

  • Ability to thrive in an environment where fundraising metrics play an essential role in annual performance evaluations.  

  • Strong interpersonal, organizational, and teamwork skills. 

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and advancement CRM software such as Raiser’s Edge. 

  • Ability and willingness to travel across the U.S., and occasionally internationally, approximately 30%-40% of the time. 

  • Ability and willingness to work outside of normal business hours frequently, participating regularly in fundraising dinners, community events, conferences, and after-hours or weekend meetings with high-net-worth individuals. 

  • Ability to act independently and in the supervisor's stead as needed and exercise independent judgment to identify and solve problems. 

  • Ability to sensitively handle confidential information.  

  • CFRE or other fundraising credential preferred.


Minimum Qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s degree preferred along with a proven fundraising track record, ideally with 3-6 years’ experience and demonstrated success securing major gifts. Consideration may be given for related experience in customer-facing sales, nonprofit programming, financial and estate planning, or marketing. 



Manages a donor and prospect portfolio, requiring individual visits (in-person and virtually) to cultivate, steward, and solicit support to meet combined department goals for endowed scholarship fundraising, NOLS Fund, and other identified projects. Active leadership regarding campaign planning and execution, managing volunteers, developing and implementing strategies for cultivation, solicitations and stewardship of donors. Establishes cooperative working relationships with development and other staff members to increase understanding and support of development efforts. Stays current on NOLS programs and projects across the world. Limited fieldwork opportunity for NOLS qualified field instructors. 


Major Giving (70%) 

  • Effectively researches, cultivates, solicits, and stewards a large portfolio of prospective donors (initially 250-400 individuals) with the ability to secure major gift commitments ($100,000 over several years) in support of identified philanthropic objectives.  

  • Cultivates major gift prospects, building relationships and understanding the donors’/prospects’ goals with the expressed purpose of building comprehensive donor strategies to align donor interests and organizational goals. Meets outreach and personal visit metrics as established by Chief Advancement Officer and Director of Major Gifts. 

  • Moves prospective major donors along the donor pipeline preparing them to receive an appropriate ask based on donor intent and interest. 

  • Solicits major gifts through face-to-face meetings, or when needed, telephone and video conferences. 

  • Employs high-volume email, phone, social media messaging, and personalized mail outreach to secure first-time personal visits with major gifts prospects and increased leadership annual gifts. 

  • Ensures necessary tracking and regular communication with prospects. Tracks fundraising progress and manages relationships to increase donor gift amounts.

  • Designs highly customized donor engagement plans for assigned donors. 

  • Works in concert with Stewardship and Foundation Relations Coordinator to produce and deliver stewardship materials for donors.  


Leadership Annual Giving (20%) 

  • Works with NOLS Fund manager to present a coordinated fundraising effort to all donors.  

  • Solicits annual fund gifts, especially at $2,500 and above, from donors and prospects to help reach annual goal for unrestricted support. Encourages leadership annual fund donors to commit to a five-year NOLS Fund pledge. 

  • Stewards NOLS Fund donors through personal communication and adheres to thank you protocols. 


General Advancement Leadership and Support (10%) 

  • Other duties as assigned to support the organization and changing needs of the Advancement Department. Development Officer will maintain professional affiliations and expand skills by keeping abreast of the latest information and trends in major gift fundraising, including deferred giving techniques, estate planning, and tax laws. 


The above duties should not be considered an exhaustive list; other responsibilities may be required.


Work Location and Compensation

NOLS is headquartered in Lander, Wyoming with employees working remotely across the U.S. and around the globe. We are building a candidate pool for several regional positions to be hired in the next several months. Current hiring priority for the West Coast region. NOLS can currently employ remote employees who are legal residents of: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming. Please note not all locations in all states listed are eligible. For specific locations please reach out to the recruiter listed below in the ‘How to Apply’ section. 


Position starts at $62,500 depending on experience. Other benefits include 403(b), 403(b) contribution, Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance, Flexible Spending Account, Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance, Long Term Disability, Employee Assistance Program, Paid Time Off, and special NOLS employee discounts.


COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

All employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by their first day of work, unless they meet a medical, disability or religious exemption and a reasonable accommodation is approved. Any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) is an acceptable vaccine for the purpose of this policy. Full vaccination or an approved exemption is a condition of employment for all new employees.


Equal Employment Opportunity

NOLS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, genetics information, disability unrelated to job or admission requirements, or status as a protected veteran. The school’s nondiscrimination policy applies to all phases of its employment process, its admission and financial aid programs, and to all other aspects of its educational programs and activities. Retaliation directed to any person who pursues a discrimination complaint or grievance, participates in a discrimination investigation, or otherwise opposes unlawful discrimination is prohibited.


Reasonable Accommodation

NOLS values community and fosters a sense of belonging for our employees and applicants. We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations in the workplace because they embody these values, as well as our operating principle of promoting a positive, safe, and learning environment. Reasonable accommodations may be requested for disability; limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition; religion; and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment. Reasonable accommodations may be requested at any point of the employment process, including during recruitment. Please email with your request.


Pre-Employment Check

  • A criminal background check is required from all NOLS employees.

  • NOLS participates in E-verify.


How to Apply

Click here to apply.


Closing Date for Applications

Open Until Filled; applications will be reviewed upon receipt.


Starting Date

The target start date for this role is two weeks from the time of offer. 


Thank you for your interest in NOLS. Please consider providing some optional, anonymous information by visiting this link.