Santa Barbara Zoo

Annual Giving Officer


Santa Barbara, CA


Full Time

The Santa Barbara Zoo is seeking a full-time, strategic, self-motivated, energetic, creative, detail-oriented Annual Giving Officer to manage all aspects of the Zoo’s annual giving programs in our Institutional Advancement Department.

The ideal candidate has a strong understanding of fundraising practices and specifically annual giving, a BA degree, and a minimum of two years of successful experience in fundraising, communications, marketing, or a related field.  Must have excellent interpersonal, organizational, analytical, verbal and written communication skills, demonstrate initiative, and be a problem solver.

Schedule is typically Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM: flexibility in days and hours are required based on events.

Non-Exempt, hourly, equivalent to $50K and up, DOE




Under the general direction of the Vice President of Institutional Advancement, the Annual Giving Officer is responsible for securing donations in support of the Zoo.  The Annual Giving Officer manages all aspects of the Zoo’s annual giving programs including annual appeals, Foster Feeders program, plaques, on-site giving opportunities, online giving, and other annual giving opportunities.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES include the following:

Strategic Functions

  • Directs Institutional Advancement programs in support of general operations in coordination with VP of Institutional Advancement
  • Creates and executes strategies for the Annual Giving, Foster Feeder, Honor/Memorial, Toys4Animals, and on-site and online giving programs
  • Prepares mailing lists for Institutional Advancement Department Mailings (including Zoofari Ball)

General Institutional Advancement Responsibilities

  • Develops and maintains effective, fruitful, and long-term relationships with donors
  • Assists in maintaining donor databases and filing system
  • Contributes to Zoo News, Z-mail, social media and other applicable media/publications as needed
  • Creates mailing lists and reports as requested
  • Monitors, tracks, and reports on the activities of donor cultivation/stewardship
  • Provides input on policies and procedures related to Institutional Advancement
  • Stays knowledgeable on AZA, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s mission, collection, history, and current programs and practices
  • Participates in and contributes to regular Institutional Advancement department meetings
  • Supports fundraising efforts for special projects and special programs
  • Contributes to Zoo Institutional Advancement department annual planning and budgeting process
  • Supports all Institutional Advancement cultivation/stewardship activities and events
  • Shares critical information, best practices, and procedures on a consistent basis with staff through meetings that further departmental goals and productivity
  • Edits Institutional Advancement and Zoo-wide publications as needed
  • Attends professional development opportunities, as warranted
  • Researches prospective donors and current donors and creates reports as needed
  • Creates some donor recognition gifts and coordinates distribution of these gifts as needed
  • Responsible for networking within the fundraising community as a Zoo Institutional Advancement representative
  • Responsible for networking within the community as a Zoo Institutional Advancement representative
  • Other Institutional Advancement Department assignments as needed

Annual Appeals

  • Plans, implements, and tracks all aspects of the direct mail appeals
  • Cultivates prospects and secures funds through for the Annual Appeal program
  • Prepares mailing lists
  • Writes appeals and corresponding thank you letters
  • Works with a designer to design the appeals
  • Uses direct mail, e-blast, website, and other opportunities to promote giving through the annual appeals
  • Ensures benefits are provided to donors in a timely manner
  • Regularly tracks and reports results and trends to the V. P. of Institutional Advancement

Foster Feeders

  • Plans, implements, and tracks all aspects of the Foster Feeder program
  • Cultivates prospects and secures funds through for the Premier Foster Feeder program
  • Maintains regular communication with Premier Foster Feeders and offers special opportunities for these donors
  • Promotes Foster Feeder program to increase participation and revenue through specials, events, brochure distribution, website updates, direct mail appeals, articles in quarterly newsletter, e-blast, and other promotional opportunities
  • Coordinates the processing of Foster Feeder fulfillments (mailing packages and updating recognition board) and renewal notices
  • Coordinates all Foster Feeder events (animal debuts)
  • Regularly tracks and reports results and trends of Foster Feeder program to V. P. of Institutional Advancement

Annual Giving Programs

  • Creates, plans, implements, and tracks all aspects of the Zoo’s annual giving programs
  • Cultivates prospects and secures funds through for the Annual Giving program
  • Promotes program to secure participation and revenue through specials, events, brochure distribution, website updates, direct mail appeals, articles in quarterly newsletter, e-blast, and other promotional opportunities
  • Coordinates the processing of annual giving benefits and renewal notices
  • Regularly tracks and reports results and trends on annual giving programs to Director of Institutional Advancement
  • Contacts members at the $500 member level to redeem their Institutional Advancement-related benefits including coordinating and leading tours, personally inviting to special events, etc.

Honorarium & Memorial Program

  • Coordinates and is responsible for all aspects of the Zoo’s honorarium and memorial program (including pet memorial program)
  • Meets with donors to locate appropriate locations (benches, trees, and gardens) for plaques
  • Coordinates routine monthly maintenance of all existing plaques
  • Promotes Honorarium & Memorial Program as needed
  • Processes Honorarium & Memorial gifts (including notifying honoree or families about donations)
  • Tracks and reports on Honorarium & Memorial Program to V. P. of Institutional Advancement regularly
  • Regularly maintains the plaque chart and map and ensures all members of the Institutional Advancement team are familiar with this and are able to use it
  • Ensures plaques are ordered and installed in an attractive and timely manner

On-site Giving Program

  • Plans, implements, and tracks all aspects of on-site giving opportunities
  • Works with Animal Care & Health, Guest Services, Retail, and Culinary Programs departments to promote on-site giving opportunities with signage and other creative promotional opportunities to promote on-site giving

Online Giving Program

  • Plans and implements all aspects of online giving opportunities
  • Works with the Institutional Advancement, Education, Guest Services/Events, and Strategic Engagement departments, to promote giving opportunities online through multiple avenues

Other Institutional Advancement Responsibilities

  • Coordinates annual holiday video
  • Works with the VP of Institutional Advancement to assist with Phoenix Society activities and other special campaign activities
  • Coordinates and leads some tours as needed
  • Supports Zoofari Ball: Responsible for generating the mailing list and coordinating annual review of the list, as well as assisting with assigning in tables, day of needs, and general support


Organization-wide Responsibilities

  • Adheres to Zoo’s policies and procedures as outlined in the Employee Policy Manual
  • Applies and Exemplifies “green” (sustainable) practices whenever possible
  • Participates in Zoo-wide events such as El Dia del Nino, Dignatarios, and Boo at the Zoo
  • Participates in bi-monthly all-employee meetings
  • Participates in cross-departmental committees/teams as a contributing representative of the Institutional Advancement department

Guest Relations Responsibilities

  • Greets every guest with a smile
  • Thanks guests for supporting/visiting the Zoo
  • Answers phone calls, voice mails, and e-mails promptly
  • Insures the Zoo’s presentation standards for cleanliness and maintenance are met by keeping work areas clean, picking up trash, reporting unsafe or unsightly conditions
  • Associates with guests to assist and share information
  • Responds to all guest inquiries, complaints, and comments according to Zoo guest relations procedures
  • Maintains a clean neat appearance and adheres to the Zoo’s uniform dress code
  • Takes responsibility to stay informed about happenings at the Zoo, such as reading employee communications and attending meetings
  • Reflects the qualities outlined in the Guest Relations Statement, the Employee Pledge, and our Core Values
  • Other duties as assigned


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements and environmental characteristics described below are representative of the knowledge, skill, ability, and working and physical elements required of the position.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education & Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree or relevant experience preferably in fundraising, communications, marketing, or related field
  • Prior successful experience in fundraising preferred; minimum two years

 License, Certification, or Preferred Qualifications

  • Valid CA Driver’s License with good driving record and insurance coverage is required
  • Successful completion of a Department of Justice background check.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:

  • Ability to think strategically and plan accordingly to further the Institutional Advancement effort
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Strong writing, editing and proofreading skills
  • Ability to interact courteously and respectfully with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, and guests and to work with all levels of management
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and work with sensitive information
  • Capacity for high level attention to detail
  • Demonstrates high degree of accuracy and strong analytical skills
  • Ability to exercise safe work habits
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to effectively multi-task, use independent judgment, and produce quality work within a set timeframe to meet deadlines
  • Ability to effectively work under pressure, multi-task effectively, use independent judgment and produce quality work within tight time frame; meeting deadlines
  • Ability to create and implement systems and follow-up processes
  • Must be a proactive and creative problem-solver; a team player with motivation to develop relationships and work collaboratively
  • Understanding of telephone and office etiquette
  • Ability to handle conflict resolution in a professional manner and to respond to sensitive matters or situation with discretion, tact, and confidentiality
  • Ability to relate to persons of all ages and diverse backgrounds, skills, and abilities
  • Ability to present self in a personable, professional, and energetic manner
  • Ability to work flexible hours (including some holidays and weekends) and travel as needed
  • Ability to exercise safe work habits
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Knowledge of databases/Raiser’s Edge preferred
  • Demonstrates initiative, creativity and enthusiasm, as well as strong organizational skills
  • Enjoys working with people especially volunteers

Physical Demands & Work Environment

  • Most work is performed inside the office environment
  • Occasionally involves working out-of-doors in all weather conditions
  • Requires the ability to access all areas of the facility
  • Must be able to regularly climb stairs, manipulate computer and office tools, stand/walk for up to eight continuous hours, sit in front of a PC, and use tools
  • Ability to occasionally lift and carry objects weighing up to 50 lbs
  • The ability to coordinate a variety of tasks simultaneously and handle tension and stress in a positive manner is required
  • Must attend all events related to the position
  • Involves some week-end and evening hours
  • Supportive and open employment culture

Tools Used

  • Personal computer
  • Standard office equipment; telephone, copier, facsimile machine, calculator, and others as required
  • Color and laser printer
  • 35 mm and digital camera
  • Electric cart
  • Paper cutter
  • Laminator
  • Two-way radio

This job description is representative of the expectations of the position described.  Additional duties, reporting relationships, and/or position criteria may be assigned as deemed necessary by the Chief Executive Officer or authorized representative.  No changes to this job description shall be made without written permission by the Chief Executive Officer or authorized representative.

The Zoo reserves the right to revise this job description at any time.  The job description does not constitute a contract for employment, and does not guarantee employment for any specified period of time.  The job description does not in any way alter the at-will employment relationship.


** * * *

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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, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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