Development Director

Job Type

Part Time


Details: Hourly to begin, with potential to grow into full-time, salaried position.



Start Date



PO Box 235
54R Merrimac St.
United States



Modern childhood has moved indoors. On average, American children spend between 4 and 7 minutes a day engaged in unstructured outdoor play and as many as 7 hours a day in front of an electronic screen. This national trend has paralleled an alarming growth in childhood obesity and prescribed pharmaceuticals for kids. Many youth are tuned out, stressed out and over-scheduled. And this is not limited to just kids, as it can also be seen in adults, families, and whole communities.

Often we are asked, “What do you actually do at Merrohawke?” The answer appears simple: we guide learning in nature. We do so in all weather in all habitats in all seasons in celebration of our unique corner of the New England coastline. We spend our days outside with youth in rain, snow, sun, wind, ice and fog, during winter, summer, fall, spring, along rivers, oceans, salt marshes, sandy beaches, mudflats, deep ocean waters, maritime forests, vernal pools and broad green lawns and meadows. We dig holes to China, build epic sandcastles and fairy castles, catch our dinner at sea and chase bugs, frogs, crabs and critters in discovery of own inner wild selves as we reconnect kids to nature, each other, and themselves.

We inspire youth to connect to the earth on their own terms in a way that will last their whole lifetime, and beyond. We do this with a complex, multi-layered educational model that dates back thousands of years. We are committed to this effort for the benefit of creating healthier kids, stronger families, a thriving greater Newburyport community, and a flourishing planet.

Merrohawke Nature School, founded in 2007, is committed to guiding learning in nature that inspires empathy, resilience, grit, and a deep connection to the earth.The organization has an operating budget of $450K and serves up to 2,000 youth annually in Essex County and the Lower Merrimack Valley. Please visit to learn more.


Reporting to and in partnership with the Executive Director, the Director of Development will provide strategic leadership and execution of all aspects of fundraising at Merrohawke. A new position in the organization, the Director will have the opportunity to increase Merrohawke’s development capacity to support operations, education programs, scholarships and special projects aligned with annual financial goals.


The Director of Development is responsible for developing significant new streams of revenue from public and private funders; overseeing two major fundraisers annually; securing successful multi-year support for education programs to advance the organization’s mission; cultivating and managing long-term relationships; writing grant proposals and reports; and handling internal and external reporting while continually supporting the organization’s values, vision and mission.  This may include launching a capital campaign in 2019.

Responsibilities include:

  • Developing and executing Merrohawke Nature School's annual fundraising plan
  • Securing financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations who are champions of the environment and youth
  • Cultivating and building ongoing relationships with donors by scheduling and attending in person visits and following up with timely correspondences
  • Creating communications  in collaboration with ED including annual report, newsletters, presentations, executive correspondence, solicitation materials and website content
  • Developing a planned giving program
  • Managing the donor database
  • Overseeing special events including supervising event design, promotion, sponsorship, advertising and logistics, and analyzing event fundraising performance, in collaboration with volunteers
  • Developing and tracking proposals and reports for all foundation and corporate fundraising
  • Engaging in community outreach that will further the mission of Merrohawke and increase the awareness of the nature school’s programs and services


The ideal candidate will thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. This person will be a self-starter able to meet deadlines in an informal environment that values a great deal of independence.

Desired qualifications include:

  • Demonstrated passion for the mission, vision, and values of Merrohawke
  • Minimum of 5 years of development experience with increasing levels of responsibility and success securing major gifts, preferably for education or environmental conservation related programs.
  • Bachelor’s or advanced degree with coursework in non-profit fundraising
  • Knowledge of the Essex County and eastern New England philanthropic landscape
  • Impeccable, articulate written and oral communication skills, with comfort speaking before groups of professionals.
  • Excellent customer service skills to build relationships with stakeholders
  • Self-motivated, willing to work alone and collaboratively, with a strong work ethic in an entrepreneurial, mission-driven environment
  • The integrity, wisdom, persistence, and humor necessary to address the practicalities of a dynamic nonprofit moving through significant growth.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with MS Office Suite, social media, online fundraising, and other new media.
  • Commitment to continuing professional development


Merrohawke is a thriving nonprofit serving youth outdoors, and supported by a passionate and engaged board of directors, volunteers and staff. We are committed to personal and professional development as the best path towards providing the best possible experience for youth in our care. We believe in building lasting relationships, and take time to tend our fires. You will be stepping into a community who cares as deeply about children and families as the we do about nature that nurtures us all.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

This a part-time, hourly position with a flexible schedule. Applications should be sent via email to as a PDF file and should consist of a cover letter explaining why you believe in Merrohawke’s mission and why your qualifications best match this position. Please also include resume, references, and sample of fundraising-related work. No phone calls please.