AAWL Director of Philanthropy Career Opportunity

Do you have experience building a major gifts program from scratch and asking for 5-, 6- and 7-figure gifts?

Do you thrive cultivating and soliciting donors and inspiring them to make an impact through their own philanthropy?

Are you passionate about re-envisioning the role of animal shelters to expand community support for affordable, accessible veterinary care and keeping animals in their homes?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, we would like for you to join the Arizona Animal Welfare League in Phoenix, Arizona as our Director of Philanthropy!

AAWL – Who We Are

in 1971, the Arizona Animal Welfare League is the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in the state of Arizona. We started as a small sanctuary for homeless animals and have grown over the past 51 years to become a statewide animal welfare organization providing a full range of community services from adoptions and behavioral support to low-cost veterinary services.

With an annual combined budget of approximately $5.8 million, AAWL is a private, shelter (w/o any government contracts) devoted to providing excellent care, protection, and loving compassion for the life of the animals entrusted to us. To achieve our mission, we manage adoption, behavior, foster, medical and volunteer programs. Our staff includes 53 full-time staff members and 27 part-time employees. We pride ourselves in leveraging the time and talents of volunteers (over 450+ volunteers and 250+ fosters) who commit to assisting with all aspects of shelter operations.

Our long-term organizational goal is to raise critical resources to generate transformational gifts to support AAWL’s strategic goals. As part of our five-year strategic plan, AAWL is focused on building a culturally-competent, community-based veterinary medicine program that provides affordable, accessible veterinary care to underserved pet owners living in Central City Phoenix, a vibrant, multi-cultural community near downtown Phoenix. We also plan to expand our shelter intervention efforts to help pet owners keep their pets in their homes and out of the shelter system. This ambitious effort presents an exciting opportunity for an experienced fund-raising professional to help lead these efforts to sizably increase investments in AAWL to make an even greater impact on the lives of animals and the people who care for them. To learn more about the work of AAWL and our future plans, visit: aawl.org/communityfund.

Position Overview

The Director of Philanthropy is a member of the senior management team and reports directly to the President/CEO. The Director of Philanthropy will lead a three-person team that includes a Donor Relations Manager, Development Coordinator, and contract grant writer. This is a full-time, exempt position based in Phoenix.

AAWL’s budgeted fund-raising goal for FYE 2022 ending December 31, 2022 is $2.4 million, with the vast majority of that income (38%) coming from individual donations. Our goal is to hire a Director of Philanthropy who can lead efforts to grow those annual donations substantially over the next five years.

Working closely with the President/CEO, the Director of Philanthropy is primarily responsible for planning, supervising, and executing AAWL’s major gifts program (focusing on donors giving at 10k+ levels) and developing complementary fundraising and donor cultivation plans for each donor or prospect.

In addition, the Director of Philanthropy will oversee these other revenue-generating efforts: corporate philanthropy, planned giving, workplace giving, direct mail appeals and events. Finally, the Director of Philanthropy will work closely with a grant writer to edit grant proposals that support strategic initiatives, and work collaboratively with program staff across departments to track grant deliverables and report progress on goals in interim and final grant reports.


• Develop, lead, and evaluate a comprehensive annual work plan that focuses on major gifts and includes fund-raising goals and targets for meetings with donors who are capable of making annual gifts of $10,000 and greater.

• Work with the President/CEO to solicit five-, six- and seven-figure annual and planned gifts through individual face-to-face meeting with donors and prospects.

• Manage a portfolio of approximately 240 donors/prospects between the CEO and the DP.

•  Mentor, support and develop a Donor Relations Manager and Development Coordinator to execute annual fund-raising goals.

• Oversee corporate solicitation efforts and event fund-raising efforts, including developing realistic goals, assisting with solicitations as needed to ensure successful events and corporate partnerships.

•  Oversee planned giving efforts, including identifying planned giving prospects and leading discussions with donors about how to leave a legacy with AAWL.

• Lead foundation grant efforts, including working with contract grant writer to edit grant applications and prepare grant reports and other communication with funders based on donor interests and program progress.

• Oversee the department’s administrative systems related to the fund-raising goals, including data management, donation tracking, processes and procedures, reporting, gift processing/acknowledgement. Develop evaluative reports for program tracking and management toward annual goals.

• Work with Director of Marketing and Communications to identify content for quarterly mail appeals and year-end Impact Reports, including helping with edits and tracking progress to goals.

• Manage and write quarterly communications to donors about the AAWL’s mission, activities, and successes in a compelling, inspiring and motivating way.

• Maintain working knowledge of animal welfare issues and AAWL priorities.


· Demonstrated interest in animal welfare issues and commitment to AAWL’s mission.

· Five years related development experience, with progressive responsibility and a proven track record of soliciting, closing, and stewarding major gifts in the $10,000 plus range for annual/multi-year campaigns, and experience converting new donors into major donors.

· Minimum of three (3) years of supervisory experience, including the ability to motivate, lead, set objectives and foster an environment of collaboration, innovation, humility and professional growth.

· Experience developing and implementing a comprehensive, strategic, goal-based development plan.

· Experience managing a planned giving program.

· Demonstrated commitment to working collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving conflicts.

· Strong work ethic and the ability to interact effectively with staff, volunteers, and community members from divergent geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds.

· Proficiency with office technology (including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint) and donor databases. Experience with Razor’s Edge preferred.

· Excellent verbal and written communication skills to a diverse range of audiences.

To Apply for This Position

Please submit a cover letter, resume, three professional references (including their email, phone and relationship) and a writing sample to: anavidad@aawl.org. Reference “Director of Philanthropy” in your email. No phone calls or walk-ins. Please reference where you found this notice in your cover letter.

Employment Details

AAWL offers compensation that is commensurate with experience and competitive with non-profit and animal welfare salaries. The starting salary for this position is $90k. Benefits include 100% employer-paid medical insurance, employer-paid premiums for life insurance, generous paid vacation/sick time off, 12 paid holidays per year and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that includes that includes counseling visits, in-person/virtual capability, personal coaching sessions, and wellness app.