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OrganizationSouthern Environmental Law Center (SELC)
TypeFull Time
Application DeadlineJanuary 15, 2021
College Degree Required?Yes
Salary Range$115,000-135,000
Phone(434) 977-4090


The Southern Environmental Law Center seeks an experienced senior development professional to build deep relationships and manage a portfolio of current and prospective individual donors and family foundations capable of giving at a leadership level. This is an opportunity to join one of the most effective non-profits in the U.S. and to use your skills to further SELC’s mission during a critical period for the environmental health of our region, our nation, and our planet.

The position will be joining a successful fundraising and engagement team that includes seasoned fundraisers with leadership gift, campaign, and planned giving expertise; a sophisticated development information systems/research team; event staffers who handle logistics for 25+ high-touch special events a year; and on-staff writers, designers, and administrators who create a full range of customized proposals, reports, printed handouts, and digital materials that capture SELC’s goals and accomplishments. Having this strong support leaves you free to spend your time on customized cultivation and solicitation plans; networking; and partnering with SELC staff and board leadership to identify leads, make the entrée, and bring in the revenue.

This senior fundraiser position is a linchpin in SELC’s institutional plans. We are adopting an exciting new ten-year strategic plan and have a goal of doubling the revenue raised from individual donors and family foundations over the next 5 years. The principal development officer will work closely with SELC’s office directors, program leaders, director of advancement, and executive director to get our powerful vision in front of the right people.

This is a full-time position reporting to the Director of Development, Philanthropy.  We prefer for the position to be based in our Charlottesville, Chapel Hill, or Atlanta offices, but will give serious consideration to qualified candidates who live elsewhere in our six-state region (VA, NC, SC, TN, GA, and AL). This is a position with region-wide focus and responsibility, and it requires consistent, well-planned travel.

This position may be performed on a remote basis through the COVID-19 pandemic, but is expected to be full-time, onsite as our offices reopens.

Job Duties

Primary Responsibilities

  • Manage a portfolio of donors and prospects mostly in SELC’s six focus states (VA, TN, NC, SC, GA, AL), with hopes of identifying and approaching important leads in other high-capacity environmental giving areas like New York and California. Must be skilled at the full range identification, entrée, engagement, solicitation, and cultivation strategies.
  • Individually or as part of a call team, solicit a range of gifts from individuals and families with emphasis on 5-7 figure gifts. Like all SELC front-line fundraisers, the principal development officer will also be comfortable asking for first-time, entry level gifts as part of qualifying and establishing new relationships.
  • Travel 6-10 days a month, including overnight trips. Plan ahead to fill your schedule with multiple face-to-face calls along with special events or other productive activities.
  • Build and manage a network of advisors and helpers, including SELC’s engaged and supportive Board of Trustees. Through effective networking and collaborating, identify and qualify new pools of major gift prospects in SELC core territories and beyond.
  • Be an effective, even compelling, spokesperson for the Southern Environmental Law Center’s mission and why it is worthy of significant philanthropic support.
  • Partner with SELC’s events logistics team to plan and host carefully targeted special events and other engagement opportunities, with the principal development officer taking the lead on invitation list, turnout, and meticulous post-event follow-up.
  • Be a collaborative, supportive partner at the table as our development leadership charts the implementation plan that can sustain the big, robust, multi-faceted organization that SELC is today and realize our long-term program vision. Be willing to help mentor attorneys and less experienced development officers as we build our team and broaden institution-wide involvement and a feeling of ownership in SELC’s fundraising success.

Skills Required

Desired Background and Personal Attributes

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Minimum of 10 years of professional fundraising experience with success in developing relationships with high net-worth individuals and personally securing significant gifts/pledges. This should be combined with an ability to bring new prospects to the table and grow their investment over time.
  • Strong environmental interest and intellectual curiosity. Connection to or familiarity with the Southeast is a plus. SELC fundraisers’ success depends on their ability to grasp complex environmental and legal concepts and turn them into inspiring stories about how our work impacts this region’s natural areas, air and water, and communities—and helps steer national law and policy.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Has ease picking up the telephone, welcomes face-to-face contact, and can smoothly navigate challenges such as talking your way in the door for a visit.
  • A genuine interest in and commitment to helping SELC create and foster a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace.
  • Highly organized, with an appetite for action and results. You are self-driven, self-disciplined, and have excellent time management skills. You are a natural self-starter who can work independently. You are skilled at setting and tracking short- and long-term plans and priorities, juggling multiple schedules and projects, and thriving in a fast-moving, goal-driven environment.
  • Collegial, collaborative team player. Ability to work with a wide range of roles and styles, both in the office and externally. A key point of collaboration is with the development information systems team to ensure a free exchange of information between your portfolio and the database. You enjoy brainstorming and creative problem-solving, and can think on your feet.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office required, familiarity with Salesforce donor management software a plus.

Additional Info

To Apply: Applications should include a cover letter and resume directed to the Director of Development, Philanthropy. Please email to  by January 15 and include “Principal Development Officer” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Compensation: SELC offers salaries competitive with other leading environmental non-profits nationally, and provides an excellent benefits package. The salary is commensurate with experience. For more details about our benefits package, please visit our Careers page.

About SELC:

Since 1986 the Southern Environmental Law Center has protected the South’s environment and all the people who depend on it for their health and wellbeing. Now, at a critical time in our country’s history, what this organization does on behalf of the people and places across our six states—and the values we stand for—are needed more than ever. SELC is providing national leadership and defending bedrock federal environmental safeguards—while continuing to serve as on-the-ground watchdog and enforcer right here at home throughout our six focus states (VA, NC, SC, TN, GA, and AL).

By working at the national, regional, state, and local levels—and in all three branches of government—SELC is able to do whatever it takes to get results. SELC strengthens laws, makes government agencies do their job, and, when necessary, goes to court to stop environmental abuses or set far-reaching precedents. We have enhanced our effectiveness by adding program communications professionals, including GIS and social media experts, who partner closely with SELC’s lawyers to reach, educate, and influence decision-makers and opinion leaders to achieve our law and policy goals.

SELC has nine offices, an unparalleled team of 80+ attorneys, and a $32 million annual budget. Our organization’s stellar track record and responsible fiscal management have earned us Charity Navigator’s top 4-star Exceptional rating for 14 straight years. Learn more about SELC’s accomplishments and current projects at

SELC believes that a broad range of ideas, life experiences, and backgrounds enriches our workplace, drives innovative thinking, and attracts highly talented people who seek a work environment that values the unique contributions of individual team members. We are eager to welcome new team members who share this belief. We still have progress to make, but our goal is to create and maintain a staff that reflect, at every level, the rich racial and cultural diversity of the communities where we work and the clients that we serve. SELC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Persons of all backgrounds—including people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and LGBTQ candidates—are strongly encouraged to apply.