Sr. Director, Advancement Operations

National Geographic Society
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Nov 19

Position description

The Advancement team cultivates, solicits, and stewards individuals, as well as foundation, government and corporate partners who invest in the Society to drive impact through science, technology, education, exploration, and storytelling. The team collaborates with Society teams – and often works closely with NGP/Disney – to build transformative and impact-driven strategic partnerships. The team also produces global events that deepen connections and leverage the Society’s power to convene, and directs robust annual, major and planned giving programs empowering the Society with a broad base of public support.

The Senior Director of Advancement Operations is responsible for building the advancement operations infrastructure to support advancement success. They will ensure that advancement strategy is informed by sound data which includes developing reports, systems, and processes to promote effective and efficient fundraising. The Senior Director will work closely with the Vice President for Advancement Operations and is responsible for creating and implementing metrics to measure advancement team performance, performing data analysis to drive strategy and developing reporting to track progress toward advancement team goals. The Senior Director will position frontline colleagues for success by facilitating fundraising, strategic portfolios, constituent tracking, relationship management and reporting.

Your Impact 

Responsibilities Include

  • Develop, design, implement and manage processes and workflows to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Advancement team. Serve as an entrepreneurial leader to transform new ideas into successful programs. (25%)
  • Work with the VP for Advancement Operations to set strategy for Advancement Operations, Prospect Management, Advancement Services and Systems; partner with Advancement senior leaders to set prospect management strategy. Initiate strategy meetings with frontline development officers, providing reports and information to facilitate discussion and collaboration. (25%)
  • Develop and manage a portfolio of reports to track Advancement progress, pipeline and prospect activity to share with Advancement team and external partners including NGS Finance, NGS Board of Trustees, NGS Senior Leadership Team.(20%)
  • Establish and enforce prospect management policies and ensure data integrity of contact reports, proposals, assignments, and associated data. Employ advanced analytical techniques by developing new forecasting data models and prospect ranking tools, and developing new strategies for mining prospects from databases to support fundraising goals and objectives. (15%)
  • Build departmental expertise, maximizing effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness, accuracy and ROI. Train Departmental staff on Raiser’s Edge advancement database and reporting tools. Ensure that systems and processes run smoothly. Regularly assess the needs and opportunities of Advancement, evaluate how Advancement Operations can support these needs, and promote cross-team collaboration.Manage operational expenses to approved budget. (10%)
  • Keep up-to-date on emerging trends and technologies to meet current and future needs of NGS Advancement. Perform other duties as assigned. (5%)



Educational Background

Bachelor’s degree required; graduate degree desirable.

Minimum Years and Type of Experience   

10+ years of experience as a fundraising professional with 5+ years of management experience over a comprehensive fundraising program. Expertise with strategic planning plus a demonstrated experience with building effective and collaborative relationships internally and externally. Experience in managing and maintaining database systems and research/screening software tools, preferably in a not-for-profit fundraising setting. Demonstrated experience in prospect research (or related field), data analysis, advanced analytical tools and databases, internet resources, and other references. Experience working for a non-profit, foundation, or academic environment preferred.

Necessary Knowledge and Skills

  • Formal instruction in or knowledge of business, financial analysis, statistical methods, information systems, techniques of corporate and biographical research and report writing. Ability to solve data interface problems independently, prioritize multiple projects, and design innovative reporting solutions.
  • Excellent research and analytical skills, including ability to analyze and interpret business and financial data and information
  • Demonstrated skill in employee supervision. Ability to set clear expectations and goals and provide feedback that improves performance and motivates a team.
  • Ability to relate to people of diverse backgrounds, training, and experience.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and proven ability to work across a complex organization, and to provide leadership and coaching to staff members.

Desired Qualifications

  • Skill in exercising a high degree of initiative, judgment, discretion, and decision-making to achieve organizational objectives.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a goal-oriented team environment.
  • Proficiency with Raiser’s Edge, or other fundraising database preferred.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment independently when responding to inquiries and interacting with donors, alumni, volunteers and staff.
  • Strong personal and professional integrity.


4+ direct reports

We encourage you to apply even if your experience is not a 100% match with the position. We are looking for someone with relevant skills and experience, not a checklist that exactly matches the job description. We want to help you grow and in return, you help us grow into a stronger, more inclusive organization. 



  • National Geographic's headquarters is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. We offer our employees a comprehensive benefits package, including health and dental benefits, generous vacation and parental leave time, a 401(k) plan, flexible work options, career development, and a thriving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program. In addition to our generous benefits, we also offer unique perks which include free museum admission, discount to our museum store, film screenings, world class events with visiting speakers, an employee volunteer day and a robust wellness program.

Application instructions

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