Director of Philanthropy

Full-Time, Salaried, Exempt

Position Summary

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) seeks a Director of Philanthropy to lead efforts related to securing major gifts, as well as annual giving, planned giving, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, and fundraising events. S/he reports to the President and CEO and, as a member of the Leadership Team, serves as an active participant in establishing the strategic direction of the organization and ensuring philanthropic support for its mission and programs.

This is an exciting time to join AHS as the organization celebrates 100 years of success as a thought leader in horticulture. The Director of Philanthropy will play a critical role in the growth and expansion of our programs and will support efforts for a major capital campaign planned for 2024.

About the American Horticultural Society

AHS’ mission is to share with all Americans the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet. Today, AHS stands strong with approximately 22,000 members. Our national programs include the Great American Gardeners Awards, National Children & Youth Gardening Symposium, Travel Study Tours, and a Reciprocal Garden Admissions Program. AHS publishes The American Gardener magazine six times a year as a primary membership benefit. The AHS website offers resources ( to horticulturalists, gardeners, and a wide range of stakeholders.

The Society is headquartered at River Farm, a 25-acre garden property overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA. By joining AHS’ outstanding team of professionals, you can help share the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy livable communities and a sustainable planet.


The Director of Philanthropy will be accountable for overall fundraising success and will be responsible for establishing and achieving annual goals across a range of initiatives. S/he will work closely with the President and CEO to develop and implement a multi-year development strategy, with annual operating plans, that align with strategic goals and priorities. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Major Gifts (50% of the time)
    • Develop and launch a major gifts initiative, working with leadership and the Board to steward a select group of high-net-worth donors, members, and prospects
    • With the communications team, plan and oversee major donor engagement
    • Coordinate with the Travel-Study Manager to identify and cultivate prospects
  • Annual Giving
    • Develop and implement a robust calendar of stewardship and solicitation touchpoints
    • Manage fundraising efforts across direct mail, email, and social media channels
    • Coordinate closely with internal marketing and membership teams in the creation of collateral and campaign messages
    • Provide strategy and direction for the President’s Council program for $1K+ donors
  • Fundraising Events
    • Manage key events such as the annual Gala and the President’s Council trip
    • Oversee event planning, budgeting, results analysis, and vendor contracts
    • Solicit and attract corporate sponsorships
    • Work with marketing on the production of all event materials and public relations
  • Grants
    • Maximize government and foundation grant opportunities that align with AHS’ programs and mission
    • Oversee external grant writer and grant-seeking activities, including research, proposals, and reporting
  • Planned Giving Program
    • Establish strategy and processes for a new planned giving program and coordinate with marketing to ensure appropriate communications
  • Capital Campaign Preparation (starting mid-2023)
    • Work collaboratively with external consultants to plan for and oversee campaign planning and conduct donor stewardship
    • Identify and cultivate prospects for campaign gifts, both personally and by supporting the leadership and Board in securing gifts
  • Administrative
    • Develop and manage the fundraising budget
    • Ensure appropriate systems related to donor management, research, gift processing, and recognition
    • Manage two direct reports: Development Coordinator and Travel-Study Manager

Education, Experience, and Skills Required

  • 10-plus years of professional experience in a nonprofit organization
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred
  • Experience taking initiative, working with leadership and the Board to cultivate, solicit and steward a select group of high-net-worth donors, members and prospects
  • Demonstrated success in meeting goals and in managing and forging relationships with high-net-worth individuals
  • Measurable results in expanding, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major donors
  • Demonstrated success raising five-, six-, and seven-figure gifts
  • Experience managing annual giving campaigns
  • Experience with planned giving programs, a plus
  • Experience managing major fundraising events
  • Experience using data to analyze and share results
  • Prior experience or willingness to become proficient with Blackbaud software, including The Raiser’s Edge database and NetCommunity Spark
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, set priorities, and manage multiple tasks with meticulous attention to detail
  • Passion for AHS’ mission is essential
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, written, and verbal communications skills


The Director of Philanthropy is a full-time salaried position that includes generous vacation, holiday, individual health, dental, vision, and 403b benefits. Compensation will range from $120,000 to $140,000, depending on experience.

To Apply

Qualified candidates should send a cover letter and resume to with the subject “Director of Philanthropy.” Please submit all materials in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word, only. The deadline for submitting materials is November 18, 2022. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

AHS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We value a diverse workforce and strongly encourage applicants of all backgrounds to apply, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or disability.

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form upon hire.