Job Openings

The following position is currently open at the Woods Hole Research Center:

Chief Development Officer

Download a PDF of the announcement.

Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) is seeking candidates for the Chief Development Officer (CDO) who will report to and partner with President and Executive Director Philip B. Duffy, Ph.D. The CDO will join the senior leadership team and oversee all aspects of a comprehensive fundraising department that includes an annual fund, major gifts and foundation and corporate giving ensuring sustainable philanthropic support for WHRC’s mission and programs.

About WHRC

Located on a 10-acre campus near the village of Woods Hole, the Woods Hole Research Center is a private, non-profit research organization and acclaimed leader in addressing the great global environmental issues of our time through science and policy. Its core focus is to conduct high quality scientific research and policy analysis and implementation on environmental and economic issues. The Center concentrates on climate change and related issues such as deforestation, resource limitation, food security, forest, soil and water conservation, and biodiversity conservation. Original research and scholarly reviews are published in the world’s best peer-reviewed scientific journals. These findings and discoveries form the basis of credibility for applying science to the policy challenges of stewardship and sound management of the Earth’s ecosystems in an increasingly resource-limited world.  Center scientists are involved in policy processes ranging from international climate negotiations to decisions at the community level in developing countries.

The Center’s scientific staff is involved in activities ranging from analysis of satellite data, planning of new satellite missions, field measurements in the tropics and Arctic, laboratory measurements and analysis, development and application of complex computer models, capacity building in the developing world, international climate negotiations, and mentoring students and interns. They work in diverse locations including areas in Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Siberian Arctic.

Founded in 1985 by renowned ecologist George M. Woodwell, Woods Hole Research Center is known for conducting high quality scientific research that is targeted to fill knowledge gaps and informing public policy. A leader in its field, Woods Hole Research Center has attracted some of today’s experts on global environment issues. Falmouth and the village of Woods Hole have become a hub for marine, biomedical, and environmental science, hosting a number of world-renowned laboratories and institutions. These organizations together have created a stimulating intellectual and strong civic community. Falmouth boasts an excellent school system and offers many activities for outdoor enthusiasts.

WHRC has an annual operating budget of about $10 million. In FY14, about $1.9M was raised in philanthropic support. Over 50% of the Center’s funding currently comes from competitive federal research grants awarded to the scientists. The Center also receives significant programmatic support from private foundations.

About the Opportunity

This is an exciting time to join the Center, with new leadership and increasing public focus on climate change. The new CDO will lead a small, dedicated development team and a comprehensive development program. With a focus on growing major giving, introducing a gift planning program, and finding new institutional funders, s/he will provide leadership to and staff a dedicated President and Board of Directors in securing philanthropic support and identifying new Board members. Over the past few years, the Center has made significant investment in assessing opportunity and developing plans for major, annual and planned giving. It produced a new Case for Support in 2012, several collateral materials, and has improved branding. In addition, the database has been thoroughly updated and wealth screenings have been conducted. The Center is well-poised for the next CDO to take philanthropy to a higher level. As a leader in a small (50 employees), collaborative and nimble organization, the successful CDO will work collegially with administrative and scientific staff, demonstrating flexibility, creativity and team work to get the job done.

WHRC is deeply committed to the professionalism and success of its future philanthropic efforts and is well-poised for accelerated growth. The new CDO will be able to “hit the ground running” partnering closely with the President and scientists (or, principal investigators) to develop cultivation and solicitation strategies and staff them on prospect/donor visits as appropriate. S/he will also staff the Board of Directors and the Development Committee in securing philanthropic support and work closely with the Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors to help identify and cultivate prospective new Board members. As an accomplished frontline fundraiser, the CDO will personally cultivate, solicit, close and steward gifts in 5-6 figure range.

Responsibilities Include

  • Partner with the President to plan and execute strategies for prospect/donor cultivation and solicitation, and join him on visits
  • Collaborate effectively with internal leadership including scientists and administrators
  • Develop, execute, monitor and evaluate annual development plans, ensuring targets are met
  • Cultivate, solicit, close and steward 5 and 6 figure gifts from current and prospective donors, with an emphasis on growing major donor support
  • Provide leadership and oversight for all aspects of the development program including the annual fund, major giving, gift planning, corporate and foundation support and database management
  • Provide leadership for and staff the Board of Directors and the Development Committee of the Board of Directors in identifying and securing philanthropic prospects and gifts
  • Supervise the development team, providing strong leadership and opportunities for professional development
  • Work closely with Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors to identify and cultivate potential new Board Members
  • Create and execute a planned giving program
  • Expand foundation support by identifying and pursuing grant opportunities
  • Plan and manage endowment and other campaigns


  • Passion for WHRC’s mission and knowledge of and/or intellectual curiosity about environmental sciences, especially climate change
  • At least 10 years’ professional experience with demonstrated success in non-profit fundraising and a track record of cultivating, soliciting, closing and stewarding 5- and 6-figure major gifts
  • Ability to manage and forge positive relationships with staff, volunteer leadership, prospects and donors
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to translate complex scientific concepts into layman’s terms
  • Experience nurturing donor relationships and increasing their giving
  • Demonstrated success creating, communicating, executing, measuring and monitoring annual fundraising plans
  • Excellent supervisory skills that demonstrate ability to mentor staff and build a strong team
  • Good working knowledge of Raiser’s Edge
  • Willingness to travel
  • Strong organizational and planning skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team player
  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree desirable

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:
Sean O’Connor
Senior Vice President,
Development Guild/DDI

For more information about Wood Hole Research Center, please visit
For more information about Development Guild/DDI, please visit

The mission of the Woods Hole Research Center is to advance scientific discovery and seek science-based solutions for the worlds environmental and economic challenges through research and education on forests, soils, air, and water. Our scientists combine analysis of satellite images of the Earth with field studies to measure, model, and map changes in the worlds ecosystems, from the thawing permafrost in the Arctic to the expanding agriculture regions of the tropics. We merge natural science with economics to discover sustainable paths for human prosperity and stewardship of the Earths natural resources. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.