Director of Annual and Special Giving (AFT)

American Farmland Trust

Director of Annual and Special Giving

Washington, DC

Job Description


American Farmland Trust (AFT) is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving America’s farm and ranchland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save more than five million acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more. Additionally, AFT actively works to keep more farmers on the land by linking next generation farmers to farmland, championing women landowners and educating farmers on conservation techniques.

“No Farms, No Food.” This is a critical time for AFT, as saving enough farmland for food production is a defining challenge for this century, underscoring the urgency of AFT's mission. Equally critical is ensuring that there will be a next generation of farmers and ranchers to steward the land. AFT is recognized as bringing invaluable solutions to these issues and is well-positioned to dramatically increase support among people who care about their food, local farms, and the environment.

The Position:

American Farmland Trust seeks a Director of Annual and Special Giving (“DSG”) to manage all aspects of its mid-level giving program that targets donor gifts of $250 - $9,999, increasing revenue and donors. Located in AFT’s Washington DC office, the DSG reports to the Vice President of Development & External Relations and works closely with AFT’s strategic direct marketing consultants to develop and implement overall mid-level giving strategy. The DSG provides high-touch cultivation and solicitation for a select group of high-dollar prospects, including creating content, scheduling mailings and email contacts, coordinating copywriting, and developing a pipeline that provides warm prospects to regionally focused major gift officers.

The ideal candidate is an entrepreneurial professional who enjoys front-line relationship building, soliciting, developing and driving strategies with senior leadership, and demonstrating creativity and relationship-building savvy to make connections and secure in-person appointments.  The candidate must be able to articulate the case to support the vision/mission/goals of AFT for the purpose of securing major gifts and pledges.

Primary Responsibilities 

Develop and execute an overall strategy for individual Annual Giving activities and direct mid-level donor communication strategy, including:

  • Manage a portfolio of 300-500 mid-level donors and major gift prospects.
  • Meet personally with prospects and donors.
  • Manage the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship process for monthly donors.
  • Work with the Senior Stewardship Officer to research and review top donor prospects through discovery calls and visits and add to the Individual Giving prospect pipeline and moves management program.
  • Monitor performance toward projections in retention, upgraded giving, and acquisition of new donors.
  • Effectively respond to individual donors through written correspondence, telephone contact, personal contact and e-mail, assuring the donors that their needs are processed immediately upon request.
  • Provide rapid response to opportunities to engage mid-level and major donors in AFT’s issues following relevant news articles, AFT successes, and other key moments that arise throughout the year.
  • Develop and implement special virtual events to advance donor engagement.
  • Oversee the production of all mid-level communications, including quarterly fundraising solicitations, cultivation pieces, quarterly newsletters, the annual report, and other correspondence.
  • Be responsible for the donor acknowledgement process life cycle to ensure efficiencies, attention to detail, and timeliness.
  • Manage the workload of the Annual Giving Coordinator and ensure all in-house communications adhere to the communications calendar for the year.
  • Direct AFT’s workplace giving program by engaging corporations, developing volunteer opportunities, and raising AFT’s visibility in EarthShare.
  • Direct the production of AFT’s quarterly membership newsletter including coordinating editorial planning meetings, routing copy for approval, managing newsletter design, providing data, and ushering the designed newsletter through production.
  • Prepare written materials including reports, cultivations, stewardship pieces, and direct mail solicitations for individual supporters. 


A bachelor’s degree and 5+ years of relevant professional experience in fundraising or membership in a direct response role.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Superior verbal and written communication skills and ability to speak intelligently and passionately to external stakeholders about AFT’s mission and programs around the country.
  • Project management experience, attention to detail, and the ability to coordinate multiple projects simultaneously in a fast-paced, results-oriented environment.
  • Experience managing large or complex projects, including project budgeting and planning.
  • Advanced organizational, analytical and problem solving skills, including issue identification and prioritization.
  • Experience successfully managing internal stakeholders and relationships.
  • Proven ability to collaborate across divisions to implement processes and achieve results. Track record of building and maintaining productive relationships with multiple stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to continually develop skills related to use of rapidly changing technology and communications best practices.
  • Ability to adapt and be flexible in a dynamic work environment.
  • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel required.

For more information about the American Farmland Trust, visit

To Apply:
The American Farmland Trust has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to: 

Debbie Farrell

Senior Director, Leadership and Development

Harris Rand Lusk

122 E. 42nd Street, Suite 3605

New York, NY  10168

[email protected] 

Please include “AFT, Individual Giving” in the subject line of the email.

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