Vice President of Development

  • San Diego, CA
  • Full-time

Company Description

About NuSI

The Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization, located in San Diego, CA, dedicated to reducing the individual, social and economic toll of obesity and its related chronic diseases by improving the quality of science in nutrition and obesity research.  For information regarding NuSI, please visit

NuSI seeks to hire a fulltime VP Development who, under the general direction of the President and Board of Directors, is primarily responsible for the creation and implementation of plans to acquire private support from three specific philanthropic sources:

  1. High yield grant opportunities;
  2. High net worth philanthropists or foundations capable of giving $1 million and greater;
  3. Individuals and foundations capable of making a gift ranging from $100,000 to $1 million.

Job Description

Description of position

-          Identify, engage, and solicit new donors capable of making gifts ranging from $100,000 to $1 million and greater and/or deferred major gifts.  Create a development plan that details how to solicit each respective donor and identify funding sources such as grants, pledges, charitable events and marketing opportunities to raise over $150 million over the next three years and oversee its execution.

-          Cultivate professional stewardship with partnering institutions and foundations. Work closely with major university development departments to raise matching funds for NuSI-sponsored research at their respective instructions, when necessary.

-          Curate a Board of Overseers to cultivate and identify donors to leverage current NuSI network.  This volunteer, non-governing, team will be geographically specific to major markets, including San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, New York, and Boston with 5-10 volunteers per city.

-          Maintain a detailed portfolio of donor and donor prospects and uphold accurate pipeline within Salesforce (CRM) to track potential donors, grant opportunities, donor communication, and gift processing.

-          Seek, identify, vet and pursue appropriate (i.e., high yield) grant opportunities. Oversee a targeted grant solicitation program capable of generating at least $1 million per year in funding with minimal effort and/or distraction from greater funding opportunities.

-          Perform extensive donor research and analyze respective capacity to give against quantifying criteria. Stratify pertinent and valuable information from numerous resources (e.g., Online Foundation Directory, news publications, and online donor profiles) to create well organized tactical one-sheets in effort to strategically leverage research and prep President prior to arranged meeting and/or introductory call.   Preparation material will assist in identifying possible mutual connections, interests, giving history, alum educational institute, etc.

-          Design professional philanthropic material. Write and edit customized professional and effective solicitation letters, case for support, grant proposals, presentations, and additional marketing materials.


Projected first 30, 60, and 90 days

-          Within the first 30 days, you will become sufficiently familiar with (i) NuSI’s mission and research strategy, (ii) messaging and targeted audience members, (iii) long term research roadmap, (iv) board members and, by extension, expanded board network, (v) NuSI’s case for support and donor material, and (vi) current list of donors and supporters to demonstrate your facility in written and oral communication to interested parties.   You will present the case and budget for additional staffing needs and resources required for success in your long-term role as VP Development.

-          Within the first 60 days, you will develop a short term strategy for soliciting at least $3 million by year-end 2013, which will be organized and communicated in a written report to the President and Board of Directors. Simultaneously, you will have identified via extensive donor research and analysis 20-40 prospective donors capable of making a donation or pledge of $100,000 to $1 million and greater to NuSI.  When appropriate, you will build relationships with the individual or organization in effort to determine their capacity to give and evaluate philanthropic interest in NuSI.  In effort to identify and solicit 1-2 members of the Board of Overseers per geographical area, you will have corresponded with any relevant NuSI Board member or identified influential NuSI supporter.  A report and grid will be prepared for the President and Board of Directors identifying 2013 Board of Overseer members by location, their individualized commitment to NuSI over the next 12 months, and the potential network they provide.

-          Within the first 90 days, you will take the appropriate tangible steps to secure the $3 million, as outlined in the above delivered strategy report.  You will develop a long term strategy for identifying and pursuing funding opportunities such as grants, pledges, charitable events and marketing opportunities to raise over $150 million over the next three years to develop and prepare a comprehensive strategy report to present to the President.  You will have amassed a donor portfolio of at least 60 prospective donors capable of making a donation or pledge of $100,000 to $1 million and greater to NuSI, and prepared necessary donor summary sheets on targeted donors. You will have identified and applied for one to two qualifying high yield grant opportunities totaling over the amount of $500,000.


A demonstrated capability to

-          Embrace a fast-paced high-volume environment that requires managing and prioritizing projects, relationships, and prospective development opportunities; 

-          Exhibit professionalism, good judgment, confidentiality and discretion in communicating with colleagues and constituents;

-          Manage, direct others (e.g., staff, volunteers, Board members) and work with beneficiary on strategic planning and delivered outcome;

-          Independently organize, prepare proposals, and present new initiatives to President;

-          Organize and clearly, coherently, and effectively express your ideas in writing;

-          Tailor narrative and messaging to meet the needs of specific audiences (e.g.., gender, geographic location, income status, previous giving history, education level);

-          Communicate by email using customary and proper professional etiquette using the email interface Outlook (i.e., Microsoft Office Suite email);

-          Stratify information from an online donor database system and collectively organizing data in a presentable and gainful manner (e.g., The Online Foundation Database, The Chronicle of Philanthropy);

-          Use a CRM system (e.g., Salesforce, e-Tapestry, Donor Perfect, Common Ground) to record and store donor and household data in effort to solicit additional future donations, send marketing material, and record event opportunities.

In addition, this position requires

-          Extensive travel nationwide;  

-          The ability to work long hours as needed;

-          A strong interest and passion in health, nutrition, research, science, healthcare spending, or obesity.

All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, marital status or sexual orientation in accordance with federal and state law.


Education and experience required

-          Bachelor’s Degree (preferably in business, communications or social science) with 8 years of development experience  as a Development Officer in a regional or national organization with an active major gifts program that is part of an overall development effort or, a Master’s degree (same preference), including MBA, with 5 years of similar development experience;

-          Experience in a major gift program with a track record of securing greater than $5 million in a 12-month period in the fields of healthcare or academic institutions;

-          Start-up experience (for-profit/non-profit) is highly preferred to be successful in this role.

Additional Information


Relocation to San Diego, CA preferred but not required.  Pending current location of residency, candidate may be able to work from a home location and travel as needed.  In the 90 day orientation and probation period, candidate should expect to travel to the San Diego office extensively for extended periods of time. 


To apply

Please submit cover letter, resume, and 3 references via email to Lacey Stenson, Director of Operations: