Seattle Aquarium - Director of Individual Giving

Seattle, Washington, United States | Full-time | Partially remote


Position Profile


Our Story 

Our lives depend on the ocean, the life support system for our blue planet. Industrial pollution, destructive overfishing, oil spills, noise, nearshore habitat loss, and warming and acidifying waters caused by climate change are choking the ocean and endangering all life on Earth—including ours. 

The ocean’s future is in our hands. At the Seattle Aquarium, our mission is Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. At this defining moment for our ocean and our planet, this mission matters more than ever. The Seattle Aquarium has a vision to make ocean conservation a global imperative, a community value, and a deeply personal priority for all—starting here on Seattle's waterfront.

The Aquarium’s overall philanthropy program and its One Ocean, One Future campaign – the most significant campaign in our history – will enable us to create the Ocean Pavilion, an iconic center for ocean advocacy that extends our ocean story from Seattle to the Indo-Pacific. The Ocean Pavilion will be the first of three phases in the Aquarium’s transformation as a leading ocean conservation institution with national and global impact.  As the first phase, creating the Ocean Pavilion will enable the Aquarium to expand our global species recovery and research efforts, put ocean conservation at the center of our city and the hearts and minds of our visitors, and build a movement of ocean advocates to shape a hopeful, flourishing future.

The Seattle Aquarium seeks a Director of Individual Giving to build our individual donor base, from annual fund through major gifts, to carry our important mission forward for generations to come.

The Seattle Aquarium is the ninth-largest aquarium, by attendance, in the United States, with a typical annual attendance of 850,000 visitors on-site, and including our community-outreach and beach-based programs, we reach over 1.2 million people annually. The Aquarium employs 135 full-time employees and supports more than 1,200 volunteers.


Our Vision  

The Seattle Aquarium aspires, through its example, to help define the role of a great aquarium in the 21st century as a catalyst for public engagement in the wonder, science and future vitality of the ocean and Salish Sea. We intend to be a leader in each component: life sciences, interpretive exhibits, educational outreach, research, public policy, and economic impact. We strive to be an inclusive and welcoming pillar of the Puget Sound region, reflecting the diversity of our region in our people and audience.  


S.A.L.I.S.H Values  


Adopting and promoting, internally and externally, practices that improve ocean health 


Creating captivating experiences for all audiences  

Learning & Improving 

Fostering, evaluating, and applying knowledge and discovery 

Inclusive Community 

Recognizing that diversity is critical to achieve our mission 

Scientific Integrity 

Ensuring our credibility with evidence-based practices  

Honoring Place 

Using our location and history as a lens for larger understanding 


Your Role  

Reporting to the Vice President of Philanthropy and leading a current team of 4 dedicated professionals, the Director of Individual Giving is tasked with growing the individual giving program, which today closes approximately $1.5 million in gifts annually, and closing $3.5 million - $4 million each year as part of the major gifts phase of organization’s comprehensive campaign. The Director will also help grow the capacity of the team and set even higher goals to help the Aquarium continue to invite and inspire budding conservationists and passionate donors. This role is dynamic and vital to the ongoing success and expansion of the Seattle Aquarium, and while no two days will look alike, you should expect to focus your time and talents in the following areas: 

  • Strategic Leadership – In partnership with the Philanthropy team, build a five-year comprehensive Individual Giving plan with annual plans to implement and measure against, including the creation of and reporting against annual goals and budgets and oversight of the annual gala and donor stewardship events. Coach and support the Individual Giving team with an eye towards growing capabilities of each team member, including through biannual portfolio reviews, and work to expand the team from 4 to 7 members to meet ambitious fundraising goals. 
  • Campaign Support – Working closely with the Associate Director of One Ocean, One Future Campaign, and the Campaign Manager, ensure the successful implementation of the $16 Million major gifts phase of the One Ocean, One Future campaign, including closing major gifts and directly supervising gift officers closing gifts, ensuring that all strategies, goals, and metrics for this phase are met. 
  • Donor Stewardship – Collaborate with the Marketing & Communications team to acknowledge and celebrate donors through the annual report, donor wall, membership materials, internal resources, and other materials as needed, ensuring that each piece aligns with the Aquarium’s branding and supports retention and growth of individual donors.  
  • Portfolio Management – Serving as a passionate and visible spokesperson for the Aquarium and voice for marine conservation, maintain a portfolio of roughly 50 individual major gifts donors and cultivate new prospects through research and moves management.  


What you bring  

Candidates will be evaluated on the full range of their lived and learned experience and core competencies. The successful candidate will demonstrate the following:   

  • Interest in and curiosity about ocean conservation and marine life. 
  • An immovable commitment to ethics and confidentiality as outlined by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  
  • At least 7 years of senior level philanthropy experience with at least 3 years of frontline major gifts fundraising and a track record of cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding in-person donations of $50,000 or more.   
  • At least 3 years of supervisory experience of at least 2 seasoned and high-performing professionals, including the development of annual goals, metrics, and professional evaluations.  
  • A breadth of experience across development tools and tactics, including gala and donor events, planned giving, capital campaigns, portfolio review, departmental budgeting, and moves management.  
  • Excellent communication skills, including strong interpersonal, oral, and writing ability.  
  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent educational or professional experience required.  
  • Experience with Raiser’s Edge or similar platforms a plus.  


To be Considered  

This role will remain open until filled. Candidate materials are reviewed on an on-going basis and initial interviews will begin by early October. The salary range is set at $115,000 - $130,000 plus a comprehensive benefits package. This role can be performed onsite or remotely if that remote location allows at least 1-2 days per week onsite. To be considered, please submit a resume and cover letter as soon as possible addressed to the hiring manager, Rachael Weakland, at: You may direct questions or make referrals to Chris Cannon or Ed Rogan at the Valtas Group.