Posted on February 16, 2024 Full Time Development

Senior Director of Planned Gifts

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Senior Director of Planned Gifts

New York, NY San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA Washington, D.C.

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. We partner with thousands of groups, supporters and people to engage the critical environmental issues of our time, and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections. We achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment.

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, with offices in Anchorage, Bozeman, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Houston, Juneau, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tallahassee and Washington, DC, today Earthjustice is a $150+ million national nonprofit with 560+ employees.

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The Senior Director of Planned Gifts is responsible for the overall strategic leadership and management of Earthjustice’s Planned Gifts program. Reporting to the Associate Vice President of Development of Institutional, Legacy, and Major Gifts (the AVP), the Senior Director of Planned Gifts (the Senior Director) serves as a member of the Development Leadership Team (DLT) to support a collaborative, holistic and cohesive fundraising environment, working directly with colleagues on joint strategies from principal and major gifts to donor relations.

Earthjustice in is the last year of the NeverRest Campaign, a $825 million, five-year comprehensive fundraising campaign of which at least 25 percent will come from planned gifts (realized bequest revenue, irrevocable and revocable gifts). Folded into the Never Rest Campaign is the Never Rest Legacy Challenge, a key priority of the Planned Gifts team.  Having unlocked $7 million of a $17 million bequest match pool, successful completion of the Legacy Challenge by 2025 remains a top priority of the Senior Director of Planned Gifts. This position secures significant deferred gifts from donors and prospects through bequests, charitable trusts, charitable gift annuities, and beneficiary designations.  Additionally, this position champions all opportunities to attract and secures outright gifts of real estate, business interests and other complex assets. This position personally maintains a portfolio of top prospects and manages negotiations for gifts of $1 million and above.

The role leads a talented and experienced team of nine, including a Deputy Director, two Senior Planned Gifts Officers, a Planned Gifts Officer, a Sr. Planned Gifts Officer, Life Income Program, a Sr. Communications Specialist, an Operations Manager and an Administrative Assistant, and is responsible for developing educational and training opportunities for the fundraising staff to learn about planned gift opportunities. The Senior Director of Planned Gifts will collaborate with the Principal and Major Gifts teams, Earthjustice Leadership and Board members to identify and qualify prospects. The Senior Director of Planned Gifts team will partner with the research team and utilize top industry tools to cultivate, solicit, administer and steward planned gifts. Immediate cash revenue from Planned Gifts is currently valued at $10-15M annually; $16 million in charitable assets are under management.  These revenue streams are expected to grow proportionately as the organization’s budget grows. Future gifts from 2,300+ members of the Evergreen Council (Earthjustice’s legacy giving society) are valued at $400 million.  Protecting this pool of largely revocable bequest intentions for the future is also an ongoing priority of this position.


Development Leadership Team (10%)

  • Serve as a productive, collaborative and supportive member of the Development Leadership Team to enhance coordination, planning and implementation of planned and legacy giving across all revenue streams and to successfully and creatively meet challenges facing the department.
  • Provide input to help shape the strategic direction of the department, including long term vision, goals, succession planning and talent management.
  • Demonstrate and reinforce a collaborative leadership and management style with Development Directors and staff and contribute to a team-oriented culture.
  • Advise the AVPs and Senior Vice President (SVP) of Development on campaign and gift planning strategies and philanthropic trends.
  • Promote a donor-centric philosophy and approach to the fundraising program and contribute to building a culture of philanthropy at Earthjustice.

Strategic Direction (30%)

  • Provide strategic program leadership to the Planned Gifts program, creating an environment of success for Planned Gifts staff.
  • Establish budget and activity goals for planned gifts in consultation with the AVPs and SVP of Development and develop both annual and multi-year strategies to reach them.
  • Work with the Development Operations team, Finance department, and bank to ensure proper forecasting, handling, and crediting of revenue from planned gifts.
  • In cooperation with Marketing and Engagement, Donor Relations, Online Communications, and Major Gifts teams, and direct mail consultants, develop and implement far-reaching, integrated, multi-channel marketing program to increase awareness, education, and interest in planned giving opportunities through mass planned gift appeal mailings, targeted prospect mailings, online appeals and messaging to all Earthjustice donors and prospects.
  • Work with Development and Communications staff to identify opportunities to integrate planned gift marketing and recognition into existing appeals and stewardship efforts.

Management (Essential Functions) (30%)

  • Directly supervise three members of the planned giving team: Deputy Director, Operations Manager and Communications Specialist.
  • Recruit and hire qualified candidates who fit position requirements and the work environment.
  • Promote change in terms of the expected benefits, as well as removing or lowering the impact of potential obstacles.
  • Set clear team direction that aligns with Earthjustice strategy, mission, and vision.
  • Develop staff by identifying and encouraging training and professional development opportunities appropriate to role and creating development plans for all staff.
  • Provide staff with consistent performance feedback – both positive and constructive — and act as a coach and mentor.
  • Create a learning culture, by encouraging debriefing after completion of significant stages of projects.
  • Ensure that any direct reports who have supervisory responsibility are properly executing those functions.
  • Create a respectful and inclusive work environment for team and model respectful and inclusive behavior.
  • Promptly address micro-aggressions and other concerns brought to their attention.
  • Resolve interpersonal conflict among team members and bring in outside facilitators as needed.
  • Communicate regularly with existing employees and encourage staff to raise concerns and to provide ongoing feedback.
  • Create or identify strategic opportunities for team building and individual and overall staff engagement with one another in order to strengthen teamwork, interaction and collaboration.
  • Value and use individual differences and talents to improve employee satisfaction and the quality of collective work.
  • Celebrate successes and help team members to understand and manage setbacks.

Donor Cultivation and Stewardship (30%)

  • Oversee a portfolio of current donors and prospective donors to deepen relationships and maximize lifetime giving via outright, split-interest, and gifts through wills and living trusts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, as well as outright gifts of complex assets such as real estate, stock, mutual funds, personal property, and other non-cash assets.
  • Actively contribute to principal and major gift level strategy discussions. Bring forward charitable gift solutions that help donors maximize giving.
  • Ensure that the 2,300+ members of the legacy society, the Evergreen Council, are well stewarded through a variety of approaches, including print and digital communication, personal and customized engagement and curated events.
  • Identify high-level prospects for solicitation, create customized cultivation and stewardship plans based on individual donors’ giving capacity, and engage donors around opportunities for new deferred and outright gifts.
  • Develop moves management protocols and goals for the Planned Gifts team to ensure the development and cultivation of donors to maximize long-term donor value to the organization.
  • Personally solicit high value donors and prospects for deferred and outright gifts of $1 million or more, including blended outright-deferred gift arrangements, negotiating appropriate terms and agreements.
  • Meet and work with donors, prospects, and their advisors to explore and evaluate acceptable giving opportunities, providing specific, accurate information about benefits and tax and legal implications.
  • Develop, maintain and nurture a strategic working relationship with the Senior Director of Major Gifts and other Development Leadership so that fundraisers are encouraged, motivated and incentivized to cultivate and secure a variety of planned or complex gifts from donors, including combinations of outright and deferred gifts.
  • Provide all gift officers with information on planned giving approaches and opportunities through trainings, educational sessions and case studies; and integrate planned giving vehicles into development toolbox.
  • Consult with and develop a network of legal and financial professionals and financial institutions as necessary to build knowledge of tax laws and gift planning trends and to ensure that all gifts are in line with donors’ goals, Earthjustice’s mission and policies, and IRS regulations.


  • The successful candidate will have a minimum of fifteen years of demonstrated successful planned gifts experience in fundraising, with progressively greater responsibilities in staff supervision, leadership, and management.
  • Demonstrated experience in mentoring and empowering the work of others in a high performing institution or organization with a reputation for quality and excellence is preferred.
  • A Bachelor’s degree is required and an Advanced degree is a plus; J.D. or CFP certification is preferred.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and ability to inspire and motivate others toward stated goals.
  • Exceptional people management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement strategic program goals.
  • Direct experience with prospect identification, relationship building, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship required.
  • Knowledge of current and evolving trends in charitable giving, particularly in the areas of: Complex estate planning tools, Charitable tax laws, Estate and probate laws and Personal finance.
  • Exceptional analytical, strategic planning, and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills.
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate complex financial and program information clearly and concisely.
  • Computer literate – proficient with donor databases (Blackbaud CRM preferred), planned giving software, and MS Office Suite; Outlook, Word, Excel required.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively.
  • Highest level of personal and professional integrity.
  • Collaborative interpersonal style and high level of emotional intelligence.
  • Ability to demonstrate grace under pressure.
  • Good sense of humor.
  • Believes in the importance of Earthjustice mission and programs.
  • Willingness to travel for donor visits, up to 30 percent.
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Contributes to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

 Management (Essential Skills)

  • Ability to effectively manage and lead a diverse team with emotional intelligence (self-awareness and understating of the impact of their behavior) and cultural humility (an understanding of the need for additional learning about different cultures, backgrounds and orientation and implementation of that learning daily management practices).
  • Ability to give and receive regular formal and informal feedback in a timely, constructive, respectful, and consistent manner and to incorporate debriefing into the team’s operations.
  • Strong team mentorship and communication skills.
  • Understands the individual and team strengths and areas for development and develops plans accordingly.
  • Commitment to and experience in developing team skills and talents to meet the evolving needs of an organization.

Salary & Benefits

We offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits that are comprehensive and competitive. We also offer an extremely congenial work environment and a casual dress code.  Preference for candidates working in-office hybrid in SF, NY, Seattle, or Washington, DC.  Salary is based on experience and location.

  • Salary range in San Francisco, CA and New York, NY: $208,000 – $231,100
  • Salary range in Seattle, WA and Washington, DC: $197,600 – $219,600

How to Apply

Earthjustice has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please submit your resume and expression of interest to: Chris Spagnola, Partner, at and Jessica Martinez, Partner, at

The application screening process is ongoing until a candidate is hired.

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected.  As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.

For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment-qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

For positions located within the City of Los Angeles: We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.

Working at Earthjustice

Hybrid Work

Earthjustice employs a “team-centered” approach to hybrid work, where teams collaboratively shape their unique workflow, including what work location — virtual or in-office — is best for them and the tasks at hand.

Earthjustice is an equal opportunity employer

As an equal opportunity employer, Earthjustice is committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or any other factor specified under applicable laws that is not related to the position.

Fair Chance Hiring

Earthjustice will consider qualified applicants with a criminal history pursuant to the California Fair Chance Act, and any applicable local ordinance, such as the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, the Los Angeles County Fair Chance Act, or the Los Angeles City Fair Chance Initiative. You do not need to disclose your criminal history or participate in a background check until a conditional job offer is made to you.

After making a conditional offer and running a background check, if Earthjustice is concerned about conviction that is directly related to the job, you will be given the chance to explain the circumstances surrounding the conviction, provide mitigating evidence, or challenge the accuracy of the background report.

Our Values

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership, inclusion, and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected.

Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Green 2.0 Pay Equity Pledge

As part of Green 2.0’s Transparency Report Card, Earthjustice is committed to ensuring pay equity for people of color.

Live Well, Work Well

Earthjustice offers a competitive compensation plan, as well as a comprehensive benefits package. We pay 100% of all health and welfare benefits premiums for the employee.

Our health coverage includes medical, dental, prescription, vision and alternative care. We are proud to offer a generous vacation, sick leave, and disability benefit package. Additional benefits include retirement plan, flexible spending account, company-sponsored life insurance, and more.

Earthjustice also offers six weeks of fully paid sabbatical leave, following 10 years of continuous employment.

As a 501(c)3 organization, Earthjustice is a qualifying employer for purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.