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Chief Growth Officer, Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ)

Washington, DC
Friends of the National Zoo
Chief Growth Officer
Washington, DC

Friends of the National Zoo’s (FONZ) sole mission is to support the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park (NZP) and Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI).  FONZ helps NZP and SCBI save species by raising funds to support their work, providing educational and fun experiences, and inspiring members and guests. Every year, FONZ contributes millions of dollars and helps educate more than a million NZP visitors, all in the interest of saving species for generations to come.

FONZ is seeking a Chief Growth Officer to build on a successful foundation of high-quality programming, world-class events, committed sponsors, and a strong membership base. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Chief Growth Officer will have strategic and operational responsibility for the Membership, Fundraising and Events, and Sponsorships teams. The Chief Growth Officer will also develop and lead a new initiative, Conservation Nation, that will directly support scientists focused on cutting edge research to support preserving wildlife and their natural habitats. In addition, the Chief Growth Officer will support development and execution of the organization’s overall strategic vision, managing a team of 18 and serving on the senior leadership team.
The ideal candidate brings the ability to lead a motivated and committed team, increasing their impact and coaching them to reach new and ambitious goals. Further, they will bring a track record of experience increasing memberships, executing events, scaling corporate sponsorships, building internal infrastructure, and working effectively across a complex organizational structure. Finally, the candidate will be adept at driving collaboration, developing creative solutions to challenges, and serving as a strong representative for the interests of FONZ.
This is a unique opportunity for an experienced leader with excellent strategic and management acumen to be a part of a cherished, 62-year old brand as it continues its strong growth and impact trajectory.
Strategic Leadership
  • Provide strategic thought leadership, partnering closely with the Executive Director and senior team to implement the organization’s strategic plan, achieve operational goals, and define key performance metrics
  • Work with the Executive Director to establish and execute long- and short-term strategic priorities aimed at increasing membership, driving fundraising events, growing contributions, and identifying opportunities for sponsorships, and spearheading new initiatives
  • Implement use of best practices with respect to use of data and analysis in identifying new sources of support
Membership, Events, Sponsorships, and Contributions
  • Drive the success of a thoughtful and integrated membership, fundraising events, sponsorship, and contributions strategy that will bring in $5M+ annually
  • Drive FONZ’s membership strategy by developing and executing strategies that ensure a sustainable and creative membership stream
  • Develop and implement a contributions strategy to drive revenue through innovative methods
  • Provide strategic oversight of the department’s annual budget and oversee the preparation of financial reporting to drive insights and growth
  • Oversee and grow a portfolio of fundraising events from corporate picnics to large public events
  • Lead a new strategy and approach for fundraising events that drives more efficient revenue generation
  • Lead a small sponsorship team in their direction to grow corporate organization support for FONZ and our work
Team Leadership and Development
  • Lead, support, and hold accountable 18 full-time staff across four subteams
  • Promote a culture of performance, responsibility, accountability, and excellence
  • Develop objectives and goals for members of the Membership, Fundraising and Events, and Sponsorship teams and plan to ensure their accountability and success
  • Grow staff capacity in critical skill and competency areas, recruiting the very best talent for the organization, and operating from a succession planning mindset
  • Collaborate with colleagues across the organization to support the achievement of FONZ’s overall mission
Board Engagement
  • Collaborate with the Board to assist in development and membership efforts
  • Provide the Board of Directors with periodic updates against key organizational goals 
The Chief Growth Officer will be committed to FONZ’s vision and goals. Demonstrable experience and other qualifications include:
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred
  • 15+ years of leadership experience in a public, non-profit, philanthropic, or business organization
  • A passion for conservation and preserving wildlife
  • Demonstrated ability to set an example of FONZ Behaviors – Passion, Innovation, Teamwork, Inclusion, and Courage
  • Successful track record of running and increasing a membership base, or business revenue highly desired
  • Experience leading fundraising events and/or sponsorship work preferred
  • Experience working in an environment with multiple constituencies
  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage and develop high-performing teams, create a positive working environment, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget
  • Superb interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to speak in public forums to diverse audiences, and to communicate effectively with stakeholders, staff, and colleagues
  • Demonstrated experience balancing strategic thinking and decision-making with execution
  • The successful candidate will need to complete a federal background check and credit check

FONZ has retained the executive search firm LeaderFit to manage the Chief Growth Officer search. The position will be based in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian National Zoo.
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