Environmental Justice Legal Fellow

National Resources Defense Council
1152 15th St NW #300
Washington, D.C., DC 20005
United States
Job Description

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our staff helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our staff of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and internationally from our offices in New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Santa Monica; San Francisco; Bozeman, Montana; New Delhi; and Beijing.


Position Summary:

NRDC is seeking a skilled organization wide director to oversee the work of NRDC’s Major Gifts team, comprised of approximately 20 staff members, responsible for a growing annual revenue of 55M+ for all of the organization’s priorities domestically and abroad. Additionally, the Director will lead the Major Gifts team’s effort to raise $5M + in support of the Action Fund. This full-time position will report to the Managing Director of Principal & Major Gifts and will play a leadership role as we increase Major Gifts capacity and implement our new comprehensive climate, nature and public health strategy.


The Director will have three core areas of responsibility: 1) managing the Major Gifts team’s strategy, performance, and recruitment; 2) effectively partnering with other NRDC departments and Development teams; and 3) overseeing a targeted portfolio of seven-figure level major donors and prospects.


  • Manage a targeted, high-level portfolio of donors and prospects with capacity to give at the seven-figure level.
  • Supervise up to four Development Directors, oversee creation of regional strategies, ensure performance of the teams, and provide guidance on day-to-day workplans.
  • Build, strengthen and deepen the culture, performance and connection of a high performing, remote team of approximately 20 major gifts staff.
  • Oversee National Major Gifts team budget and projection/reprojection processes.
  • Oversee Major Gifts staff recruitment and onboarding.
  • Partner with the data system team to build a strong Moves Management system to manage individual portfolios across the team. Proactively utilize data and metrics in the day-to-day management of fundraiser performance and resource deployment.
  • Develop donor messaging strategies in collaboration with Membership, Digital, and Donor Relations teams.
  • Deploy 501(c)(4) fundraising strategies in collaboration with Action Fund team, supporting the integration of c3 and c4 fundraising activities.
  • Partner with Planned Giving to elevate, incorporate and successfully close blended gift solicitations across Major Gift portfolios.
  • Act as a leadership role model and mentor on major gifts best practices with new and junior fundraising staff.
  • Partner with the Managing Director of Principal and Major Gifts and Chief Development Officer on building a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization and with the Board of Trustees.
  • Embody and incorporate DEI practices and a culture of dignity and belonging into both the culture of the Major Gifts team and in their fundraising practices.
  • Lead team biweekly meetings, retreats, and workshops.
  • Other activities as assigned.


The National Director, Major Gifts must be a highly skilled major gift fundraiser with a track record of successfully and strategically identifying, cultivating, and stewarding donors at the seven-figure level. The National Director must have a strong track record of managing teams and a keen understanding of operations. Desired skills and qualifications include:

  • 12+ years of development experience with a focus on major gifts; minimum of eight years of leadership experience.
  • Strong experience with development systems and operations, such as fundraising databases and Moves Management systems.
  • Experience utilizing performance metrics in combination with qualitative feedback for overall individual and team management desired.
  • Ability to mentor and coach fundraisers to increasing levels of success. Collaborative, people centered and inclusive approach to management essential.
  • Ability to interface effectively with the highest level of NRDC donors and senior staff members.
  • Demonstrated success managing major gifts teams and as an individual major gifts fundraiser.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle multiple, complex fundraising activities simultaneously in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong communication, writing, and interpersonal skills.
  • Passion for the mission and goals of NRDC.
  • Experience with large-scale fundraising campaigns necessary.
  • Experience with advocacy or environmental groups a plus.
  • Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion essential.
  • Willingness to travel domestically with some potential international travel.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.

NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement. 


We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.  


We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and is commensurate with skills and experience. Internal equity will be reviewed and considered to determine a final offer. For this position, the salary range is $230,000 to $250,000.  


Our offices are open and we are operating in a hybrid model. We offer NRDCers flexibility, and we ask them to come into the office and spend meaningful time there in collaboration with their colleagues. We call this purposeful presence. 


As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws. 


To apply, visit www.nrdc.org/careers and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs. 


If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422. 



1152 15th St NW #300
Washington, D.C. DC 20005
United States