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When the City and County of San Francisco cut funding to urban forestry in the late 1970s, five men decided to take matters into their own hands by organizing neighborhoods to plant and care for their own trees. FUF’s first tree planting took place in 1981. Today FUF is a thriving nonprofit with around $3M in public and private funding.

Only 13.7% of San Francisco is covered by trees, and the city ranks 17th among the 20 most populous U.S. cities in its tree canopy coverage. This means San Francisco’s urban forest AND FUF have a strong opportunity for growth. FUF is committed to revitalizing San Francisco’s urban forest, building the community of engaged San Franciscans, and taking a local leadership role in mitigating global environmental problems through the simple act of planting trees.

FUF has planted more than 60,000 trees, totaling 48% of the city’s street tree canopy. It has a strong partnership with the City and County of San Francisco, is well-loved among San Franciscans, and has an outstanding reputation among urban forestry organizations nationwide.

Executive Director Dan Flanagan, a leading visionary in the local environmental community, has taken the organization from $1 million to $3 million, building best business practices and systems, a strong case for support, and a high-performing team and Board of Directors. In 2016, under his leadership, FUF made a passionate plea to San Franciscans to pass Proposition E, which set aside $19 million in the City’s annual budget to fund the routine maintenance of all street trees and repair sidewalk damage created by trees. The measure passed overwhelmingly with 79% approval.

FUF continues to map its future impact with the City and County. Dan — an accomplished fundraiser — has led the development efforts in recent years with the help of an individual gifts manager and a grant-writer. With various successes in planned giving, major gifts, annual fund, grant acquisition and high-end salon events, FUF has managed to maintain fiscal health. With the ballot measure, FUF has identified 350 new potential donors.

One of the key initiatives for FUF’s next fiscal year, starting July 2017, is to build a more robust, sustainable, and comprehensive fundraising program. This is a tremendous opportunity for an experienced nonprofit development professional to take a powerful brand to the next level and make an impact on San Francisco that will be felt for generations.


The Executive Director is seeking an innovative and accomplished visionary leader to inspire staff, board and volunteers in fundraising. He/she must possess intellectual horsepower and be naturally persuasive and fair, and value accountability for themselves and others. He/she will lead based upon a sense of core ethics of collaboration, self- improvement and the drive of excellence. He/she will be a self-starter, comfortable building a program from scratch and, with only two staff, a very hands-on fundraiser.

Reporting to the Executive Director the VP Development will be charged with the strategic direction and leadership of the vision and strategy for the development function. The primary work of this position is to lead the creation and execution of a broad range of funding strategies which will advance FUF’s mission. Paramount will be this individual’s ability to effectively help design, lead and oversee a comprehensive development plan and achieve goals as approved via the Executive Director and the Development Committee of the Board of Directors.

The VP Development will be responsible for increasing FUF’s development capacity through a strengthened culture of philanthropy. The new VP Development will have a demonstrated track record of institutional vision and implementation of leadership, with an emphasis on establishing and overseeing organizational systems, measures, forecasting, and accountabilities.

The VP Development will be a chief spokesperson representing the organization to constituencies, both internal and external. He/she will function well in a balanced culture which combines the richness and relevance of programs with the efficacy of best business practices, fiscal accountability, and institutional impact.

Specific duties and responsibilities:

  • Participate with the Executive Director, staff, and Board of Directors to lead the organization’s development strategies and continue to chart the organization’s philanthropic culture.
  • Provide general oversight of all of the organization’s development, and monitor adequacy of such activities through coordination with the Executive Director staff and appropriate committees.
  • Lead, manage and direct a comprehensive development plan to enhance the short- and long-term diversified funding base.
  • Develop an annual budget to support the strategic development plan for approval by the Executive Director and Development Committee.
  • With the Executive Director manage the development and cultivation of a strong Board of Directors.
  • Assist the Board of Directors to determine accountabilities for board members and fundraising volunteers and help evaluate performance regularly.
  • Ensure that development is carried out in keeping with the organization’s values, mission, vision and plans.
  • Develop a balanced funding mix of donor sources and solicitation programs tailored to the needs of the organization that will enable it to attract, retain and motivate donors and fundraising volunteers.
  • Broaden and develop a robust annual fund, major gifts and planned giving programs.
  • Provide leadership to staff and volunteers engaging them in campaigns and other fundraising projects.
  • Personally and with others cultivate and solicit constituents for major and planned gifts.
  • Oversee communications and marketing efforts designed to create awareness of the FUF’s mission, vision and goals.
  • Assess the development staff to ensure that the organization is effectively structured and staffed with competent employees.
  • Oversee performance measures, monitor results and help the Executive Director and Board of Directors evaluate the effectiveness of the organization’s development program.
  • Team with the finance department to assure sound fiscal operation of the development function including timely, accurate and comprehensive development of philanthropic contributions income and expense budgets, reporting, monitoring and implementation.
  • Oversee and manage writing of development proposals and grants.
  • Assure design and maintenance of donor and prospect records, gift management systems, and informational reports.
  • Assure appropriate prospect research for development.
  • Assure design and implementation of acknowledgment, stewardship and recognition programs with feedback and necessary check off systems.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and laws, maintain accountability standards to donors, and ensure compliance with code of ethical principles and standards of professional conduct for fundraising executives.
  • Execute all other reasonable duties as assigned by the Executive Director.


Professional Experience and Qualifications.

We are seeking candidates offering the following qualifications:

  • Passion, imagination, vision, leadership, and integrity.
  • A demonstrated ability to plan and operate strategically, to build support for the FUF’s mission and goals, to develop and strengthen fundraising infrastructure, to inspire staff, to develop strong working relationships with Boards of Directors, and to develop effective fundraising programs.
  • A minimum of seven years of development experience with increasing levels of responsibility, and with direct stewardship of Boards of Directors.
  • Significant experience in and a successful track record of obtaining major gift, capital campaign and annual fund gifts through the development of deep relationships.
  • A demonstrated track record of development management and operations leadership, implementing development processes and systems to measure activity and accountability as well as forecasting.
  • A strategic approach to development, with significant experience in cultivating and managing donors.
  • A record of quantifiable success in donor segmentation, research, and cultivation.
  • Exceptional financial, organizational, and administrative skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan, set goals and objectives, organize, and implement to completion.
  • A strong interpersonal and communication skill set and demonstrated ability to work effectively with and gain the respect and support of FUF’s constituencies and other key stakeholders.
  • A track record as an effective communicator skilled at writing and public speaking; adept at writing proposals, solicitation letters, donor correspondence, and other types of materials to enhance fundraising.
  • Ability to juggle many responsibilities at once, and to operate both independently and with the flexibility to be part of a team.
  • Computer literate: Working knowledge of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, and experience with fundraising database software. Salesforce experience is a plus.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.


The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following capabilities:

  • Commitment to the mission and work of the agency with the credibility and persuasiveness to secure support from others
  • A manager who leads by example and exemplifies the values and ethics of the organization
  • An organized individual with strong creative and conceptual skills
  • A doer who functions effectively without being autocratic or political; must be a team player who is inclusive, flexible, creative, energetic and fair minded
  • A decisive and resourceful individual who will accept responsibility and take charge of results, as well as work successfully with limited resources
  • A self-starter who is confident enough to express opinions, to forge ahead when appropriate and hold back when necessary, with a sensitivity to the feelings and opinions of others
  • An energetic person who is emotionally mature and dependable; a collegial individual

Compensation: A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

Any resumes sent or telephone calls made to Friends of The Urban Forest will be redirected to Sterling Search, Inc.

Direct all correspondence emails and telephone calls to Sterling Search, Inc.

Sarah Agee (714) 433-7040  Nicole Seipel (310) 774-0099 or info@sterlingsearchinc.com

Friends of The Urban Forest is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Please submit your resume to Sterling Search Inc. via the form below, and include the job title in the subject line.

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