Associate Director, External Relations

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Oct 28, 2020
Full time   External Relations, PR, Marketing

Job Description

Posting Details

    • Posted: July 20, 2020
  • Full-Time
  • Locations

    Showing 1 location
    Salk Main Campus

    La Jolla, CA, USA
    Salk Main Campus

    La Jolla, CA, USA
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Job Details


Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all position (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


Position is responsible for securing funding to advance the Salk Institute’s mission. The Associate Director, External Relations (ADER) plans organizes and implements strategies to maximize individual giving on a local, regional and national level in the $50,000+ range. The ADER works with faculty, administration and development colleagues to maximize the creation of successful proposals and solicitations based on the Institute’s priorities, to identify potentially fundable programs, and to increase collaboration and maintain open lines of communication across the Institute regarding activity with selected individual donors and foundations. In addition, the ADER manages the movement of new donor prospects through the pipeline by way of qualification, cultivation and solicitation with the goal to raise gifts of $50,000+ and determine movement to other giving groups.


Portfolio Management (85%)

  •  Maintains an active pipeline of new prospects by identifying, qualifying, cultivating and soliciting at the $50,000+ level. Identifies and discusses new prospects for donor programs with Senior Director, External Relations (SDER), development officers and appropriate faculty.
  • Provides strategic analyses of selected new prospects as assigned to include strategies/timelines for Salk’s interface with these individuals including personalized donor visit program to labs using database analytics to determine prospect attendees. The ADER will have initial oversight of new donor prospects and will continue to cultivate and steward relationships or hand off to other members of the Development team with an initial cultivation plan.
  • Working with Development Services team, uses “Gratitude to Give” AI results to identify appropriate prospects to move through the pipeline. Helps to establish criteria for assignments; develops strategies for personally assigned prospects while discussing possible connections for development colleagues.
  • Plans and executes visits with individual prospects and involves appropriate faculty and members of the Development team. Executes travel plans, as needed.
  • Designs thoughtful approaches to selected individuals; where possible, moves forward Institute priorities with a focus on developing strong relationships and compelling cases for support.

Program Administration (15%)

  • Assists the Major Gifts team in coordinating fundraising efforts across the Institute.
  • With the Major Gifts team, develops cultivation and solicitation strategies, proposal development, gift/grant distinctions, budgets, required documentation, etc.
  • Communicates and coordinates fundraising prospects and activities across the Institute.
  • Independently ensures that all assigned proposals and follow up reports meet donors’ requirements.
  • Ensures all relevant program data is entered into Salesforce database in a timely and detail-oriented fashion.
  • Attends weekly “Portfolio Meetings” with Development Services team to develop fundraising strategies that use database reports/lists in the most effective way.
  • Acts as point person to assigned events. Assists in the management and coordination of events. Establishes timeline and guest list. Ensures event coordination is complete, timely and accurate.
  • Attends special events as representative of Salk’s External Relations office.
  • Working with Director of Public Programs, plans and executes Salk Institute tours for donors and prospects.
  • Serves on development committees and task forces and others as assigned by the SDER.
  • Attends fundraising professionals’ conferences, as appropriate and approved by SDER and VP, External Relations.
  • Attends ER Frontline Fundraisers Meetings.



  •  3+ years of progressively responsible work experience with a proven track record in fundraising, building relationships, drafting proposals or strategic planning.
  • Demonstrated experience in producing fundraising or other events and knowledge of principles and practices of events management.


  • Prior experience in a larger (500+) non-profit organization.




  •  Bachelor's degree in relevant field or equivalent combination of education and experience, preferably in a higher education environment.



  •  Ability to raise gifts of $50,000 or more as it pertains to External Relations.
  • Knowledge of the proposal development process and/or experience in assembling and writing complex reports such as stewardship reports and operational plans involving prospect and project research using analytical skills in editing to end-result.
  • Demonstrated ability to think critically and strategically when developing plans and programs for External Relations.
  • Ability to successfully collaborate with faculty in gathering information and creating proposals and/or plans.
  • Ability to learn and comprehend Institute priorities and guidelines and apply appropriate processes.
  • Ability and willingness to learn/expand knowledge of all facets of the proposal development process, including prospect and project research and proposal creating and editing.
  • Demonstrated ability to assess programs and identify those with strong potential for individual giving, corporate giving and foundation funding.
  • Ability to build effective relationships with individual, corporate and foundation donor prospects.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan, implement and manage fundraising events.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills to establish and maintain good working relationships with emphasis on good judgment, tact, diplomacy, flexibility, professionalism and discretion.
  • Effective organizational and time management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Effective written and oral communication skills with emphasis on and presenting information about programs to potential donors and audiences in an understandable and compelling fashion. Interpersonal skills must include tact, good judgment, diplomacy and flexibility to relate to diverse scientific research staff, faculty, executive management, administrative staff and external contacts.
  • Persistence and initiative in pursuing goals and objectives of the Development office on behalf of the Institute.
  • Demonstrated ability to continually strive to foster a working environment of fairness, cooperation and professionalism as it relates to Salk policies and priorities. Promote open expression of individuality and diversity within the boundaries of courtesy, sensitivity, confidentiality and respect.


  •  Working knowledge of Salesforce (or equivalent fundraising software) for prospect management.


  • Able to work a flexible schedule based on workload and deadlines.
  • Ability to travel and work after hours for donor visits and events.
  • Access to own transportation for business usage.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Must sign an employee confidentiality agreement.
  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.


This position requires constant grasping, handling, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, touching/feeling, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside.


Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

Application Details

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