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Vice President of Development

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Vice President of Development in Orange County

  • Sterling Search Inc.
  • Full time
  • Email
  • Orange County
  • 02/12/2020
  • Report

Sterling Search Inc. has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new Vice President of Development (VPD) for Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC).


The Pacific Marine Mammal Center Rescues, Rehabilitates And Releases Marine Mammals And Inspires Ocean Stewardship Through Research, Education And Collaboration.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center was the first marine mammal rehabilitation facility in California and was established prior to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.  They now share the responsibility for marine mammal rehabilitation with six other centers along the California’s coastline. PMMC is very proud to be a leader in the field.

The Center was founded by Jim Stauffer, John Cunningham, and Dr. Rose Ekeberg in the spring of 1971. Jim was a lifeguard committed to saving both people and marine mammals, and in the spring of 1971, a little girl approached him and told him that she had seen a seal on the beach. What he found was a young Pacific harbor seal that he nursed back to health and released back into the Ocean. Word spread, and within a few weeks, John Cunningham, another lifeguard, began helping. John served as a teacher during the school year. In 1972, John developed a marine science class, and the course required students to volunteer at the new Center. Dr. Rose Ekeberg of Laguna Canyon Animal Hospital provided medicine and medical advice and housed some of the animals at her clinic.

In support of the Center's early work, the Department of Fish and Game issued the first permit of its kind in California. Jim was allowed to temporarily house seals and sea lions at his home, and PMMC became the first marine mammal rehabilitation organization in California. With the need and operations growing quickly, a facility other than Jim's home and pool was necessary. At that time, the local SPCA was using a barn owned by the city of Laguna Beach. In 1976, when the SPCA relocated, the building was offered to PMMC. Jim Stauffer, John Cunningham, and a few volunteers began renovation of the barn that still functions today as the Center's rehabilitation hub.

Over the decades, PMMC has rescued approximately 8,000 marine mammals through its high-quality rehabilitation services that are largely volunteer run. Closing in on their 50th anniversary, PMMC remains the only marine mammal rehabilitation facility in all of Orange County, California, licensed to rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals that strand on local beaches. This work also leads to the marine mammal research that they take part in collaboration with other conservation organizations and academic universities to address growing problems.  In addition, the Center reaches roughly 10,000 children annually through its experiential-based education programs, most of which are provided free to at-risk communities. Building on past success and current momentum, they look ahead to the future as they explore ways to act more broadly on their mission.

Today, PMMC has an annual revenue of $2.5 million of which approximately $1.5 million is fundraising revenue and boasts $10 million in assets. With almost fifty years of experience along the Orange County coastline, and a deep expertise in the sector, PMMC is at a profoundly important time as they look to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2021 and, launch a $7.5 million comprehensive campaign. Having just completed a campaign feasibility and planning study, PMMC is ready to respond to the growing need for marine mammal rescues and public education in the face of the changing environment. PMMC’s proposed facility and program expansion offers the opportunity for greater service to its animal clients, human visitors and learners, and leadership in the marine mammal and ocean conversancy sectors.

With this in mind, 2 years ago, the Board of Directors hired a new visionary CEO, Peter Chang. Chang, MA Public Health, MBA, is a visionary experienced nonprofit and business leader. Chang has been charged with working with the Board of Directors and staff to charter a new course by evaluating the organizational structure and strengths and implementing best practices for transformative change and expansion of its facilities, educational programming, and innovative research.

One of PMMC’s key priorities is to hire a Vice President, Development who will collaborate with, and report directly to, the Chief Executive Officer. The VPD will focus on strengthening PMMC’s resources by establishing a broader and more diversified fund development program with an emphasis on building a Major Gifts program and expanding Corporate partnerships.

PMMC is well positioned for fundraising growth, especially as many of its potential donors who already have demonstrated a financial commitment to PMMC over the years, have not yet been wealth screened and cultivated. Building upon this momentum, the SDoD will lead the vision and strategy for PMMC’s fundraising and work closely with the Board of Directors. With an impressive board of directors, with 100% giving and commitment to continued philanthropy, and, a one of a kind mission for Orange County (only licensed rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals in OC) this is a phenomenal opportunity to build a fundraising function that is poised for significant growth and impact.

The Chief Executive Officer is seeking an innovative and accomplished visionary fund development leader to inspire the board and volunteers for greater success. He/she will know the Orange County philanthropic landscape and must possess intellectual horsepower and be naturally persuasive and fair, and value accountability and a team approach.


Position Description

Under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer and working with the Board of Directors, expand and diversify PMMC’s funding to identify new donors, upgrade current donors, and increase philanthropic revenues.

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive fundraising program for PMMC.

  • Support and encourage the Board of Directors and Development Committee in their Development responsibilities. Support the CEO and Development Chair in Board Development.

  • Engage, motivate and align volunteer leadership with prospects.  Serve as a resource for cultivation and stewardship efforts and track relationship progress in database.

  • Develop and demonstrate strategies for prospecting, cultivating and stewarding a portfolio of individual, foundation and corporate donors (i.e. five, six and seven figure donations) as well as planned gifts to ensure the highest engagement and participation while increasing annual gift levels of giving.

  • Responsible for fundraising efforts for the Campaign and other programs as assigned.

  • Work collaboratively on PMMC’S annual gala by taking a lead role on gaining new support. The logistics will be directed by PMMC’s Events Coordinator.

  • Prepare proposals for prospects with appropriate gift strategies.

  • Lead team meetings and provide regular updates to the CEO and board of directors.

  • Ensure accuracy of donor records, prospect lists, donor acknowledgements and stewardship of assigned and prospective donors.

  • 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 CEO.


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 public support, 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 five years of major-gift fundraising experience including direct stewardship of Boards of Directors.

  • Demonstrated knowledge of local funding sources, strong relationships with donors, funders and community leaders.

  • Significant experience in and a successful track record of growing an annual fund and securing new and increased major gifts.

  • 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 management, organizational, and financial 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 varied and changing constituencies including staff, Board members, existing and potential donors, volunteers, 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.

  • Bachelor’s degree required.


The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following capabilities:

  •  Commitment to the mission and work of the PMMC with the credibility and persuasiveness to secure support from others

  • 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, 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


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

To learn more, contact Nicole Seipel via or 310-948-2535

Direct all correspondence, emails, and telephone calls to Sterling Search, Inc. Any resumes sent or telephone calls made to Pacific Marine Mammal Center will be redirected to Sterling Search, Inc.

Sterling Search Inc.

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