Vice President of Advancement


Employment Type Full time
Location Remote · USA This position will involved frequent travel.
Salary $150,000 - $200,000 (USD)
Team Advancement
Seniority Senior
  • Closing: 11:59pm, 18th Feb 2024 MST

Job Description

Position Summary

The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) seeks an experienced leader who is energized by the opportunity to take our Advancement department to the next level. As a key executive team member, and reporting directly to the NOLS President, the Vice President of Advancement will act decisively to chart a clear path for all Advancement efforts and ensure continued excitement and passion for the historic excellence and transformational experience associated with NOLS.

The Vice President of Advancement will have the vision and determination to set the Advancement team’s trajectory; the humility to listen carefully and seek input from alumni, donors, and trustees; and the judgment and experience to introduce program and operational change to enable the future evolution of the school. The Vice President of Advancement will be responsible for the budget and growth targets for NOLS’ fundraising and alumni engagement programs, their mission alignment, and future success including a significant capital campaign in the near future.

Key Responsibilities

  • Oversee fundraising efforts across the school, including the following areas: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, NOLS Expeditions and NOLS Custom Education.

  • Recruit, supervise, and mentor a leadership team responsible for overseeing the major functions, including development, the NOLS Fund, development communications, stewardship and donor relations, and planning and operations. 

  • Engage with the Board of Trustees, serve on other leadership committees and steering committees as requested.

  • Advocate strongly and persuasively for the interests of NOLS in numerous settings.

  • Continue to lead the evolution of the NOLS development to embrace best-in-class systems and results. 

  • Develop and mine data that enables the NOLS to broaden and better understand its prospective donor community. 

  • Engage with genuine interest and curiosity in all units of the school.

Your Skills

As the Vice President of Advancement for NOLS, the ideal candidate will blend a robust background in fundraising with demonstrated leadership, driving growth, and strategic initiatives to propel NOLS Advancement to new heights. This individual will be responsible for shaping and executing the fundraising vision, fostering a culture of performance, and identifying new donor opportunities.

Fundraising Leadership

  • Ability to orchestrate annual and multi-year fundraising objectives aligned with NOLS priorities and capture the participation of diverse alumni, parents, and friends.

  • Proven expertise in cultivating a philanthropic culture. Capable of partnering with the Board of Trustees to shape concepts that frame a strategic Advancement plan. Provide forthright guidance on the plan’s feasibility based on data-driven analysis and prospect viability.

  • Desire to bolster and nurture an expansive community of volunteers and donors that reflects the diversity of the ever-evolving educational community and our world.

  • Propensity for building a deep sense of community in a global organization; ability to excite individuals or groups towards a common mission and goal.

  • Capacity to work closely with the NOLS finance team and Administration to support annual and multi-year budget planning; aligning development strategy and business objectives.

  • Demonstrated success leading and supporting the comprehensive fundraising leadership community, including establishing a long-term development and succession plans and designing content and roles that advance NOLS development priorities.

Ideal Experience

  • Extensive experience leading a large development enterprise within a complex non-profit or similar institution; a history of building strong teams of highly functioning and collaborative individuals, as well as an exemplary background in recruitment and retention of talented staff.

  • Proven success in major/principal gifts fundraising, with a clear and demonstrable record of securing seven and eight figure gifts.

  • Considerable breadth of knowledge; strong intellectual curiosity, interest in, and capacity for, learning across a wide range of fields; and a sincere excitement about and commitment to the  mission of NOLS.

  • Demonstrated, genuine appreciation and passion for the outdoors, wilderness expeditions, the sanctity of wild places, and the NOLS mission. An advocate for the important skills learned and leadership developed in the backcountry and classroom.

  • Exceptional track record of working with a wide range of donors, leading to important and transformational gifts and the execution of highly sophisticated stewardship strategies.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with experience acting as a key collaborator and team player, creating productive and respectful relationships across diverse and disparate stakeholders on behalf of an organization.

  • Outstanding communication skills, including public speaking and experience serving as the face of, and advocate for, an organization, with evidenced ability to handle difficult situations with diplomacy and judgment.

  • Demonstrated experience in leading equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives in a multicultural, global environment and a track record of impact on organizational culture, systems, practices, and strategies that drive measurable progress on the dimensions of access, equity, belonging, and outcomes.

Other Personal Characteristics

Be an empathetic and community centric leader, with a focus on fostering relationships at all levels and operate within a transparent and collaborative team culture.

You thrive in dynamic settings with demanding and shifting priorities, adeptly managing ambiguity, diverse stakeholder relationships, and intricate competing demands.

Champion of daring ideas and embracer of calculated risks. Be confident to invite dialogue, listen carefully, make decisions, and share credit. 

Creative thinker able to respect, honor, and balance the long-standing strengths of an organization while envisioning and implementing innovative approaches.

Important Information:


This position will involve frequent travel to meet with the NOLS community; current and prospective donors, alumni, board members, NOLS locations, etc.


NOLS follows a market-based compensation philosophy, which means we benchmark our compensation for roles relative to other educational non-profits of a similar size. Our salary ranges consist of a minimum, a midpoint, and a maximum, where the mid-point closely aligns with the market median for the role.

This position is eligible for Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, Vision Insurance, Flexible Spending account, Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance, Long Term Disability, Employee Assistance Program, Paid Time off, 403(b), 403(b) contribution, and more.


Questions about the job? Contact the NOLS People Team at

NOLS participates in E-verify. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, genetics information, disability unrelated to job or admission requirements, or status as a protected veteran. The school’s nondiscrimination policy applies to all phases of its employment process. Should you need a reasonable accommodation at any point during the process please contact

About NOLS

The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) is a nonprofit global wilderness school that seeks to help individuals step forward boldly as leaders. We believe that anyone can be a leader; it’s our role to provide the environment and training to help them discover their full potential. We do that in classrooms close to home and in remote wilderness areas around the world. The scope of NOLS’ mission and impact is far and wide with 14 campuses across six countries and educational opportunities around the world. The school enrolls more than 28,000 students and employs over 1,000 full-time and part time staff and instructors with an annual budget of approximately $40 million in a typical year. NOLS currently has more than 360,000 active alumni. 

Founded in 1965 in a small cabin in Sinks Canyon, Wyoming, NOLS was a school primarily focused on teaching outdoor skills and exploring what leadership lessons could be learned in the backcountry. Today, NOLS is a multifaceted wilderness school supporting thousands of students in their leadership and technical skill development. NOLS offers a range of programming and training across five major areas: Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Expeditions, Custom Education, Alumni Expeditions, and Risk Management. The programmatic offerings range from courses that last a few hours in the classroom to several months in a wilderness setting. NOLS continues to focus on nurturing individuals who want to live and lead responsibly in our global community.

Removing bias from the hiring process

Applications closed Mon 19th Feb 2024


Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You’ll need a CV/résumé, but it’ll only be considered if you score well on the anonymous review

Applications closed Mon 19th Feb 2024