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Saddle Up!

Development Director

Saddle Up!


Job Summary

The Director of Development is responsible for the leadership, planning, implementation, and management of Saddle Up!’s fundraising program including strategic donor engagement to include prospecting and cultivation of relationships that engage donors with a passion for our mission and a desire to create long-term commitments; collaborative partnerships, database management and utilization and application of innovation in fundraising tech and software solutions; creative campaign leadership that impacts transformative individual, major donor and corporate giving.  This position also provides guidance and support to our efforts in grant writing; major fundraising events; and stewardship, capital, and/or endowment campaigns as required.

Why you are the perfect fit for Saddle Up!

  • When you have a passion for something, you are fully committed and “all in”.
  • You know your strengths and how to put them to use for a mission you believe in.
  • Your enthusiasm is infectious and your leadership skills are legendary.
  • You love people and value relationships.
  • You have been thriving in the Nashville and surrounding area non-profit fundraising network and have the results to prove it.

What do we offer you?

  • At Saddle Up! our mission supports life-long impact for children and young adults with disabilities; what you do here matters now and for years to come.
  • For over 30 years, Saddle Up! has been a well-run and financially healthy organization.  You will be building new strategies and relationships on a rock-solid foundation.
  • We love what we do here and we have fun doing it! Our 34-acre farm between Nashville and Franklin is a beautiful place to work and we support each other in a highly collaborative, flexible, energetic environment.
  • If you can dream big, we will dream big with you!  We encourage ownership and “what if?” forward thinking.

Job Responsibilities

Working closely with the Executive Director, the Director of Development is responsible for all areas of fundraising and special events designed to provide financial support to Saddle Up! on an annual, operational, and long-term basis.


  •  Develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated annual fundraising plan from prospect identification through stewardship, identifying new partnerships to raise awareness and increase funding streams.
  •  Create and implement a major gifts strategy to maximize donor participation and long-term retention.
  •  Focus on relationship building with supporters and potential supporters, including but not limited to personal contacts and individualized communications strategies.
  •  Develop innovative concepts and ideas that deliver value to community partners and lead to fundraising partnership activation through sponsorships, annual gifts, and relationship-building tools.
  •  Provide support materials and information to volunteers involved in all aspects of fundraising and relationship development.
  •  Create cultivation opportunities to build stronger donor relationships and to build the strength of these relationships over time

Special Events

  •  Work closely with volunteer chairs, committees, and staff to develop and implement all fundraising-related special events.
  •  Secure and manage corporate sponsorships.
  •  Assist in the creation, preparation, and mailing of invitations and appeals related to all events.
  •  Work with committees and vendors to provide quality and value in all vendor relationships.
  •  Work with committees to manage setup and logistics specific to each event, both in advance and on the day of the event.
  •  Ensure appropriate follow-up, gift acknowledgments, and tax-related documentation for all contributions.
  •  With the assistance of the Database Administrator, maintain and expand solicitation and invitation lists.
  •  Work with event volunteers and the Executive Director to secure community awareness and media relations to support events.

Special Campaigns

  •  Develop campaign plans in collaboration with the Executive Director and Board leadership for any special campaign needed.
  • Provide leadership or assistance to the creation of special campaign resources to include:
    • Capital, special campaign, and endowment campaign workplans and materials
    • Special campaign prospect lists, including prospect development programs involving volunteer feedback forms, focus groups, and research
    • Create campaign solicitation materials (brochures, pledge cards, internet, etc.).
    • Develop specialized solicitation materials, grant proposals, and events to further campaign goals

Other Collaborative Functions Oversight

  • Newsletter coverage, annual report, website, social media, and other communications around all development and public relations efforts.
  • Donor recognition programs
  • Grant writing and foundation relationships; grant-seeking activities, including prospect research, proposal writing, and management of a robust grants calendar
  • Manage and maintain all donor data and, correspondence and acknowledgment letters including assurance of compliance with applicable IRS requirements.
  • CRM


The position of Director of Development requires exceptional interpersonal skills, strong organizational abilities, and a proven track record of fundraising success. Specific skills and qualifications include:

  • A passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to the mission of Saddle Up!
  • An enthusiastic personality with the desire to serve our riders, their families, our donor and volunteer communities, and your colleagues to build a culture of servant leadership
  • A minimum of 5 years of management-level nonprofit development experience, including demonstrated new donor/partnership development and development, management and implementation of  an organizational fundraising plan, including a budget, to meet or exceed fundraising goals; five years of experience directly related to essential development functions of the position
  • Deep knowledge of the local fundraising environment and relevant experience in Nashville and the surrounding counties strongly preferred
  • Demonstrated experience with major fundraising events including sponsorships, auctions and other engagement activities, vendor relationships, and partnerships with community volunteers
  • Bachelor’s degree in management or related field and ongoing professional development strongly preferred.
  • Proficiency in database management and CRM utilization (SalesForce, GiveSmart, Click and Pledge) and MS Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Prior experience in marketing and/or sales concepts and strong working knowledge of social media and professional networking platforms.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, and the ability to motivate and inspire others to support Saddle Up!
  • Ability to collaborate with other staff members, Board members, and volunteers.
  • Highly organized and attentive to detail. Must be highly organized with the ability to work under pressure and handle multiple tasks. Adept at maneuvering autonomously, juggling priorities, and flourishing in a high-velocity environment.
  • Flexibility and creativity to respond to new opportunities/needs paired with strong planning and time management skills, including the ability to prioritize and deliver multiple projects on time, on strategy, and on or under budget
  • Ability to represent Saddle Up! to multiple constituencies at meetings, events, speaking engagements, etc.
  • Ability to work independently and be a positive contributor to the staff team and overall environment.
  • Commitment to positive communications, teamwork, team building, and organizational excellence

Additional Information


In addition to being part of a dynamic team, working on a beautiful 34-acre farm, and supporting a mission you can be passionate about, the following benefits are offered:

  • 17 days of PTO in years 0 – 3; 22 days after 3 years; 27 days after 5 years
  • 9 PTO holidays per year 
  • Flexible work schedule
  • 50% employer-paid health insurance for employees 0 – 4 years of service; 75% employer-paid health insurance for employees after 4 years
  • Health insurance available for employee spouse/family
  • Dental, Vision, HSA/FAS, and Life Insurance plans available – employee-paid
  • 401K Retirement Plan available after one year of service with annual discretionary match to employee contributions
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance 100% employer-paid
  • Continuing Education and Professional Memberships

How to Apply

Send a letter of interest — which must include your salary and worklife requirements — and resume to akidd@saddleupnashville.org before November 10, 2023.  If you have the results of personal inventories to share such as Strengthsfinders (we use this tool here) or others, sending those will support a successful application.  This position reports to the Executive Director and successful applicants will be interviewed by members of our board of directors. We look forward to meeting you!


  • Date Posted: October 23, 2023
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Executive Leadership
  • Service Area: Children / Youth
  • Start Date: 12/04/2023
  • Salary Range: $70 - $80K based on experience
  • Working Hours: Varies-40 hours per week standard M-F