Outward Bound Hiring Director of Development

June 24, 2016

Position Profile – VOBS – Director of Development

Position Profile

canoe Outward boundOn behalf of our client,
Voyageur Outward Bound School,
CohenTaylor Executive Search Services
is conducting a retained search for

Director of Development

paddles outward boundVoyageur Outward Bound School at a Glance

·  Founded in 1964 in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota

·  Program areas in Minnesota and Texas

·  First Outward Bound school in the nation to run urban youth expeditions

·  Partners with educational institutions, businesses, civic organizations, and parents to serve all who wish to participate

·  Office staff of 15 in St. Paul, MN

Fundraising Fast Facts

·  Raised just under $1M in 2015

·  Doubled the number of donors over the past four years

·  Increased fundraising by more than 50% over the past four years



Trust Climb outward boundThe mission of Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS) is to change lives through challenge and discovery. VOBS delivers world renowned experiential learning programs to help people of all ages and all walks of life discover that “there is more in them than they thought.” This discovery helps students build strength of character, the ability to lead, and the desire to serve.


We teach and work by the values of Compassion, Integrity, Excellence, Inclusion and Diversity.


Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS) is one of 11 members of the national Outward Bound network, a non-profit educational organization focused on character development, leadership skills, and service to community. VOBS uses the power of adventure and challenge to push participants to discover what they are capable of as individuals, teams, and communities. Whether in a classroom, on a river, high ropes course, hiking trail or on a rock climbing wall, students gain skills consistent with the 21st Century Learning Initiative. Skills include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

VOBS courses prepare students for the challenges of the classroom, family, community, and life. Staff members work hard to help students understand how they can apply their Outward Bound skills and knowledge to their everyday lives. This results in students gaining: Self Confidence; Leadership Skills of Goal Setting, Flexibility, and Problem Solving; Resilience; Compassion; and Environmental Awareness.

VOBS programs follow a progression that gives students the skills and knowledge they need to take responsibility for individual and group goals, decisions, and actions that drive them to achieve. Their experiential approach is student-centric in a supportive environment. Students will learn they can do more than they ever thought possible!

More information about Voyageur Outward Bound School is available on their website: vobs.org. Find VOBS on social media: Facebook Twitter YouTube

Over the past four years, VOBS has more than doubled the number of donors and has grown its fundraising by more than fifty percent, to almost $1 million per year. The new Development Director has the opportunity to grow and broaden the donor base, and build a strong development team. There is significant opportunity as VOBS has grown its reach to serve more young people in the Twin Cities, and has begun to reach out to its thousands of alumni. This role will focus primarily on growing the base of individual donors, with a secondary focus on foundations and corporate giving. Fundraising is national in scope, but localized as well.


  • Meet development goals for dollars and broadening the donor base (especially reaching out to alumni)
  • Create development strategy and plans, and strengthen the VOBS development value proposition, messaging, and development tactics
  • Manage development staff and all aspects of the development department, including communications and events
  • Maintain donor portfolio and bring in new donor relationships.
  • Network and build VOBS’ awareness in the community


  • Participate in grant strategy, process and site visits, and build relationships with foundations and corporations
  • Create and help execute a digital fundraising strategy
  • Leverage VOBS alumni to build awareness and grow development
  • Work collaboratively and share information and lessons with other Outward Bound development directors
  • Work with the VOBS board and development committee and assist with board recruitment
  • Cultivate a culture of philanthropy with VOBS staff and board
  • Stay current on best practices and trends in development locally and nationally
  • Help create a planned giving initiative


  • Four to seven years of development experience, with management experience preferred
  • Strong, proven record of fundraising success
  • Ability to develop new donor relationships and grow existing donor relationships
  • Entrepreneurial and results oriented
  • Ability to plan and meet goals and deadlines
  • Experience with grants and foundations
  • Experience with development databases
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Passion for VOBS’ life-changing mission
  • Experience with a major fundraising campaign is preferred
  • Bachelor’s degree required.

To apply, please send your resume to info@cohentaylor.com.
All inquiries will remain confidential.

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