Skip Navigation
Print Share

Development Writer

Company: Detroit Zoological Society
Date Posted: May 14, 2018

The Development Writer is part of the development team and is expected to contribute to the success of DZS fundraising efforts.  The Development Writer researches and prepares DZS funding proposals, grant reports and related correspondence for foundation, corporate and government prospects and funders, as well as program summaries that may be presented as funding opportunities for institutional or individual donors.

The Development Writer will support, both publicly and privately, the principles of the Detroit Zoological Society, maintain a professional manner when dealing with all constituencies, and always preserve a high level of confidentiality.  S/he will support and enhance a clean, safe, enjoyable, and educational experience at the Detroit Zoo facilities by actively engaging in the enforcement of Customer Service Standards, and specifically by knowing and understanding the Detroit Zoological Society's "SCOPE" of service, animal care, community relations and park appearance guidelines; by enforcing safety and security policies, and following all other policies set by the organization. The Development Writer will maintain a professional manner when dealing with all constituencies and always preserve a high level of integrity, professionalism and confidentiality.

This job description is by no means all inclusive and may be subject to change during a performance period due to the needs of the Detroit Zoological Society and its leadership.  This document will be reviewed on a continual basis and will be modified as needed.

Authority and Accountability

The Development Writer has the authority to carry out the job requirements and responsibilities and is accountable to the Director of Development Operations.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Assists in implementing the DZS grants program, and the development program overall, in support of the Detroit Zoological Society's capital, programmatic and endowment needs.

  • Produce materials for the grants program including but not limited to funding proposals and supporting documents for foundation, corporate, State, and Federal funding sources.
  • Work with program directors/principal investigators to assure prompt and accurate compliance with grant requirements, including the preparation and submission of program and expenditure reports.  
  • Plan and provide additional stewardship in order to extend and strengthen relationships with funders.

  • Research and prepare project and program summaries that may be presented as funding opportunities for institutional or individual donors.

  • Edit and revise correspondence and publications upon request.
  • Maintain the integrity and confidentiality of the donor database
  • Update electronic donor records including call reports, actions, proposals, media, notes, attributes and research.
  • Participate in DZS activities and events as required.
  • All other responsibilities and tasks as assigned by the Director of Development Operations.

Working Conditions

Regular work schedule will include modified work hours and some weekend hours during the high seasons as well as occasional evenings and early-mornings.  Also, this position may occasionally require driving to off-site meetings with potential funders. The work environment is generally comfortable and most work is indoors although the position may require work outdoors with exposure to seasonal weather conditions for special events, tours, openings, etc. This individual will be exposed to computer monitors and may have some exposure to outside weather conditions.

Physical Requirements

The position requires the individual to sit for long periods of time as well as moderate physical effort on a daily basis such as walking, bending, stooping and standing for an extended period of time.  The Development Writer must also be able to use the telephone and computer and must be able to lift and move 20 pounds.  The individual must have the ability to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities


  • Bachelor's Degree in English, Communications, Public Relations, Journalism or similar field.
  • Three to five years of development writing experience, including grant proposals.
  • Outstanding communication and storytelling skills made evident on examples of work.
  • Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications and one or more development database products.


  • Demonstrated experience and success in grant development, proposal writing and report preparation. 
  • Able to provide examples of grant proposals and stewardship reports and to report on outcomes of previously submitted proposals.

  • Experience in a cultural organization and/or familiarity with funders who regularly give in Michigan.
  • Exceptional time management skills; commitment to excellence; flexibility; interest in fund development and the mission of the Detroit Zoological Society.