Employment at the Garden

Development Assistant

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Reports to:
Associate Vice President, Development
This position is responsible for all aspects of support related to planned and major gifts, and requires attention to detail and organization. The development assistant focuses on the major and planned gifts area of development, which raises funds from individual donors, primarily for capital projects and endowment. You will learn about the organization’s mission, functions of other departments, different types of giving, and the important role of individual philanthropy in the Garden’s accomplishments. During this time of transition back to in-person office setting, remote work opportunities are being offered for two days of the regular work week for this position.

Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role, you will be responsible for the following:   

Skills used in this position are database entry, report production, interaction with donors, and event support during some evenings, weekends, and off-site locations; all as described below.

  • Production of high-quality word processing documents, including correspondence, mail merges, reports, memos, meeting agendas, spreadsheets, and presentations.
  • Entering and updating prospect, visit report, and event information in donor database software (Raiser’s Edge); and producing basic reports.
  • Proofreading documents for publications, such as donor listings.
  • Assisting in the implementation of donor visits and internal meetings. This includes reserving space, reserving golf carts, making arrangements for catering, and gathering necessary meeting materials.
  • Greeting occasional visitors and assisting Garden friends and donors with phone and in-person inquiries. Responding to inquiries and requests from donors, Board members, volunteers, and visitors, using excellent telephone and communications skills with sensitivity to discrete matters.
  • Regularly interacting with development, member and donor services, donors, Board volunteers, other administrative assistants, communications, visitor operations, catering, security, engineering and maintenance, custodial services, horticulture, and volunteer services. The assistant works closely with all staff and others to anticipate and execute tasks.
  • Assisting in basic research on existing and prospective donors, tracking news on Garden donors, and inputting the information in the donor database. 
  • Performing general clerical duties such as photocopying, processing mail, filing, collating materials for visits, and handling phone and in-person inquiries for self and others.
  • Helping to maintain relevant pages on the Garden’s website by obtaining and submitting updated information to communications staff.
  • Assisting with and sometimes attending development donor events (possibly several each year, including weekends), including all major gift events, which sometimes require time beyond the hours of the customary work day. Responsibilities may include production of name tags, making signage, driving a golf cart, and registering guests.
  • Engaging in other projects and activities as needed for the achievement of departmental goals.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired:

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • High-school diploma and at least four years administrative assistant or equivalent experience; professional administrative training preferred.
  • Expert proficiency with MS Office products including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Proficiency in virtual meeting technology; specifically Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and others as appropriate or available.
  • Donor database software experience highly preferred.
  • Excellent communication and telephone skills, with an emphasis on customer service and ability to interact with members of a sophisticated donor community.
  • Ability to communicate effectively at all levels of the organization through various channels such as Zoom, MS Teams, email, phone, correspondence, and in person.
  • Demonstrated ability to be adaptable, flexible, and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Experience providing complex, confidential administrative support in high-profile environment.
  • Ability to staff events outdoors in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Some evening and weekend hours are required to provide event support. Ability to work overtime, evenings, and weekends, and off-site. Valid driver’s license required, with occasional access to a vehicle.

*The Chicago Botanic Garden requires all existing employees to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated by October 15, 2021; hires after this date must be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption after an offer is extended.*


Apply for Development Assistant by using the link below. In addition to the application and resume, a cover letter is required.

Click here to apply.


Physical Demands:
Office setting. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items less than 30 pounds.
Why Apply?:

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.