Senior Conservation Planner

Washington D.C.
Jan 10, 2017
Mar 11, 2017
Job Level
Senior level
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type


The Senior Conservation Planner is responsible for working with the Foundation’s staff and Board of Directors, federal agencies and other conservation partners to develop and implement spatial and non-spatial database systems to support outcome-based monitoring strategy for the Foundation’s conservation programs. The database(s) will be seamlessly integrated into the Foundation’s IT system and processes to support spatial planning, establishment of conservation goals with data analysis, programmatic assessments, and organizational learning.   

The Senior Conservation Planner will serve as a catalyst within the Foundation to create new combinations of people, processes, methodologies, and ideas that will lead to breakthrough approaches to strategically plan for conservation programs that can deliver statistically rigorous measurable outcomes. S/he will work closely with science and program staff to develop and implement a standardized protocol to measure and monitor the progress of our grant programs in order to best deliver measurable outcomes and foster organizational learning in accordance with the Foundation’s vision and strategic plan.


The Senior Conservation Planner role will require a very strong foundation in topics such spatial and non-spatial database design, data analysis and statistics in order to retrieve, clean and process data from a variety of sources. Through engagement with staff and key partners, s/he will develop and build biodiversity database(s), perform data analysis, outcomes definition, and design monitoring plans as a core component of NFWF grantmaking in order to assess the progress of NFWF’s conservation investments in achieving desired results.

Conceptualization and Prioritization

  • Lead conservation need analyses and contribute to other regional conservation planning activities for each NFWF office.  This includes background research, data compilation and spatial analysis related to species, ecosystems, threats, and opportunities.
  • As appropriate, coordinate/manage outside database and spatial analysis consultants
  • Collaborate with the Science & Evaluation team to develop the Foundation’s new conservation strategy framework and goals as well as develop and/or align existing biodiversity data and monitoring methodology to ensure that relevant data are compiled for measuring progress on strategy implementation.
  • Conduct background conservation research, as appropriate

Planning Actions

  • Collaborate in the design and refinement of programmatic business plans, as appropriate
  • Perform background research into potential conservation actions for achieving goals

Implementation and Monitoring

  • Collaborate in the development, implementation, and refinement of NFWF’s evaluation and monitoring plan under the Foundation’s new strategic plan
  • Collaborate with NFWF’s IT department on the design/refinement of  IT and grant-making systems for automatically capturing, managing and reporting project and program-scale data, such as for use in NFWF’s conservation scorecard tool
  • Lead the development and refinement of grant mapping tools in coordination with external consultants.
  • Engage NFWF staff in the selection and application of standard metrics to gauge the progress of programs in a timely fashion.

Analysis and Adaptation

  • Compile data from the Foundation’s systems and from external sources to perform rigorous statistical analysis that will inform assessment of targeted conservation programs as needed.



Capturing and Sharing Learning

  • Oversee production of maps that effectively communicate the results of spatial analyses and conservation prioritization exercises
  • Present NFWF’s strategic planning processes and products to external audiences, including prospective funding partners
  • Disseminate results and lessons learned from NFWF initiatives to internal and external audiences through various media, such as NFWF’s website, conference presentations and publications, as appropriate.
  • Assist in the preparation of reports, briefing materials, and recommendations to support decision making by the Foundation’s Board.

Training/Institutional Learning

  • Work with the IT department to develop a knowledge management system that incorporates the ability to learn from conservation grant program activities.
  • Co-lead a cross-program GIS and mapping team to mobilize new technologies for the benefit of NFWF fundraising, partnership-building, grant making, and priority-setting functions.  This includes training on certain database and mapping tools and functions that advance this team’s goals (e.g. scorecard tool, creating web maps for RFPs and application review)
  • Conduct site visits in accordance with Foundation policy.


  • Support the development of public and private partnerships to secure operational and programmatic funding for this Program in coordination with the VP Science and Evaluation, Chief Conservation officer, Development and Government Relations Staff, and Partnership Offices.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the VP Science and Evaluation.





  • PhD or Master’s degree with equivalent experience.  Five years professional experience in database design, biodiversity monitoring and data analysis, conservation outcome definition, and reporting program or project effectiveness is required. It is desirable that this experience be in a natural resource-oriented organization. 
  • Proficiency with ESRI ArcGIS and database development and management (Access, Tableau, SharePoint, or others) strong quantitative/statistical skills is required.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of contemporary evaluative techniques and adaptive management.
  • Ability to organize and prioritize work and meet deadlines.
  • Strong speaking and writing skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Computer proficiency.
  • Willingness to travel.