Careers

Employment Opportunities

Development Coordinator

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a nonprofit consortium of nearly sixty universities and research institutions worldwide, with operations in three countries and research and education stations in Costa Rica and South Africa. For the last half century OTS has been the world’s leading institution in the study of tropical biology, with more than 350 graduate courses in tropical ecology and conservation and over 8000 students trained, including many of the world’s leading tropical ecologists. Recently, OTS has recognized that to be a successful, 21st century organization, we need to evolve. We have clarified our purpose: To protect our tropical ecosystems by driving scientific discovery and knowledge, enriching human perception of nature and enhancing worldwide policy actions in the tropics. To build on our legacy and to expand our impact, OTS is in a period of transition. We are launching several new programs and our culture is evolving to be innovative, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and connected. We are ready to expand our impact.

The Development Coordinator reports to the Vice President of Philanthropy.

This position is a critical part of the Development Office and is responsible for providing support to all aspects of OTS’ fundraising operation. Located in Durham, NC at the North American Office, this position will serve as an important link to the central office for the remotely based Development team. This position oversees all data management, data processing, gift entry, and acknowledgement systems. Additionally, the Development Coordinator assists in donor communication and stewardship.

Database Management Responsibilities

  1. Manage the OTS Raisers’ Edge database with ongoing gift entry and gift acknowledgement processes, reconciling gift records with accounting records, and providing accurate and timely reports.
  2. Manage entry of OTS constituents including donors, participants in OTS courses, visitors to the OTS field stations, etc.
  3. Provide quality control for accurate entry of addresses, appeal codes and gifts.
  4. Record and generate acknowledgement letters and donor benefits for all gifts. Enter new alumni and historic data (i.e. scholarship recipients from the 1960s-1980s).
  5. Interact with the OTS staff in Costa Rica on database questions.
  6. Maintain digital copies of records, reports and correspondence required for reference and efficient operation of office.

Donor Stewardship Responsibilities

  1. In coordination with the Vice President of Philanthropy, assist with developing and implementing individual and comprehensive donor stewardship plans.
  2. Support donor communication and stewardship activities such as producing various stories electronically, updating the Development page on the OTS website, maintaining an active social media program.
  3. Support the production of an annual report, seasonal greetings, invitations to various events, and other printed pieces as needed.

Administrative Responsibilities

  1. Answer incoming telephone calls and direct specific requests to the appropriate staff; or, in their absence, take messages. Fulfill individual requests for information, as needed.
  2. Accept and disseminate incoming mail and deliveries as needed. Assist Development staff with outgoing mail, express shipping, and faxes as required using U.S. Mail, Duke Mail, FedEx, UPS, courier, etc.
  3. Compile, print, copy, collate, and distribute materials for large mailings.
  4. Oversee record keeping, duplications, scanning and maintaining both physical and electronic files. Organize and maintain files on central file server. Create mailing database in Excel. Update mailing addresses in database. Generate documents/reports, as needed.
  5. Maintain Development Office supplies and filing systems. Maintain an inventory of office supplies and equipment, order supplies, and ensure sufficient stock on hand to support scheduled campaigns and planned mailings.
  6. Help with new creative concepts and tailor existing templates or campaign designs to fit a variety of mediums.
  7. Perform other projects and/or duties as assigned by the direct supervisor.

The ideal candidate must have outstanding technical knowledge of Raiser’s Edge with a minimum of two years of Raiser’s Edge administrative experience. The candidate needs the ability to work in a manner that promotes communications, collaboration, and innovation. S/he will be expected to be outcome-oriented, solution-focused, and able to identify and personally implement process/technology improvements as appropriate.

A minimum education level of an associate degree in a related field is required. A bachelor’s degree is preferred.

Key Characteristics

  1. Strong database administration skills.
  2. Ability to anticipate and solve problems.
  3. Strong writing, communication, analytical, and organizational skills.
  4. Accountable – Ability to accept responsibility and account for his/her actions.
  5. Accuracy – Ability to perform work accurately and thoroughly.
  6. Detail Oriented – Ability to pay attention to the minute details of a project or task.
  7. Strong Interpersonal Skills – Ability to get along well with a variety of personalities and individuals and interact with donors and board members.
  8. Organized – Prefers to follow a systematic method of performing a task.
  9. Reliable and trustworthy.

Additional Qualifications

  1. Must be reliable, punctual, and organized with a high level of initiative. Must be able to prioritize work and remain on task. Strong interpersonal and communication skills. Knowledge of correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Extraordinary attention to detail.
  2. Ability to adapt easily to change and diversity in day-to-day duties.
  3. Must enjoy working with a team and on an individual basis.
  4. Strong typing skills, word-processing, desktop publishing, spreadsheet and database management proficiency is essential. Computer literacy, specifically the entire MS Office Suite for windows.
  5. Occasional light physical work required. Ensure confidentiality at all times and follow all OTS policies and procedures.

The Development Coordinator will provide supervision to Development interns and volunteers located at the North American Office.

  • The location for this position is in Durham, NC at OTS’ North American Office.
  • Occasional domestic and/or international travel may be required.
  • Willing to work outside of normal business hours when needed to accommodate meetings involving participants from multiple time zones.

To Apply

Both a resume and a cover letter are required. Applications received without a cover letter will not be considered.
Please send both documents (in PDF format) to jobs@tropicalstudies.org including “Development Coordinator” in the email subject line.

Risk and Safety Officer

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a nonprofit consortium of nearly sixty universities and research institutions worldwide, with operations in three countries and research and education stations in Costa Rica and South Africa. For the last half century OTS has been the world’s leading institution in the study of tropical biology, with more than 350 graduate courses in tropical ecology and conservation and over 8000 students trained, including many of the world’s leading tropical ecologists. Recently, OTS has recognized that to be a successful, 21st century organization, we need to evolve. We have clarified our purpose: To protect our tropical ecosystems by driving scientific discovery and knowledge, enriching human perception of nature and enhancing worldwide policy actions in the tropics. To build on our legacy and to expand our impact, OTS is in a period of transition. We are launching several new programs and our culture is evolving to be innovative, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and connected.

The Risk and Safety Officer reports to the Chief Operating Officer.

  1. Design, implement, process and evaluate key aspects of organizational risk management and crisis response plans, including accident prevention and loss control.
  2. Provide advice, guidance and facilitation regarding how to address and resolve safety issues and concerns. Respond to inquiries regarding health, safety, and student life at each program location, including requests for special accommodation due to physical limitations and special dietary needs.
  3. Foster and maintain a positive safety culture across the organization. Review, identify and coordinate safety awareness training interventions with employees and students to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations and to address and respond to safety concerns. Ensure that the organization complies with local legislative and regulatory requirements regarding site inspections, job hazard analysis, and training.
  4. Interpret and implement industry best practices in order to minimize exposure; control costs; and develop comprehensive policies, procedures and training programs to address operational and safety functions. Monitor emerging political or environmental threats for each OTS program location. Collaborate with departmental representatives to ensure implementation of key initiatives.
  5. On-call responsibility for responding to urgent inquiries or incidents from the field as well as at OTS research stations or administrative locations. This includes responsibility for manning the OTS 24-hr Emergency Hotline, including emergency calls from family or primary contact of students. Collect, review, and process incident reports from the field as necessary.
  6. Serve as Designated Title IX Officer to address complaints
  7. Administer the student pretravel approval process (i.e. waivers; verification of health and security insurance, pretravel orientation, and health concerns including checkups and immunizations.) Management and tracking of student information including medical issues, disciplinary action, behavioral concerns, etc.
  8. Maintain and update emergency contact information for each education program, research station and administrative office.
  9. Research, collect, and analyze safety data metrics and trends to effectively manage risk and control loss. Communicate safety and trend data, statistical data, and generates reports to management as needed.
  10. Create, update and maintain an OTS incident database.
  1. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  2. 7+ years of related experience
  3. Knowledge of principles and practices relating to safety, risk analysis, and accident prevention as relevant to an international nonprofit organization hosting students, visitors, and employees in remote field locations. This includes familiarity with industry standards regarding health, safety, and risk management in higher education study abroad and navigating medical resources in international locations.
  4. Knowledge of applicable laws and regulations regarding safety, site inspections, hazard analysis, and training. Skill in policy analysis.
  5. Knowledge of loss control methods, principles, and techniques.
  6. Ability to demonstrate good judgment in the design, development, coordination, and implementation of safety, security, and compliance policies and practices. Knowledge of effective organizational safety and awareness training methods.
  7. Interpersonal skills, oral communication and presentation skills.
  8. Exercises tact and diplomacy under a variety of difficult situations. Maintains confidentiality of sensitive information.
  9. Sensitivity toward the cultural diversity of the OTS community. High emotional and cross-cultural intelligence.
  10. High energy and thrives in a dynamic, distributed environment.
  11. Passionate about the mission and purpose of OTS.
  • Fluency in spoken and written Spanish
  • Multicultural experience
  • Experience working remotely and/or with a distributed workforce
  • The preferred location for position is Durham, NC, USA or San José, Costa Rica
  • Domestic and international travel, up to 25% time may be required
  • Willing to work outside of normal business hours when needed to accommodate meetings involving participants from multiple time zones

To Apply

Both a resume and a cover letter are required. Applications received without a cover letter will not be considered.
Please send both documents (in PDF format) to jobs@tropicalstudies.org including “Risk and Safety Officer” in the email subject line.

The Organization for Tropical Studies is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.