The Minnesota Zoo employs about 220 full-time, part-time, and intermittent staff. That number grows to between 270 and 300 with the addition of temporary staff during the spring and summer months.

The Minnesota Zoo employs people from a wide variety of backgrounds. In addition to typical “zoo jobs” such as veterinary technicians, interpretive naturalists, zookeepers, zoologists, and veterinarians, the business end of the Zoo requires people with many different skills, from accountants and marketing staff, to carpenters and guest services staff.

The Minnesota Zoo is a state agency and its employees are public employees, with salary and benefits set by union contracts and compensation plans.

Over the course of a year, the Zoo receives over two thousand applications for employment. All of our positions are highly competitive with a majority of positions requiring related experience and education.

Although we have positions open from time to time during the year, our largest recruitment period begins in March and lasts through mid-May, when we begin filling our summer positions.

Our open positions are listed below and can change on a daily basis. Applying for our positions is easy. If you are interested in a position and feel you meet the qualifications listed, simply click on the link within the posting. That link will take you to the State of Minnesota’s resume database where applicants can submit resumes for positions open for all state agencies, including the Minnesota Zoo.

Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer

This information can be made available in alternative formats to individuals with disability by calling (651) 259-3637 or (651) 282-2699 (TTY).

How to Apply
Jobs Openings

None at this time

Summer Employment Opportunities

None at this time

Minnesota Zoo Foundation Employment Opportunities

JOB TITLE:                   Director of Corporate and Foundations Relations
LOCATION:                 Apple Valley
SALARY:                       Commensurate with qualifications and experience
TYPE:                           Full Time/40 hours
DEADLINE:                  August 8, 2014

The Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations directs and manages the Foundation’s corporate and foundation fund-raising program for the annual fund, capital projects, and the endowment.  In conjunction with the Foundation Executive Director, the Director of Major Gifts, and Trustees, s/he establishes the overall direction of the corporate and foundation relations effort and develops appropriate solicitation strategies, including initiating, developing, and strengthening relationships with major prospects consisting of businesses, corporations, private and community foundations, and arranging visits with representatives of those entities for the Executive Director, CEO and Trustees. S/he reports to the Executive Director.

Primary responsibilities include:

  • Initiates, maintains and cultivates relationships with key contact people at both current partner corporate and foundation entities, as well as prospective – both on a direct relationship basis and in concert with the Board
  • Develops and implements strategies to introduce corporate and foundation prospects to the Zoo, with the Executive Director, Zoo Senior Management, Zoo Board Members and Trustees
  • Creates, maintains and updates annual work plan and timeline for grant requests, proposal submissions and reports
  • Creates, maintains and projects annual budgets for all corporate and foundation revenue and expenditures
  • Researches prospective corporate and foundation funders, assessing and reporting on their capacity, interest and connection
  • Ensures an accurate grant calendar and that all grant requests are submitted in a timely manner
  • Prepares and submits select funding proposals and grant requests
  • Creates stewardship plan for strong, long-term donor relationships
  • Ensures benefit fulfillment and acknowledgment for all corporate and foundation donors
  • Serves as liaison to the Corporate Relations and the Foundation Relations committees
  • Ensures a coordinated strategic approach for all corporate and foundation donors by collaborating with Foundation staff, Zoo senior staff, education and marketing department leaders at Zoo
  • Conducts site visits with current and prospective funders; must have excellent customer service skills both over the phone and in-person

Qualified candidates will have a minimum of five years direct fund-raising experience and/or comparable professional experience in a related field (ex. sales, community relations, marketing, etc.); strongly prefer proven success in soliciting and securing corporate and foundation major annual and capital gifts. A solid knowledge base specifically related to philanthropic corporate giving and cause-related marketing is also preferred. Experience working for organizations with an education or conservation-focused missions is highly desired. The successful candidate will have an entrepreneurial, results-driven style and an ability to collaborate both within and outside the Minnesota Zoo and the Zoo Foundation.

The following skills also will be key success factors in this position:

  • Demonstrated ability to clearly represent the mission and vision of Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota Zoo Foundation
  • Proven ability to identify and cultivate prospects, close capital campaign and major gifts, and actively participate in the stewardship of donors
  • Ability to collaborate with both Foundation and Zoo staff in establishing strategic objectives for fund-raising
  • Established circle of networks in the Twin Cities philanthropic community
  • Established success in leading and managing volunteers in a peer solicitation and relationship-building effort
  • Flexibility and the ability to “change course” quickly and under pressure
  • Ability to work independently while keeping the Zoo Director and Foundation’s Board of Directors apprised of issues, problems, opportunities, and progress
  • Proficiency with donor and contact management databases
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Collaborative style and the ability to work with a diverse group of individuals both inside the organization and externally
  • A Bachelor’s degree is required


Email cover letter, resume, salary requirements and contact information for three professional references; references will not be contacted without your permission.

Melinda Conness

Director of Finance & Administration

Minnesota Zoo Foundation

No phone calls please



Job Title:  Special Events Manager
Reports To:  Executive Director
FLSA Status:  Exempt
Prepared Date:  July 14, 2014

The Special Events Manager is responsible for coordinating an annual black-tie gala, the Beastly Ball.  It is the major fund-raising event for the Minnesota Zoo.  In 2014, the Ball attracted 530 guests and raised more than $470,000 for the Zoo.  The Ball includes silent, live, and online auctions, and corporate sponsorships.  The Special Events Manager works closely with volunteer chairs and a committee and is responsible for budgeting; securing corporate sponsorships, in collaboration with other Foundation staff and volunteers; developing and managing the auctions; and assisting with all Ball promotion and printed materials, including the invitation, auction booklet, and program.

The Special Events Manager also coordinates all other events for the Foundation, including donor benefit events (behind-the-scenes tours and Friends Events), individual and corporate recognition events, including an annual Director’s Dinner and the Corporate and Foundation Breakfast, VIP Openings for new exhibits, the annual Romans Golf Classic, donor cultivation events, and potentially new fundraising events in collaboration with partners at the Minnesota Zoo and an active volunteer committee.


  • Coordinate, the annual black-tie gala, the Beastly Ball – including: assisting Beastly Ball chair(s) with various tasks on a daily basis, budgeting, scheduling meetings, soliciting auction items; communicating and coordinating with major event participants, auctioneer, emcee, band, golf carts, valet, etc.; assist in design and editing of publications and promotional materials; supervise Beastly Ball intern, event wrap-up, final budgeting and reporting to committee, and auction item follow-up.
  • Serve as the liaison between Beastly Ball committee, Zoo staff, and Foundation Staff.
  • Assist with creation of the Beastly Ball committee, including cultivation of chairs and committee members.
  • Maintain Auction Tracker silent, live, and online auction database.
  • Set up and maintenance of online auction website.
  • Research new prospects from business and donor communities to strengthen sponsorship and donor relations and feed into other aspects of the organization for support of events.
  • Develop ambitious timeline in order to solicit and secure auction items and sponsorships by April of each year in conjunction with the Silent Auction Chair.
  • Work with the Zoo Board and Foundation Trustees to strategize obtaining maximum donations and sponsorships.
  • Increase budget net and exceed budget net goal each year.
  • Develop and oversee budget, tracking all revenue and expenses responsibly.
  • Oversee all event coordination details including coordination of volunteers, interns, and staff in event-related capacities.
  • Process registration for events and provide related reports.
  • Generate mailing lists for events.
  • Assist in benefit fulfillment for individual and institutional contributors as it relates to events.
  • Maintain and make sure Foundation events are updated on
  • Coordinate the annual Director’s Dinner, Corporate and Foundation Breakfast, Romans Golf Classic, VIP exhibit openings, and cultivation events.


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year institution or university.
  • Minimum three years experience in event planning, with demonstrated success in meeting financial goals.
  • Experience interacting successfully with colleagues, support staff, volunteer leaders and board members, prospects and donors.
  • Capable of juggling many tasks at once and setting priorities.
  • Capable of developing and implementing events of all sizes and targeted to different constituencies.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills; pays attention to the details.
  • A team player.
  • Capable of working independently with minimal supervision.
  • Proficient in computer word processing, data entry and data management, creating and updating spreadsheets.  Experience in Raiser’s Edge, Quark, and Auction Tracker or similar software a plus.



The incumbent should have the ability to speak, read, and write in English and the ability to type at least 40 wpm.  This person must have experience in performing data entry, word processing, creating and updating spreadsheets, database management, and must have excellent customer service skills both over the phone and in-person.  This person must be computer literate, possess exceptional organizational skills, and be detail-oriented.  Incumbent must also have the ability to produce quickly under time pressure and the ability to interact successfully with colleagues, support staff, volunteer leaders, prospects, and donors.  This person must be amenable to a flexible work schedule and the ability to “change course” quickly and under pressure.  They will need to work independently while keeper supervisor apprised of issues, problems, opportunities, and progress.


The Special Events Coordinator works under the direct supervision of the Foundation Executive Director.  The incumbent communicates regularly with all Foundation staff, and must work closely and cooperatively with the Foundation Executive Director, Zoo Special Events Coordinator, Zoo Director, Zoo staff, and many volunteers.


Please email resume and cover letter to Melinda Conness, Director of Finance & Administration,  No phone calls please


Applications will be accepted until August 1, 2014.