Development Officer (Major Gifts)

The Development Officer (Major Gifts) is responsible for managing relationships with donors and prospects determined to have the ability to make gifts of $5,000 and greater in support of Audubon Nature Institute with a primary focus on capital and endowment fundraising efforts. The Development Officer (Major Gifts) is charged with developing and implementing strategies for securing and growing financial support from donor prospects, to include qualifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding gifts.

The Development Officer (Major Gifts) works independently and also collaboratively with the fundraising team. The success of this position is measured by meeting fundraising goals as well as performance metrics consisting of number of calls made, proposals presented, and gifts closed. The Development Officer (Major Gifts) is an ambassador of Audubon Nature Institute, consistently displaying excellent interpersonal skills, embracing the mission, and building positive working relationships with Audubon staff across facilities.

Job Description: 

Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks.

  • In collaboration with the Director of Donor Relations, develop prospect list and fundraising/activity goals from a pool of qualified prospects
  • Manage a qualified list of active prospects and carry out moves management strategies for solicitation of these prospects for gifts of $5,000 and greater
  • Work collaboratively with and in support of executive leadership, the fundraising team, volunteer leaders, committee members, and other Audubon staff to cultivate and solicit donors for Audubon-wide priorities
  • Identify specific funding opportunities as a best fit for prospects and prepare customized proposals
  • Work independently and be self-motivated in initiating contact with potential donors through direct, face-to-face meetings and solicitation
  • Spend 75% of time in direct engagement with prospects and donors
  • Make numerous decisions on cultivation time, committed vs. expected gift response, determine who needs to be involved in the relationship with the prospective donor, and decide the most effective and productive strategy
  • Cultivate and solicit additional prospects as assigned in support of major gift efforts
  • Execute communications as appropriate, including letters, proposals, grant applications, and stewardship materials, working with the Director of Development Communications when appropriate
  • Develop positive working relationships with operations, finance, facility planning, and other Audubon departments to gain working knowledge of programs and capital projects

Enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation

  • Manage relationships with approximately 120 donors and prospective donors
  • Perform ongoing research to identify prospects to expand and diversify Audubon’s donor base
  • Maintain accurate donor records and ensure purposeful prospect and donor relations

Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality

  • Fulfill sponsor benefits and gift agreement details in a timely and professional manner
  • Participate in executing meaningful cultivation and stewardship events to connect donors to Audubon’s overall mission
  • Provide outstanding “behind the scenes” experiences for donors and prospects through tours, animal encounters, and introduction to Audubon’s program professionals

Supervision:  This position does not supervise any employees.


  • More than two years of successful experience in individual gift fundraising, preferably as a professional fundraiser in a non-profit
  • Must be a highly energetic professional with a track record of building donor relationships and closing gifts in the specified range
  • Must have demonstrated gifts at $5,000+ level
  • Ability to understand the needs and interests of Audubon leadership and donors in order to develop relationships between them and Audubon Nature Institute
  • Successful experience in making cold calls as well as developing cultivation and solicitation strategies
  • Strong public speaking ability; superb written and verbal communication skills
  • Broad knowledge of the principles of fundraising – able to participate in all aspects of the gift cycle: (1) to initiate contacts with potential donors; (2) to develop appropriate cultivation strategies for them; (3) to move potential donors in an appropriate and timely fashion toward solicitation and closure; (4) to make solicitations when appropriate; (5) to maintain stewardship contacts with donors
  • Adhere to the highest ethical standards; demonstrate empathetic disposition, and perseverance; reflect optimistic and positive attitude, and convey sensitivity to needs of the donors
  • Knowledge of tax laws that impact charitable giving, personal assets, and estates


  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree required

Licensure/Certification: Valid driver’s license.

Software Requirements: 

  1. Expert knowledge of Microsoft products, including advanced functions of Word, Excel, Outlook, and Power Point
  2. Proficient in use of Adobe Acrobat
  3. Knowledge of Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge database software

Physical Requirements:

  1. Sedentary Work: exerting up to 30 pounds of force occasionally, or a negligible amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body. May involve sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time.
  2. Sitting or standing, bending, stooping, and the ability to carry items weighing up to 30 pounds.
  3. Constant adequate range of motion and mobility required.
  4. Regular near acuity with clarity of vision at 20 inches or less required.
  5. Typical ability to collect and analyze numerical and written data and verbal information to reach logical conclusions and ability to determine the time, place and sequence of operations or actions required.
  6. Regular talking and the ability to express and exchange ideas by means of language expected.
  7. Regular hearing and the ability to perceive the nature of sounds.
  8. Constant ability to read, record, or type data quickly and accurately required.

Environmental/Working Conditions:

  1. Willingness and ability to work after-hours and weekends when necessary
  2. Ability to work under and handle stress in an appropriate manner required.
  3. May be exposed to high, medium, or low noise intensity.
  4. Constant contact with co-workers required.
  5. Affinity for animals preferred.
  6. Exposure to fluctuations in temperatures may be required.
  7. Exposure to outdoor conditions may be required.


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