Major Gifts Officer

Development Washington, District Of Columbia





JOB TITLE:  Major Gifts Officer 

CLASSIFICATION: Professional 3 

SALARY: $73,000 - $81,000 

FLSA:  Exempt 

DEPARTMENT:  Development 

LOCATION: Washington, DC 

REPORTS TO:  Senior Director, Philanthropy 


LAST REVISED:  March 2022 



The Major Gifts Officer is responsible for managing donor relationships and closing $10,000 gifts from major donors and prospects in the Midwest, marketing donor-advised fund, IRA qualified charitable distributions and stock giving as well as managing projects within the Development department in support of major gifts fundraising. Working on the Major Gifts team, this position will play a key role in the development and growth of Defenders’ major gift donor relationships and related revenue. Key tasks include serving as the major gift relationship manager for donors in the Midwest and marketing increasingly popular giving vehicles. 


  • Develops and manages a portfolio of 75-100 donors and prospects of $10,000+ to Defenders of Wildlife. Establishes and carries out donor cultivation and solicitation strategies including personal visits, events, letters, e-mails and telephone calls. Qualifies and recruits key prospects, including individuals and family foundations. 
  • Manages marketing and serves as external contact for donor-advised fund, IRA qualified charitable distributions and stock giving
  • In consultation with the Senior Director of Philanthropy and Vice President of Philanthropy, sets donor portfolio goals, evaluates results and develops new approaches as needed. Develops multi-year fundraising strategies and goals for selected donors.
  • Prepares progress reports and funding proposals for select $10,000+ donors.
  • Work with volunteer hosts, Development staff and regional staff to coordinate donor cultivation events and field trips.
  • Engages and supports senior management, program staff and Board members in executing donor strategies.
  • Helps drive Annual Dinner fundraising including sponsorship asks and benefits as well as board giving and event donors
  • Leads donor trip attendance recruitment
  • Supports cultivation, stewardship and solicitation strategies, major donor events planning and major donor communications and collateral.
  • Maintains the highest level of confidentiality related to donor/prospect information.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.



Education: Bachelor’s (B.A./B.S.) degree or equivalent  

Experience: 5 years of relevant experience with exposure to major gift donor cultivation, solicitation and stewardship processes preferred 

An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above. 


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for All Defenders 


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Professional 3 


  1. Ability to accurately maintain electronic and physical records
  2. Anticipate and meet the needs of internal and/or external stakeholders delivering excellent service


  1. Ability to clearly and accurately communicate with internal and external stakeholders
  2. Ability to articulate complex ideas clearly, accurately and concisely
  3. Ability to convey effective messages to broad and diverse constituencies
  4. Ability and willingness to effectively represent Defenders’ interests in external environments
  5. Ability to exert influence and build consensus with internal and external stakeholders\

Critical Thinking 

  1. Ability to handle sensitive and confidential matters with discretion
  2. Strong research and data analysis skills, including ability to gather and synthesize information from multiple sources to produce high quality work products in a consistent, efficient, accurate, and timely manner
  3. Creative problem-solving and troubleshooting skills with willingness to experiment and innovate new methods.
  4. Facilitate and promote the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion strategies into Defenders’ work
  5. Ability to independently exercise appropriate judgment in response to complex and/or fluid environments
  6. Strategic thinker with the ability to take high-level strategy and translate into relatable points and action steps.

Project Management 

  1. Ability to work well under pressure and tight deadlines while balancing competing assignments
  2. Ability to remain flexible and adaptable to shifting priorities while remaining responsive to urgent requests
  3. Ability to take ownership of a project or process and to use problem solving skills to resolve issues
  4. Ability to manage deadlines on multiple cross-functional projects in a dynamic environment
  5. Demonstrated ability in managing competing interests on complex issues
  6. Ability to independently initiate project and initiative ideas; managing projects and initiatives through to completion

Coalition and Community Engagement 

  1. Strong interpersonal skills and ability to form effective working relationships with diverse constituencies including federal/state agencies; elected officials and their staff; Defenders’ members and donors; private landowners; hunters and anglers; community leaders; religious, scientific, and academic communities; and /or the general public.
  2. Ability to lead diverse stakeholders in collaborative activities, to anticipate policy issues impacting wildlife and make recommendations within Defenders, other organizations, and coalitions.
  3. Networking skills to engage with leaders in the conservation community, federal and state agencies, NGOs, and other organizations.


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Major Gifts Officer 



Physical Activities 

Check all that apply 


(N)Never, (O)Occasionally or (C)Constantly 

Ascending or descending ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles and the like. 


Moving self in different positions to accomplish tasks in various environments including tight and confined spaces. 


Remaining in a stationary position, often standing or sitting for prolonged periods. 


Moving about to accomplish tasks or moving from one worksite to another. 


Adjusting or moving objects up to 10 pounds in all directions. 


Communicating with others to exchange information. 


Repeating motions that may include the wrists, hands and/or fingers. 


Operating machinery and/or power tools. 


Operating motor vehicles or heavy equipment. 


Assessing the accuracy, neatness and thoroughness of the work assigned. 



Environmental Conditions 

Check all that apply 


(N)Never, (O)Occasionally or (C)Constantly 

Low temperatures. 


High temperatures. 


Outdoor elements such as precipitation and wind. 


Noisy environments. 


Hazardous conditions. 


Poor ventilation. 


Small and/or enclosed spaces. 


No adverse environmental conditions expected.  



Physical Demands 

Check only one 


Sedentary work that primarily involves sitting/standing. 


Light work that includes moving objects up to 20 pounds. 


Medium work that includes moving objects up to 50 pounds. 


Heavy work that includes moving objects up to 100 pounds or more. 



Visit to apply. 

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job. 

Defenders of Wildlife requires employees who engage in in-person work activities, including business travel or onsite work, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An applicant (i) who is disabled or pregnant or who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination or (ii) who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice may request an exemption from this vaccination policy. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with applicable law. Any medical information concerning an applicant's disability will be treated as a confidential medical record in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws. 

Defenders of Wildlife provides equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, creed, religion, sex national origin, ethnicity, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, personal appearance, family/parental status, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristic in all personnel actions. 

Please be advised this position is union-eligible.