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Major Gifts Officer

  • Washington, District of Columbia
  • Posted on Friday, November 10, 2017

A Major Gifts Officer (MGO) is a key, forward-facing player in the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) Development department. Coming onto the team with a passion for conservation, s/he will represent AWF in the competitive east coast market. S/he will manage a dynamic portfolio of individual prospects and donors who are currently giving or have the capacity to give $10,000+ annually. Together with the Manager of Major Gifts and Director of Development Operations, the MGO will design strategies to steward existing donors and cultivate new relationships. The MGO will also work closely with AWF’s Individual Gifts Officer (IGO) responsible for the same east coast market. The MGO will be responsible for implementing strategies to upgrade individuals identified by the IGO. The MGO will be a team player, collaborating to achieve annual unrestricted and restricted goals. This team is committed to growing a diverse pipeline of donors whose contributions support AWF’s mission to ensure that wildlife and wild land endure in modern Africa.


  • Grow the current portfolio within the assigned market to an ideal size of 100-150 prospects and donors who give or can give $10,000+ annually.
  • Qualify major donor prospects identified by Prospect Research Officer to determine their affinity for AWF’s mission and propensity to contribute at the major gift level.
  • Develop and implement fundraising strategies in partnership with the Manager of Major Gifts and the Director of Development Operations to secure and retain gifts of at least $10,000 annually from prospects and donors.
  • Work with the VP of Development and Marketing to engage east coast based AWF trustees in fundraising activities and support senior staff travel within assigned territory.
  • Attend events in her/his territory that are centered on conservation topics to network with potential donors and partner organizations as well as increase the public’s awareness of AWF’s presence in the market.
  • Collaborate closely with east coast-based IGO on outreach and strategy to upgrade Mid-Level donors with identified major giving capacity through the pipeline.
  • Understand and effectively communicate AWF’s unique value to African conservation, its goals, as well as details about its programs, with clarity and a demonstrated passion for the organization’s mission.
  • Work with Development team to strategically plan and execute monthly face-to-face visits based on geographical region and potential for upgrade.
  • Engage with donors via personalized emails and phone calls to share programmatic updates and key organization news, based on individuals’ interests.
  • Prepare written materials including visit strategies/briefings, correspondence, solicitation, and pledge documents.
  • Produce proposals and subsequent reports to solicit restricted and unrestricted funding from individual prospects and donors.
  • Utilize the Raiser’s Edge database to maintain accurate records of all donor interactions, individuals’ programmatic interests, trends in giving, and type of support to solicit.
  • Manage travel logistics for his/herself and on occasion other staff members – when appropriate –ensuring we are within budget requirements.
  • Co-lead donor safaris to Africa as needed.


  • Passionate about advocating for AWF’s mission to ensure that wildlife and wild lands endure in modern Africa.
  • Demonstrative knowledge of conservation issues and the organizational players across the east coast and eastern states.
  • Bachelor’s degree; graduate degree preferred.
  • 3 years of successful track record of fundraising with individual major donors and prospects. Experience with identifying corporate and foundation fundraising leads a plus.
  • Persuasive written communication skills in both creative and technical formats.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with genuine ability to relate to people from various geographic and economic backgrounds.
  • Confident public speaker, able to present compelling short programs to groups of donors and prospects.
  • Willingness to work extended hours to meet funding deadlines and occasional weekends when traveling.
  • Ability to travel at least 35% of the time (including travel to Africa when appropriate).
  • Experience with Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge software.

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