TITLE: Senior Director, Major Gifts
DEPARTMENT: Advancement
REPORTS TO: Senior Vice President, Advancement
LOCATION: Washington, DC Headquarters


The Senior Director of Major Gifts identifies, engages, cultivates, solicits, and stewards current and prospective individual donors in expanding their financial support of the work of American Rivers. S/he is responsible for meeting an annual revenue target by working with an assigned portfolio of donors and prospects to secure gift commitments of $10,000 or more. The Senior Director also supervises a three-member team to ensure the consistent and effective implementation of donor cultivation and solicitation strategies to reach the major gift team’s collective revenue goal.

As a member of Advancement’s Senior Leadership Team, s/he works directly with the President/CEO as well as board members and other volunteer leadership. S/he collaborates with colleagues in development operations, membership, mid-level giving, online strategy, communications and conservation. This is an exciting opportunity to work with a talented, high-energy team of professionals who are making a difference in the environmental field.


Planning, Strategy and Budgeting

  • Develop overall major gift team’s strategic direction, objectives and budget; including fiscal year revenue and engagement goals (e.g., dollars raised, visits completed).
  • Lead changes to the annual work plan based on results and ongoing review of program performance to keep team on task and provide updates to leadership and board.
  • Develop and execute personalized solicitation strategies for each donor/prospect in assigned portfolio with information about specific initiatives, persons involved in each task, and target dates for each purposeful action; track activities and information in CRM.
  • Collaborate with staff in other departments, including advancement and conservation, to create customized solicitation plans and proposals matching the objectives of the organization and interests of the donor or prospect.
  • Prepare and conduct donor briefings for President/CEO’s assigned visits or solicitations.
  • Effectively manage and supervise the major gifts team, including assistance with donor strategies, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth through regular performance reviews, guidance, and encouraging training while presenting new techniques and recruiting/hiring staff as needed.
  • Monitor budgets to align major gifts team resources and programs with organizational goals.

 Fundraising Targets and Portfolio Management

  • Conduct a significant number of qualified contacts per month with donors and prospects to form and strengthen relationships for long-term.
  • Prepare personalized materials for face-to-face meetings or other donor interactions.
  • Meet minimum annual fundraising goal, as specified in annual budget and work plan, including both unrestricted and restricted revenue targets.
  • Write reports following donor contact; record and enter contact reports and other information about donors in CRM.

Pipeline Development

  • Assist with and drive planning of ongoing donor cultivation and engagement strategies using opportunities such as small cultivation events and volunteer meetings.
  • Drive implementation of prospect discovery and qualification system; contacting and qualifying high-capacity prospects identified through screenings.
  • Define and monitor a set of performance metrics to evaluate major gift program success including portfolio potential, strategies, and execution.
  • Coordinate bi-annual review of the major gift team portfolio.


  • Stay current with major gift trends and best practices, using industry data to make strategic decisions.
  • Enthusiastically participate in department meetings, organization-wide meetings and activities, and staff committees.
  • Perform other fundraising duties and special projects in support of the Advancement Department, as needed, as a member of the Senior Leadership Team.


  • An advanced degree and a minimum of 12 years of significant major gift fundraising experience. Or an appropriate combination of education and at least 15 years of relevant experience in sales or business development or other related fields, in a confidential environment to a sophisticated audience, will be considered.
  • History of closing six and seven-figure gifts or sales/ marketing accounts, including the ability to evaluate, qualify and move prospects through the identification, cultivation and solicitation cycle.
  • Experience interacting with high-net worth individuals and the ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality.
  • Previous supervisory experience of gift officers desired, including assisting with strategies and helping track metrics.
  • Excellent communication skills coupled with strong writing and presentation skills.
  • Understanding and knowledge of budgeting processes.
  • Understanding of gift procedures, including restrictions and donor crediting.
  • Proficiency with donor database/CRM applications (ROI preferred).
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • High-energy level, flexible and self-motivated, with the ability to work both independently and supervise a team.
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills, ability to prioritize, and manage time efficiently.
  • Ability to travel frequently, outside of normal work hours, to meet donors and attend functions; amount varies depending on portfolio.
  • Prefer candidate with some knowledge of and interest in conservation and environmental issues.
  • Personal commitment to American Rivers’ mission.


Salary is commensurate with experience. Full‐time employee benefits include health, dental and life insurance, a retirement plan, and generous leave time.


Applications will be considered immediately. Applicants should submit a resume, cover letter and salary requirements to: [email protected] with “Senior Director, Major Gifts” in the subject line. No phone calls please.

American Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.