Director of Planned Giving
Catholic Extension
Location: Chicago, IL
Job Information:

Catholic Extension

A national fundraising organization building faith, inspiring hope and igniting change

Founded in 1905, Catholic Extension is the leading supporter of Catholic missions in the United States. Catholic Extension serves the pastoral mission of the Church by ensuring that the essential ministries of under-resourced and isolated U.S. dioceses remain intact by helping these dioceses build their capacity for the future. This is achieved by operating as both a fundraising and grant making organization that carries its work out strategically, with a high touch and in a spirit of optimism and innovation.

Over the last 113 years, Catholic Extension has distributed more than $1.3 billion to build strong communities of faith, so that Catholics in these areas have the tools to inspire hope and ignite change. Activities and programs supported include: southern border initiatives, post-hurricane rebuilding in Puerto Rico, support for college campus ministry and youth outreach, construction and renovation of churches and facilities, and funding for the education of lay and ordained leaders.

To support this mission work, the organization raises $20 – 25 million from 30,000 donors via a mature development program that includes annual, major and planned giving. Additionally, Catholic Extension is in the quiet phase of a $75 million philanthropic campaign focused on maximizing individual and foundation major gifts for ongoing and special initiatives.

Catholic Extension has a full-time staff of 50 employees based at its headquarters in Chicago or in one of its regional offices. Its staff is comprised of talented and experienced professionals working in a dynamic, fast-paced work environment and team-focused culture.

Director of Planned Giving

Based in Chicago and reporting to the Assistant Vice President of Development, the Director of Planned Giving will have a unique and important role overseeing Catholic Extension’s planned giving program. Historically, planned giving has been one of the organization’s strongest fundraising programs with almost $10 million in annual realized bequest intentions, a legacy donor society of more than 1,300 members and a gift annuity program totaling more than $30 million. The Gift Annuity program is managed by the Chief Financial Officer and his team. In addition, the management of open estates is handled by an experienced member of the Catholic Extension development team.

As robust as the program has been historically, there is the potential for even greater levels of success, as the organization now also has a major gifts program with multiple senior gift officers managing full portfolios across the country. Working with these gift officers to present an appealing planned gift option to potential donors is a real opportunity for the Director of Planned Giving moving forward.

In addition to facilitating planned gifts in concert with major gift officers, the Director of Planned Giving will manage a portfolio of his or her own. Through their personal interactions, the Director of Planned Giving will guide the process of identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of planned gift donors to meet fundraising goals. Catholic Extension holds itself to a high standard for the quality and quantity of work produced and will ask the Director of Planned Giving to aspire to do the same.

The Director of Planned Giving will maintain an in-depth knowledge of planned giving opportunities, as well as trends in planned giving. Further, the or she will be proficient in reviewing, editing and approving documents related to planned gifts, as well as preparing proposals for donor consideration. In some cases, the Director of Planned Giving will be responsible for drafting gift agreements in keeping with donor intentions, usually working with donor professional advisors or attorneys.

Other responsibilities of the Director of Planned Giving include:

  • Partner with the Assistant Vice President for Development in maintaining an annual plan for the program, including measurable fundraising goals and strategic activities to reach them.
  • Maintain a comprehensive understanding of Catholic Extension’s regional and national funding initiatives in order to articulate the organization’s mission and special initiatives.
  • Coordinate the execution of Catholic Extension’s overall planned giving strategy leveraging all resources across the entire development team. Engage with new prospective planned gift donors through visits, phone calls, personalized mailings and stewardship, using a moves management system.
  • Solicit and secure gifts from new planned gifts prospects in order to meet annual goals.
  • Steward existing planned giving donors who are members of Catholic Extension’s legacy planned giving society.
  • Prepare accurate proposals, communications and stewardship reports within established guidelines.
  • Work with the other development staff to maintain the integrity of the national donor database.
  • Be a role model for integrity, fiscal responsibility, ethical behavior and managerial excellence that supports the mission of Catholic Extension.
  • Support the mission and values of Catholic Extension and embrace the philosophies and teachings of the Catholic Church.

Candidate Qualifications

Catholic Extension seeks a professional with a minimum of eight years of post-college work experience and at least three to five years in a planned giving role or related experience. Candidates with experience in the field of wealth management who desire a move into a planned giving role with a non-profit are encouraged to apply.  A bachelor’s degree is required, and a graduate degree is preferred, although a law degree is not necessary.

Professional and personal attributes of sought-after candidates include:

  • An accomplished planned gifts officer or success in a comparable role; nonprofit major gifts experience a plus
  • Adept at initiating contact with donors and engaging in gift conversations
  • Demonstrated skills in listening, engaging and building rapport with people
  • Values process and results equally
  • Willing to travel up to 25% of the time
  • Driven, yet flexible
  • Strong writer and editor
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills
  • Comfortable working independently and as a member of a team
  • Respect for donors and outstanding follow through
  • Possess business acumen, including ability to follow a plan and manage a budget
  • Working knowledge of PG Calc software
  • Ability to work with Microsoft Office suite of software
  • A commitment to and understanding of the mission and teachings of the Catholic Church
  • A sense of humor