Major Gifts Officer
Friends of the Children-Chicago
Location: Chicago, IL
Job Information:


Friends of the Children-Chicago (Friends-Chicago) is part of a national mentoring organization currently in 33 locations across the country and still expanding. Our model is to impact generational change by empowering youth through relationships with professional mentors. We pair kindergartners facing the greatest obstacles with long-term, salaried,

professional mentors, who we call “Friends,” to support their emotional, social, and academic growth. We walk beside our youth for 12.5 years – No Matter What. At Friends-Chicago we are a dynamic and lively team. We put children first and use our values to change the way the world treats and views youth facing great barriers. We nurture long-term relationships from a foundation of love, acceptance, and culturally informed practice.

Friends-Chicago works in communities most impacted by gun violence. We have served children on Chicago’s West Side since 2018 and have recently expanded to Chicago’s South Side. Our Clubhouse and administrative office are in North Lawndale. Friends-Chicago is in a period of exciting growth and expansion from our current donor base and significant new investments through ARPA and other government sources, as well as an unsolicited, seven-figure gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. With 28 staff members and an expanded FY23 operating budget of $2.8 million, there is great momentum for building our individual and corporate giving programs. It is in this context that we now seek a Major Gifts Officer (MGO) to help the organization focus on building even stronger relationships with our existing individual and corporate major donors and forging new opportunities for partnership to drive revenue. 


Friends-Chicago is currently seeking a frontline fundraiser who will manage a blended portfolio of individual and corporate donors. Reporting to the Director of Development, the MGO will identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward contributions of $5,000 and above in support of general operations and special projects. The MGO will utilize the time of the Executive Director and members of the Board of Directors strategically to further funder relationships.

The group raising funds at Friends of the Children is a highly coordinated Development Team that includes a Director of Development, Development & Communications Manager, and Development Coordinator, in addition to the MGO role. The MGO will have no direct reports but will receive some administrative and program support from the Development Coordinator.


Fundraising (70% of time)

  • Manage a starting portfolio of approximately 100 new and existing individual, family foundation, and corporate donors.
  • Conduct prospect research and establish goals and strategies for each donor and prospect in the portfolio.
  • Ensures research, goals and strategies are documented in donor management software and interactions follow a moves management system to ensure strategic, timely, and personalized interactions with donors and prospects.
  • Maintain a high volume of direct interactions with donors and prospects.
  • Create opportunities for prospects and donors to learn more about Friends-Chicago, including implementing small events.
  • Solicit gifts personally and, when appropriate, in partnership with the Executive Director, other staff, or Board members.
  • Help to secure major contributions and sponsorships for fundraising events such as Friendsfest.
  • Provide thoughtful stewardship to ensure donors understand the impact of their giving, including regularly scheduled communications (reports, updates, etc.) and personalized correspondence.
  • Develop and execute strategies to develop a sustainable pipeline of major donors.
  • Build working relationships with financial advisors and DAF managers.
  • Fulfill sponsorship and other corporate giving commitments and contracts.
  • Prepare high-quality written communications for donors, including personalized proposals, stewardship reports, and general correspondence.
  • Ensure that all gifts from major donors are properly acknowledged according to agency protocols.   

Staffing Up (20% of time)

  • Provide support and partnership to the Executive Director and selected members of the Board in the areas of major donor strategy, communications, and engagement.

Planning & Organizational Development (10% of time)

  • Develop a strong working knowledge of Friends-Chicago’s mission, programs, values, and priorities.
  • In partnership with the Development Team and Executive Director, set annual major gifts and corporate giving goals.
  • Produce regularly scheduled reports on activities and outcomes, regularly evaluate progress toward goals, adjusting as needed.
  • Work as part of a team that is continually identifying, qualifying, soliciting, and advancing donors through the Cycle of Donor Relations.


  • Model professionalism, hard work, and high ethical standards.
  • Protect our funders and the organization by keeping information confidential.
  • Effectively communicate organization’s goals and values, both internally and externally.


We seek the following skills, knowledge, and abilities in our next Major Gifts Officer:

  • Professional, entrepreneurial, and passionate about our mission.
  • A go-getter who enjoys being out with others, comfortable with individual donors and corporate funders, and a natural match maker.
  • Shows compassion for others, including our city’s most vulnerable children and committed to the equity and social justice issues central to Friends-Chicago’s mission.
  • Able to set priorities, achieve defined objectives, and work within deadlines essential.
  • At least 3 years of experience in direct fundraising, and 2+ years’ personally soliciting and securing five-figure and above gifts.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills; able to draft compelling proposals and donor correspondence independently.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and able to work with a wide range of donor personalities.
  • Must be creative, flexible, responsible, well-organized, able to balance a variety of activities, and comfortable working in a fast-paced environment.
  • Experience working within donor databases and adept with technology (Microsoft 365, Zoom, etc.).

Work Environment:

  • This position operates in a professional office environment. It is expected the employee will be working remotely four days/week with one day in the office.
  • This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, filing cabinets. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk, hear, and use hands to operate office equipment.
  • Travel to other sites in the metro area is required. Some of those sites may not be wheelchair accessible or accessible via public transportation.
  • Evening and weekend work are occasionally required.
  • Workplace is a smoke- and drug-free environment.
  • Equal Opportunity Employer. Decisions and criteria governing the employment relationship with all employees are made in a non-discriminatory manner, without regard to race, ethnicity, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, citizenship status, military service and/or marital status, order of protection status, handicap, disability, or any other factor determined to be unlawful by federal, state, or local statutes.


  • Salary $90,000
  • Competitive benefits are available, including health insurance (medical/dental/vision), life insurance, 3 weeks of paid vacation, and 2 weeks of paid sick time per year. We also offer a 401K Program with employer matching up to 4% after the initial 90 days of employment.