Senior 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 26 cities 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 we are expanding this year to Chicago’s South Side. Our Clubhouse and administrative office are in Lawndale. Friends-Chicago is in a period of exciting growth and expansion, including the growth of our donor base, significant new investments through ARPA and other government sources, and an unsolicited, seven-figure gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. With a newly expanded FY23 operating budget of $2.8 million and a staff of 16 growing to 28 by the end of 2023, there is great momentum for building our individual and corporate giving programs. It is in this context that we now seek a Senior Major Gifts Officer to help the organization focus on building even stronger relationships with our existing individual and corporate major donors and forging new opportunities for partnership.

SENIOR MAJOR GIFTS OFFICER

Friends-Chicago is currently seeking an experienced professional to build a major giving program among individuals and corporations. Reporting to the Director of Development, this is a frontline fundraising and donor services position, managing a portfolio of the organization’s top individual and corporate donors. The Senior Major Gifts Officer (SMGO) will identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward contributions of $10,000 and above in support of general operations and special projects. The SMGO will also provide guidance and support to the Board of Directors and Executive Director in their fundraising capacity. The SMGO will function as part of a highly coordinated Development Team that includes a Director of Development, Development & Communications Manager, and Development Coordinator. This position has no direct reports but will receive selected administrative and program support from the Development Coordinator.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:

Planning and Organizational Development (5% of time)

  • Develop a strong working knowledge of Friends-Chicago’s mission, programs, values, and priorities.
  • In partnership with the Development Director and Executive Director, set annual major gifts and corporate giving goals.
  • Regularly evaluate progress toward goals and adjust as needed.
  • Work as part of a team that is continually identifying, qualifying, soliciting, and upgrading donors.

Individual Major Gifts (45% of time)

  • Manage a starting portfolio of approximately 60 new and existing individual and family foundation donors.
  • Conduct prospect research and establish individual goals and strategies for each donor and prospect in the portfolio.
  • 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 for fundraising events such as Friendsfest.
  • Provide thoughtful stewardship to ensure donors understand the impact of their donations, 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.
  • Support the Board and Executive Director’s major gifts activities by collaborating on strategy, providing coaching on methods of asking, scheduling donor visits, preparing meeting briefs, and implementing follow up activities.
  • Draft personalized gift acknowledgement letters for major donors and other donor correspondence for the Executive Director and other staff as appropriate.  Ensure that all gifts from major donors are properly acknowledged according to agency protocols.

Corporate Giving (45% of time)

  • Manage a starting portfolio of approximately 40 existing and prospective corporate donors that give through their philanthropic, marketing, and/or sponsorship budgets.
  • Conduct prospect research and establish goals and strategies for each corporate donor and prospect in the portfolio.
  • Create a corporate giving recognition program in keeping with Friends-Chicago’s values.
  • Maintain a high volume of direct interactions with corporate donors and prospects.
  • Submit proposals and solicit gifts personally and, when appropriate, in partnership with the Executive Director, other staff or board members.
  • Help to secure corporate sponsorships for fundraising events such as Friendsfest.
  • Fulfill sponsorship and other corporate giving commitments and contracts.
  • Support the Board and Executive Director’s corporate giving activities by collaborating on strategy, providing coaching on methods of asking, scheduling donor visits, preparing meeting briefs, and implementing follow up activities.
  • Draft personalized gift acknowledgement letters for corporate donors and other donor correspondence for the Executive Director and other staff as appropriate. Ensure that all gifts from corporate donors are properly acknowledged according to agency protocols.

Development Systems (5% of time)

  • Utilize a moves management system to ensure strategic, timely, and personalized interactions with donors and prospects.
  • Contribute to an effective development process including maintaining donor contact records (Little Green Light).
  • Produce regularly scheduled internal reports on major gifts activities and outcomes.

Other

  • 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.

QUALIFICATIONS

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

  • A go-getter who enjoys being out with others, comfortable with individual donors and corporate funders, and a natural match maker
  • Passion for serving the most vulnerable children and committed to the equity and social justice issues central to Friends-Chicago’s mission
  • Growth mindset and eager to increase revenue to serve more children
  • At least 8 years of experience in direct fundraising, and 3+ years in personally soliciting and securing five-figure and above gifts
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills; able to draft proposals and donor correspondence
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Enjoys a unified approach to fundraising, i.e., working strategically across teams to maximize the donor experience and fundraising success
  • Must be creative, flexible, responsible, well-organized, and able to balance a variety of activities.
  • Ability to manage systems, set priorities, and work within deadlines essential
  • Enthusiasm for working in a supportive team environment
  • Experience working within donor databases (preferred)
  • Previous experience coordinating small special events (preferred).

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.

Compensation:

  • Salary $80,000 – $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.