Major Gifts Officer - NY Region

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society. WHOI’s team of scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. Help us explore and learn more about the ocean and the many mysteries it holds.


WHOI seeks a Major Gifts Officer (working title of Development Director) to manage and further cultivate a strong group of existing donors in the greater New York City region to support the ambitious and strategic fundraising growth of the organization. In particular, this positon will be responsible for working with the team to drive WHOI’s campaign and be responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gift donors and prospects. The successful candidate for this position will need to be based in the New York City region. 


Key to success in this role will be identifying and building relationships with new prospects, as well as strengthening relationships with existing donors to maximize philanthropic support. In addition to soliciting major gifts, this position will develop ways in which donors can support the future of WHOI through transformational campaign gifts.


This position will report to the Chief Development Officer and will work closely with other Development colleagues and key stakeholders to expand and grow the fundraising efforts of WHOI.  


Please submit a cover letter in addition to CV.

Essential Functions

Major Gift Portfolio Management

  • Grow and manage a portfolio of 125-150 prospects capable of making five-to seven-figure philanthropic commitments.
  • Meet quarterly benchmarks and goals based on activity with prospects/donors and annual fundraising goals.
  • Identify and qualify new major gift prospects and create a comprehensive strategy for donor cultivation, solicitation, and retention based on the donor’s giving history and capacity.
  • Directly solicit major gifts and partner with senior staff and/or volunteers on solicitations by providing prospect briefings, strategic guidance, and assistance with donor communications.
  • Track prospect activity by creating and sharing reports that accurately reflect donor relationships and support through the moves management system.
  • Ensure that key prospects are actively managed by meeting and corresponding regularly with them; communicate fundraising goals and move prospects through the major gifts pipeline.
  • Enhance the operational efficiency of WHOI’s major giving program by developing, implementing, and ensuring that all systems and processes—from gift documentation to reporting—are accurate and align with the needs and requirements of the organization.
  • Prepare and present written and oral briefings, follow-up materials, and contact reports on major gift prospects/donors in a timely manner.
  • Manage, write, and develop WHOI’s process for drafting written gift agreements, letters of intent, and other legal instruments pertaining to donor gifts.
  • Work strategically, as assigned, with the Chief Development Officer, Director of Advancement Operations & Stewardship, staff, and volunteer leaders to communicate fundraising priorities.

Prospect Cultivation and Donor Stewardship

  • Coordinate other individuals in the WHOI teams to develop, plan, and participate in strategic donor engagement opportunities, such as small events for select prospects under direct management and larger donor stewardship events.
  • Develop a high-quality donor experience through regular correspondence, professional proposals, and timely acknowledgements.
  • Lead the development and implementation of cultivation and stewardship for major gift donors in collaboration with colleagues.
  • Engage prospects in volunteer activities (as appropriate) to further steward and cultivate those relationships.
  • Personally acknowledge all gifts from assigned prospects.
  • Visit specified regions across the country to cultivate prospective donors and build relationships.
  • Represent WHOI at events.

Advancement Responsibilities

  • Ensure relationships are developed with other potential partners through engagement tactics that complement fundraising activities.
  • Serve as a point person for the NY Chapter and its volunteer Steering Committee.
  • Partner with the Development Events team on NY region event engagement activities.
  • Collaborate with the engagement team to understand and learn demographic and personal information related to WHOI constituencies, prospects, and donors.

Non-Essential Functions

Other duties as assigned.

Education & Experience

  • Keen understanding of WHOI’s mission and goals, and the ability to articulate its uniqueness and relevance.
  • Minimum of 5+ years’ experience in major gifts fundraising.
  • Bachelor's degree required; advanced degree preferred.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, and a strong ability to inspire and engage a wide range of donors and build long-term relationships. Proven record of closing 5 and 6 figure gifts.
  • The ability to serve as senior member of the Development Team, providing thoughtful insights and high-level strategic input in all areas of fundraising and prospect management.
  • A working knowledge of constituent management systems with an emphasis in Raiser’s Edge/NXT, and Microsoft 365 suite of products. A strong understanding of best practices for tracking campaign and major gifts.
  • This is a high visibility position in the WHOI Community which requires a solution-oriented mindset and strong skills in diplomacy, communication, collaboration, demonstrated sensitivity in handling confidential information, and a sense of humor.
  • Some travel and weekend and after-hours work required.


Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include the ability to lift less than 25 lbs and carry up to 10 lbs. Near vision is required as well as being able to work around and with others; as well as working alone while being able to hear and talk. This position is mostly sedentary in nature, requires occasional standing, walking, use of hands for basic/fine grasping/manipulating. All are welcome to apply!


Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed