Major Gifts Officer (ACA)


Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 22 state offices, 44 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 46 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

Position Summary

Audubon California is expanding its focus on major gifts fundraising and seeks to hire a Major Gifts Officer in California. This position is an opportunity for a highly motivated development professional to build and manage a portfolio of donors capable of making 5- and 6-figure gifts, as well as to help Audubon grow its major gifts program toward the seven-figure range. The Audubon California development team includes four members, and is supplemented by a contract grant writer as well as energetic, committed, and personable program staff. This position reports to the Director of Development for Audubon California.

The Major Gifts Officer is responsible for best practices of moves management, donor focused philanthropic advising, and direct solicitation of supporters. The successful candidate will be an entrepreneurial, result driven, development professional with success in closing five and six figure gifts. This position requires up to 50% travel throughout California and select opportunity areas located within the state; evenings and weekends are also occasionally required.

Essential Functions

  • Under the direction of the Director of Development for Audubon California, qualify and select prospective donors to build an active portfolio of 120 to 140 individuals for Major Gift management.  Help craft a strategy for attracting new and diverse donors to Audubon; proactively forge relationships with individuals who are not yet invested in the organization.
  • Effectively partner with colleagues across the network to create donor-focused engagement. Communicate and collaborate with the Audubon California Executive Director and Director of Development, development staff in the Pacific Flyway, National development staff, Audubon California program staff and others across the network.
  • Create and implement personalized cultivation/stewardship plans and gift requests for each donor within portfolio, to be based on their philanthropic focus and maximizing their giving to Audubon. Ensure portfolio receives timely and accurate proposals, narrative and financial reports, invitations to events and other cultivation and stewardship communications.
  • Develop a strong knowledge of Audubon’s Strategic Plan and Audubon California’s conservation priorities and programs stemming from its 5-year business plan, priority projects and core initiatives, and continually find ways to increase personal knowledge of birds and the issues that impact our work.
  • Regularly review portfolio and donor strategy with the California development team and peers to refine approaches, share successes and problem solve.
  • Fully brief volunteers, executives and program staff for all interactions with the donors, including research information, goals of meeting, and talking points.
  • Plan and execute introductory or cultivation events for donors and prospects as agreed upon with Director of Development and with assistance from Development Associate.
  • Work with portfolio and Director of Gift Planning to deepen relationships and encourage Planned Giving opportunities.
  • Using donor database, create and record timely reports on all donor interactions.
  • Adhere to the highest ethical standards, demonstrate empathetic disposition and perseverance, reflect optimistic and positive attitude, and convey sensitivity to the needs of donors.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Five to seven plus years of significant nonprofit fundraising in organizations that have a reputation for strategic thinking, organizational excellence and aggressive action.
  • Proven track record of building strong donor relationships, closing major gifts in the five and six-figure range, as well as expertise in Moves Management. Experience working with and closing seven-figure gifts a plus.
  • Demonstrated experience working within a matrix organization, as well as with boards and/or other leadership groups.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with teams, cross functionally and with high-level volunteers and boards.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a complex matrixed organization
  • Demonstrated ability to be entrepreneurial and be comfortable with ambiguity
  • An autonomous self-starter, one who is able to manage projects, establish and monitor priorities, maintain flexibility and meet deadlines with little direct supervision.
  • Exceptionally strong communicator, writer, with strategic thinking, analytical skills and attention to detail.
  • Outstanding stewardship and relationship management skills.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, as well as comfort with donor databases.  Experience with Millennium or Salesforce desired, but not required.
  • A flexible approach to work, as well as the willingness and ability to work evenings and weekends, when needed.
  • Frequent travel throughout California is required.
  • Interest, understanding, and commitment to the conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitat is critical, as is the ability to communicate Audubon’s mission, goals, and programs effectively and with the highest professional standards.
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred.

Note: All applications are made through Audubon’s online system: