Associate Director, Gift Planning (CAS)

Position Summary

The Associate Director will lead the administration of existing life-income gifts and will work closely with an experienced and successful Leadership Philanthropy team to strategize and prepare blended giving requests. This role supervises the Planned Giving Coordinator and together the Planned Giving team’s contributed income comprise a significant component of the Academy’s Development efforts. Reporting to the Director of Leadership Philanthropy, the Associate Director of Gift Planning is responsible for the development, implementation, solicitation, and realization of the gift planning initiatives for the California Academy of Sciences A great opportunity for an experienced Planned Giving professional who can be innovative in approaching gift planning and blended gift opportunities with major donors, in coordination with the Leadership Philanthropy team and identify areas to enhance the existing Eastwood Associates legacy giving society to attract a diverse and growing audience of planned giving prospects. This position is open to discussion for relocation for qualified applicants.

The California Academy of Sciences welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities, and beliefs to join us in achieving our mission to explore, explain, and sustain life. We place diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of our recruiting efforts and strive to build a culture centered on mutual respect, equal treatment, and the opportunity to succeed.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit planned gifts; both standalone and as part of a blended gift strategy working with the Leadership Philanthropy team
  • Secure planned gifts and endowment gifts through personal interactions with prospects and their advisors
  • Create and maintain a comprehensive plan in coordination with the Development Department Strategic Plan to integrate planned giving into the cultivation of current Academy donors
  • Set multi-year goals and strategies for the solicitation of new blended gifts in coordination with the Director of Leadership Gifts
  • Partner with Leadership Philanthropy team to develop individualized stewardship plans for blended gift prospects; accompany Major Gift Officers on donor visits; assist in drafting blended gift proposals
  • Create, execute, and monitor a planned giving marketing plan and marketing collateral materials as needed. Partner with the Membership and Marketing teams on promoting planned giving and blended gifts at the Academy to external audiences and prospective legacy donors
  • Maximize engagement with known and prospective legacy donors through meetings, visits, and conversations
  • Oversee the administration of realized estate gifts
  • Direct the management of the Eastwood Associates legacy society including cultivation and recognition events, stewardship, correspondence, and other communication and activities
  • Maintain the portfolio of 250+ Eastwood Associates by appropriately stewarding this group
  • Manage Planned Giving budget
  • Supervise Planned Giving Coordinator in tracking deferred and matured gifts, estates in process, distributions to beneficiaries of pooled income funds and charitable remainder trusts, charitable gifts annuities, and correct designation and use of donor-restricted matured gifts
  • In collaboration with the Planned Giving Coordinator, enhance, monitor, and maintain the Academy’s planned giving website
  • Create and deliver educational presentations about planned giving across the Academy: staff, volunteers, docents, and trustees to build awareness about the program and advantages of gift planning
  • Attend and host Academy events, and represent the Academy at outside functions, as required
  • Position requires occasional attendance at evening/weekend functions.
  • Follow all Academy safety regulations
  • Other duties as assigned



To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/ or Experience

A qualified candidate will possess a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree; Advanced degree or law degree preferred
  • A minimum of five years in a prior planned giving position within a nonprofit fundraising department
  • Experience and demonstrated success with managing a portfolio of planned giving prospects through personal contacts, cultivation, follow-up, closing gifts, and donor stewardship
  • At least 2 years of supervisory experience preferred


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Superior interpersonal and communication skills to exchange information, speak effectively and persuasively with individuals inside and outside the Academy and in working with volunteers
  • Ability to work in a team environment with major gifts officers, finance and legal department, volunteers, and scientific staff
  • Experience with planned giving marketing activities
  • Liaise with professional advisors, attorneys, and financial institutions
  • Understanding of estate planning, planned giving vehicles and uses, and tax laws and ability to communicate this easily to prospective donors
  • Understanding of estate/trust/life income gift management, record keeping, and maintenance of planned giving database
  • Knowledge of donor management database Tessitura, a plus

Language Skills 

Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals. Bilingual (spoken and/or written) in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, or other non-English language desired.

Physical Demands and Work Environment

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear. Must be able to lift 25 lbs.  Must be able to perform repetitive motions 20 % of the time.

Application Instructions

Please submit your cover letter and resume online at Note that the recruitment timeline for positions vary and depend on many factors, so it is impossible to accurately predict when a position will close. We appreciate your patience during this process. No phone calls please.

The California Academy of Sciences will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.

The California Academy of Sciences is a non-smoking facility. There is also no smoking in Golden Gate Park.

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