Leadership Gifts Officer (CAS)

Position Summary

This is a unique opportunity for a development professional with demonstrated success in individual major gifts fundraising to join an expanding development team at a renowned scientific institution. The California Academy of Sciences is an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park—and a powerful voice for biodiversity research and exploration, environmental education, and sustainability across the globe.

The Leadership Gifts Officer, a new position, will provide strategic leadership in identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding individual donors who support the Academy with major and planned gifts of $25,000 and above, contributing to the overall Leadership Philanthropy team goal of $11 million in annual unrestricted and restricted support. This position solicits significant gifts for the Academy’s core programs as well as global, cross-functional, and forward-thinking restricted gifts that advance research and science education in the Bay Area and beyond. This position reports to the Associate Director of Leadership Philanthropy.

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 & Responsibilities

  • Manage an existing portfolio and grow it to 100+ donors and prospects, helping our donors accomplish their philanthropic goals through a relationship with the Academy and through a partnership with key Academy team members
  • Help develop and execute a strategic plan for cultivating donors with an annual giving range of $25,000 and above and increase the revenue generated from annual and multi-year major and planned giving solicitations
  • Identify, cultivate and steward major gift prospects with an identified gift level of $25,000 and up. Working with the Development Division’s Senior Researcher, qualify prospects and determine whether appropriate for major gifts
  • Guided and aided by activity metrics, prioritize one-on-one meetings with prospects and donors and coordinate staff and volunteer leadership in the cultivation and solicitation of major gift prospects
  • Cultivate targeted prospects through special events, tours, visits, and other engagement opportunities; implement strategic follow-up working with volunteers, trustees, and staff
  • Draft and edit proposals and reports for potential and existing donors, working closely with the Development Communications Specialist as needed
  • Integrate the major gifts program with other fundraising goals and strategic initiatives, including working with the planned giving staff on blended gifts
  • Assist other team members on key projects or efforts that contribute to the organization’s larger regional and national development goals
  • Participate in marketing strategies including website updates, e-news, and other special donor publications and communication vehicles to promote major and planned gifts
  • Effectively represent and articulate Academy programs and strategic priorities and communicate a compelling case for support to donors, prospects, partners, and others
  • Follow Academy safety rules and regulations
  • Other duties and special projects as assigned


Minimum Qualifications

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 or preferred. 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 (B.A. or S.)
  • Minimum of 3-5 years of demonstrated success in nonprofit fundraising, preferably in a cultural, sciences, and/or cause-based institution
  • Demonstrated track record of success in major and/or planned gifts fundraising
  • Experience in/exposure to donor relations, special events, and moves management
  • Knowledge of or competency in planned giving a plus


Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and work with diverse groups across a complex organization in a collaborative and team-oriented manner
  • Work efficiently with sophisticated volunteers, trustees, executive director, senior leadership, and other staff for maximum personal contacts with donors and prospects
  • Highly articulate with exceptional interpersonal and written communication skills.
  • Interest in scientific research, education, and environmental sustainability
  • Excellent problem-solving, project management, presentation, and organizational skills
  • Possess personal initiative - a highly motivated self-starter
  • Sensitive to confidential information. Personal and professional integrity is essential
  • Knowledge of the Bay Area philanthropic community preferred
  • Stay abreast of changes and innovations in federal and state tax laws that may be relevant to major gift prospects
  • Solid background and proficiency in database management and spreadsheet applications
  • Proficiency in Moves Management, Tessitura, Google Suite, Excel, PowerPoint is preferred
  • Able to work occasional evenings and weekends

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 preferred.


Physical Demands & 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 perform repetitive motions 50% of the time. Must be able to lift 25 lbs.


Application Instructions

Please submit your cover letter and resume online at https://calacademy.snaphire.com/?job=25713EPP 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 arrest and conviction records pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance. For more information visit: https://sfgov.org/olse/fair-chance-ordinance-fco.


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.



Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.