Major Gifts Officer

Start Date: August 2019

As a member of the Durham Academy Development Team, the Major Gifts Officer will play a key role in developing and executing strategies to identify, qualify, cultivate and solicit major gift prospects with the capacity to make commitments of $25,000 or more. The Major Gift Officer’s priority is to manage his/her portfolio to deepen major gift prospects’ engagement with the school and secure major philanthropic commitments.

The Major Gifts Officer reports to the Director of Development. This is a permanent, full-time, 12-month position with benefits.  

Responsibilities: Working closely with the Director of Development, develop and implement donor cultivation strategies to secure major gift funding for the capital campaign, Durham Academy (annual) Fund and endowment.

  • Actively manage a portfolio of 150–200 prospects rated with the capacity to give $25,000 or more
  • Conduct 80–100 meaningful prospect encounters per year, in person, locally and nationally
  • Engage in all aspects of the gift cycle: identify prospective donors; initiate contacts with potential major donors; move potential donors toward solicitation and closure; and maintain stewardship expectations
  • Prepare written materials, including correspondence, solicitation and proposal materials, acknowledgments, regular communications and moves management reports
  • Work collaboratively with the Development team and volunteers to fulfill Durham Academy’s mission by meeting its fundraising goals
  • Participate in donor events and fundraisers, such as biennial Benefit Auction Gala and annual Cavalier Circle Donor Reception, and, where appropriate, other school events

Experience and skills:

  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree a plus
  • Five or more years of successful major gifts work in an independent school, college or university
  • Demonstrated experience in various aspects of development, from prospect identification and qualification to face-to-face solicitation; from annual giving programming to event planning
  • Experience with a moves management system is highly desired, as is previous campaign experience
  • Demonstrated track record as a self-motivated, action-oriented fundraiser and relationship builder, with a sense of urgency in implementing major gift strategies and tactics, who can think creatively and work independently
  • Ability to develop genuine relationships with donors that enhance their inclination to support DA and the confidence to solicit, secure and steward major gifts at the appropriate aspirational levels
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Personal commitment to the Durham Academy mission and the work of the development team to support and enhance that mission

Applicants should email a cover letter, résumé and list of three references to Director of Development Leslie Holdsworth at No phone calls, please.

It is the policy of Durham Academy to make employment decisions on the basis of qualifications for a specific job without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national or ethnic origin, age, veteran status, or the presence of a disability, except where such is a bona fide occupational qualification.