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  Sample job descriptions and job description tips. Employment

 Special Gifts Officer

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The Special Gift Officer and Major Gifts Officer (MGO) are responsible for managing relationships with major donor prospects determined to have the ability to make gifts at or above $10K and $1M, respectively (specifically: SGO prospects’ potential is $10K-99K and MGO prospects’ potential is $100-$999K).

The Gift Officers report to the Director of Major Gifts. These positions are charged with developing and implementing strategies for securing financial support from a portfolio of donor prospects -- 200 for the MGO and 300 for the SGO-- including identifying, qualifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gifts for the university from alumni, parents, and friends.

Gift officers work independently and also as members of the University Advancement team, and coordinate their activities with those of other units in University Advancement and other units at the university.

Principal duties:
  • Develop a caseload of active major gifts prospects, and set and carry out strategies for solicitation of these prospects
  • Assume and achieve annual fundraising and activity goals: $1M in new commitments and 350 total initiatives for the MGO; $500,000 in new commitments and 350 total initiatives for the SGO
  • Work independently and be self-motivated in initiating contacts with potential donors
  • Work in a collegial manner with development team in creating and implementing strategies for cultivation, solicitation, and closure
  • Determine whether an individual is capable of making a major gift or special gift and devise appropriate strategies to bring this individual to solicitation and closure
  • Make numerous decisions on cultivation time committed vs. expected gift response, determine who needs to be involved in the relationship with the prospective donor, and decide the most effective and productive use of travel time
  • Assist in the long-range planning for the Individual Giving group

Knowledge and Experience:

  • Proven experience in major individual gift fundraising experience, preferably in higher education, and in cultivating and soliciting prospects capable of five and six-figure gifts (MGO must have demonstrated gifts at $25K level; SGO at the $10K level)
  • Broad knowledge of the principles of fundraising – able to participate in all aspects of the gift cycle: (1) to initiate contacts with potential donors; (2) to develop appropriate cultivation strategies for them, including working with volunteers and senior university administrators; (3) to move potential donors in an appropriate and timely fashion toward solicitation and closure; (4) to make solicitations when appropriate; (5) to maintain stewardship contacts with donors.
  • Understanding of the needs and interests of major donors in order to develop relationships between them and the University
  • Knowledge of tax laws that impact charitable giving, personal assets and estates
  • Demonstrated leadership and the ability to successfully manage multi-functional or diverse areas


  • Excellent oral, written and interpersonal skills required

  • Problem-solving, research and analytical skills

  • Solid relationship-building skills, able to interface with international, leading faculty, administrators and trustees


  • Able to initiate, analyze, monitor, evaluate and advance strategic advancement plans
  • Able to articulate the case for support so that individuals "buy in" to the vision/mission/goals and with sufficient effectiveness to secure gifts at assigned donor giving levels.
  • Must be able to travel around the region and to other areas of the country
  • Must have a driver's license; weekend and evening work will be required

Other Characteristics:

  • Personal belief in mission, goals and objectives of private higher education
  • Integrity
  • Self motivated & self-starting
  • Sophisticated
  • Passionate & committed to going out and getting gifts
  • Creative
  • Respectful, kind
  • Perseverance
  • Optimism and positive attitude
  • Attention to detail
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