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Major Gifts Officer

California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco, California, US
Closing date
May 25, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every one of the qualifications for the position.

Position Summary

The California Academy of Sciences is hiring two new Major Gifts Officers to join the team. This is a unique opportunity for professionals with demonstrated success in major gifts fundraising or similar fields, such as customer success or sales, to join a dynamic fundraising department at the California Academy of Sciences a world-class museum, a scientific research institute, and an academic institution with an array of mission-driven initiatives with global impacts.

The Major Gifts Officer provides strategic leadership in identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding individual donors who support the Academy with major and blended gifts of $10,000/$25,000 and above, contributing to the overall Leadership Philanthropy team goal of $20,000,000+ in annual support. This position connects with the Academy's most generous supporters with the goal of advancing research and science education in the Bay Area and beyond.

This position will join a team of Major Gift Officers and will collaborate with eight colleagues on the Leadership Philanthropy team as well as other 20+ Development staff and with colleagues across the Academy, such as scientists and education specialists. This position reports to the Associate Director of Leadership Gifts.


How would you like to be greeted by a white alligator every day? Do you want to travel from deep ocean to deep space in an afternoon? Does inspiring others to give to address climate change and biodiversity inspire you? Come join a team dedicated to the Hope for Reefs , Thriving California , and Islands 2030 - that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world. Learn more at

Organization Requirements

This position is required to work in the Academy offices with the rest of the Development Division on a recurring basis with some flexibility for a hybrid office schedule. The candidate must be able to work on-site in San Francisco when needed. Attendance is required for fundraising events, benefit fulfillment events, and other in-person activities at the museum and in the field including evenings and weekends.

Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.

Position Duties & Responsibilities
  • Manage a portfolio of 80-100 donors and prospects, helping our donors accomplish their philanthropic goals by deepening their relationship with the Academy and engaging with key Academy team members.
  • Develop and execute annual stewardship plans for cultivating donors with an annual giving range of $10,000/$25,000 and above, enabling the Leadership Philanthropy team to meet our shared revenue goals
  • Meet in person, at the museum, by phone, and virtually to solicit donations
  • Work with the Development Division's Senior Researcher, Development Information Services team, and peers on the Major Gifts team to identify and qualify major gift prospects
  • Guided and aided by activity metrics, prioritize engagement with prospects and donors and coordinate staff/volunteer leadership in the cultivation and solicitation of major gift prospects
  • Cultivate targeted prospects through special events, tours, visits, and other engagement opportunities including occasional evening and weekend events; implement strategic follow-up working with volunteers, trustees, and staff
  • Write and edit proposals and reports for prospects and existing donors, working closely with the Development Communications team
  • Collaborate with other team members on key projects or efforts that contribute to the organization's larger development goals
  • Effectively represent and articulate Academy programs and strategic priorities and communicate a compelling case for support to donors, prospects, partners, and others
  • Other duties and special projects as assigned

Minimum Qualifications


A qualified candidate will have a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience:
  • Undergraduate degree preferred or combination of work experience and education.
  • 2-3 years of demonstrated success in nonprofit fundraising in a cultural, sciences, and/or cause-based institution or similar field, such as customer success and sales
  • Experience with customer service, relationship management, and moves management
  • Skilled in events, event planning, or project management a plus
  • Experience managing a donor circles program or membership program, a plus
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and strong interpersonal skills for one-to-one personal visits and correspondence

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
  • Thrives in a fast-paced environment and able to manage multiple tasks and work with diverse groups across a complex organization in team-oriented manner
  • Comfortable collaborating on shared fundraising goals as well as individual contributed revenue goals
  • Capable of working efficiently with sophisticated volunteers, trustees, senior leadership, and other staff on donors meetings and materials
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills; sensitive to confidential information
  • Excellent problem-solving, presentation, and organizational skills
  • Knowledge of the Bay Area philanthropic community preferred
  • Able to work occasional evenings and weekends, as needed
  • Knowledge of planned giving and Tessitura database knoweldge a plus
  • Knowledge of best practices in non-profit fundraising and donor solicitations.
  • Comfortable talking to people about money, financial planning, and donations.


Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities who meet the job's essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, use a computer, and communicate on the phone, in person, and online meetings/calls. Must be able to perform repetitive motions 80% of the time.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: June 20, 2022, 5pm. The hiring committee will review applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

TO APPLY: Please upload a resume and complete the brief online application.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the (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, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance

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