TITLE: Development Officer
PURPOSE: Manage a portfolio of major gift prospects in order to achieve the Chicago Botanic Garden's capital and planned giving revenue goals. Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major gift prospects and donors (generally $25,000 and above). Work with the major gifts staff to facilitate an effective prospect-management program. This is a front-line fundraising position which involves some event management of small donor groups.
DESCRIPTION: The development department at the Garden is charged with raising millions of dollars each year for annual support, capital projects, and endowment from individual donors. The development officer has the people skills needed to interact with a sophisticated group of donors, provide exceptional customer service and stewardship to existing donors and donor groups, and further the relationship between the Garden and its donors to meet revenue goals. The successful candidate will have an excellent ability to communicate the Garden's mission—verbally and in writing—as it relates to science, education, and horticulture.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBLITIES:
1. Manage a targeted pool of major gift prospects, arrange frequent and meaningful cultivation and solicitation meetings with donors and prospects, and maintain records of contacts to achieve the Garden's major gift fundraising goals. Successfully close gifts of $25,000 or more through identification, cultivation, and personal solicitation.
2. Participate in special events targeted for major donors in a way that supplements the success of the overall development program.
3. Collaborate with colleagues to create and implement donor cultivation plans for maximum gift results.
4. Write and coordinate proposals to donors and prospective donors, incorporating proposal recommendations from senior staff and obtaining appropriate proposal approvals prior to submission to the prospective donors.
5. Develop and maintain a comprehensive working knowledge of the Garden and its programs and communicate the Garden's needs to major gift prospects in conversation and in written proposals.
6. Represent the Garden at internal and external meetings, conferences, lectures, and events as requested.
7. Provide personal service to donors, answering questions and resolving problems.
8. Perform research on major gift prospects as required using online data sources. Provide briefing materials for donor visits involving senior staff when required.
9. Expand development knowledge, particularly in the area of planned giving basics.
10. Serve as staff liaison and coordinator for small group VIP visits, including garden clubs, as assigned.
REPORTS TO: Director, Planned and Major Gifts
POSITION REQUIREMENTS: Bachelor's degree required. Five years experience as a professional fundraiser with proven success of raising $25,000 or more from individual donors is required, or comparable experience as an active fundraising volunteer in a not-for-profit setting. A strong hands-on background in development is preferred.
Excellent organizational skills, an ability to manage multiple priorities, attention to detail, and ability to maintain confidentiality are required. Ability to turn around assignments under deadlines is required, as well as an ability to fact-check proposals and obtain internal approvals. The ideal candidate will have strong interpersonal skills, be well organized, and be able to function successfully within a team structure. This position requires the flexibility to respond to shifting priorities. Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with high-profile board members is essential. Must have own personal vehicle and a valid driver's license. Ability to staff events outdoors in a variety of weather conditions and some evening and weekend hours are required. Occasional lifting (up to 25 pounds) is required.
Proficiency with Microsoft Office, including Excel, is required. Raiser's Edge or other donor database experience preferred.
APPLICATION PROCESS: Cover letter required in addition to resumé and online application form.