Director, Major Gifts

Mystic Seaport Museum
Connecticut, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Mar 23, 2021
Apr 21, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

Major gift giving at the Mystic Seaport Museum is a donor centric undertaking that results in a trust based donor relationship, which ultimately generates significant donor outcomes. The purpose of the position is to achieve quantifiable giving goals through individual donor engagement and cultivation that serve the mission and the vision of the Museum. The successful candidate will work collaboratively with two other Major Gifts Officers, Senior Staff and the Museum President to cultivate, solicit, and steward individual giving. The position reports to the Senior Vice President for Advancement.

The Director, Major Gifts will seek gifts not only for operating support, but for projects across the institution, including education, special exhibition initiatives, scholarships, the Gala, planned gifts, and inkind support. The Director, Major Gifts will work collaboratively as a member of advancement team and at times as the team lead on a particular initiative.

Cultivation strategies will include but not be limited to, correspondence, face to face socializing and meetings, presentations, gifts, special experiences and exclusive hosted events both on and off the museum grounds. Some out of state travel required.

The Director, Major Gifts will be responsible to the fundraising objectives in their portfolio and for the collective results of the Advancement Team.

Essential Functions:

  • To build and steward a portfolio of donors with potential giving or a giving record at $10,000 level and above, working with high end giving across sectors.
  • To find high net worth individuals and cultivate their interest and passion in the institution. This work includes research, donor identification and creative cultivation.
  • To establish an individualized long-term strategy for each potential donor, which takes into consideration their area of passion, determines the length of their cultivation and the approach.
  • To plan and ultimately execute successful solicitations.
  • Additionally, the Director, Major Gifts will operate as an ad hoc research specialist within the department, occasionally working with other members of the department to share research methods and resources and give guiding principles for the team. They will offer advice and direction on prospect research when needed.


Measuring Success:

  • The successful candidate will maintain their portfolio's annual fund giving, secure new revenue and increase the number of major donors overall.
  • The successful candidate will work with the SVP Advancement to set performance metrics including fundraising goals as part of the annual institutional budgeting process. The department benchmarks progress toward annual goals on a monthly and quarterly basis.
  • Performance will be evaluated bi-annually based on the effectiveness of strategic initiatives to meet objectives, and on self-measured levels of activity, including but not limited to outgoing touches, successful engagements and actual solicitations, and most critically the actual portfolio results.


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Five or more year’s development experience in major gifts as an individual giving officer
  • Fundraising training and experience, coursework toward CFRE, CFRE certification preferred
  • Research experience
  • Prior experience at a mid to large-sized non-profit organization’s advancement department
  • Self-starter with a demonstrated strong work ethic
  • Ability to work independently, and collaboratively as part of a team
  • A sense of integrity and emotional intelligence
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Proficiency with Raisers Edge or another relationship management system
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, including Outlook, Word, and Excel