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Senior Philanthropy Officer

Vera Institute of Justice
California, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Nov 29, 2022

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Scope and Responsibilities

Vera’s goal is to fund its ambitious three-year strategic plan and to successfully shift from relying on project-specific public funds to unrestricted philanthropic support. This new funding model emphasizes gifts at the six-figure, seven-figure, and eight-figure levels from high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) and their related entities (family foundations, corporations, etc.). Vera’s inaugural SPO will work collaboratively with leadership to support the development and roll out of this model.

The SPO is responsible for building and managing an emerging portfolio with the potential to make five to eight figure investments in the work of Vera Institute, with a specific focus on philanthropic communities in the western United States. The ideal candidate will be an experienced, entrepreneurial, and adaptive fundraiser with the maturity and insight to both operate as a satellite to the primary Vera Development team and regularly connect with the core team for support and alignment. The SPO should have experience in and a deep knowledge of high net worth funding communities within the western US.

The SPO will develop and manage a portfolio of prospects and donors and partner with Vera’s Director, Principal Gifts, program leaders, and Development staff to identify, engage and solicit prospects and donors.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Elevate and expand a portfolio of donors with the ability to make significant philanthropic investments in the mission of Vera Institute.
  • Create a major gift plan centered on the western US and develop the west coast donor pipeline in partnership with the Director, Principal Gifts.
  • Partner with Vera principals and trustees to develop and expand funding relationships.
  • Facilitate and coordinate all communication with an assigned portfolio and among Vera principals.
  • Execute a robust discovery process to upgrade contributions from individuals and their related entities.
  • Execute donor meetings in partnership with Vera program staff.
  • Work with program staff to support donor engagement events.
  • Staff cultivation events within the western US.
  • Develop an extensive understanding of Vera’s programs and initiatives.
  • Collaborate on the strategy for and creation of persuasive written communications relevant and appropriate to programmatic priorities and donor interests.
  • Collaborate with development colleagues on the creation of major gifts departmental infrastructure, development event creation, and prospect research.
  • Maintain best fundraising and operational practices, utilizing clearly defined goals, objectives, and transparent methods.
  • Contribute to an organizational environment where teamwork, collaboration, passion for the mission, and dedication are expected and valued.

Skills & Qualifications

The SPO will possess a demonstrated ability to meet and exceed the responsibilities listed in the preceding section, in addition to the following experience and qualities:

  • Bachelor’s degree, or 5 years of relevant experience.
  • 3 years of portfolio management experience and/or direct donor relationship management experience.
  • Experience developing and executing sound donor strategies to secure five and six figure gifts (seven figure gifts a plus) and experience securing gifts from prospects.
  • Demonstrated track record of successful solicitations, including the skill to proactively identify, build, and manage a portfolio of major gift prospects where the donor constituency is not immediately obvious.
  • Competency creating donor strategies using best practices in donor moves management.
  • Experience planning and executing donor visit trips and events preferred.
  • Outstanding oral, written, communication, and presentation skills – including ability to listen and target communication to specific interests of varied audiences.
  • Comfort in online fundraising toolsets and databases.
  • Strong organizational and project management skills.
  • Experience qualifying and disqualifying prospects using research and instincts.
  • Proven ability to build deep and lasting relationships with a variety of partners – both internal and external.
  • Gravitas paired with the professional integrity and ambition to effectively represent and promote Vera externally at the highest levels.
  • A motivated team player with exceptional communications skills along with interpersonal savvy.
  • Strong passion for and demonstrated commitment to Vera’s mission.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage daily fundraising efforts resulting in significantly improved performance.
  • Driver’s license preferable.
  • Ability to travel 25-40% of the time.

Personal / Professional Attributes

  • Intellectual curiosity and dexterity, and the ability to translate various priorities into compelling cases for support.
  • Self-motivation, energy, flexibility, and solutions orientation.
  • An ability to maintain accountability while working autonomously.
  • An ability to balance short- and long-term requirements with long range plans.
  • An ability to foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork across boundaries and differences; an ability to lead and inspires others to excellence in work and action.
  • Commitment to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, excellence, and diversity.
  • An understanding of core concepts such as structural racism, equity, justice, white privilege, etc. within one’s area of work.
  • An ability to convey Vera’s work thoughtfully and compellingly to others, in a way that facilitates and ensures understanding.
  • A collaborative mindset as well as ability to work thoughtfully across an organization and with its Board.
  • Goal orientation and an ability to thoughtfully develop and deliver donor engagement strategies.
  • An ability to be self-reflective and respond thoughtfully to feedback.
  • A deep commitment to Vera’s work.
  • Impeccable discretion; humility and a sense of humor.

Inquiries & Applications

Interested candidates may email a resume and cover letter to,, and

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