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Director of Major Gifts

Space Center Houston
Texas, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Feb 23, 2023

View more

Position Type
Fundraising, Major Gifts, Planned Giving
Education, Museum
Employment Type
Full Time

Space Center Houston is a space exploration learning destination dedicated to revealing how science and humanity power space exploration through meaningful, moving experiences about people and the courage, innovation, and teamwork they use to expand the boundaries of what’s possible.  We inspire guests of all ages to connect with the significance of space exploration as incredible feats of human spaceflight continue to bring joy and wonder to the world. Owned and operated by the nonprofit Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, we are the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center and a Smithsonian affiliate. 

We are seeking a full-time Director of Major Gifts responsible for the development and implementation of a robust and pro-active planned giving program to support the strategic growth of Space Center Houston. This position works with the Chief Development Officer and Development team to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major gift and planned giving prospects and donors.  Responsibilities and qualifications are shown below:


Team & Program Management

  • Working with the Chief Development Officer, design and implement a strategy for cultivating a community of major gift donors that will increase contributed revenue by $1,000,000 or more in the next two years; 
  • Recruit, nurture, and motivate highly-qualified major gifts officers and support staff;  
    • Year 1: 1 major gifts officer, 1 support staff 
    • Year 2, 2-3 major gifts officers, 1-2 support staff 
    • Year 3: 4+ major gifts officers, 2 support staff 
  • Establish performance measures for both individual team members and the major gifts program overall; Monitor, evaluate, and report on results;  
  • Consistently design, test, and implement changes to improve program performance; 
  • Together with staff, plan and implement effective donor cultivation and recognition activities, special events, and volunteer programs; 
  • Develop a major gifts dashboard to track and communicate program performance internally and with external stakeholders;  
  • Maximize shared CRM infrastructure and enable robust data collection for strategic decision making—be an evangelist for building institutional, data-driven understanding of our community; 
  • Maintain accountability and compliance standards for donors and funding sources; 
  • In collaboration with leadership and consultants, contribute creatively and strategically to development and organizational event design, planning, execution, and follow-up; 
  • Serve as a staff lead for the Development Committee of the Board of Directors, including overseeing committee member’s prospect assignments, meeting agendas, and supporting members on cultivation and solicitation steps; 
  • Working with the Chief Development Officer, outline a plan for designing and implementing a robust and pro-active planned giving program; 

 Individual Fundraising

  • Identify, cultivate, and solicit prospects for major gifts and planned gifts for the purpose of supporting programming, operations and capital improvements and expansion at Space Center Houston; 
  • Maintain a portfolio of a minimum of 75 prospects and donors in active engagement in the development pipeline, each prospect with a capacity and affinity to give $5,000 or more annually; 
  • Conduct a minimum of three donor/prospect visits per week;  
  • Formulate solicitation strategies, prepares background profiles for each visit and generates timely and thorough follow-up plans, correspondence and contact reports; 
  • Research and maintain profiles on qualified prospects and donors, including wealth rating, giving history to SCH and other organizations, capacity, and connections; 
  • Match each assigned donor's capacity and interest with appropriate SCH programs and priorities for multi-year annual gifts, signature projects and planned giving needs; 
  • Prepare proposals, gift agreements, and reports; 
  • Other duties as assigned.



  • Bachelor's degree; Masters degree preferred 
  • Minimum three to four years of demonstrated success in managing a successful donor portfolio; achieving targets as part of a strategic fundraising plan, and maximizing income from existing and prospective donors; 
  • Minimum two years of demonstrated success managing other fundraisers or administrative staff as part of a fundraising team; 
  • Proven ability to apply working knowledge and principles of the donor cycle, donor stewardship, and/or fundraising ethics and best practice; 
  • Understanding and experience in fundraising program design and management; 
  • Superb relationship building and account management skills; 
  • Strong attention to detail, organizational skills and highly collaborative;
  • Proficiency in software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook; CRM database systems; Donor/prospect research software 
  • Ability to often work nights and weekends; 

Space Center Houston offers a competitive salary and benefits package. We promote a culture of respect, inclusivity, and collaboration. 

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