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Major Gifts Officer

Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Ohio, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Apr 20, 2023


Major Gifts Officer



The Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH), founded in 1920, is located in the heart of University Circle, five miles east of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Considered among the top 10 institutions of its kind in North America, the Museum offers an incredible visitor experience, attracting roughly 275,000 visitors a year. There are more than 140 public education programs and over 80,000 students served annually. The Museum employs approximately 160 people.


Building on its strong foundation of excellence in education and research, the Museum is poised to transform itself. CMNH will invite and engage a broader audience in the exploration of science and the natural world by revolutionizing the way it presents natural history. The Museum has currently launched a comprehensive campaign to support a dramatic renovation and expansion of its facilities and exhibits. This ambitious plan will position the Museum to play a leading role in regional and national efforts to improve science education and increase scientific literacy.


Summary: Reporting to the Senior Director of Philanthropy & External Relations, the Major Gifts Officer is expected to be a highly energetic professional with the ability to engage campaign donors and work with high-level volunteers. Job duties include identification, cultivation, solicitation and closure of six and seven figure major gifts to meet the fundraising goals and objectives established for the Museum. S/he will work closely and collaboratively with the Museum team to assure that fund-raising opportunities are maximized.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Works closely with key internal constituencies to match potential donors' interests with funding opportunities and implement a strategic series of interactions that will lead to successful solicitations.
  2. Identifies, cultivates and manages a defined portfolio of 150 prospects and donors with high giving capacity.
  3. Conducts a minimum of 120 personal visits annually to cultivate and solicit prospects and close gifts.
  4. Collaborates with Director of Government, Corporate & Foundation Relations on identifying, cultivating and securing funding and sponsorship from Corporate, Government and Foundation partners.
  5. Knows tenets of planned giving while identifying opportunities where such vehicles are most appropriate given prospects' personal circumstances, then collaborate with Campaign Director and the Individual Philanthropy and Planned Giving Officer on identifying, cultivating and securing planned gifts.
  6. Creates proposal and report documents for fundraising efforts.
  7. Works closely with the Chief Philanthropy Officer and the Senior Director of Philanthropy & External Relations and prepares materials for prospect solicitation process.
  8. Contributes ideas and strategies for overall Development Program and other duties as assigned.

Education and/or Experience:

Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred. Preferably 5-8 years of fundraising experience is required with a minimum of 3 years of successful major gift (6-7 figure) fundraising.


Knowledge of fundraising and fundraising laws and regulations, including fundraising best practices.


Knowledge of estate planning, including wills, trusts and estate and gift tax laws as well as experience using appropriate planned giving software.


Knowledge of the legal recordkeeping requirements for fundraising and documenting major and planned gifts.

Knowledge and understanding of how to implement department strategy and managing through growth and change.


Knowledge of CRM software such as Altru and Tableau and other donor database software.


Proficient knowledge of Microsoft Office products to include Word, Excel and PowerPoint.



Other Qualifications:


Excellent verbal and written communication skills.


Excellent organizational, analytical and problem solving skills.


A passion for science, nature and conservation.

Self-motivated and self-directed.


Must have a demonstrated success in achieving fundraising goals and managing high-level donor relationships.

Possessing a proven ability to present complex information in a clear and compelling manner is essential.

The capacity to clearly comprehend and communicate the Museum’s mission, goals and ongoing initiatives is required.


Ability and comfort in researching and analyzing large groups of data to uncover major giving prospects.


Ability to work with an interdisciplinary professional team.


Ability to exercise initiative and good judgment in anticipating problems before they arise.


Ability to effectively coordinate and track multiple projects simultaneously, prioritize, work well under pressure with a high degree of accuracy, and meet stringent and overlapping deadlines.


The successful candidate must be a strategic thinker, effective in moving strategic agendas, politically savvy, ensure the utmost discretion in all matters, as well as possess an ability to work well with all levels of management, both internally and externally, be flexible in nature, have sound judgment with a collaborative style that fosters teamwork and cooperation beyond the immediate team to the broader organization.


Ability to work evenings and weekends, and travel required.



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