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Philanthropy Officer, Midwest

American Farmland Trust
Illinois, United States
$70,000.00 - $80,000.00
Closing date
Jun 2, 2023

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Job Details

About Us

American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and helped thousands of farm families make a go of it (primarily through programs that increase farm viability and/or enhance farmland access). Long a pioneering leader, AFT is now riding a new wave of growth, driven by agriculture's most pressing needs and opportunities.

We believe diversity drives innovation. We are inclusive. We embrace differences. We recognize and respect the fundamental value and dignity of all our employees. We celebrate the unique traditions, heritages, and experiences our employees bring to the workplace. We are committed to creating and sustaining an inclusive culture that promotes and values diversity, and where everyone feels empowered to bring their authentic selves to work every day.

We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, expression or identity, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Farmland Trust complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which we have facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.


American Farmland Trust is recruiting for an experienced relationship professional to serve as a frontline fundraiser in the position of Philanthropy Officer, Midwest. The successful candidate will execute AFT's fundraising program in the region, securing new and renewed philanthropic commitments from individuals while offering a high level of customer service and accountability. The Philanthropy Officer will work closely with the broader Philanthropy Team to grow individual giving to new levels. Regional collaboration with Midwest program staff and other key AFT partners will be essential to maximizing the impact of this role. Furthermore, the Midwest region presents unique opportunities to advance AFT's Farm Legacy goals and the Philanthropy Officer will play a vital role in strengthening outreach strategies that contribute to a pipeline of Farm Legacy and planned giving prospects.

The Philanthropy Officer will manage a portfolio of roughly 200 prospects, driving identification, cultivation, and solicitation strategy aimed at securing $10,000+ major gifts, leadership annual gifts and planned giving leads. Working independently, and with AFT's in-house research team, this individual will identify and qualify new prospects, solicit, and steward existing prospects, and be responsible for achieving specific fundraising targets. As a key member of the Individual Giving team, this person will work with development staff as well as regional and national program teams to implement thoughtful and continuous stewardship of all donors at all levels.

This position reports to the Director of Philanthropy and is based in-region (Midwest including: IL, WI, MI, IN, IA, OH, MN, and MO). Some travel is required to meet with donors as deemed safe and comfortable per COVID-19 safety precautions. Philanthropy Officers are part of a tight knit team that works together to improve healthy opportunities that benefit both the bottom line and a culture of giving that feels good. Each Philanthropy Officer is asked to bring enthusiasm, ideas, creativity, and sensitivity to the role each day.


  • Manages a portfolio of approximately 150-200 prospects as part of a growing major gifts program.
  • Special focus on giving at the $5,000+ level to build a robust pipeline of gift opportunities that stretch over multiple years.
  • Portfolio work includes a mix of new prospect identification, existing donor cultivation and stewardship, and maximizing the potential fundraising capacity of the region through strong networking and engaging activities at all levels.
  • Must be skilled at communicating with donors and prospects about complex concepts of human and environmental systems at the heart of AFT's work – and to engage confidently with individuals about their interests and desired philanthropic impacts.
  • Employs a travel and meeting schedule to meet donors where they are, aiming for a minimum of 12-15 visits/meaningful interactions each month.
  • Provides rapid response to opportunities to engage donors and prospects in AFT's issues following relevant news articles, AFT successes, and other key moments that arise through the year. The Philanthropy Officer independently drives outreach and dialogue with donors in the region using a stream of AFT activity and program impact stories.
  • Effectively responds to individual donors through written correspondence, telephone contact, personal contact and e-mail, assuring the donors that their needs are processed immediately upon request.
  • Prepares written materials, including reports, cultivations, stewardship pieces, and direct mail solicitations for individual supporters.
  • Works with development staff to research and review top donor prospects through discovery calls and visits and adds to the Individual Giving prospect pipeline and moves management program.
  • Plans and coordinates (with the assistance of the Philanthropy Coordinator and other AFT Development staff) donor events, with a goal of identifying new prospects and cultivating existing donors.
  • Works closely with staff from AFT's Midwest Team to support the development of new funding opportunities, including suggesting and creating engaging experiences that bring individuals closer to AFT's work in the Midwest.
  • As appropriate to the donor context, cultivates and solicits estate gifts and engages in outreach for AFT's Farm Legacy farm donation program.
  • Employs a growth mindset and contributes to a culture of gratitude.
  • Completes other duties as assigned.

  • Bachelor's degree required.
  • The ideal candidate has a collaborative working style, is proactive and entrepreneurial.
  • Minimum 3-5 years frontline fundraising experience, or equivalent experience, specifically experience working one-on-one with individuals to build meaningful relationships that are necessary to secure new and renewed gifts in the $1,000 - $100,000 range.
  • Must be experienced and confident asking for philanthropic support.
  • Experience in community engagement around natural resources conservation, agriculture, food systems, and sustainability is highly desired.
  • Knowledge of the Midwest's agricultural landscape including the role of advocacy in shaping effective policy solutions.
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills and ability to speak intelligently and passionately to external stakeholders about AFT's mission and impactful programs around the country.
  • Experience successfully managing internal relationships and contributing to a positive team culture.
  • Proven ability to collaborate across divisions to implement processes and achieve results.
  • Proven ability to continually develop skills related to use of rapidly changing technology and communications best practices.
  • Good with technology and systems, experience with Raiser's Edge/NXT is strongly preferred.
  • Willingness to travel within assigned territory and beyond for strategic meetings and events. (Primary travel focus is within assigned geographic region.)
  • Ability to adapt and be flexible in a changing environment.
  • A good sense of humor and a roll-up-your sleeves kind of attitude is deeply appreciated.

Why you should apply

  • Be a part of a purpose-driven, committed, knowledgeable, high-performing, experienced and fun team
  • A diverse and inclusive work environment
  • A cause and mission you can be proud of
  • Competitive compensation & benefits
  • Remote work opportunities
  • Flexible scheduling

Ready to apply? If this job sounds like a fit for you, then click on the ‘apply' button below. Please be sure to include a cover letter and resume to be considered.



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