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Associate Director, Donor Engagement

Position Description: 

The associate director (AD), Donor Engagement (DE) is part of a 15-person department at Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) that is responsible for raising $7 million+ in annual operating support from a variety of funding sources. This position works in partnership with the director of Donor Engagement to raise approximately $2 million in annual support from individuals, beginning with gifts of $1,000 and with a particular focus on mid-to-higher level donors, President’s and Chairman’s Circle members, Major Gift and Trustee Appeals, Dedications, and Planned Gifts.  

The AD will bring a high degree of integrity, creativity, and accountability, strong communication, management, and organizational skills, and excellent interpersonal skills to help grow the major gifts donor base and overall support. The AD ensures excellent donor relations and is a key partner in articulating the mission and impact of the institution, inspiring new support, and building donor relationships for the long-term. BBG will create a new strategic plan in 2024 to guide its future, which will provide learning opportunities across the institution in shaping a visionary next chapter for this well-established cultural institution.  

The AD provides direct supervision of Donor Engagement team of a manager, coordinator, and associate, who focus on supporting Major Gifts and Reports, Research, and Stewardship. In partnership with the director, the AD will also work closely at times with the senior vice president of Institutional Advancement and president on major donor relations and planning.


  • In partnership with the director of Donor Engagement, assist with the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of Major Gift donors and prospects with the aim of retaining strong support, inspiring new and increased support, and expanding the donor pipeline and base of support for BBG.
  • Serve as an exemplary representative for BBG to major donors, helping to engage, inspire, build confidence, and share the impact of support. Rapidly gain a thorough understanding of the scope, history, current initiatives, and goals of BBG in order to refine and implement a strategy for building and retaining the organization’s base of philanthropic support.
  • Shape and manage the donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship process:
    • Ensure strong systems management and a coordinated team approach (involving Development and senior staff) to an annual calendar of donor outreach and engagement.
    • Communicate with donors/prospects as well as trustees in person, on the phone, and in writing. Write donor appeals and acknowledgment letters. Write and prepare proposals and narrative and financial reports for major donors and President’s Circle members on the progress and impact of their support for capital projects, general operating, programs, operations, and endowments.
    • Help develop a strong donor digital communications and stewardship plan, including ensuring updates on the President’s Circle, Major Gifts, Dedications, and Planned Giving sections of the BBG website.
    • Plan and facilitate in-person approaches to donor cultivation through private visits and tours, behind-the-scenes experiences, etc. Brainstorm on broader cultivation events content and strategies in conjunction with the Development team to effectively engage, steward, and inspire donors.
    • Liaise with Education, Horticulture, Community Greening, and other divisions to stay abreast of funding needs and cultivation opportunities.
    • Utilize, refine, and monitor prospect trackers and fundraising reports drawn from Raiser’s Edge database.
    • Maintain excellent communications and donor records. 
  • Foster Board of Trustees and Development Committee engagement and participation in fundraising. Support their donor relations work by providing strategic guidance around donor history and philanthropic interests. Shape and manage annual trustee giving solicitation outreach, prepare Giving Plans, and oversee tracking of trustee giving and pledges.
  • Manage and oversee Donor Engagement team workflow with direct supervision of a coordinator and manager (who respectively focus on Major Gifts and on Reports, Research and Stewardship), as well as oversight of the Development associate and potential seasonal interns and volunteers. This includes:
    • Project and time management
    • Ensuring high accountability and accuracy in gift processing, donor records, and financial reports. Supervise gift tracking, renewal, appeal and acquisition initiatives, acknowledgments, correspondence, preparation of materials, and all other activities of the Major Gifts manager, coordinator, and associate.
  • Lead ongoing donor research strategies with the Donor Engagement manager: Research and Reports and meet regularly with the staff researchers. Engage using LexisNexis and other software, conduct background research, and prepare profiles and blurbs on prospects for events and senior team members. 
  • Provide oversight of Tributes and Dedications and Planned Giving programs, including tracking dedications, bequests, annuities, and stewardship of Forsythia Society members.
  • Work with the director on budget development and income/expense monitoring. Ensure efficient use of resources by staff, volunteers, and vendors/consultants and that income and expense goals are met. Develop cost-efficient, creative, and effective ways of increasing net revenue. Monitor progress toward projected goals; provide regular assessment/analysis and troubleshooting as needed. Ensure a high degree of accuracy and accountability.
  • Prepare and provide information for winter and spring Board of Trustees reports on major and planned giving fundraising results.
  • Maintain confidentiality of donor information and further BBG’s efforts to establish strong, long-term donor relationships.
  • Play an active role in the larger Development and Membership team on project development and long-range planning, strategize new ways to increase revenue, and support donor cultivation, special events, on-site membership sales, and other major BBG events. In partnership with the Special Events team, assist with logistics and attendee seating for major annual BBG fundraising events, including cultivation events and the Spring Gala.
  • Perform other related duties or special projects as directed.


  • Bachelor’s degree preferred
  • 4–6 years of nonprofit development experience; prior major gifts experience highly desired 
  • Management experience with direct full-time reports and ability to set benchmarks and goals for a team; ability to strategically manage up to support the effectiveness of senior staff and other leadership
  • Excellent organizational and donor relations skills, professional writing ability, supervisory experience, and attentiveness to details while meeting multiple deadlines
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Raiser’s Edge software or similar database system required, plus an affinity for technological advances and the creation and maintenance of systems
  • Background or strong interest in cultural institutions, environment, education, and/or science preferred
  • Enthusiastic, energetic team player, able to interact closely with trustees, donors, staff, and guests at all levels, as well as multiple vendors and consultants, and represent the institution well; a creative writer and strategic thinker
  • Ability to work evenings and occasional weekends to help meet pressing deadlines and support events during the Garden’s peak seasons (September–October; March–June)
  • Ability to lift and carry event materials as needed

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