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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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