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Principal Gifts Officer

Environmental Defense Fund
New York, United States
$145,000.00 - $156,000.00
Closing date
May 28, 2024

Overall Function

This is a unique opportunity for a development professional with success in individual major gifts fundraising to become part of the development team at one of the nation’s premier environmental organizations.

The Principal Gifts Officer will be part of a national development team responsible for generating over $300 million in annual major gifts, with plans to drastically increase that amount in the coming years. They will be responsible for managing a portfolio of 20-30 donors and prospects nationally.  Working closely with Senior Development professionals, Research, Events, Communications, Stewardship and Program staff, the Principal Gifts Officer is expected to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward individuals in support of Environmental Defense Fund’s national and international agenda.

The Principal Gifts Officer reports to the Associate Vice President, Major & Principal Gifts.

Key Responsibilities

  • Execute a strategic plan for increasing the revenue generated from donors in a portfolio with a concentration on six to eight figure gifts.  
  • Design and implement overall engagement and fundraising strategies as part of the national development team in order to continue the exponential growth of revenue coming from individual gifts.
  • Generate approximately $10-15M per year in sustainable annual revenue, with appropriate increases in each subsequent year.
  • Identify, cultivate, and steward major gifts prospects with an identified gift level of $500,000 - 1,000,000 and up.
  • Meet one-on-one with prospects/donors and coordinate program staff and volunteers in the cultivation and solicitation of major gifts prospects.
  • Attend staff meetings and appropriately brief program staff for meetings.
  • Effectively represent and articulate the work of EDF presenting a compelling case for support of the organization.
  • Stay abreast of changes and innovations in federal and state tax laws that may be relevant to major gifts prospects.
  • Oversee the drafting and editing of proposals and reports for potential donors, working closely with the donor communications department to ensure they are compelling, visionary program ideas to present to donors and prospects.
  • Assist in setting and meeting annual income goals for major gifts prospects and donors in portfolio.
  • Assist other development officers on special projects or efforts that contribute to the organization’s larger regional and national development goals.
  • Leadership in developing fundraising strategies with senior colleagues across organization, including messaging, follow up, and ongoing stewardship. Regarded as trustworthy partner by colleagues up, down, and across.
  • Participates in advancing EDF DEI goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values.
  • Manage principal gifts coordinator and other colleagues as assigned.


The ideal candidate will possess the following:

  • Demonstrated success as a front-line fundraiser.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
  • A minimum of 8 years of frontline-fundraising experience with increasing levels of responsibility
  • A valid driver’s license and ability to drive.
  • Willingness to travel out of state.
  • Well-honed skills in developing donor cultivation and solicitation strategies.
  • A commitment to Environmental Defense Fund’s mission and values.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills; a high level of comfort with direct donor interaction, including discussions of personal and family finances.
  • Well-developed communication skills, including excellent writing ability and public speaking skills.
  • Knowledge of, and ability to use, fundraising databases.
  • Creativity, energy, confidence, and integrity. High level of discretion and respect for donor privacy.
  • Initiative and independence combined with the ability to work well as part of team.
  • Demonstrates self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds.

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