Major Gifts Officer

Job Type

Full Time






3010 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael
United States



In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection and advocacy organization, seeks a Major Gifts Officer. The mission of IDA is to defend the rights, welfare, and habitats of animals. From rescuing, giving sanctuary, and providing veterinary care to abused and abandoned animals in rural Mississippi; to street animals of Mumbai, India; to fighting the South Korean dog and cat meat trade; protecting our nation's wild horses; campaigning against the industries of puppy mills, vivisection, and fur; to our campaign on behalf of elephants in zoos and circuses; IDA is a recognized leader in the advancement of animal rights and welfare around the world. Please visit our website at for more information.

Job Summary:

The Major Gifts Officer is responsible for building and implementing major donor development strategies for a major gifts program. The Major Gifts Officer will work closely with IDA’s Development Department, especially the Planned Giving Officer and the President, in developing strategies and opportunities for acquiring major gift donors and planned gift donors. The Major Gifts Officer will be responsible for the identification, cultivation, personal solicitation, and stewardship of prospective major donors and current donors. The Major Gifts Officer will build relationships through in-person visits, written and verbal communications and proposals, and the organization and cultivation of fundraising events. The Major Gifts Officer will be responsible for tracking progress made toward the goal.

The Major Gifts Officer will ensure that donors receive recognition and will work to increase future giving opportunities. The officer is expected to participate in strategic planning with IDA's organizational leaders, as well as to involve and liaise with appropriate staff and volunteers to ensure the timely fulfillment of recognition of gifts and tracking prospects and donors while providing high levels of donor stewardship.

The Major Gift Officer is responsible for a portfolio of 75-100 donors and prospects at the $5,000+ giving levels. The position coordinates the solicitation efforts of all portfolio donors and prospects through a systematic process of prospect identification, qualification, strategy development, cultivation, solicitation, acknowledgement and stewardship. Reporting to the President, the Major Gift Officer is part of a larger development team, and works closely with the Director of Planned Giving Officer and others to identify prospects, develop cultivation plans, and strategize giving opportunities.

The ideal candidate will work in our main office in San Rafael, California, or remotely in the Los Angeles area of California. This position is full-time with benefits, although it may start as a part-time, contract position.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for the cultivation and solicitation of major gifts from individuals and family foundations to achieve annual revenue goals and further departmental goals.
  • Manages a portfolio of at least 75-100 of In Defense of Animals' highest-level major and special gift prospects and donors, completing a targeted number of meaningful contacts and face-to-face visits per week.
  • Responsible for tracking major gift prospects and donors and documenting their cultivation and solicitation activities.
  • Develops and implements strategies that nurture donor loyalty and foster personal relationships with the organization; solicits and stewards existing and prospective donors who are capable of giving at the defined major gifts level.
  • Researches and prepares proposals and other information materials as required to support individual and family foundation gift solicitations.
  • Provides opportunities for structured giving as appropriate in conjunction with the Planned Giving Officer.
  • Contributes to development of communication materials, including publications, used in the cultivation, solicitation, acknowledgement and stewardship of major and special gift prospects.
  • Conducts research to identify donors and prospects with major gift potential using a variety of means including existing databases (including Wealth Engine), interviews with leadership and staff, discussion with existing donors, Internet resources and foundation directories.
  • Acts as an ambassador of In Defense of Animals both internally and externally. Is knowledgeable of all aspects of In Defense of Animals in order to provide needed information to supporters, donors, clients and the community.

Key Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree required, Masters Degree preferred.
  • At least 7 years of progressively responsible experience in a non-profit environment, with a track record of success in major gifts.
  • Significant, demonstrable and successful experience performing personal solicitations of gifts in excess of $5,000 is required.
  • Strong sense of fundraising ethics and practices, and respect for confidentiality of donor information.
  • Thorough knowledge of fundraising principles – able to participate in all aspects of the gift cycle: (1) to make cold calls and initiate contacts with potential donors; (2) to develop appropriate cultivation strategies for them; (3) to move potential donors in an appropriate and timely fashion toward solicitation and closure; (4) to make solicitations when appropriate; (5) to maintain stewardship contacts with donors
  • Knowledge and understanding of the animal rights movement and the ability to speak to issues of concern to donors in a respectful and empathic manner.
  • Excellent communication skills, including public speaking, presentations, and writing.
  • Excellent computer skills, experience with Oaktree is a plus.
  • The ability to build and meet long-range plans, and to anticipate problems before they arise.
  • Demonstrated experience with planning and managing budgets.
  • Highly energetic and enthusiastic, with excellent interpersonal, problem solving and time management skills.
  • The ability to travel frequently to meet with donors and prospects.
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team player, while recognizing the nature of a small nonprofit.
  • Willingness and ability to represent In Defense of Animals professionally at a variety of events.


Employees working over 32 hours/week receive full benefits.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

How to Apply

To apply please include Major Gifts Officer in subject line of email. Submit resume and cover letter by email to Please include the following in your cover letter: your qualifications for the position, a specific explanation of your interest in joining IDA, where/how you found out about this career opportunity, and your salary requirement. Applications will not be considered without all of the items above. Please, no phone calls. Open until filled. Alternatively, materials can be sent to:


Attn: Human Resources

3010 Kerner Blvd.

San Rafael, CA 94901

Fax: 415-448-0048


In Defense of Animals is an equal opportunity employer.