Leadership Gifts Officer

Job Type

Full Time




55 Music Concourse Way
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco
United States



The Leadership Gifts Officer provides strategic leadership in cultivating and soliciting individual donors who support the Academy with major and planned gifts of $25,000 and above, contributing to the overall team goal of $6-8 million in annual unrestricted and restricted support. This position is part of a team that solicits significant gifts for the Academy’s core programs as well as global, cross-functional, and forward-thinking restricted gifts that advance research and science education to promote sustainability solutions in the Bay Area and around the world. This position reports to the Associate Director of Individual Gifts.

The California Academy of Sciences welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities, and beliefs to join us in achieving our mission to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth. We place diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of our recruiting efforts and strive to build a culture centered on mutual respect, equal treatment, and the opportunity to succeed.


●      Manage an existing portfolio and grow it to 120+ donors and prospects, helping our donors accomplish their philanthropic goals through a relationship with the Academy and through partnership with key Academy team members

●      Develop and execute a strategic plan for cultivating donors with an annual giving range of $25,000 and above and increasing the revenue generated from annual and multi-year major and planned giving solicitations

●      Identify, cultivate and steward major gift prospects with an identified gift level of $25,000 and up. Working with Senior Researcher, qualify prospects and determine whether appropriate for major gifts

●      Guided and aided by activity metrics, meet one-on-one with prospects and donors and coordinate staff and volunteer leadership in the cultivation and solicitation of major gift prospects

●      Cultivate targeted prospects through special events, tours, visits, and other exclusive opportunities; implement strategic follow-up working with volunteers, trustees, and staff

●      Draft and edit proposals and reports for potential donors, working closely with the Development Communications Specialist as needed

●      Work with the co-chairs of the Academy’s major donor affinity group, known as the Platinum Circle, to support them in their solicitation efforts as needed

●      Integrate the major gifts program with other fundraising goals and strategic initiatives, including working with the planned giving staff on blended gifts

●      Assist other team members on key projects or efforts that contribute to the organization’s larger regional and national development goals

●      Participate in marketing strategies including website updates, e-news, and other special donor publications and communication vehicles to promote major and planned gifts

●      Effectively represent and articulate Academy programs and strategic priorities and communicate a compelling case for support to donors, prospects, partners, and others

●      Follow Academy safety rules and regulations

●      Other duties and special projects as assigned


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


The ideal candidate will possess a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience:

●      Bachelor's degree (B.A. or S.)

●      Minimum of 3-5 years of demonstrated success in not-for-profit fundraising, preferably in a cultural, sciences, and/or cause-based institution

●      Demonstrated track record of success in major and/or planned gifts fundraising

●      Experience in/exposure to donor relations, special events, and moves management

●      Knowledge of or competency in planned giving a plus


●      Ability to manage multiple tasks and work with diverse groups across a complex organization in a collaborative and team-oriented manner

●      Work efficiently with sophisticated volunteers, trustees, executive director, senior leadership, and other staff for maximum personal contacts with donors and prospects

●      Highly articulate with exceptional interpersonal and written communication skills. An outgoing personality is a plus

●      Interest in scientific research, education, and environmental sustainability

●      Excellent problem-solving, project management, presentation, and organizational skills

●      Possess personal initiative - a highly motivated self-starter

●      Sensitive to confidential information. Personal and professional integrity is essential

●      Knowledge of Bay Area philanthropic community preferred

●      Stay abreast of changes and innovations in federal and state tax laws that may be relevant to major gift prospects

●      Solid background and proficiency in computer, database management, spreadsheet applications

●      Proficiency in Raiser’s Edge, Tessitura, Moves Management, Google Docs, Excel, PowerPoint is preferred

●      Able to work occasional evenings and weekends


Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively before groups or individuals. Bilingual (spoken and/or written) in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, or other non-English language preferred.


The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, walk, and reach with hands and arms, and talk or hear. Must be able to perform repetitive motions 50% of the time. Must be able to lift 25 lbs.

The California Academy of Sciences will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.

The California Academy of Sciences is a non-smoking facility. There is also no smoking in Golden Gate Park.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement