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Assistant Director, Major Gifts

Posted: January 22, 2024 Expired: February 19, 2024
John G Shedd Aquarium
Bachelor Degree 5 Year

John G Shedd Aquarium

Assistant Director, Major Gifts

Shedd Aquarium is seeking a full-time Assistant Director, Major Gifts to join its Development Department and play a critical role in advancing fundraising on behalf of our Centennial Commitment as the Development Department pursues two goals: 

  • Raising $130M towards the cost of Shedd’s experience evolution here at our historic home on the Museum Campus  
  • Increasing philanthropic support of Shedd’s annual operations by 50-60% to support the future institutional financial model by 2027 
In partnership with the Senior Director of Major & Principal Gifts, the Assistant Director will serve as a front-line gift officer advancing the acquisition, retention, and revenue growth across our Major Gifts program (annual donors at $10k per year and above). They are a key part of the Development team focused on the:
  • Identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of 5- and 6-figure donors and prospects through management of a portfolio of Major Giving prospects  
  • Lead solicitor for multi-year and blended (cash and bequests) comprehensive campaign gifts   
As a motivated and organized fundraiser, the Assistant Director works entrepreneurially and across to help strengthen overall fundraising efforts during a period of rapid growth. A successful candidate will be an enthusiastic, results-oriented relationship builder who thrives on fast-paced teams and demonstrates a work ethic, persuasive verbal communication skills, and high-caliber writing skills.  

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be 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 essential functions.
  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd's vision, mission, and values.  
  • Identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, and thoughtfully steward a portfolio of approximately 80 -100 donors and prospects capable of making multi-year 5-6 figure commitments in support of a comprehensive campaign.  
  • Develop/personalize written donor strategies, briefing, and solicitation materials, both for direct asks and those led by senior staff and Trustees. 
  • Plan and execute a minimum of 150 visits per year with donors and prospects, including a focus on discovery and qualification. 
  • Deliver a minimum of 12 comprehensive major gift solicitations annually that effectively match donor interests with Aquarium needs.  
  • Work closely with members of the Prospect Research, Development Services and Membership teams to ensure consistent flow of prospects up and down the pipeline.  
  • Leverage close working relationships with the Board of Trustees to identify new prospects and convert event donors into annual supporters.  
  • Collaborate with internal Shedd colleagues to implement unique donor cultivation and stewardship opportunities and communications to keep donors involved and informed of ongoing Shedd projects, developments and advancement.  
  • Participate in appropriate donor and member cultivation events, as planned and as necessary, which are often held in the evening and/or on weekends. 
  • Maintain timely contact records in the database and analysis of donors managed. Deliver timely and effective follow-up to prospects and donors. 
  • Provide routine quantitative analysis of portfolio activities to senior leadership and adapt approaches in response to measured outcomes.  
  • Other duties 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 essential functions. 

  • Minimum of a Bachelors' degree required 
  • A minimum of 5 years of progressive, professional experience in development, alumni relations, or similar professional work experience.   
  • Familiarity with fundraising practices and a successful track record directly soliciting and closing leadership or major gifts and cultivating new relationships with donors and/or clients 
Skills and Personal Qualities: 
  • The candidate will be an intelligent, results-oriented, and highly organized self-starter who maintains high standards for their work and can work effectively with the Aquarium’s diverse constituencies, both internal and external. 
  • The candidate will welcome the opportunity to build collaborative relationships with Shedd supporters, development colleagues, internal partners, and Shedd leaders. 
  • Excellent written communication skills with demonstrated ability to creatively and persuasively convey messages to various audiences. A writing sample will be requested. 
  • Strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills across a wide variety of audiences. 
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and organization skills. 
  • Ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects simultaneously with great attention to detail. 
  • Ability to work independently and as a collaborative team member in a fast-paced, multi-tasking work environment. 
  • Must be able to flex schedule as needed to work evenings or additional weekend hours as needed for events and donor tours/visits. 
  • Experience working in fundraising or sales CRM required. 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, especially Outlook, and manipulating/formatting data in Excel. 
  • Ability to read, write, speak, and comprehend English fluently. 
  • Ability to read and comprehend complex instructions given from written and oral sources.   
  • Ability to write professional business correspondence.  
  • Ability to effectively present information to and collaborate with all levels of employees. 
We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).

How to Apply

Apply directly though the provided job link -

John G Shedd Aquarium
Chicago, IL 60605

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