Director, Major Gifts

Organization: Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Brookfield, IL, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Share your passion for animals and conservation!

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature.

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. The Society is an active partner in wildlife protection programs around the world, including the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the world’s longest-running study of bottlenose dolphins. We have pioneered the field of conservation psychology, the study of how people connect with animals and nature. We are able to reach so many audiences each year, including 2 million zoo guests engaged by unique exhibits and programs; some 250,000 schoolchildren, campers, and families who participate in award-winning science education programs; nearly 24,000 teachers who take part in our professional development workshops; and, diverse communities across Chicagoland. The animals at Brookfield Zoo are ambassadors for those in the wild. Through care and breeding, and in some cases, reintroduction to their natural habitat, we replenish nature many times over. Thanks to generous donations, thousands of animals representing 400 species receive state-of-the-art care through top-notch medical, husbandry, and nutrition programs. In fact, animal care technologies developed at Brookfield Zoo are employed in 165 countries. And you can be a part of this!

The Director of Major Gifts designs and directs efforts to help secure philanthropic support, working closely with the Society President, trustees, Development Department, other senior staff, and high-level volunteers to achieve and exceed major gifts fundraising goals. These efforts are achieved by successfully managing a portfolio of approximately 150 prospects moving them from qualification through solicitation. Results are also accomplished by developing and executing an integrated plan to secure philanthropic support from individuals and family foundations. To identify trustee and other volunteer leadership; develop appropriate cultivation and communication strategies, action plans, special events, and commemorative giving opportunities, you will be able to maximize potential support and further the ongoing efforts to build major philanthropic support for the Society. By collaborating with the development team, you will develop and support a cadre of well-trained, high-level trustees and volunteers for the major gifts program; maximize gift potential for the major gift campaign and future campaigns; and identify, cultivate and develop solicitation strategies for Leadership Campaign prospects, including individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Chicago Zoological Society is an organization that runs at a very fast pace with multiple, rapidly changing priorities. You must be flexible, adaptable and comfortable in a dynamic organization with a continually evolving culture. The Director of Major Gifts is expected to be present and visible at events sponsored by the Society for its employees, Board members, and other audiences, which includes evenings, weekends, and early mornings, as needed. The ability to make a significant commitment to the organization is expected. Some travel may be required to meet established work objectives.

The requirements for this position include:

• Bachelor's degree in arts, sciences, or other relevant business related field or equivalent combination of training and experience required. Master's preferred.

• Ten years relevant development experience with not-for-profit organizations, including demonstrated success in annual campaign development, soliciting and securing major gifts from both private and public sources, and experience working with boards of trustees required.

• Outstanding interpersonal skills and ability to deal with all levels of staff required. Ability to strategically build and maintain relationships with Society donors required.

• Must be articulate and well-spoken, capable of effectively representing the organization to various audiences both within and outside the organization. Must possess adept and persuasive communication skills, including the ability to write persuasive, personal, and grammatically correct letters and proposals.

• Must possess solid planning proficiency and organizational skills. Ability to maintain the confidentiality of privileged information essential.

• Must possess effective problem solving and sound, logical decision-making skills.

• Must be a flexible and cooperative team player.

• Must be able to deal with emergent issues, multiple projects, and internal/external high level officials simultaneously.

• Must be able to work effectively under pressure and effectively manage sensitive development issues.

• Must be PC literate. Ability to use word processing and database management software packages required. Experience with Razor’s Edge and Microsoft Office Suite a plus.

• Highly professional appearance and demeanor essential.

• Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience. Multi-lingual ability and Spanish fluency a plus.

• Valid driver’s license required. Illinois residents must possess a valid Illinois license within 90 days of hire. Valid out-of-state license required for out-of-state residents.

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile. Please visit our website at Please look for requisition 1032. The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer - M/F/V/D.