The Major Gifts Officer supports the Vice President of Development, Partnerships, & Strategy in our efforts to identify, cultivate, and steward individual donors. The Major Gifts Officer is responsible for managing and executing strategies for growing revenue from Challenger Center’s major donor program, both by identifying new major donors and increasing commitments from existing major donors. This will be done by implementing a major donor cultivation and upgrade program and personally managing a portfolio of major donors and planned giving prospects. The Major Gifts Officer will collaborate with the President & CEO, vice presidents, and board members in the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of major donors, as appropriate. While the primary role of the Major Gifts Officer is managing the major gifts portfolio, s/he will also support cultivation, solicitation, and/or stewardship activities for other donor/prospect audiences, as needed.

Description of Duties: 

Responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

Planning and strategy

  • Support the development of the strategy for augmenting Challenger Center’s existing major gifts program, including identification of major donors, strategies for stewarding and engagement of major donors, and activities to maximize retention and increase gift size.
  • Support the development of annual department plans and goals. Execute on plans to meet goals.

Prospect Identification, Cultivation, Solicitation and Stewardship

  • Understand and expertly articulate Challenger Center’s mission, vision, and funding priorities to donors and prospects.
  • Manage a portfolio of four-to-five figure major donors and prospects, including qualifying high-capacity donors on an ongoing basis, forging strong one-to-one relationships, and developing tailored engagement strategies for upgrading key donors and prospects.
  • Leverage board and senior leadership in engaging major donors by offering sound strategy, staffing calls and meetings with prospects, and performing follow-up.
  • Collaborate with the Education team and senior leaders to identify opportunities for investment in Challenger Center programs that align with major donor interests.
  • Travel frequently to meet with donors and prospects, documenting information gathered and conducting timely follow-up and regular relationship maintenance.
  • Identify, engage, and cultivate new major giving prospects.
  • Educate major donors about planned giving opportunities and solicit planned giving gifts when appropriate.
  • Engage and educate Donor Advised Funds about Challenger Center investment opportunities.
  • Collaborate with Development & Partnerships and Communications staff to develop or refine presentations, proposals, reports, impact updates and other donor materials.
  • Develop, support, and/or execute cultivation or fundraising events, when necessary.
  • Regularly track and report on major giving activity and results.
  • Collaborate with the Manager, Development & Partnerships on grassroots giving strategies.
  • Support cultivation, solicitation, and/or stewardship activities for other donor/prospect audiences, as needed.

Project Management

  • Develop and manage smaller scale projects. This includes managing budgets and timelines; ensuring deliverables are completed on time; and coordinating with other teams as needed.
  • Create and manage project budgets and timelines. Assist in development of annual budget, as requested.
  • As required, draft reporting documents for key stakeholders, including the board of directors and grantors/funders. Collect information and appropriate data from appropriate teams. Ensure reports are accurate and on time.
  • Work with outside contractors/vendors as directed.


  • Maintain donor interactions in Challenger Center’s donor database.
  • Represent Challenger Center at conferences, meetings and special events, as requested.
  • Keep abreast of relevant industry trends and best practices in STEM education, education technology, nonprofit, etc. and share knowledge with others.
  • Identify and share funding and partnership opportunities and assist with proposals, as needed.
  • Attend staff meetings, assist with office support, participate in professional networking, and team building activities. Support other administrative duties as needed.
  • Submit accounting and original receipts to Accounting Department each month on or before the due date
  • Accurately report time spent on projects, PTO, sick, etc. on time.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Strong commitment to Challenger Center mission and strategy.
  • 3-5+ years of experience cultivating major donors within a nonprofit setting. Proven track record of securing five figure+ gifts.
  • Strong oral communication and interpersonal skills, with a proven aptitude for forging strong relationships with major donors.
  • Proven aptitude for writing compelling funding proposals, reports, and other donor stewardship communications.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail with the ability to independently manage time, multiple projects and competing priorities
  • Ability to travel extensively to meet with donors.
  • Ability to demonstrate discretion and hold sensitive and personal information about donors in confidence.
  • Strong computer skills: Word, Excel, Outlook, SharePoint, donor databases (e.g., Salesforce, Bloomerang, Raisers Edge, etc.).
  • Self-starter and a team player.
  • Creative thinking with a positive, can-do attitude under pressure.

We value our employees’ time and efforts. Our commitment to your success is enhanced by our competitive compensation and extensive benefits package including paid time off, medical, dental and vision benefits and future growth opportunities within the company. Plus, we work to maintain the best possible environment for our employees, where people can learn and grow with the company. We strive to provide a collaborative, creative environment where each person feels encouraged to contribute to our processes, decisions, planning and culture.

Challenger Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

To Apply:
E-mail your resume and cover letter to with “Major Gifts Officer” in the subject line. Only applicants who submit all of the requirements will be considered. Due to the number of applicants received, we regret that we can only respond to candidates that we would like to interview.