Major Gift Officer, West Coast
Cornell University - San Francisco, CA

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Job: Development

Development Major Gifts


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Overtime Status:

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Rachel Giordano

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The Division of Alumni Affairs and Development's (AAD) role at Cornell is to facilitate a lifelong relationship between alumni, parents, and friends and the university. The division is built upon an unwavering ethos of donor-centric fundraising and collaboration among its 350 staff. An expansion of the 2006-2010 campaign, "Cornell Now" rallies to 2015 with a new target of raising $4.75 billion in support of the Ithaca campus and Weill Cornell Medical College. As of April 2013, we have reached the $4 Billion mark, the fourth university to have reached this milestone, and momentum is clearly building as we enter the final stretch toward our $4.75 billion finish line.

The Major Gift Officer (MGO) is a front-line fund raising professional responsible for managing the relationships of a maximum of 150 prospect households comprised of alumni, parents and friends with giving potential of $100,000 or more. The MGO is responsible for soliciting both major and annual fund gifts and is expected to travel to personally meet with their prospects, to develop meaningful relationships and engage them when possible with the leadership of Cornell University. The MGO is knowledgeable about their assigned prospects and develops and executes an annual plan of strategic engagement for each prospect including solicitations, cultivation and stewardship initiatives. The MGO is well informed about the university's academic programs and fundraising goals and aligns their prospect work with identified institutional priorities. MGO works collaboratively with Alumni Affairs and development colleagues, especially from the university's Colleges and Units, the Cornell Annual Fund, Trusts and Estates and Gift Planning, Major Gifts Services and Principal Gifts. Also with senior administrators, deans, faculty, major gifts committee members and occasionally, the president and trustees. The Major Gifts Officer must develop and maintain in-depth knowledge of university priorities, and inspire the respect and confidence of the executive, academic, trustee and volunteer leadership of Cornell University.
  • The MGO will develop and utilize an annual work plan to manage an assigned prospect pool of 150 major gifts households. In any given year approximately 60 households are identified for focused cultivation and 15-30 for solicitation proposals of $100,000 or more. Of these, 5-15 gift closures are anticipated annually.
  • Initially the goal is to make a minimum of 100 visits, meeting as many prospects as possible, solicit annual fund gifts and assess the potential for $100k plus gifts. Possess a comprehensive understanding of assigned region, enabling access to local networks among constituencies. Demonstrate expertise specific to regional business culture, communities, venues and geography.
  • Complete two distinct stewardship actions each year for each donor in the portfolio whose lifetime philanthropy to Cornell exceeds $100,000, generally a letter of impact and a personal visit by an appropriate Cornell representative.
  • Communicate with all key players and stakeholders on matters relating to his/her prospects. Encourage creative, non-territorial thinking to determine next steps to further individual relationships with Cornell.
  • Report and document strategies, actions, and Cornell interests as well as ensuring all information relevant to assigned prospects is accurate and current in PeopleSoft.
  • In collaboration with the major gifts services center staff, responsible for gift acknowledgements, executive briefings, presidential correspondence, as well as prospect nominations for volunteer leadership and awards.
  • Maintain an in-depth knowledge of Cornell's campaign priorities and those of the colleges and units he/she represents and develop strong collaborative working relationships with colleagues throughout the division.
We welcome a career oriented individual with the drive to succeed who enjoys being part of a team, and is able to work collaboratively with internal and external constituencies while demonstrating cultural sensitivity and a strong respect for differences.
  • Bachelor's Degree and 5 or more years of fundraising including a successful track record in raising gifts at the $ 100,000 or above.
  • Must have excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrate the highest professional and ethical standards, confidentiality, sensitivity, diplomacy and sound judgment in all interactions
  • Synthesize complex information, think strategically and respond to situations as they arise, and thrive in a fast-paced, busy working environment.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with computer software applications, databases, networked informational systems, and the internet.
  • Ability to travel 45 days per year
Background check may be required.

Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.

Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery and engagement. Located in Ithaca, NY, Cornell's far-flung global presence includes the medical college's campuses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, as well as the new Cornell Tech campus to be built on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University's heritage. We're an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

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