Major Gift Officer

Posted on 06/13/2019

Duke University

Durham, NC

Occupational Summary

The Regional Development Director is responsible for the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of individual prospects at the $100,000 – $5,000,000 level.  Regional Development Directors manage portfolios of prospects with multiple University affiliations and philanthropic interests in a regionally organized program. This position will focus on prospects in Northern California and other regions as assigned.

Regional Development Directors’ responsibilities include:

  • Soliciting, cultivating and securing gifts for all schools and units at Duke University, with emphasis on gifts of $100,000+.
  • Developing and maintaining a portfolio of prospects and maintaining active efforts to evaluate prospects identified through fieldwork, screening, and research.
  • Developing, executing and leading strategies for involvement, cultivation and solicitation of single and multi-interest donors, including appropriate referrals to and/or joint work with colleagues in schools and units.
  • Traveling bimonthly to areas within the assigned region to further fundraising strategies.
  • Traveling with the president, provost, deans and interdisciplinary initiative directors to cultivate and solicit prospects or attend fundraising events; involving top Duke University academicians, leaders and volunteers in fund raising efforts.
  • Identifying new major gift prospects for all University areas and developing strategies for involvement and solicitation, including appropriate referrals to and/or joint work with colleagues in the schools and units.
  • Maintaining active communication with development officers throughout the University to inform of travel and visit potential prospects, coordinate prospect activity, collaborate on strategy and make and “take” referrals.
  • Demonstrating decisiveness and sound judgment to predict how a decision will affect individuals and groups in the department or university and developing strategies to build support for the decision.
  • Developing thoughtful stewardship plans for key donors; initiatives involve high level impact reports, dedications and special events. Maintain a focus on re-qualifying donors when they move from stewardship back into the donor engagement process.
  • Identifying volunteers, encouraging their placement on school or unit boards or other activities and involving University representatives as appropriate.
  • Maintaining a robust knowledge of University-wide funding priorities, and a general knowledge of school and unit funding priorities; keeping abreast of institutional and departmental priorities, university programs, personalities and events.
  • Maintaining a working knowledge of Duke’s regional volunteer and prospect base and regional activities.
  • Managing selected special projects.
  • Reporting on activity on a regular basis in accordance with the Regional Development Director team standards.

Perform other related duties incidental to the work described herein.

Required Competencies

  • Collaborating with others: Ability to work collaboratively, formally and informally within one’s team and across the organization.
  • Ability to influence: Ability to move or persuade others to act in a desired way. Uses indirect influence.
  • Goal & Task Management: Prioritize and coordinate tasks with attention to deadlines, concurrent management of projects and ability to create and follow a set strategy for short and long-term goals and objectives.
  • Listening: Is an “active listener”. Establishes rapport with and is receptive to speaker. Picks up on underlying messages; “hears between the lines”.
  • Expressing ideas orally and in writing: Ability to effectively and persuasively communicate ideas, thoughts, and facts orally and in writing.
  • Self Management: Manages time efficiently and effectively. Gives and seeks feedback on own performance. Perseveres in the face of performance obstacles for the achievement of work objectives. Consistently chooses an ethical course of action for workplace behavior. Forms relations with seniors, staff and peers that produce trust and approachability
  • Curiosity & Information Seeking: Expresses an underlying curiosity in people and an ability to go beyond questions that are routine to gain an understanding of the prospects capacity, affinity and inclination.
  • Decisiveness & Judgment: Uses sound judgment to make appropriate, timely decisions in complex situations for which there are no set procedures.
  • Models Integrity and Ethics: Demonstrates accountability for actions. Keeps promises and commitments made to others. Does the right thing, even when it is difficult. Does not yield to pressure to show bias or manipulate others. Serves as a role model of ethical behavior by consistently conforming to the highest ethical standards and practices. Champions organizational values.
  • Flexibility: The ability to adapt to and work effectively with a variety of situations, and with various individuals. Adapts tactics appropriately.
  • Dealing with Ambiguity: Makes decisions and takes action with limited information. Anticipates impact of change and directs self and others in smoothly shifting gears.
  • Organizational Awareness: Ability to learn and understand organizational relationships and dynamics. Uses networks, alliances and individuals to achieve objectives.
  • Leadership: Takes an active role in developing motivational strategies. Provides guidance to groups, team members, or other employees. Contributions have major impact upon the work, activities, or output of teams or several groups.


  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • 5-10 years progressive fundraising responsibility in major gifts, preferably in higher education, with a demonstrated track record of soliciting and closing major gifts.
  • Must be willing to travel.
  • Ability to plan and implement a fundraising plan for a metropolitan area of strategic importance to Duke University
  • Knowledge of Duke highly desirable.
  • Ability to understand the needs and interests of leadership and prospects in order to align those with Duke’s priorities. Interest in all aspects of education and a dedication to promoting Duke’s fundraising priorities.
  • Strong collaborative abilities and enthusiasm for working in teams.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle multiple, complex fundraising activities simultaneously.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; demonstrates active listening.
  • High level of creativity, initiative, and motivation.
  • Ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality with respect to prospects and donors.

Interested Applicants

Please submit your cover letter and resume to [email protected]

Please put “Regional Development Director” in the subject line

To apply for this job email your details to