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Major Gifts Officer

Washington DC

National Portrait Gallery seeks to hire an accomplished Major Gifts Officer with proven fundraising experience to build and manage a portfolio of prospects and donors to execute a fundraising program focused on high capacity giving. The Major Gifts Officer works closely with the Assistant Director of Advancement to ensure that annual fundraising goals are met.

Reporting to the Assistant Director of Advancement, the Major Gifts Officer will secure contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and other organizations by discovering and cultivating a productive relationship with prospective donors; present opportunities for giving through solicitation efforts; establish and maintain effective working relationships with individual donors and prospects, and foundation officers; help steward board members and their networks; and help craft and implement a multi-year fundraising plan. The Major Gifts Officer will manage a portfolio of 75 major gifts donors, with a strong focus on foundations. The Major Gifts Officer will be responsible for proposal research and writing and maintaining proposals in the database.  The Major Gifts Officer will conduct robust qualification activity for prospects, maintain up-to-date strategies for managed donors that continually advance gift conversations, and serve as a strong model to peers of portfolio management. The  Major Gifts Officer will maintain a strong working relationship with Smithsonian’s central administration, working closely with the Office of Advancement to coordinate with colleagues as appropriate on matters relating to proposals, gift agreements, budgets and reporting, and other policy and process areas, as well as collaborating with curatorial, historian and other administrative staff members.

Successful candidates will have:

  • At least at least five to seven years of progressively responsible experience in Development, including experience managing a donor portfolio and closing gifts of $50,000 or more.
  • Specialized experience in major gift fundraising, with proven examples of successful grant writing, preferably within a major, arts-related institution, non-profit organization, educational institution, or other environment of similar complexity.
  • Demonstrated ability to raise funds, to be a strategic, creative thinker, excellent project manager and problem solver, and to complete projects in an efficient fashion.
  • Must be able to work on multiple projects simultaneously and meet short deadlines
  • Outstanding organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Superior communication skills, both oral and written
  • Outstanding organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to take ownership of projects and work with minimal direction and supervision
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of the National Portrait Gallery

The museum is growing its advancement department to maintain an increased rate of fundraising growth to support the needs of the museum. This position offers excellent opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the National Portrait Gallery. There is no better time to join this amazing museum.

The National Portrait Gallery attracts nearly 2 million visitors onsite and 4 million online and continues to narrate the multi-faceted and ever-changing story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery presents poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives form our national identity. The National Portrait Gallery is committed to recruiting, supporting, and investing in a diverse team of talented, creative, and passionate staff members who have a shared vision of our mission.


The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position but has similar requirements and benefits. Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a cover letter to by April 10, 2020. Please include the position title in your e-mail subject line. Resumes should include a description of your paid and non-paid work experience that is related to this job; starting and ending dates of job (Month and year); and average number of hours worked per week.     

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Posted March 23, 2020

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