Openings >> Major Gifts Officer
Major Gifts Officer
Title:Major Gifts Officer
Organization:The Salvation Army - USA Western Territory, Southern California Division
Location:Orange County, CA



Major Gifts Officer (aka: Donor Relations Director)



Orange County


JOIN THE ARMY’S GROWING FUNDRAISING TEAM in the WESTERN TERRITORY and become part of an exciting new major gifts program making a profound impact!

Today, nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. Eighty-two cents of every dollar the Army spends is used to support these services in 5,000 communities nationwide. As a branch of the Christian church, founded by William Booth and his wife Catherine in 1865 to serve London’s worst poverty-stricken streets, the ultimate goal of all programs is the spiritual regeneration of all people.


The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God. Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.


The Southern California Division is part of the Western Territory (THQ), one of the Army’s four U.S. geographic service areas. The Southern California Division Headquarters (DHQ), one of ten divisions in the USA Western Territory, is based in Long Beach, California and serves local communities from Orange County to San Luis Obispo County. This administrative unit directs 34 corps with an annual operating budget of $73 million. Funding sources include government contracts, grants (foundations and other), in addition to, donations from businesses, individuals and churches. The Salvation Army is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


“The Salvation Army is by far the most effective organization in the U.S. No one even comes close to it with respect to clarity of mission, ability to innovate, measurable results, dedication, and putting money to maximum use.” –The late Dr. Peter Drucker, renowned management expert


The Opportunity: Major Gifts Officer (MGO): aka: DRD - Donor Relations Director


Note: There are two (2) DRD roles open in Orange County areas respectively:


DRD Position #1: Although the Army is still in the process of finalizing both portfolios of donors, it is anticipated the major gift officer in this position will cover communities in the southern part of Orange County. The region includes, but is not limited to, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Corona Del Mar, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo and San Clemente.


DRD Position #2: This position will cover Huntington Beach and communities in the northern part of Orange County including, but not limited to, Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, Cypress, Garden Grove, Fullerton and Yorba Linda.


The MGO/DRD plays a key and integral role in the success of the Southern California Division’s fund development efforts, specifically leading major gift strategies and fundraising communications in the Greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas of California. The MGO/DRD role is being repositioned as part of the overall reconfiguration of Major Giving programs in the Western Territory. Over the next five years, The Salvation Army Western Territory anticipates almost doubling the current number of MGO/DRD positions. The Army’s strong commitment to growing its major giving programs is reflected in plans to centralize training, provide prospect research/management support, enhance existing database systems, and provide stewardship support. The position reports to a territorial Regional Manager of Major Giving Programs and operates as part of the Southern California Division’s Development Team.


The MGO/DRD is responsible for ongoing and proactive relationship management, strategic communications plans, gifts cultivation and solicitation activity with an assigned caseload of qualified major donors and a smaller group (10%) of assigned, qualified prospects. In this role, the MGO/DRD will identify, qualify, be assigned, cultivate, solicit and steward major gift donors (90%) and prospects (10%), acting as the primary contact between the Army and the assigned caseload, with an emphasis on securing gifts of $5,000 and much higher in their respective portfolio worth $1 million, increasing major gifts to The Salvation Army while retaining and strengthening existing giving.


Primary Performance Objectives



  • Establishes, manages and fulfills a caseload communications plan, including individual fundraising goals and personalized strategies, to effectively steward, educate, cultivate and solicit gifts from major donors each fiscal year, with an emphasis on gifts of $5,000 and higher.
  • Leads the development of team solicitation strategies and facilitates the team planning process for peer-to-peer cultivation and solicitation approaches, involving leadership volunteers and internal leadership as deemed appropriate under the guidance of the Regional Manager. Develops research and briefing memos in preparation for team discussions. Works with prospect research manager at THQ and local staff who are trained to do research to develop donor profiles to inform “moves management” strategies and planning conversations.
  • Meets regularly with supervisor and territorial major gifts management (by phone) to discuss and refine caseload plans and donor strategies, to track progress, to receive coaching, and to keep open lines of communication.
  • Works in close conjunction with other fund development officers, pursuing and contributing to harmonious collaboration between direct marketing, social media, foundation, corporation, and planned giving staff for optimal integrated strategies in regard to major donor communications as well as overall department initiatives.
  • Supports and contributes to, as requested, overall policies and strategies to continually increase major gifts revenue and program growth.


Leadership and Fundraising Management

  • Leads in one-to-one solicitation, gift acknowledgement and stewardship communication, traveling as necessary, establishing and maintaining excellent donor relations, providing written proposals to major gift prospects as needed, and including Army and/or volunteer leadership as appropriate.
  • Works in collaboration with program, finance, development and graphic design/communications, and administrative support staff to develop a portfolio of giving opportunities (cases for support) that documents funding needs in terms of real program costs, how dollars impact people, outcomes being (and which could be) achieved, shortfalls and exciting mission advancement opportunities. Presents these opportunities to donors to effectively match donor interests with Army service delivery advancement needs.
  • Keeps management apprised of all significant interactions, inputting contact reports to the Portfolio donor database system as required, sharing a continually updated itinerary, fulfilling all monthly and other reporting requirements, and consulting with leadership when needed to understand organizational priorities, develop strategies that benefit both donor and the Army, and troubleshoot challenging situations.
  • Stays driven toward goals and focused on caseload, but makes effective use of volunteerism opportunities, events and other initiatives to engage with assigned donors, bring them closer to the Army, and deepen their awareness of the impact of our work, especially in areas of interest to them. Participates in such opportunities alongside caseload constituents. Works with other staff and leadership (including leadership volunteers) to develop new major donor/prospect cultivation events (private receptions, dinners in homes, seminars, etc.) targeted toward those with high philanthropic capacity.
  • Plays a key role in working with select local Advisory Boards.


Donor and Volunteer Relations

  • Manages a caseload of 125-150 assigned and qualified major donors, and will maintain and seek to engage with a small additional prospective donor “watch list” as assigned, following the prescribed communications plan that is specific to each donor and prospect and working, as appropriate, with donor leadership volunteers to secure visits with those in their peer networks who are assigned.
  • Works in close collaboration with local officers, program, finance and fundraising staff to present local Army resource development needs that correspond to where donors and prospects reside, while always being responsive to each donor’s interests (even if elsewhere) and attentive to fiduciary responsibilities (donor intent with gifts).
  • Makes it a priority to take donors on site visits to tour Army programs and to facilitate face-to-face briefings of donors by Army leaders.
  • Manages all office systems related to MGO/DRD duties, including maintaining updated Portfolio donor files, tracking spreadsheets, correspondence and gift acknowledgments, in keeping with department policies and procedures. Documents all donor interactions through Portfolio contact reports and according to established business practices. Carries out any office and computer-related tasks important to fulfilling the goals of the position.
  • Ensures excellent customer service is provided to donors through accessibility to staff and leadership (as granted), timely responsiveness, quality in all interactions and personalized communications.
  • Works diligently to meet agreed upon monthly and annual activity and income production goals, and is purposeful about every visit and communication and the desired outcome for each “touch.”
  • Participates in recommended professional trainings as budget allows, conference calls with other major gifts staff, conference kindred sessions and other professional development opportunities.


The Qualified Candidate


The Salvation Army seeks compassionate, dynamic and entrepreneurial fundraising professionals with a minimum of five years’ individual giving/ major gifts experience in a highly productive and progressive development and communications program within the nonprofit sector. Preference is given to those who have served in a faith-based organization, and specific to this search for the MGO/DRD in the Southern California Division, possess a strong working knowledge of the Greater Los Angeles, or, Orange County areas’ philanthropic community. It is imperative that the person who assumes this important role fully embrace, support and reflect well on The Salvation Army’s mission and values through one’s professional responsibilities and behavior at all times. The MGO/DRD will be creative, energetic and determined, with a talent to identify and develop opportunities for donors and The Salvation Army to come together.


Specific Requirements Include:

  • Passion for The Salvation Army’s mission coupled with a strong commitment to know and understand the Army’s history, mission and structure, as well as its services, policies and procedures.
  • Bachelor’s Degree; Advanced degree and/or CFRE credential preferred.
  • Minimum of five years of experience in a nonprofit fundraising role, with a proven track record of major gifts success and a strong working knowledge of strategy development and moves management systems in the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship processes.
  • Highly effective interpersonal, conversational and presentational skills, demonstrating an emotional intelligence and situational awareness in tandem with excellent writing abilities and strong case development and sales pitch skills.
  • Demonstrated expertise in developing and maintaining positive relationships with diverse individuals, including executives, high-level volunteers, wealthy donors, and internal stakeholders and leadership.
  • Prowess in problem-solving, strategic and creative thinking, plus taking initiative with consistent and good follow-through.
  • Great comfort level with direct donor interaction is a must, including discussions of personal and family finances and asking for major financial commitments.
  • Team player, able to check ego at the door, with a capacity to collaborate effectively with officers, staff and volunteers for successful achievement of position and department goals.
  • Communications and management style that exhibits the principles and culture of the Army, as well as fosters team relationships and effectively communicates information.
  • Willingness and ability to travel on a regular basis. Valid Driver’s License required. Area residence is important.
  • Ability to work remotely (on the road, from home and/or at various Army locations). It is anticipated that 80% of the donors are local to the position, but some travel related to donor management and/or organizational training is required.
  • Experience in working independently in a fast-paced environment without extensive administrative support, and exceptional organizational abilities with fluency in managing multiple projects and competing priorities with professionalism and grace.
  • Driven to make a difference, goal-oriented with a proven ability to achieve or exceed goals and meet deadlines.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite, hands-on experience with donor management software, and savvy in the maintenance of current contact and activity tracking reports (with adherence to the Army’s database protocols). Portfolio user background is preferred.


The Salvation Army offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package. The MGO/DRD position finalist will be required to submit a full background and reference checks.


The Salvation Army is committed to offering equal employment opportunity to all applicants and to all employees without regard to race, color, gender, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation, genetic predisposition and/or any other lawfully protected classification or occupationally irrelevant criteria. Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/D/V.


To Apply

Candidates may apply by clicking the APPLY NOW button below. To assure confidential tracking, no resumes will be accepted via email.



This search is being managed by Kathrene Wales, Search Manager and Associate Consultant of KEES, in counsel with Heather Eddy, President & CEO. Questions may be addressed to


KEES (Kistner Eddy Executive Services) is a retained search firm that builds transformative teams and leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. For more information, visit


More about the Army’s Southern California Division

The Southern California Division, under the direction of Divisional Commander Lieutenant Colonel Kyle Smith, employs 996 employees and countless volunteers. Recent data about the services provided last fiscal year is impressive and its annual impact breakdown includes 1,057,713 meals served, 500,128 nights of shelter provided, 123,735 nights of shelter to veterans, 170,275 gifts distributed, plus much more.


The Salvation Army – Western USA Territory
Comprised of 10 Divisions and serving communities in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Hawaii, Guam, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, Territorial Headquarters (THQ) is situated in Long Beach, California. Under the leadership of Territorial Commander, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, Chaz Watson is the Territorial Executive Director of Development and Susan Levin is the Territorial Director of Major Giving Programs.
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