Job Openings >> Major Gifts Officer
Major Gifts Officer
Title:Major Gifts Officer
Organization:The Salvation Army - USA Eastern Territory, Empire State Division
Location:Syracuse, NY
The Salvation Army - Eastern Territory, Empire State Division

Major Gifts Officer (aka: Donor Relations Director)
Syracuse, NY


William Booth and his wife, Catherine, founded The Salvation Army in 1865 to serve London’s worst poverty-stricken districts. 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 those services in 5,000 communities nationwide, and the mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
“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 Empire State Division is in the Eastern Territory, one of the four U.S. geographic service areas. Divisional Headquarters (DHQ) is located in Syracuse, New York, and is the administrative unit that directs 40 Corps in the metropolitan areas of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. The Empire State Division provides programs and services to thousands of people annually throughout 48 Upstate New York counties, plus Sayre, Pennsylvania, a region that includes 200 total communities. The Donor Relations Director will be based in Syracuse, at Divisional Headquarters, focusing on donors and prospects in central New York.
The Opportunity: Donor Relations Director (DRD)
JOIN THE ARMY’S FUNDRAISING TEAM IN THE USA EASTERN TERRITORY and become part of an exciting major gifts program making a profound impact!
The Donor Relations Director is responsible for building a caseload of major gift donors and providing ongoing and proactive relationship management, strategic communications plans, gifts cultivation and solicitation activity for this group of donors. The DRD will identify, qualify, be assigned, cultivate, solicit and steward major gift prospects, acting as the primary contact between the Army and the assigned caseload. Emphasis will be placed on securing gifts of $1,000 and much higher. The focus is on increasing major gifts to The Salvation Army while retaining and strengthening existing giving.
While hired and working in the Empire State Division, the DRD is part of a Territory-wide team of philanthropic professionals that was reconfigured and enhanced with centralized support over the past several years. The program is poised to grow and connect more donors to the central philanthropic mission of The Salvation Army. The Territory provides centralized training and coaching, which is part of the overall program to grow and propel philanthropy. This includes assistance in prospect management, strategy for working with donors, and regular interaction with other major gift staff in the territory to share ideas and strategies.
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 $1,000 and higher.
  • Develops research and briefing memos in preparation for team discussions. Works with Territorial Headquarters (THQ) 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 (often by phone) to discuss and refine caseload plans and donor strategies, track progress, receive coaching, and keep open lines of communication.
  • Works in close conjunction with other fund development officers, pursuing and contributing to harmonious collaboration between other major gift, marketing, social media, foundation, corporation, and planned giving staff within the Division for optimal integrated strategies in regard to major donor communications and overall department initiatives.
  • Supports and contributes to overall policies and strategies as requested, continually increasing major gifts revenue and program growth.
Leadership and Fundraising Management
  • Leads in one-to-one solicitation for their qualified caseload, including 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 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 its work, especially in areas of interest to them. Participates in such opportunities alongside caseload or prospect constituents. Works with other staff and leadership (including leadership volunteers) to develop new major donor / prospect cultivation events such as private receptions, dinners in homes, or seminars targeted toward those with high philanthropic capacity.
  • Plays a key role in working with select local Advisory Boards.
  • Supervises the activities of one direct report, a Development Associate.
Donor Relations
  • Builds and then manages a caseload of 125-150 assigned and qualified major donors. Maintains and seeks to engage prospective donors 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).
  • Prioritizes taking donors on site visits to tour Army programs and facilitate face-to-face briefings of donors by Army leaders.
  • Manages all office systems related to DRD duties, including maintaining donor files, tracking spreadsheets, correspondence and gift acknowledgments, etc., in keeping with department policies and procedures.
  • Documents all donor interactions through 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, as well as the desired outcome for each “touch.”
  • Participates in recommended professional trainings, conference calls with other Divisional and Territorial major gifts staff, conference sessions and other professional development opportunities, as budget allows.
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 for the role of Donor Relations Director (DRD). Preference is given to those who have served in a faith-based organization and possess a strong working knowledge of the local 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 DRD will be creative, energetic and determined, with a talent in identifying and developing 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, 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. Ability to work remotely (on the road, from home and/or at various Army locations). Some travel, TBD, 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 and 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).
The Salvation Army offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package, including a car. The DRD position finalist will be required to submit 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, and thereon submit their cover letter and resume. To assure confidential tracking of all applicants, no applications will be accepted via email.
To assure confidential tracking of all applicants, no applications will be accepted via email. ALL INQUIRIES WILL BE HELD IN STRICT CONFIDENCE.
This search is being managed by Laura Weinman, Senior Consultant of Kistner Eddy Executive Services (KEES), in counsel with Heather Eddy, President & CEO. Questions may be addressed to
KEES is a retained search firm that builds transformative teams and leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. For more information, visit
More about The Salvation Army
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.
More About the Empire State Division
The Empire State Division’s operating budget exceeds $55 million. Funding sources include government contracts, grants (foundations and other), and donations from businesses, individuals and churches, as well as other fund raising efforts that contribute to the individual budgets for each area. In 2014 the infrastructure supporting the development function was reorganized to increase effectiveness and focus resources more appropriately throughout the Division. Four positions were created (Western NY, Finger Lakes, Central NY and Capital Region) to ensure local leadership is provided and day-to-day management is effective.
The Division employs 98 officers, 621 employees and countless volunteers. Salvation Army services range from disaster and emergency assistance, shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries and youth and senior citizen programs in cities, to assistance with meals, clothes, school supplies, utility bills and prescription costs. The Divisional Development department currently consists of 30 other team members and is headed by Peter Irwin, Director of Advancement. 
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