Diversity Hiring: Officer, Major Gifts

Helen Keller

Officer, Major Gifts

(NYC metro area. Most office staff currently working from home due to pandemic)

Helen Keller International is a global health organization dedicated to eliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition and diseases of poverty. Cofounded by Helen Keller – and guided by her fierce optimism and belief in human potential – the organization delivers life-changing health solutions to vulnerable families where the need is great but access to care is limited. In the US, Africa, and Asia, Helen Keller’s proven, science-based programs empower people to create opportunities in their own lives and build lasting change.


The Major Gifts team is at a pivotal moment in which the organization is intentionally growing our community of major donors, and both Board members and staff are energized in the effort.

Candidates who have been part of a development team and are ready to take their career to the next level by managing their own portfolio of donors will find this position especially exciting. The Officer will have the support of a team and coaching from colleagues with extensive major gifts experience.

Functional Relationships

Reporting to the Director of Major Gifts, the Officer, Major Gifts will work directly with the Office of the President, the Vice President for External Relations, and External Relations colleagues. This role will interact directly with donors.

The External Relations department is structured in such a way that the work of each unit supports and reinforces the work of every other unit. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally are essential to make this structure thrive.

Scope of the Position

The Officer, Major Gifts has three primary roles. First, this position will manage a portfolio of donors, consisting of tried and true donors as well as prospects; the Officer will cultivate, solicit, and steward this portfolio, optimally meeting in person with (or zooming as the case will be for a while) and soliciting increasing numbers of donors in person annually. Second, s/he will collaborate with and deploy Helen Keller staff and volunteer leaders in interacting with major donors and prospects. Third, the Officer will engage donors through events and occasional trips to the field and bring donors and prospects to intimate, salon-style conversation gatherings and events of all sizes.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Manage a portfolio of existing donors and prospects, giving or with the potential of giving $5,000 – $25,000 annually and larger gifts for longer range or specific purposes.
    • Oversee lifecycle of giving including identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Personally meet and engage organizational leaders in meeting with 50-150 donors and prospects a year, growing the number of donors met with over time.
  • Solicit increasing numbers of donors and prospects in person annually or by helping other staff and Board leaders solicit, optimally through face-to-face meetings.
  • Create donor profiles using research tools, craft meeting objectives, help convene and prepare others to interact fruitfully with donors and prospects.
  • Thank donors compellingly and personally.
  • Help Board and staff leadership engage the portfolio through creative and sustained efforts.
  • Play a pro-active role in suggesting donors as potential, future Board and Committee members.
  • Track efforts in Raisers Edge.
  • Craft and share compelling messages for donors and prospects through phone, in-person exchanges, emails, letters, proposals, reports, newsletters, follow up correspondence, and thank you letters.
    • Proactively learn Helen Keller’s programs.
  • Visit with US- based field programs and occasionally visit internationally or staff international donor visits and use these opportunities to deepen knowledge to share with donors and prospects.
  • Develop a depth of relationships with staff and Board to share their work with donors and prospects, and where helpful, to make introductions.
  • Staff the Spirit of Helen Keller Gala and intimate, salon-style conversations and gatherings.
    • Collaborate with Special Events staff and others throughout Major Gifts and External Relations to create, build, and implement effective, inspiring engagement opportunities for donors and prospects.
  • Research attendees, prioritize guest lists, and help staff and volunteer leaders to interact with donors and prospects.
  • Host donors and prospects at events, introduce them to members of the staff and Board.
  • Identify hosts for more intimate events in their homes.
  • Help Board members build their tables for larger events.
  • Contribute to overall culture of philanthropic values and donor-centric service.

Please note that Helen Keller’s offices are closed due to the ongoing pandemic and that all External Relations staff are working remotely until the office reopens. Helen Keller commits to accommodate our employees during this unprecedented time, via remote work and flexible scheduling, as needed, as well as to our duty of care and ensuring appropriate health and safety measures are followed as staff return to the workplace.

Required Qualifications/Competencies:

  • College degree plus five years directly related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Master’s degree a plus.
  • Experience in identifying and securing gifts at at least the four- and five-figure levels or staffing membership, annual fund, events, or other aspects of fundraising strategies that directly ask individual donors for gifts.
  • Superior interpersonal skills and ability to form warm and strategic relationships with high net worth individuals.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Detail-oriented including administrative skills required to manage own portfolio.
  • A proven track record of project management.
  • The ability to work independently and efficiently in solving problems within a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment.
  • Ability to work as a team player.
  • Diplomacy, patience and flexibility in managing diverse external and internal relationships.
  • Ability to exercise an appropriate level of professionalism and discretion when dealing with information of a highly confidential nature.
  • Computer literate, including Word, Excel, Outlook, research tools, and proficiency in Raiser’s Edge and/or other fundraising CRM software.
  • Passion about Helen Keller Intl’s mission and goals; some knowledge of international affairs and global public health a plus.
  • Position requires regular office hours as well as some evening and weekend work.
  • Ability to travel for major donor visits approximately 20% of the time, including ability to travel independently outside of the NYC-metro area once conditions allow.
  • Helen Keller International requires all staff who work in our offices and/or who provide services to beneficiaries of our US programs to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they have had COVID.
  • For the time being, Helen Keller also requires all staff to wear masks while providing program services and when in any open or public space in the office and to observe social distancing.

Equal Opportunity Employer!



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