Director of Major Gifts

Washington D.C.
Commensurate with experience
Jan 07, 2019
Feb 06, 2019
Focus Areas
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level

Title: Director of Major Gifts

Reports to: CEO and Managing Director of Finance & Operations

FLSA Status: Full-time, exempt

Location: Washington, DC (on-site)


PeerForward is the national nonprofit that transforms the lives of students in low-income high schools through the power of positive peer influence. A pioneer in the field and one of the very first college-access organizations, PeerForward puts into action decades of research that demonstrates that the social aspects of schooling drives achievement. The organization develops teams of high school juniors and seniors who mobilize their peers to and through college as well as solving pressing school-wide problems in partnership with educators and administrators.  The organization, which has been recognized for its social innovation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President Obama, who shared his Nobel Peace Prize with PeerForward in 2009, annually serves 100,000 students and is currently gearing up to significantly increase that number through an innovative scaling strategy. PeerForward is a national organization operating in 13 states and the District of Columbia where it is headquartered.

This position is responsible for identifying opportunities and developing and implementing initiatives to cultivate and solicit development prospects to ensure a strong base of ongoing financial support. The Director of Major Gifts is entrusted with responsibility for the recognition and stewardship of individual major donors and institutional gifts to PeerForward as well as researching and sourcing new donors and foundations.

Working directly with Executive Chair, CEO and Co-Founder Keith Frome, the Director sets goals, monitors work and evaluates results to ensure that departmental and operating requirements are met and are in line with the needs and mission of PeerForward. The PeerForward organizational structure is designed and managed to maximize collaboration and transparency – reflecting the team structure it implements in its partner high schools – so the Director also works closely with the business operations and program departments as well as the national board of directors, reporting through the business operations department.

Duties & Responsiblities

Planning and Strategy

  • Formulate and execute a 3-5 year development plan. Collaborate with the Executive Chair and internal management team to identify needed funds, strategic approaches, and preferred funding targets, including foundations, corporations, individuals, etc.
  • Strategically assess funding requests and probabilities in order to reach annual goal of $3-4 million dollars

Prospect Research

  • Research and qualify prospects for funding and collaborate with the appropriate development staff to gain accurate prospect information.

Fund Development

  • Conduct research, engage in prospecting, and develop applications to multiple donor sources on a continuous basis.
  • Manage a substantial and constantly growing portfolio of prospects that will enable growth and financial goal attainment, with focus on soliciting gifts of $100,000 and higher Execute on-site meetings alone and with Executive Chair/CEO, facilitate presentations, communications, and negotiations with qualified prospects.
  • Network, prospect, and assist in presentations at selected internal and external events.
  • Craft funding proposals and related materials.


  • Build and maintain a robust donor base by developing and maintaining key long-term relationships with funders.
  • Engage and manage current and potential funders with the goal of increasing future funding levels through community outreach, media, clear and compelling funding requests, accurate reporting, and branding and marketing activities.
  • Manage relationships with prospective and existing donors in all aspects of the gift cycle including: identifying, qualifying, and initiating contact with potential leadership and major gift donors; developing appropriate cultivation strategies; moving potential donors toward solicitation and closure.
  • Complete targeted number of prospect/donor visits and solicitations each year.

Advisory Board

  • Leverage Executive Chair and Board members in all aspects of development activities and take an active role with the Board’s Development Committee.

Reporting and Tracking

  • Maintain prospect management report system,, and other provided tools, which outline weekly activities and potential funding.
  • Maintain a calendar of reports to funders on status of funding activities.
  • Coordinate with finance staff on timely and accurate pledge receivable collection.
  • Serve as primary author of proposals, stewardship reports, and other fundraising collateral.
  • Track solicitation amounts, anticipated gifts, pledges, and income, and provide regular revenue and cash flow updates on projections versus results.

Marketing and Public Relations

  • Actively contribute to public relations activities, such as social media, website, and press coverage, and provide updates to PeerForward’s staff for publications.
  • Contribute to quarterly electronic newsletter.

Internal Collaboration & Management

  • Share information and resources with development staff to enhance the effectiveness of coordinated fundraising efforts.
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues on major gifts activities germane to their subject area or department; participate in and support the fundraising efforts of program staff.
  • Mentor and coach Development Manager and additional development staff.

Qualifications & Skills Requirements

  • Enthusiasm for PeerForward’s mission of helping low-income students solve for school and post-secondary challenges through the power of peers.
  • Minimum 5-7 years of fundraising, business development, or sales experience required.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred.
  • Ability to aggressively and consistently follow up and follow through, with determined self-motivation and autonomy.
  • Experience in planning, leading, and managing development projects, including coordinating with peers to achieve desired outcomes, and tracking and reporting on progress to senior management. Highly skilled in upward management.
  • Proven ability to create and successfully execute a multi-year strategic development plan to meet annual income targets.
  • Ability to maintain high level of organization, to create processes, to manage several projects at once, and to meet deadlines.
  • Skill in networking and communicating a passion for the mission of PeerForward.
  • Experience in creating and delivering powerful, compelling written and oral communications.
  • Clear and compelling writing style.
  • Willingness to continually learn about the field of education as it pertains to low-income and first-generation student experience and achievement.
  • Ability to convey complex ideas through brief, simple materials.
  • Success in conveying experience, credibility, and confidence when engaging external audiences.
  • Highly skilled in cultivating relationships with donors.
  • Excellent computer and Internet skills, including:
  • Microsoft Office software and Salesforce.
  • Evidence of sound judgment, discretion, and highest ethical standards.
  • Willingness and ability to travel.



Physical Requirements

The employee is frequently required to see, talk, hear, walk, and sit. While performing the duties of this job, the employee may occasionally push or lift up to 20 lbs. such as boxes, supplies, etc.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the individual(s) assigned to this position. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and skills required. Management reserves the right to modify, add, or remove duties and to assign other duties as necessary. In addition, reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs