Major Gifts Officer

Website Otterbein University

UNIVERSITY SUMMARY:  Historically progressive and building. That is the hallmark of Otterbein University and those connected to this private university nestled in the picturesque, historic Uptown Westerville district in central Ohio and minutes away from Columbus, Ohio’s largest city. Otterbein has set the pace by providing an educational experience that is progressive, innovative, and inclusive. Students come from towns throughout Ohio, as well as many states and multiple countries, enriching the campus through their individual and collective diversity. As a university that educates students of various racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, we strive for and value a diverse faculty and staff that reflects our student population and Franklin County.

Otterbein has been selected as one of 23 universities across the US and the first in Ohio to host a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center. Otterbein will work with its own campus community as well as the Columbus City and Westerville City school districts to create positive narrative change about race; promote racial healing activities; and erase structural barriers to equity and opportunity.

SUMMARY:  The Major Gift Officer – Development Officer is responsible for the development and execution of plans and strategies for the cultivation and solicitation of alumni, friends, faculty and staff, other individuals, and sometimes organizations to fund immediate and long-term goals of the university. Reporting to the Executive Director for Development, the Major Gift Officer is responsible for building a culture of philanthropy, including the establishment and implementation of all aspects of development strategy, procedures, and goals for relationships key to individual giving for his or her portfolio and to provide input into the overall development strategy.



ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following.  Other duties may be assigned.

As a member of Institutional Advancement, assist in efforts to enhance the University’s image and visibility; communicate a strong and consistent message about the University to its constituencies; strengthen internal and external partnerships to benefit Otterbein and participate in specific campaign and giving initiatives.
Support the Vice President and Executive Director’s relationship with the Board of Trustees and key individual donors, provide suggestions for board and volunteer service at all levels at the University.
Actively manage a portfolio of 150-200 assigned individual gift prospects through identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship cycles; and report on progress of donor-related activities and gift solicitations. Proactively seek opportunities personally to generate new proposals based on donor interests and institutional priorities. Solicit major gifts of $25,000 or more with an emphasis on gifts designated for endowment, capital or program needs. Write proposals for solicitation of own prospects and provide assistance in the preparation of other proposals.
Provide leadership for and management of giving opportunities for projects, which may include key reunion classes (e.g., 50th reunion), peer to peer volunteer management programs, special recognition societies (e.g., President Society), and leadership annual giving, and potentially others.
Travel to visit prospects, sometimes in tandem with the Executive Director or senior leadership; work proactively to bring prospects to campus for substantive visits and engagements.
Work closely with senior colleagues across the campus to set donor strategy with a focus on securing major gifts, currently set at $25,000. Lead principal and major gift strategy sessions on a regular basis; conduct prospect identification, qualification and rating process; assess major gift prospect pool, including prospect management tracking procedures.
Build effective working relationships with staff members in key campus offices such as Admissions/Enrollment, Academic Affairs, MBA Program, The Point – STEAM Innovation Center, Business office and Student Affairs. Engage representatives of those offices in development activities as appropriate. In conjunction with the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and the Executive Director, staff the president, the provost, deans, and other key institutional representatives in their contact with principal and major gift donors and potential donors, especially related to individual relationships.
Develop knowledge of and articulate university mission, academic programs, research, and fundraising objectives to prospects and donors; ensure that development team is knowledgeable about fundraising priorities, ways of giving, donor development process and management of volunteers where appropriate.
Collaborate in the preparation of funding proposals, talking points and scripts, assessments of potential support, briefings for senior leadership and trustees, and review of donor relations and stewardship reports, with a focus on assigned prospects; document all substantive prospect contacts in the database.
As an engaged member of the Division of Institutional Advancement, perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Director of Development.



QUALIFICATIONS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


The Major Gift Officer will have at least three to five years or more of experience in the advancement field, preferable within higher education and with a proven ability to cultivate, solicit and steward gifts at the major and principal gift levels. The Major Gift Officer must have superlative interpersonal skills with a demonstrated ability to work well with people at all levels of an organization and handle multiple, complex fundraising activities simultaneously with an attention to detail. Additionally, the Major Gift Officer must have the professional credibility, intellectual depth, maturity, and collaborative skills to garner the trust and confidence of senior leadership, key volunteers and donors, and colleagues within Institutional Advancement and across the campus.


The Major Gift Officer will have a keen understanding of and ability to implement best practices in fundraising and the ability to motivate staff and colleagues; proven success fostering a team culture; substantial, direct experience with all phases of successful campaigns; a proven track record of personally cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gifts from donors; and engaging, educating, and supporting the fundraising efforts of faculty, senior leaders, and volunteers.


Ability to raise donor sights, articulate aspirational goals and ideas, set priorities, and present philanthropic priorities
Deep understanding and appreciation for the philanthropic process and giving behaviors
Deep knowledge of planned giving, financial and estate planning concepts; while displaying a creative, professional, and entrepreneurial spirit; strong intellectual curiosity
Ability to understand and contribute to a comprehensive and campus-wide donor relations plan, especially related to individual giving, including donor acknowledgement and recognition, advising on complex and carefully orchestrated cultivation events and programs for the University’s major donors
Ability to work independently and as part of a team
Demonstrated integrity and the ability to handle sensitive and confidential matters with appropriate discretion, including the ability to foster inclusiveness and diversity of ideas in working with constituencies and colleagues

EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE: At least three to five years of progressively responsible experience in development or with not-for-profits with a proven ability to engage individuals and secure commitments; the ability to inspire individuals to provide significant financial support to an institution
Additional experience in volunteer management and comprehensive donor relations desired
Bachelor’s degree required; an advanced degree is preferred.

CERTIFICATES, LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS: Must have a valid driver’s license.


LANGUAGE SKILLS: Must demonstrate professional level oral and written communications skills including grammar.


The ability to interact comfortably, tactfully, and effectively with varied internal and external constituencies is essential. Must demonstrate excellent verbal and writing skills including an exceptional command of grammatical rules and AP Style Guidelines, to include a demonstrated ability to make compelling presentations. Must be able to project voice and speak publicly in both small and large group settings.


MATHEMATICAL SKILLS: Must be competent in general math and financial matters.



Knowledge of general office procedures.  Must be able to use general office equipment, work in a complex customer relations management database, and willing to learn and employ new technologies.



Demonstrated analytical and strategic thinking capabilities; the ability to embrace challenges and thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment, while adapting to changing circumstances. Ability to exercise initiative and independent judgment in unusual or new situations.  Must be able to work independently. Must retain confidential information, thus confidentiality and discretion are mandatory.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS:  The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to talk or hear, sit, reach and use repetitive motions of hands and wrists. The employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, stoop or bend. Must be able to meet regular and predictable attendance standards. The employee is expected to travel, both in-state and out-of-state, using the best means of transportation which may include commercial airlines.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.    Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Duties are performed in an environmentally controlled office setting. Occasional travel, evening and weekend work is expected.


This description is intended to indicate the kinds of tasks and levels of work difficulty that will be required of positions that will be given this title and shall not be construed as declaring what the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position shall be. It is not intended to limit or in any way modify the right of any supervisor to assign, direct and control the work of employees under supervision. The use of a particular expression or illustration describing duties shall not be held to exclude other duties not mentioned that are of similar kind of level of difficulty.


Otterbein University is an Equal Opportunity Educator and Employer.

Otterbein University is committed to providing a welcoming environment free from unlawful discrimination. To this end, the University prohibits any form of discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, pregnancy, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, disability, military status, or any other legally protected status in its programs and activities. However, the University’s commitment to a nondiscriminatory environment is not intended to abridge unduly its commitment to academic freedom, free speech, or its educational mission. Inquiries or complaints regarding any form of discrimination or harassment may be directed to:


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