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African Wildlife Foundation - Director, Major Gifts

African Wildlife Foundation

Full Time
North America, USA
Posted 2 months ago

About the African Wildlife Foundation

African Wildlife Foundation’s mission is to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa.

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is the oldest international conservation organization focused solely on Africa. Since our founding in 1961, AWF has recognized that Africa’s wildlife resources and ecosystems are critical to the future prosperity of Africa and its people. Some key facts about AWF:

  • With a geographic focus on the continent of Africa, AWF works with Africans at the local, regional and national levels to conserve the continent’s tremendous natural resources.
  • We believe that sustainable development is good for Africa when balanced with biodiversity conservation.
  • We focus on key African species, including elephants, rhinos, lions and other large carnivores, mountain gorillas and Africa’s other great apes.
  • AWF is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with offices throughout Africa and in Europe and North America.

Our Conservation Approach

For long-lasting impact, conservation in Africa must be done at a large-landscape level, together with local, national and regional partners. Conservation must also consider the needs of not simply the wildlife living in the area but also the people.

To that end:

  • Supporting, promoting, investing in African conservation leadership is in our DNA and a fundamental building block in everything we believe in and do as an organization.
  • AWF targets large areas of land that extend beyond single parks, even national boundaries.
  • We implement a variety of conservation initiatives, all of which are centered around three specific areas: land, wildlife and people (including education and enterprise).
  • AWF incorporates climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts into many of our projects. Because conservation does not always take effect without political will, we also work with governmental partners and regional bodies to effect policy change.

The Role

The African Wildlife Foundation seeks an experienced Director of Major Gifts to execute successful fundraising strategies and manage a team of regional gift officers for a predominantly US audience. The Director must have a proven track record in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies in support of fundraising campaigns, gift planning, major gift procurement, and donor relations.

Reporting directly to the Vice President of Individual Giving and working closely with other senior staff, including the Board of Trustees and the Chief of Staff, the Director of Major Gifts is an integral part of a professional team. This position will play a key role in helping to raise $300 million as part of the “Resilient Africa / Resilient Planet” campaign.

In this role, the Director will oversee the major giving program and a team of front-line fundraising staff in coordination with the external affairs team. Through working directly with donors and supervising others, this person will manage the solicitation and stewardship of donors, as well as identify and pursue new donors and funding opportunities. The Director will also manage their own portfolio, soliciting major gifts ($10,000-$1,000,000+). Finally, the Director will work closely with senior leadership, including the CEO, to help them manage and steward their own portfolios of donors, and will complete assignments as they arise.

Please note that this position is based in Washington, DC with a hybrid work schedule possible. Must have the flexibility to travel frequently (including internationally). Some evening and weekend hours will be required for donor outreach or event participation.


  • Create and oversee a world-class major gifts program to ensure consistent
    growth of AWF’s $10K+ giving community.
  • The Director of Major Gifts will manage a portfolio of major gifts donors, will be charged with consistently adding prospects to their portfolio, and will support colleagues and leadership as needed in major gifts strategy.
  • Lead, manage, and mentor a group of major gifts officers throughout the country. Ensure alignment to goals and KPIs, standards of practice, team culture, and learning and development.
  • Develop, plan, and implement a comprehensive prospect strategy in collaboration with colleagues to help move prospects from one giving level to the next. This will include oversight of pipeline meetings in conjunction with the Annual Giving, Legacy Giving, Research, and Data Services team.
  • Identify, create, and implement cultivation/volunteer opportunities, visits, and safaris – as needed – to increase involvement for current and prospective donors.
  • Plan and execute personalized cultivation activities and small-scale events to educate, inspire, and uplift major gifts donors and prospects.
  • Build relationships through email, phone, video conferencing, and face-to-face meetings.
  • In partnership with VPIG, oversee budget development and monitoring for all major gifts fundraising activities and produce internal and external reports regarding projected and achieved goals monthly.
  • Develop the necessary systems, processes, and tools to better communicate the role of major gifts fundraising across AWF and ensure an integrated fundraising strategy.
  • Ensure information related to fundraising strategies and activities, as well as other appropriate information related to donors/potential donors, are entered into the organization’s eCRM database system.
  • Attend, as necessary or requested, senior-level internal meetings to discuss and implement organizational strategy.
  • Commit to promoting and supporting an environment of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Working with the VPIG, establish annual and monthly revenue major gifts and blended gifts goals; provides reporting to VPIG on major gift program performance.
  • Alongside major gifts officers, design and execute major donor fundraising campaigns, to increase engagement and multi-year annual support.
  • Supports senior leadership in the preparation of prospect communications, research, collateral, and funding proposals.
  • Constructs, manages, and executes the vision for the Major Giving program alongside the VPIG.
  • Mentors and provides major gifts training for staff outside of the development department.
  • Designs and executes annual plans to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors that will meet or exceed donor engagement and revenue goals.

Requirement & Skills

  • Experience cultivating and closing five-, six-, and seven-figure major gifts; closing blended gifts; developing and executing donor strategies, and effectively cultivating and stewarding major donors.
  • Ability to work with and communicate with a wide range of internal constituents including Board Members, senior management, program staff, finance, and volunteers.
  • Outstanding written and verbal skills to persuasively convey the mission of AWF to diverse constituencies.
  • Ability to function in a fast-paced, multifaceted, results-oriented work environment.
  • Must have the flexibility to travel frequently (including internationally), and work evenings and weekends.
  • Must be able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Must be proficient in basic donor/prospect research and relevant analysis, including navigation of databases and online resources.
  • Strong working knowledge of the broad philanthropic landscape, including industry best practices and evolving trends in philanthropy.
  • Experience managing a multi-state portfolio of diverse donors.
  • Ability to analyze issues, identify priorities, manage projects, and make decisions expeditiously.
  • Experience building, growing, and managing a team of colleagues as well as working collaboratively within an effective team.
  • High ethical standards and commitment to adhere to and promote AFP’s Donor Bill of Rights.
  • Commitment to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

Education & Experience

  • Minimum of 10 years of demonstrated frontline fundraising experience in nonprofit fundraising and a minimum of 5 years specifically working in a major gifts program.
  • Experience fundraising for multi-year large-scale comprehensive fundraising campaigns.
  • College graduate as well as higher education and/or advanced certification is preferred.
  • Understanding of common industry databases and software including, but not limited to; Raiser’s Edge (NXT), and Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Commitment to promote the mission and values of the African Wildlife Foundation including a personal passion for the environment, conservation, preservation, and wildlife.
  • Must be authorized to work in the United States.

Job Features

Job CategoryAlanna, Amanda, Environment, Evelyne
LocationWashington, DC is preferred (must have US work authorization)
Salary$140K - $160K USD/annum plus benefits
Closing Date23 May 2024
DivisionExternal Affairs / Individual Giving
Reports toVice President of Individual Giving
Supervises4 Regional Gift Officers

Apply Online


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African Wildlife Foundation

Job Features

Job CategoryAlanna, Amanda, Environment, Evelyne
LocationWashington, DC is preferred (must have US work authorization)
Salary$140K - $160K USD/annum plus benefits
Closing Date23 May 2024
DivisionExternal Affairs / Individual Giving
Reports toVice President of Individual Giving
Supervises4 Regional Gift Officers

Apply Online

Alanna & Evelyne
Alanna Rondi & Evelyne Guindon

Associate Directors, North America