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Major Gift Officer

School of International and Public Affairs
New York City, New York
Commensurate with experience
Posted Date
Oct 6, 2022

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Position Summary

Reporting to the Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations for the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the Major Gift Officer will manage a robust portfolio of current and prospective donors, with a focus on identifying, cultivating and soliciting alumni, parents, foundations and friends of SIPA with the capacity to make gifts in the $100,000 to $3,000,000 range.  Working within the highly collaborative environment of a dynamic fundraising team, the Major Gift Officer will play an integral role in achieving annual fundraising objectives and in advancing the School’s priorities.  The Major Gift Officer will build partnerships with campus colleagues across academic and administrative departments to understand funding priorities and engage them as needed to build strong donor relationships.


  • Independently manage a portfolio of approximately 150 prospects through all phases of the giving cycle, from validation and engagement through cultivation, solicitation, gift negotiation, and stewardship.
  • Conduct a minimum of 150 prospect meetings annually to cultivate and solicit prospects and close gifts. Complete a minimum of 15 major gifts asks, 25 leadership annual fund asks and 10 planned giving conversations annually. Responsible for managing communications and follow-up, including maintaining detailed activity reports and moves management information on all prospects in the portfolio.
  • Meet agreed-upon fundraising goals and metrics by identifying and working with major gift prospects through successful gift closings.
  • Serve as an integral member of the SIPA Development team with the Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations and other colleagues.
  • Actively participate in Development team meetings to coordinate the major gift program, as well as prospect review meetings to discuss specific prospect strategies as they relate to prioritized fundraising needs.
  • Serve as department liaison for one or more SIPA centers and/or programs on issues related to strategy, fundraising, and events. Provide consultation and assistance in enabling the center or program to achieve increased exposure, funding support, and alumni, donor, and community engagement.
  • Interact with contacts both within SIPA and across Columbia University, such as directors, faculty, officers and other Development staff, to consult on needs, formulate proposal strategies, and identify potential donors. 
  • Promote positive donor relations and stewardship.
  • Evaluate various gift opportunities and giving vehicles; recommend the most suitable for particular donors.
  • Collaborate with the Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations in the planning and execution of cultivation and solicitation events associated with the major gift program
  • Perform additional duties and responsibilities as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree required.
  • A minimum of 5 years of fundraising or equivalent sales, marketing, or customer relations experience required, with a proven track record of closing six-figure and seven-figure gifts.
  • The ability to interact effectively with skilled professionals in the policy world, as well as financial, legal, academic, and corporate communities is essential.
  • Demonstrated excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Outstanding strategic thinking and analytical skills, interpersonal skills, sound judgment, and experience handling highly confidential information.
  • Strong initiative, creativity, organizational ability, and attention to detail.
  • Ability to analyze a problem and present a strategic solution.
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and to work cooperatively with other staff.
  • Ability to handle a multitude of tasks under deadline pressures and have the ability to work in a high-volume, high-demand (but highly collaborative, supportive, team-oriented) office.
  • Ability to be creative, enterprising, persuasive, and tactful.
  • Ability to use current desktop office technologies proficiently and ability to adapt to and use future technologies.
  • High energy level, enthusiasm, and flexibility. Some weekend and evening work hours required.
  • Ability and willingness to travel locally in greater New York City metropolitan area and regionally.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced degree preferred.
  • Experience working in higher education preferred.
  • Understanding of the mission and purpose of institutions of higher education strongly preferred.

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

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