Job ID: 17724

Location: District of Columbia District of Columbia

Major Gifts Officer


Challenger Center is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that inspires, engages, and prepares today’s students for the future through innovative K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs. With our global network of Challenger Learning Centers, we give thousands of students each year the opportunity to become scientists, engineers, and innovators and to work together on inspiring missions like finding life on Mars or preserving ocean species. Through our programs, students apply STEM concepts in the context of real-world challenges; they are exposed to a range of STEM careers; and they practice important skills like teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. 


Are you passionate about creating positive change? As Challenger Center’s Major Gifts Officer, you will manage and execute strategies for growing revenue from individual donors. You will be expected to accomplish this by identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major donors. You will collaborate with the President & CEO, vice presidents, and board members to cultivate, solicit, and steward donors, as appropriate While the primary role of the Major Gifts Officer is managing the major gifts portfolio, s/he will also support cultivation, solicitation, and/or stewardship activities for other donor/prospect audiences, as needed.


With your expertise, we can elevate our impact and touch more lives. 


To be successful, you should have:

  • Bachelor’s degree required. 
  • Strong commitment to Challenger Center mission and strategy. 
  • 3-5+ years of experience cultivating major donors within a nonprofit setting. Proven track record of securing five-figure+ gifts. 
  • Strong verbal communication and interpersonal skills, with a proven aptitude for forging strong relationships with major donors. 
  • Proven aptitude for writing compelling funding proposals, reports, and other donor stewardship communications. 
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail with the ability to independently manage time, multiple projects, and competing priorities.
  • Ability to travel to meet with donors. 
  • Ability to demonstrate discretion and confidently hold sensitive and personal donor information. 
  • Strong computer skills: Word, Excel, Outlook, SharePoint, and donor databases (e.g., Salesforce, Bloomerang, Raisers Edge, etc.).
  • Self-starter and a team player. 
  • Creative thinking with a positive, can-do attitude under pressure. 


Your key responsibilities as the Major Gifts Officer include:

  • Lead Challenger Center’s major gifts program, qualifying prospective major donors, leading the stewardship and engagement of major donors, and managing activities to maximize retention and increase the giving of major donors. 
  • Develop and implement, in concert with the Vice President of Development, Partnerships, and Strategy, the strategy to achieve individual giving fund-raising goals, including stretch goals.
  • Expertly articulate Challenger Center’s mission, vision, strategy, and funding priorities to donors and prospects. 
  • Manage a portfolio of 75-100 major donors and prospects, including qualifying high-capacity donors through prospect research, forging one-to-one relationships, and developing tailored engagement strategies for upgrading key donors and prospects. 
  • Schedule cultivation and solicitation meetings (calls and in-person) with donors and prospects, averaging 3-4 per week, targeting individuals with a giving capacity of at least $5,000.
  • Develop and implement the donor touchpoint calendar, identifying ways to increase donor cultivation and involvement in visits, mailings, meetings, events, and activities that highlight the impact of their giving.
  • Collaborate with the Office of the President to lead the moves management of the President & CEO’s portfolio of high-capacity prospects and donors. 
  • Collaborate with the Education team and senior leaders to identify opportunities for investment in Challenger Center programs that align with major donor interests.
  • Leverage board and senior leadership in engaging major donors by offering sound strategy, staffing calls and meetings with prospects, and performing follow-up. 
  • Plan and execute all donor engagement events, both virtual and in-person. 
  • Measure, track, and report progress against revenue targets and other established metrics, such as new donors, retained donors, cultivation moves, etc.
  • Educate donors about planned giving opportunities and solicit planned gifts when appropriate. 
  • Collaborate with Development & Partnerships and Communications staff to develop or refine presentations, proposals, reports, impact updates, and other donor materials. 
  • Collaborate with the Development & Partnerships and Communications team members on grassroots giving strategies. 
  • Support cultivation, solicitation, and/or stewardship activities for other donor/prospect audiences, as needed.


Project Management 

  • Develop and manage smaller-scale projects. This includes managing budgets and timelines, ensuring deliverables are completed on time, and coordinating with other teams as needed. 
  • Create and manage project budgets and timelines. 
  • Assist in the development of the annual budget, as requested. 
  • As required, draft reporting documents for key stakeholders, including the board of directors and grantors/funders. Collect information and appropriate data from appropriate teams. Ensure reports are accurate and on time. 
  • Work with outside contractors/vendors as directed. 



  • Maintain donor interactions in Challenger Center’s donor database. 
  • Keep abreast of relevant industry trends and best practices in major giving, annual giving, board engagement, STEM education, nonprofits, etc., and share knowledge with others. 
  • Attend staff meetings and participate in professional networking and team-building activities. 
  • Submit accounting and original receipts to Accounting Department each month on or before the due date 
  • Accurately report time spent on projects, PTO, sick, etc., on time. 


Best-in-Class Benefits and Perks:

We value our employees’ time and efforts. Our commitment to your success is enhanced by competitive compensation depending on experience and an extensive benefits package including:

  • Health benefits, including medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • 401(k) / retirement plan
  • 401(k) employer matching
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Flexible spending account
  • Health savings account
  • Paid time off
  • Flexible schedule
  • Employee assistance program
  • Paid family leave
  • Professional development assistance
  • Paid holidays
  • Remote work/telecommuting options
  • Workplace perks


Plus, we work to maintain the best environment for our employees, where people can learn and grow with the company. We strive to provide a collaborative, creative environment where everyone feels encouraged to contribute to our processes, decisions, planning, and culture.

We are an equal opportunity employer that welcomes and encourages diversity in the workplace. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, genetic information, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other status protected under federal, state, or local law.

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