Job ID: 16405

Location: Washigton DC District of Columbia

Senior Manager, Individual Giving and Major Gifts 

The 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 more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers, we give more than 250,000 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 the Senior Manager, Individual Giving and Major Gifts, you will support the Vice President of Development, Partnerships, & Strategy in leading Challenger Center’s individual giving program by managing annual giving campaigns and cultivating, stewarding, and soliciting donors. You will manage and execute strategies for growing revenue from Challenger Center’s two donor groups: major donors and “grassroots” annual donors. You will be expected to accomplish this by identifying new major donors, soliciting existing major donors, and planning and implementing the annual giving program, which includes leading year-round appeals and campaigns to solicit and steward donors. You will also develop one-to-many and one-to-one strategies to secure donations and collaborates with the President & CEO, vice presidents, and board members to cultivate, solicit, and steward donors, as appropriate.

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, 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 Senior Manager, Individual Giving, and Major Gifts include:

Annual Giving Planning and Strategy 

  • Understand and expertly articulate Challenger Center’s mission, vision, and funding priorities to donors and prospects. 
  • Develop and execute a plan for donor solicitations for the fiscal year, including fundraising strategies to retain, acquire, and upgrade annual donors. 
  • Lead all annual giving appeals and direct mail. This includes actively conceptualizing, writing, and editing appeal content, overseeing mailing procedures and Challenger Center’s direct mail vendor, and leading Challenger Center’s campaigns like Giving Tuesday.
  • Plan and execute all donor events, both virtual and in-person. 
  • Regularly track and report on annual and major giving activity and results.
  • 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. 
  • Under the direction of the Vice President of Development, Partnerships, & Strategy and in collaboration with the Office of the President, serve as a point of contact for all board members to discuss and document their philanthropic commitments and fundraising activities. 

Major Gifts Program 

  • Lead the augmentation of 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 giving of major donors. 
  • Manage a portfolio of four-to-five-figure major donors and prospects, including qualifying high-capacity donors, forging one-to-one solid relationships, and developing tailored engagement strategies for upgrading key donors and prospects. 
  • Collaborate with the Office of the President to lead the moves management of the President & CEO’s portfolio of high-capacity prospects and donors. 
  • Leverage board and senior leadership in engaging major donors by offering sound strategy, staffing calls and meetings with prospects, and performing follow-up. 
  • Travel frequently to meet with donors and prospects, documenting information gathered and conducting timely follow-up and regular relationship maintenance. 

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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