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Director of Major Giving

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Posted: 1/24/2018

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site (ESPHS) is a thriving international tourist attraction located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The organization interprets the legacy of American criminal justice reform, from the nation’s founding through to the present day, within the long-abandoned cellblocks of America’s most historic prison (mission statement adopted 2017). Since 1994, ESPHS has built a successful historic site with rapidly growing visitation, innovation in preservation and interpretation, and financial strength generated primarily through earned revenue. Attendance at the site has risen by 400% in the past ten years. Following the completion of a comprehensive strategic plan, ESPHS is poised to undertake five years of growth and expansion, including critical investments in the site, program and organization. This vision will require greater support from philanthropic giving.

Director of Major Giving
Professional Opportunity
Philadelphia, PA

To achieve these goals, ESPHS seeks an experienced, creative, entrepreneurial and energetic professional for a new position: Director of Major Giving.

Essential Function:

A member of the senior leadership team and reporting to the President and CEO (“CEO”), the Director of Major Giving is responsible for developing, managing, and growing a comprehensive, targeted program capable of identifying and successfully securing financial support from individuals for ESPHS’s programs, exhibits, events, historical research, education programs, capital projects, and other ESPHS priorities as needed. Building on ESPHS’ successful business model since the site’s opening in 1994, the Director of Major Giving will develop an enhanced major donor program, with the goal of growth in current fiscal year and further expanding support over the next five years in preparation for a capital campaign.


  • Works in concert with other ESPHS fundraising colleagues on the annual written departmental plan and proposed budget with a range of goals and objectives designed to increase both the number and value of major donors, and the effectiveness of the department’s systems (e.g. research capabilities, donor tracking, and acknowledgement). Establishes and monitors performance towards projections, fundraising goals, annual and six-month benchmarks and work plans.
  • Works with Manager of Individual Giving and contract researchers to identify, research, and qualify current and potential major gift donors from ESPHS’s database or other appropriate sources of prospects; prioritizes those most likely to consider a significant investment in ESPHS; coordinates a “moves management” system for targeted individual donors and family foundations. Builds and manages a portfolio of 50-70 major donor prospects (gift capacity range between $5,000 - $50,000) that includes an aggressive and creative donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship effort.
  • Conceives, implements, and participates in donor cultivation events, briefings, and solicitations. Coordinate with CEO to engage, train, and support ESPHS leadership and volunteer solicitors; ensures effective, strategic briefing materials.
  • Coordinates the promotion of major giving activities with ESPHS’s marketing, public relations, program staff, and fundraising team, including the consultant for government affairs. In addition, works with ESPHS’s various departments to ensure coordination on fundraising and new opportunities. Collaborates with fundraising consultants, when appropriate.
  • Writes or oversees drafting of all written communications, funding requests, and reports for individual major donors/family foundations of $5,000 and above. Leads all aspects of associated funding request preparation and reporting and serves as final editor to confirm appropriate language, messaging and accuracy of financial submissions.
  • Provides strategic vision for ESPHS’s membership program and annual appeals with the Manager of Individual Giving. Works with other ESPHS staff to continually evaluate and upgrade the program in order to attract and retain members; builds the capacity of the ESPHS staff to strengthen the organization’s relationships with its members.
  • Participates in ESPHS Board meetings upon invitation and provides staff support to the Board’s Development Committee and its ad hoc committees. Works with CEO and Board Chair to strategically manage and grow Board members’ financial investment and overall engagement in ESPHS.
  • Increases the awareness and positive perceptions of ESPHS in Philadelphia in general and specifically in its philanthropic community. Represents the CEO and/or ESPHS at designated community functions, meetings, and events as requested.
  • Requirements

  • Ideal candidate will have a minimum of 6+ years of varied development experience with proven success in raising major gifts from individuals and family foundations. Bachelors Degree required and demonstration of continuing education in fundraising practices, or Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certificate desirable. Candidate must possess a working knowledge of donor management databases and basic research databases. A strong appreciation of the organization’s mission; an interest in history, social history or historic preservation is preferable but not required.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills effective with a range of constituencies, including staff, Board, volunteers, and funders is imperative. Candidates for this position must be well organized, extremely detail-oriented, have a proactive work style, and be laser-focused on achieving goals.
  • Evidence that candidate understands and has undertaken professional tasks in prior positions in accordance with best practices in non-profit-management, strategic planning, budgeting, and resource supervision in addition to working collegially and professionally with colleagues.
  • Drivers license is necessary and ability to work evenings and weekends as needed. This position requires extensive local travel; candidate should expect to be out of the office approximately 3 days a week.
  • Salary is competitive and includes excellent benefits. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is an equal opportunity employer.

    OPen until

    How to apply
    You may submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements electronically by February 15, 2018 to: Nancy Klaus, Nancy@NancyKlaus.com with job title in subject line. Review of applicants will begin immediately and will continue until position is filled.

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