Director, Major Giving

San Diego, CA
Oct 31, 2020
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Application Instructions:

 Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all position (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.



Reporting to the Senior Director, External Relations (SDER), incumbent maintains a major/special giving portfolio by planning and implementing strategies for the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major gift prospects ($50,000+), including individual, foundation and corporate, for Salk's 12-14 Scientific Core Facilities (CORES), disease-specific research and other special fundraising projects as assigned. Prepares written and oral presentations to potential donors and coordinates approaches as defined by Salk policy and procedures; develops gift opportunities consistent with the Institute's priorities and initiatives; and collaborates with Foundation Relations, Planned Giving, Development Services and Communications. Conducts regional development, as assigned. Acts as the liaison for the Salk Institute Council (IC) and organizes annual IC event in support of the program's specific priorities. Works collaboratively with Salk labs, CORES and departments to support initiatives and events. Supervises and mentors two staff members, including the Associate Director, External Relations and the Development Coordinator.



Major, Special and Regional Giving (40%)

  • Plans and implements coordinated strategies to identify new major gift prospects; develops cultivation and solicitation plans at the $50,000 level and above. Maintains and manages a portfolio of prospects for disease-specific research and other major fundraising projects, as assigned.
  • Provides project management, direction and fundraising expertise for assigned areas, including prospect identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. Designs appropriate strategies to achieve goals within budgetary framework and provides reports on fundraising progress for specific projects.
  • Contributes to capital campaign activities, including strategic planning, establishing fundraising priorities and developing and executing targeted cultivation plans and solicitation strategies to support Institute initiatives.
  • Participates in organized and thoughtful prospect coordination and management; files timely and appropriate contact reports, proposals and gift opportunities; coordinates and collaborates with colleagues on prospect strategy development, etc.
  • Establishes and maintains an efficient records management system.
  • Plans and hosts site visits for existing and prospective donors. Coordinates development activities and events with Development colleagues, faculty and other Salk departments. Conducts them in accordance with office and Institute fundraising policies.
  • Conducts regional development in areas including but not limited to San Francisco, Chicago and New York. Oversees up to two NYC trips per year, including luncheons, dinners, travel arrangements, securing faculty speakers, working with Communications on all necessary collateral materials and providing proper and timely event follow-up and analysis.
  • Works with Director, Donor Relations and Stewardship to identify, steward and report on top portfolio prospects.


Scientific Cores Fundraising (35%)

  • Working with the SDER, Executive Director, Research Operations and the Director, Core Research Facilities, creates a plan to identify, cultivate and solicit individuals of a high net worth and demonstrated capacity in San Diego and other cities to raise significant funds to support the salaries of key CORES personnel, as well as for the acquisition of the most advanced technologies and computational resources.
  • Develops and maintains extensive knowledge of Institute CORES, which can be matched with donor interests and priorities. Works closely with CORES directors, staff and leadership to identify viable programs that have development potential within the priorities outlined for the Institute's initiatives.
  • Builds a personal prospect portfolio and establishes annual fundraising benchmarks and goals, both individual and team, by which achievement can be measured.
  • Meets monthly and works regularly with Prospect Research Analyst and Director, Development Services to explore new methods of prospect identification and cultivation.
  • Supports the development of short-term and long-range cultivation strategies and solicitation timelines for major gift prospects.
  • Prepares proposals and solicitation materials, as needed. Assists faculty in proposal and program development for the benefit of the Institute.
  • Develops persuasive written and oral presentations for presentation to corporate and individual donors, adhering to campus policies and procedures governing gifts.


Institute Council Management and Portfolio (15%)

  • Creates and implements a comprehensive development plan for the IC program. Addresses current funding priorities and new initiatives, and establishes programmatic strategies for moving prospective IC members and donors to solicitation and closure.
  • Acts as primary liaison for yearly IC event and various meetings throughout the year. Works with Events teams to ensure coordination is complete, timely and accurate.
  • Develops talking points for VP, External Relations, relevant faculty including IC faculty liaison and leadership including Salk president and board chairman.
  • Recommends appropriate staffing for IC event and meetings on the various initiatives (self, SDER, administrative leadership and faculty). Prepares meeting briefings, drafts correspondence as needed and ensures appropriate reporting and follow-up to these meetings.
  • Creates philanthropic communications for IC members and prospective donors. Ensures that messages and communications are consistent with the Institute's fundraising priorities and initiatives.
  • Working with Communications, ensures that all relevant collaterals are consistent with established Institute branding and themes, while best supporting the IC program’s specific needs.


Supervision and Program Management (10%)

  • Supervises and mentors Associate Director, External Relations and Development Coordinator, focusing on issues of organization, direction and motivation.
  • Screens applications, interviews candidates and either makes selection decisions or recommends individuals for hire.
  • Works with staff to set detailed, comprehensive goals with appropriate timelines. Provides guidance on performance standards and Institute procedures.
  • Develops and maintains a climate supportive of skill and knowledge enhancement; communicates career development opportunities to staff.
  • Independently conducts performance evaluations of staff. Makes recommendations for employee incentive awards and salary increases including merits and promotions.
  • Determines discipline that may be necessary to impose on subordinates, with authority to apply and/or submit recommendations to higher level management.
  • Working with the ER Administration unit, creates and maintains a strategic budget plan that uses allocated resources most advantageously.
  • Participates in ER Frontline Fundraisers meetings on a regular basis.




  • 5+ years of experience in the full spectrum of development, including prospect identification, qualification, cultivation, gift solicitation, stewardship and donor recognition.
  • Demonstrated success at fundraising by developing and implementing strategic solicitation fundraising plans that incorporate a concise definition of goals, targeted audiences and strategies in line with Institute goals and closing gifts ($50,000+) from individuals, foundations and corporations, both local and national.
  • Proven record of writing proposals for a significant project or gift directed to individuals, foundations and/or corporations.
  • Proven success as a frontline fundraiser in a highly sophisticated, donor-centric fundraising environment.
  • Proven success in initiating, planning and strategically implementing fundraising projects.
  • Proven experience in writing/editing general correspondence and miscellaneous documents as well as experience with drafting and editing briefings, donor profiles and stewardship documents in a fundraising context.
  • Demonstrated experience utilizing online databases and other software to create, retrieve and compile up-to-the minute documents and historical information for reports.
  • Demonstrated experience in supervision and budget forecasting and management.
  • Demonstrated experience with personnel management in hiring, training, supervising, evaluating and disciplining staff.
  • Experience with and ability to develop and use, computer applications and capabilities to create and maintain databases and produce correspondence, reports and tools for analysis and review (i.e. MS Office suite).



  • Prior experience in a larger (500+) nonprofit organization.
  • Knowledge of foundational research and experience in fundraising for biomedical or health-related research.




  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field.




  • Ability to secure gifts of $50,000+.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement persuasive cultivation ideas and techniques for prospects and donors. Ability to think critically and strategically when developing plans and programs for a development program, using successful collaboration with faculty in gathering information.
  • Proven ability to provide critical analysis, using sound judgment with realistic expectations for prospects and donors.
  • Ability to set strategic directions and goals and implement successful major and special giving programs. Persistence and initiative in pursuing goals and objectives of the Development office on behalf of the Institute.
  • Demonstrated ability to assess programs and identify those with strong potential for major gift funding. Ability to learn and comprehend Institute priorities and guidelines and apply appropriate processes.
  • Strong demonstrated organization skills with ability to prioritize daily operations and projects in order to meet rigid deadlines ensure smooth workflow and handle multiple tasks simultaneously, often working under pressure and with frequent interruptions.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills that demonstrate correct grammar usage, syntax and format, with the ability to make oral presentations and/or interpreting various related programs to potential donors, while representing the Salk Institute.
  • Ability to write acknowledgement letters, proposals to prospective donors and other communications.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills to communicate and interact in a courteous, politically correct and effective manner, using tact and diplomacy while exercising good judgment with individuals at all levels in person, in writing or by telephone.
  • Ability to make excellent decisions and to employ mature judgment under demanding conditions and/or when confronted with frequently changing priorities. Ability to work with a high level of independence, maintaining confidentiality at all times.
  • Demonstrated ability to problem solve or make recommendations or independent decisions for creative solutions to general issues/problems.
  • Demonstrated skill in researching and evaluating information, preparing concise, well-organized reports, summaries, correspondence, policy documents and personalized letters. Demonstrated working knowledge of fundraising databases.
  • Demonstrated skill in using personal computers and a wide variety of software packages for presentations, written communication, data processing and electronic communication (MS Word, Excel, www, Outlook).
  • Strong sense of ethical conduct that will inspire confidence and motivate, with the proven ability to persuade colleagues and donor prospects.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the philosophy of quality service and group process, with proven aptitude for working as part of a team.
  • Demonstrated ability to continually strive to foster a working environment of fairness, cooperation and professionalism as it relates to Salk policies and priorities. Promotes open expression of individuality and diversity within the bonds of courtesy, sensitivity, confidentiality and respect.



  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must have access to reliable transportation and a valid California Driver's License.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Occasional evening and weekend work is required to attend donor events.
  • Occasional travel is required.



This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing, and working inside.