Major Gifts Officer
Tucson, AZ Development
Job Type


The Development Team of the Sonoran Institute is responsible for identification, cultivation, and stewardship of individual donors, foundations, and corporations. Development staff is responsible for raising general unrestricted revenues with the goal of covering institutional costs and generating additional revenue for distribution to programmatic efforts as well as supporting the funding needs of specific projects and programs.


The Major Gifts Officer is responsible for development and implementation of the individual and foundation development strategy and solicitations, and for supervision of development staff. This includes managing a portfolio of major gifts donors to support the mission of the Sonoran Institute. The Major Gifts Officer will be responsible for prospecting, partner and donor cultivation, solicitation (often in tandem with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), development staff, program directors and program staff), and stewarding and developing strategies for major donors.


70% - Fundraising and Relationship Management

  • Develop and manage a portfolio of 100+ prospects and donors to engage and solicit for fundraising. This portfolio serves as a pipeline for new Hummingbird Circle members.
  • Work closely with the Executive Team, board members and lead program staff to develop and implement annual and major gift strategies, and to prepare written proposals for donors and donor prospects. Support them in actively managing their personal portfolios of prospect and donor accounts.
  • Manage donor relations through a vigorous communication plan, personal visits, phone calls, and small events.
  • Ensure donors are appropriately recognized and engaged in the mission of Sonoran Institute.
  • Research prospective donors through online and other resources.
  • Raise funds for annual operations, strategic programs, endowment fund, and future support.
  • Engage donors in conversation regarding various ways of giving such as outright, workplace, deferred, in-kind, stock, and personal solicitations.
  • Develop and promote system for planned giving and engaging supporters in Legacy Society.
  • Write gift proposals and related donor reports for unrestricted gifts from individuals and foundations.

20% - Donor Cultivation, Special Events and Mailings

  • Plan and implement special events and field trips to engage supporters. 
  • Collaborate with the Executive Team, Board members, and program staff to create opportunities for further cultivation of key donors and prospects.
  • Collaborate with marketing team on annual reports, published lists of donors, and fundraising material.

10% - Management and Administration

  • Supervise Development team. setting annual objectives, evaluating performance, and providing leadership and advice. 
  • Conduct departmental planning including goal setting, strategy identification, and evaluation to support development. 
  • Achieve financial objectives by preparing an annual budget; scheduling expenditures; analyzing variances; initiating corrective actions.
  • Assure sound fiscal operation of development function including timely, accurate gift income and expense budgets, department financial monitoring and reports.
  • Implement processes for soliciting and recognizing outright gifts, planned gifts and online gifts which support the annual operations, special projects, the endowment, and future purposes.
  • Support Executive Team and Board Committees with reports; provide them with necessary tools to meet fundraising goals.
  • Provide backup for gift entry and acknowledgement letters.


Decision-Making/Consequence of Error

The Major Gifts Officer must be able to make decisions that accurately reflect the mission, goals and needs of the organization. Decisions of this sort impact the day-to-day business of the organization. The incumbent should research and utilize multiple resources, in making any recommendations/decisions and follow-up with appropriate staff as necessary.  

Nature of Supervision Received

The Major Gifts Officer must exercise a high level of organizational skill and initiative necessary to complete specific tasks with little supervision and must maintain a high level of confidentiality.  

Representation and Public Contact

The Major Gifts Officer will communicate with the public, Sonoran Institute partners and funders, and other staff. These involve representing the organization and its mission enthusiastically and appropriately in all communications and contacts to provide information, generate interest, participation, and investment.


Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, including but not limited to business, environmental sciences, communications, or liberal arts.
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience in sales/fundraising, including donor relations, solicitation, and special events.
  • Staff management experience.

Required Skills:

  • A commitment to natural resource conservation.
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills. 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. 
  • Ability to prioritize and balance multiple projects simultaneously. 
  • Experience with web-based tools and collaboration. 
  • Proven track record in developing and implementing successful fundraising campaigns.
  • Proven track record in securing major gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations.
  • Energetic, outgoing, flexible, creative, and a proactive problem solver.
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft office.

Required Behavioral competencies:

  • Ability to work independently – Initiative is a must as well as prioritization.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.
  • Results driven, accountable, proactive & able to work autonomously. 
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment. 
  • Attention to detail a must.
  • Problem-solving attitude.
  • Flexible, change embracing in rapidly evolving work and market environment. 
  • Ability to relate to and work with a wide variety of stakeholders. 


  • Spanish language proficiency a plus

Physical Demands/work environment

Remote work: will consist of the employee’s own remote environment. Office work: The employee typically works in an office environment and uses a computer, telephone and other office equipment as needed to perform duties. The noise level in the work environment is typical of that of an office. The incumbent may encounter frequent interruptions throughout the workday. The employee is regularly required to sit, talk, or hear; frequently required to use repetitive hand motion, handle, or feel, and to stand, walk, reach, bend or lift more than 40 pounds. Travel from one work site to another may present itself.

Employees may be required to perform other related duties as assigned, to ensure workload coverage. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and to perform any other job-related duties requested by their supervisor. This job description does NOT constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the organizational needs and requirements of the job change.


As an organization that values equity, Sonoran Institute strives to be a place where all feel safe, welcome, and valued, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. We work to champion initiatives and advocate for our community, and to continue to grow as an organization and individual. It is our team members’ diverse identities and communities that makes us who we are, and we stand against all discrimination, racism, and hatred.

Sonoran Institute is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits employment (be it as a volunteer or paid staff) discrimination based on race, color, sex, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, veteran status, national origin, ancestry, or disability.

Geographic Location: Fully remote position physically located in Tucson, Arizona. 

Benefits Offered:

  • Health Insurance.
  • Dental Insurance.
  • Life Insurance - Employer Paid.
  • Long Term Disability - Employer Paid.
  • 401K participation with employer match.
  • Generous paid time off, starting at 20 days per year.
  • Up to $5,000 for relocation will be offered (provided candidate maintains employment with Sonoran Institute for more than one year). 

Sonoran Institute will begin reviewing applications on September 19, 2023. This posting will remain open until position is filled.

Salary Description