Major Gifts Officer

August 18th, 2022
Major Gifts Officer

Major Gifts Officer

  • Full Time
  • Mid-Level
  • Applications have closed
Job Category: Development
Location: Manhattan
Job Sectors: Arts & Culture, Education, Other

About The American Museum of Natural History 

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions.

Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition. The Museum is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections, which serve as a field guide to the entire planet and present a panorama of the world’s cultures. Its mission is to discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.

For more than 150 years, the Museum has energized generations of scientists, from renowned thinkers expanding the horizons of human knowledge to the youngest children intuitively discovering the fundamentals of scientific inquiry. The Museum is integral to the cultural fabric and identity of New York City, serving as a trusted guide to evidence-based science and a prominent venue for scientific research and discourse. Across its permanent halls, special exhibitions, educational programming, and online resources, the Museum empowers NYC learners of all ages to be scientifically literate, able to identify and counter misinformation, and equipped to examine the scientific evidence that informs the most pressing issues facing our society and our City.

The current period, though marked by great challenge and uncertainty, has revealed the remarkable strength of this community of learners, affirmed the success of the Museum’s pivots in work and delivery, and underscored the critical importance of the Museum’s enduring mission in science and education. 

An Unprecedented Challenge

The global COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a period unlike any other in the Museum’s 150-year history—including its longest public closure, sweeping disruption of its normal operations, and unprecedented revenue losses. At the start of Fiscal Year 2021, the Museum reopened to the public in a difficult and uncertain operating climate, with reduced capacity, shorter public operating hours, and without the initial use of key ticketed venues, including the Hayden Planetarium and the LeFrak Theater. 

Today, the Museum is crossing a threshold—together with New York City, it is moving beyond recovery and toward a resurgence that includes resuming seven-days-a-week operations, followed by the opening of the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation this winter. The Museum aims to bridge the approaching critical period of preparation and transition that will require this institution to stretch beyond its current capacity to restore the fullest expressions of its core mission and serve the broadest spectrum of its audience while also continuing to contribute to the City’s ongoing recovery.  

An Unprecedented Response 

The Museum launched an immediate pandemic relief and recovery effort in June 2020 and was met with an outpouring of public support. On this foundation, the Museum reopened its doors to the public in September 2020; the Hayden Planetarium and LeFrak Theater followed in March 2021, all with new operating procedures and health and safety measures. Organized camp group visits resumed in July 2021, a poignant and deeply hopeful moment in the Museum’s—and New York City’s—recovery. 

Meanwhile, Museum scientists nimbly adjusted to the ongoing suspension of international fieldwork, continuing to publish, collaborate, mentor, and educate. Existing special exhibitions were extended to welcome as many visitors as possible and were met with exceptionally high visitation rates. Additionally, several major capital projects—beacons of science and the future—progressed, including the heralded renovation and reopening of the Northwest Coast Hall and the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, one of the Museum’s most beloved permanent halls. 

Upon opening this winter, the Gilder Center will become New York City’s newest cultural destination and an inspiring symbol of the Museum’s and the City’s resurgence. The Gilder Center is a transformative 230,000 square-foot project on the Columbus Avenue side of its campus that will be a beacon of science and an unparalleled venue for both education and public discourse, family learning, and exploration.


Position Summary

The American Museum of Natural History seeks an enterprising Major Gifts Officer (MGO) who will primarily work to secure five- and six-figure gifts from individual donors and prospects to support the broad scope of the institution’s work in science and education. The Major Gifts Officer will identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward their own portfolio of donors and prospects, implementing targeted strategies they develop, resulting in gift closures at maximum levels of support. The Major Gifts Officer will also staff volunteers and manage volunteer councils and committees, as assigned.

The ideal candidate is an enthusiastic self-starter capable of building sustainable, long-term philanthropic relationships while meeting annual fundraising goals for a preeminent scientific and cultural institution with more than 150 years of history. Volunteer management skills are a plus.

Essential Job Functions

The MGO role requires keen attention to detail and donor moves management processes, reporting, metrics-driven workflow. The following is a list of the core responsibilities of the MGO:

  • Build and manage a portfolio of 125-150 major gift donors and prospects to deepen their engagement and relationships with the Museum and increase their giving, aligned with the institution’s fundraising priorities
  • Create customized short-, intermediate-, and long-term strategies for existing donor/prospect portfolio 
  • Conceptualize and implement strategies to engage new prospects, including identifying and researching prospective donors where appropriate
  • Staff volunteers and manage volunteer councils and committees, as assigned
  • Proactively stay abreast of the Museum’s needs within areas of responsibility and identify prospective donors for those needs
  • Craft effective proposals, reports, acknowledgments, and other related communications, in partnership with the Donor Relations team
  • Plan, oversee, and host various cultivation and stewardship activities, including one-on-one and volunteer council meetings, tours, and other small gatherings 
  • Coordinate and collaborate with Museum colleagues, including Museum leadership, fellow Institutional Advancement staff, scientists, educators, and exhibition specialists
  • Maintain current and accurate records in Raiser’s Edge database



Education + Experience Requirements

The ideal candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree and have seven or more (7+) years of professional experience, four (4) of which must have been in a donor-facing role in a nonprofit development context.

  • Demonstrated success in soliciting and closing gifts at the major gift level (five- and six-figure gifts) 
  • Proficient use of Microsoft Office programs, internet applications, and fundraising databases (knowledge of and experience with Raiser’s Edge, a plus).
  • Volunteer management skills and experience are a plus
  • Ability to travel locally and work occasional evenings and weekends 

 Skills + Competencies

  • High emotional intelligence; able to understand the needs and concerns of partners and colleagues 
  • Comfortable with change; flexible and agile in a constantly transforming environment
  • Strong attention to detail with an analytical mind and superb problem-solving skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including exceptional active listening, communication, and presentation skills (both written and spoken, with an ability to inform, influence, convince, and persuade)
  • Decision-making skills and good judgment
  • Ability to exercise flexibility and discretion
  • Attentive to detail while adapting quickly to, planning for, and managing multiple projects in a fast-paced setting
  • Ability to function independently yet work collaboratively in a centralized development structure
  • Understanding of the Museum’s mission and the ability and desire to be an effective spokesperson and representative
  • Highly organized with excellent time and project management skills
  • Resourceful, proactive, self-motivated with a strong sense of ownership and accountability
  • Possess the following personal attributes: trustworthy, strategic, organized, results-driven, self-starter, inclusive, transparent, and collaborative
  • Ability to navigate a wide variety of stakeholders and juggle competing priorities and interests to move the work forward


Reporting Relationships

The Major Gifts Officer reports directly to the Senior Director, Individual Giving and has no supervisory responsibility.


Compensation + Benefits

The salary range for this position is market competitive and will be shared upon our first engagement with candidates. 

The American Museum of Natural History offers an extensive benefits package to eligible employees designed to meet the needs of our dedicated and diverse community that includes:

  • Medical, Dental, and Life Insurance 
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Voluntary Plans
  • Retirement Plans
  • Paid time off, including annual leave, sick leave, and Museum holidays
  • Disability Benefits
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Commuter Benefits
  • Financial Wellness Program
  • Free Headspace Mediation App subscription
  • 25% Discount for staff in Museum shops
  • Access to the Museums Council pass, which grants free admission to various museums and cultural institutions

As a reflection of our firm’s commitment to equity and equal pay for all, Cooper Coleman requires that salary ranges or salary starting points be published for every search we conduct. The practice of not posting salaries perpetuates the gender and racial wage gap and discriminates against women, people of color, and other historically excluded populations by causing individuals to negotiate from a disadvantaged starting point. Where salaries are not posted, they are made immediately available to interested candidates without requiring a completed application. Please contact Jennifer Snyder Brown for salary information.



The Major Gifts Officer must be in the Greater New York Region.


EEO + Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The American Museum of Natural History is a global institution in one of the most diverse cities in the world. We are committed to building and sustaining a diverse and inclusive community, including addressing barriers to full inclusion of historically underrepresented groups. Recognizing that multiple voices and perspectives enrich our work, we embrace a broad definition of diversity and are dedicated to ensuring an environment where differences are valued and respected and where all members of our community are full and engaged participants in our mission.

The American Museum of Natural History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. The Museum does not discriminate with respect to employment, or admission, or access to Museum facilities, programs, or activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, marital status, partnership status, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, pregnancy, alienage or citizenship status, current or former participation in the uniformed services, status as a veteran, or national or ethnic origin, or on account of any other basis prohibited by applicable City, State, or Federal law. Additional protections are afforded in employment based on arrest or conviction record, status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses, unemployment status, and credit history, in each case to the extent provided by law. If special accommodations are needed in applying for a position, please call the Office of Human Resources or email Jennifer Snyder Brown.


Background Checks

Before sending your resume for this position, please read it over for accuracy. Cooper Coleman verifies its candidates’ employment and academic credentials at the time of offer, and our clients frequently conduct background checks before finalizing an offer.


Submission Instructions (read carefully)

Cooper Coleman is leading this search on behalf of the American Museum of Natural History. To apply, please visit this link ( Inquiries and nominations of qualified candidates can be sent to: 

Jennifer Snyder Brown | [email protected]

Kindly use the position title as the subject line of your email. All inquiries will be held in confidence. 

A cover letter is not required with your initial application but is welcomed to help us understand your fitness for this role during our initial evaluation. Candidates invited for interviews will be asked to provide a thoughtful letter of interest indicating their specific qualifications for the opportunity, desire to join AMNH, and connection to its mission.

Cooper Coleman LLC is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all qualified candidates and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or identity, age, ability, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis.

American Museum of Natural History

  • 200 Central Park West
  • New York, NY 10024-5102
  • United States
  • Phone:
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