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Director, Donor Relations

Title:                         Director, Donor Relations

Reports to:             Vice President, Development

Job Summary:          The Director of Donor Relations is responsible for managing a team of major gift solicitors, meeting department annual goals, and for personally closing new and renewed major gifts. Work with the solicitor team to build stronger relationships between Heritage and their donors, solicit those donors more effectively, and then steward those donors in such a way that makes them more likely to renew and increase support in future years. Responsible for aggressive major gift prospecting efforts, leading the team of solicitors to identify, qualify, cultivate and solicit high-capacity individuals who do not currently support The Heritage Foundation. With a 50th Anniversary Comprehensive Campaign on the horizon, the Director will be responsible for working closely with the Vice President for Development to evaluate the need for additional experienced solicitors and recruiting such individuals.

The Director’s caseload will be comprised of select individual donors who have the capacity to make principal gifts. They will manage their own portfolio; prepare donors for solicitations and conduct solicitations to generate the necessary income for Heritage to carry out its programs each year and grow strategically into the future. 

The Director will be a key member of the Vice President of Development’s leadership team and serves as a member of the Development Office management. Recommend personnel, create and manage budgets, report and present results to key stakeholders, work collaboratively with colleagues in donor communications and membership to move donors up the gift pyramid, and partner with the Vice President to effectively use the President’s time in the office and on the road.   

The estimated breakdown of the Director’s time will be as follows: 50% management of solicitor team; 30% individual donors; 20% development leadership.

Job Duties:

  • Play a lead role in the development and execution of a new major fundraising campaign to coincide with Heritage’s 50th anniversary.
  • Provide strategic and deliberate input on key Development-wide projects and strategies to expand membership, increase net revenue, and increase gross margin.
  • Meet fundraising goals of the department through exceptional management of the major gift solicitor team’s individual fundraising goals and by managing a personal portfolio of select donors and correlating goal.
  • Oversee the design and implementation of strategies to identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit, and steward new and current Heritage and Heritage Action donors in order to significantly grow the major gift pipeline.
  • Maintain a high level of knowledge about Heritage’s priorities and funding opportunities as well as the goals of the conservative movement.
  • Collaborate with the Heritage Legacy Society to identify, cultivate and steward planned gifts on portfolios and command an understanding of the principals and techniques associated with planned giving and financial and estate planning.
  • As a member of the Development Office management team, help lead the department’s overall planning activities, developing specific and measurable department goals that, when achieved, will advance The Heritage Foundation mission and strategic plan.
  • Establish department priorities, prepare and monitor the department budget, establish solicitor metrics, provide overall direction for staff activities, and lead by example. Use department resources effectively to achieve Heritage objectives.
  • Enhance the professional and career development of department staff through effective training, mentoring, and performance evaluations. Reward and motivate staff by using bonus and merit increase budgets effectively, and by developing promotion opportunities.
  • Recommend department staffing levels, recruit qualified staff to fill approved positions. Prepare job descriptions and interview candidates. Identify, recruit, train and retain a team of talented major gift fundraisers.
  • Organize major donor regional events; connect donors with Heritage executives and experts in an effort to advance their relationship with the organization. Identify donors who need cultivation and solicitation from the President, Executive Vice President, Vice President or other Heritage senior staff.
  • Communicate with donors through personal visits, telephone calls, and correspondence to increase Members’ appreciation for the importance and impact of Heritage’s work.
  • Ensure the proper gathering and recording of information related to prospects and donors on portfolios by all solicitors, including leadership, in a timely manner utilizing the CRM database (Atlas).


Education:             BA/BS, Master’s in Fundraising or MBA preferred

Experience:           At least 10 years in fundraising, planned giving, sales, or marketing. 

Management:        Key management skills including strategic planning and goal setting, budgeting, staffing, performance counseling, mentoring, and career planning are required

Communication:   Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills. An articulate advocate of Heritage’s vision and mission required.

Technology:          Excellent skills in Word, Excel and PowerPoint; CRM database experience required

Other Requirements:  

  • Understand and support the Heritage mission and vision for America, True North conservative principles and the department's goals and objectives
  • High degree of knowledge of policy issues and conservative movement
  • Expert knowledge of fundraising and planned giving
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a team, establishing goals, and (most importantly) executing them successfully
  • Ability to work from headquarters and travel extensively
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