Senior Gift Officer

Mercy Corps
  • Location
    San Francisco, California
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Sep 10

Position description

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. 
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions 
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. 
Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps’ major gifts team is a crucial component of the Resource Development Department.  The major gift team operates under the strategic leadership of the VP of Development and under the management of a Senior Director of Major Gifts. The team is comprised of a core team of gift officers and support staff who handle prospect research/management, communications and event planning. Working collaboratively, this team develops and enhances relationships with donors and prospects from the private sector, focusing upon individuals and family foundations with the capacity to make current and deferred gifts of $10K+. They also conduct personal outreach to donors giving at all levels in order to promote bequest intentions. Gift officers maintain portfolios of 150-200 donors and prospects who are inclined to engage with staff on a personal level, while support staff maintain a shared portfolio of major gift donors who are less responsive to personal outreach. Together, the major gift team is responsible for ambitious revenue growth goals.

General Position Summary

The primary focus of the Senior Gift Officer is to build personal relationships with high net worth donors and prospects who have the capacity to make gifts of $10,000, with the overarching aim of meeting or exceeding core (unrestricted) revenue goals. The position will have a significant focus on new business development (bringing in new donors to Mercy Corps) and will require dedicated efforts in networking and building new leads. They must also be comfortable discussing estate planning with donors, as a secondary aim of their job is to increase our pool of supporters who name Mercy Corps as a beneficiary of their estate plans. The SGO must be adept in articulating a compelling case for unrestricted mission-focused support as well as restricted support for programs classified as strategic priorities by the agency. The SGO is expected to collaborate with members of our field and program staff, with the dual aim of: 1) deepening their own understanding of Mercy Corp’s distinctive approach to humanitarian aid and development and 2) bringing these colleagues together with donors and prospects. The position calls for a high level of social acumen and the ability to move comfortably within the realm of high net worth individuals. The position also calls for occasional domestic travel (up to 20% of time) and occasional international travel (1-3 international trips yearly).

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Develop and enhance personal relationships with a select group of major donors and prospective donors with the goal of maintaining and increasing annual unrestricted support at the $10K+ level, generating leadership gifts ($100K+) for restricted programmatic priorities, and for generating bequest commitments.

  • Identify and engage with high net worth individuals outside the major gift donor pool, with the aim of securing new gifts of $10,000+.

  • Incorporate meetings with legacy society members and prospective members into donor travel plans.

  • Conduct outreach to high net worth individuals outside the Mercy Corps donor file, who may not yet be familiar with Mercy Corps ("cold calling")

  • Set annual goals for assigned donors and develop cultivation, solicitation and stewardship plans for assigned donors, personalized to the donor’s interests and the agency’s strategic needs.

  • Assist in the development of strategies to heighten the profile of Mercy Corps among target constituencies, utilizing events, briefings and other activities.

  • Develop working relationships with program staff in order to identify major gift funding opportunities and also to gain access to programmatic information that can be used to steward donors.

  • Stay abreast of key issues and trends in the international aid and development community, and communicate these to donors and prospects.

  • Lead periodic overseas trips for key major donors and prospects as part of a well thought out and planned cultivation – solicitation strategy.

  • Collaborate on cultivation, stewardship and solicitation strategy with fellow gift officers.

  • Maintain current tracking of all donor activity and revenue projection by inputting contact reports into donor database.

  • Strong verbal communication skills, including public speaking


Organizational Learning 

  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Accountability to Beneficiaries

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Director of Major Gifts

Works Directly With: Major gifts team, CEO, Program staff, Marketing/Communications staff, Development Operations staff


  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Communications, Political Science or related field.

  • At least 8-10 years of experience operating within a high-level major gifts fundraising team, of which at least three years involve direct frontline fundraising; or a deep knowledge of Mercy Corp’s mission and operations as an outcome of having worked within Mercy Corps’ programs in the field for 3 years.

  • Proven ability to build consensus and work with diverse opinions to develop program proposals.

  • Strong collaborative experience.

  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail and to process.

  • Outstanding people skills and excellent communication skills – both written and oral.

  • Must be able to work independently as well as in collaboration with team.

  • Experience in raising private support in the international relief and development sector required.

  • Advanced degree in international relations or related disciplines preferred.

  • Demonstrated success in proposal preparation, donor negotiation, and donor cultivation and solicitation, or transferable skills from program work in an INGO setting.


Success Factors

The successful candidate will have the ability to develop personal relationships with a variety of people in a variety of contexts.  S/he will be able to secure and increase contributions from major donors and prospects and represent both the programs and heart of Mercy Corps to external audiences. The Senior Gift Officer will set a leadership example to other front-line fundraising members of the team by maintaining focus on donors and prospects and the various goals (number of visits, number of solicitations, et al) that are set for each fundraiser based upon portfolio.

Application instructions

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