Senior Major Gifts Officer, SAS

Pennsylvania (US)
05 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
05 May 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

The Development and Alumni Relations organization at the University of Pennsylvania is one of the premier development organizations in the world.
Penn’s Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) team members benefit from an exceptional work environment where professional excellence and individual pride in achievement are grounded in a strong institutional commitment to integrity and collegiality as we strive for collective success.

For talented and innovative individuals, a career at the University of Pennsylvania offers the chance to be part of an exceptionally exciting environment at the nation’s first university.

We seek talented individuals who will constitute a community that draws on the strength that comes with a substantive institutional commitment to diversity. Diversity is prized at Penn as a central component of our mission and helps create an educational and working environment that best supports the University’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship.

Penn’s commitment to achieving eminence through diversity is ultimately a commitment to creating a more vibrant university so that our employees will be both stimulated and empowered to shape a better world.

Penn Arts and Sciences forms the foundation of the scholarly excellence that has established Penn as one of the world’s leading research universities. We teach students across all 12 Penn schools, and our academic departments span the reach from anthropology and biology to sociology and South Asian studies. The three educational divisions of Arts and Sciences fulfill different missions, united by the School’s broader commitment to providing its students with an unrivaled education in the arts and sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences is the academic home of the majority of Penn undergraduates and provides 60 percent of the courses taken by students in Penn’s undergraduate professional schools. The Graduate Division offers doctoral training to over 1,500 candidates in more than 30 graduate programs. And the College of Liberal and Professional Studies provides a range of educational opportunities for lifelong learners and working professionals. The School’s Advancement Division recognizes the importance of the liberal arts as the source of knowledge that changes the world and education that changes individual’s lives and is committed to generating enthusiasm and support for the School and its mission using all available tools.

Reporting to the Associate Dean for Advancement, the Senior Major Gifts Officer will be responsible for maximizing lifelong giving to Penn by developing meaningful relationships with assigned prospects and donors. Working as part of an experienced team of fund raisers in the School of Arts and Sciences within a University-wide donor-centric prospect management system, the Senior Major Gifts Officer will design and execute a major gifts plan for their assigned region that creates visibility for the School, expands its prospect base, and builds the School’s major gifts pipeline.

A key feature of this position is the need to work collaboratively and productively with colleagues across Development and Alumni Relations at Penn, including Major Gifts, Planned Giving, Principal Gifts, and Alumni Relations, contributing to a total team effort on behalf of SAS and Penn.


  • Manage a personal portfolio of assigned donors and prospects, with emphasis on those capable of making a gift of $100,000 or more. Significant travel expectation.
  • Achieve mutually agreed upon annual goals for visits, solicitations and gift totals.
  • Create strategies for top prospects that leverage key relationships within SAS and across Penn and lead to successful engagement, cultivation and solicitation. As part of this effort, staff school and university academic leadership, SAS board members and other volunteers as needed.
  • Be knowledgeable about campaign priorities and programs and faculty/research/student initiatives within the School.
  • Cultivate strong partnership with central development staff.
  • Conduct discovery visits and work with alumni outreach team in the SAS Office of Advancement to align fund raising with targeted engagement of SAS alumni in key cities and regions.
  • Plan and staff special events in support of the School’s fundraising and alumni engagement effort.
  • Identify and recommend candidates for volunteer roles within the School and across the University as appropriate.
  • Represent SAS on ad hoc University-wide committees and at events and professional conferences as required.
  • Other related duties as assigned from time-to-time. 

Bachelor’s degree plus five or more years of successful fund-raising experience, preferably in higher education, including direct solicitation of six figure gifts from individuals. Intellectual curiosity, understanding of a university environment, and appreciation for the academic mission of a liberal arts institution.

Ability to work independently, but collaboratively, as part of a goal oriented team. Skill at working effectively with colleagues in a decentralized system of fundraising, participating in and contributing to a total team effort. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Ability to articulate the case for support and the vision/mission/goals of the School. Tact, sensitivity, maturity, judgment and the ability to manage ambiguity and change necessary. Ability to travel and work evenings and weekends as needed; valid driver’s license required.

A combination of education and experience is required.

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.