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Major and Planned Giving Officer

The Morton Arboretum
Zip Code: 
Employment type: 
Full time
Years of experience: 
3 - 5 years
Required degree level: 
Bachelors degree
Hearing Accommodations
Remote Position: 
Job Expiration Date: 

The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned nonprofit dedicated to protecting and growing trees locally and globally. We are seeking an experienced gift officer to join our team to increase philanthropic support through major and planned gifts. The ideal candidate will help secure support from individual donors to improve the future for trees, advance leading scientific and conservation research, support educational programming for adults and children, and preserve our plant collections across 1,700 acres. You’ll be part of an incredible team working together to make the Arboretum exceptional.   

Position Summary:  Manage an externally focused portfolio of approximately 150 individual planned giving and major giving donors and prospects to generate new planned gift expectancies and secure restricted and unrestricted major gifts.  Serve as an advocate for a culture of philanthropy that supports the best interests of the organization as well as the donors.

Essential Functions:

  • Manage a portfolio of approximately 150 planned giving and major giving prospects with gift potential in the $10,000+ range including identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. 
  • Work with the Director of Major Gifts to set major giving and planned giving fundraising goals for individual donors in personal portfolio, and develop and implement strategy in support of overall giving goals for the Arboretum fundraising program.
  • Develop creative, personal moves management strategies in collaboration with the full development team to maximize overall philanthropic support of the Arboretum and institutional success in meeting fundraising goals.
  • Actively engage the President, Vice President of Development, Director of Major Gifts, trustees, senior leadership, colleagues, and other high level donors/volunteers in the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of donors and prospects.
  • In partnership with development colleagues, support a comprehensive giving program that best matches donor capacity and interest with appropriate giving channels and engagement opportunities through major giving and planned giving. 
  • Working across the organization, identify fundable programs and initiatives to create giving opportunities for individual prospects.
  • Work in close collaboration with prospect research staff and other development colleagues to identify, qualify, and cultivate high potential prospects in support of the organization’s strategic priorities and campaign goals. 
  • Manage and ensure integrity of regular reporting on goal achievement to demonstrate progress, identify areas of concern, and revise strategies as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:  Bachelor's degree required.  4+ years of proven achievement in non-profit fundraising program.  Direct experience in strategy development and success in the cultivation and solicitation of planned gifts and major gifts required.  Understanding of planned giving vehicles and experience in planned giving solicitations required.  Proven ability to successfully motivate, engage and interact with senior leadership, trustees, high level donors and volunteers required.  Excellent verbal and written communication skills required.  Prior experience and proven effectiveness in moves management processes required.  Must be proficient with Microsoft Office and experience with Google applications is beneficial.  Preferred experience using constituent relationship management software or similar database program.  Must possess a valid driver’s license, which is subject to insurability and an annual Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) report. 

Success Factors:  Ability to discern and respond to donor interests to meet both donor and institutional goals.  Ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively with Arboretum senior staff, trustees, colleagues and volunteers.  Ability to manage multiple priorities effectively.  Comfortable working with individuals from all stations of life.  A commitment to, and ability to effectively convey, the Arboretum’s mission with genuine passion, and the willingness to continually learn about the programs and mission.

Physical Demands and Work Environment: The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Physical Demands: Requires some physical activity: limited lifting and carrying (up to 10 lbs.), and occasional travel around the Arboretum campus and locally.
  • Work Environment: Fast-paced office environment.  Work is performed in a combined indoor and outdoor setting. 
  • Equipment: General office equipment, Arboretum golf cart and minivan.
  • Schedule: Position requires occasional extended work hours, including evenings and weekends.

For full consideration, please include resume and cover letter with application.

The Morton Arboretum is a champion of diversity, supporting a culture of inclusion that attracts, inspires, and engages people to achieve success.  The Arboretum is committed to hire and develop employees based on job-related qualifications irrespective of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status.  To increase diversity in professions related to the public garden realm, we encourage applications from underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.  

The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to complying with our obligations as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All applicants are guaranteed equal consideration for employment.

The Morton Arboretum is a magnificent outdoor museum with a mission to collect and study trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world, to display them across naturally beautiful landscapes for people to study and enjoy, and to learn how to grow them in ways that enhance our environment. Our goal is to encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. The Arboretum ranks among the leading arboretums of the world in size, age, quality of specimens, and programs in Plant Collections, Science and Conservation, and Education.

History:  Established in 1922 by Mr. Joy Morton, founder of the Morton Salt Company and son of J. Sterling Morton, the originator of Arbor Day, the Arboretum has grown to include 1,700 acres of plant collections and gardens amid spectacular natural landscapes of woodlands, prairie, lakes, and streams.

Plant Collections:  The Arboretum grows and displays a rich diversity of trees, shrubs, and other plants that are Collections evaluated for their suitability for the midwestern United States. These living collections include 222,000 plant specimens representing 4,650 different kinds of plants. Arranged by geographic, taxonomic, and other special groupings, the collections are enhanced by restored natural areas of native plants.

Science and Conservation:  The Research Program focuses on practical scientific studies; key areas include tree health, tree Conservation improvement, and woodland conservation. Housed in the state-of-the-art Research Center is a Herbarium with a collection of 200,000 dried specimens for botanical research. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative develops strategies for tree and urban forest improvement; the Community Trees program advocates for trees in 274 communities in seven counties. ArbNet, facilitated by The Morton Arboretum, is an interactive professional community of arboreta with programs to foster advancements among tree-focused gardens. Science and conservation initiatives address international needs to build partnerships and save endangered trees.

Education:  The Education Program is relevant to needs and interests in learning about plants, nature, and ways to improve our world. Through the Thornhill Education Center, classes and other offerings for adults, youth and family, and schools and scouts serve 47,000 participants, with 646 schools partaking of field, lab, and outreach programs. Also available are teacher-training resources and a cooperative botany degree program with regional colleges and universities. The Sterling Morton Library contains collections of 27,000 volumes on botany, horticulture, natural history, and ecology; rare books, periodicals, and catalogs; and 12,000 botanical artworks. The Plant Clinic answers inquiries from 536 zip codes about plant selection and care. 

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