Major Gifts Officer
Southern Methodist University Inc

Dallas, Texas


Salary range:

Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications
Job Summary:

Major Gifts Officer is a fundraising, portfolio-driven position with prospect management responsibilities including qualification, cultivation, solicitation & stewardship of prospective & current donors for major gifts in excess of $100,000.

The portfolio will be broad-based to solicit gifts for any fundraising priority, but may also focus on a U.S. geographic region, constituency and/or funding initiative. Frequent travel with overnight stays.

The position serves as primary point of contact for the portfolio, including prospect management & strategy development, personal visits, fundraising proposals, correspondence & volunteer involvement. Reports to Asst. VP of Principal & Major Gifts. The position also works closely with other colleagues and DEA departments to develop & execute a strategic fundraising plan.
Essential Functions:

  • Cultivation and Solicitation: Work with School and Athletics fundraisers, Gift Planning, Corporate and Foundation Relations teams, Annual Giving & Alumni Relations colleagues and other SMU central development staff to develop cultivation and proposal strategies for the major gift portfolio of 100 to 120 donors and prospective donors.
  • Direct accountability for prospect cultivation, solicitation & stewardship. Maintain a vigorous schedule of personal visits to cultivate & solicit prospects and steward donors. Strategic guidance regarding the involvement of other fundraising colleagues, volunteers, faculty, Deans, Vice President for Development & External Affairs, Provost and President of SMU
  • Plan and document strategy, specific prospect activity and constituent updates for each assigned prospect, using DEA systems including but not limited to BBEC, FileMaker Pro and WebNow Imaging. Coordinate with DEA colleagues to draft proposals, correspondence, and other material for prospect/donor information, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
  • Prepare regular activity reports and provide consistent and timely communication to DEA leadership, colleagues and constituents on next steps, strategies, and proposals for all Major and Principal-gift-level prospects. Comply with SMU prospect assignment, management and clearance process. Fully participate in DEA fundraiser meetings and training sessions
  • Attend SMU events for development purposes in working with donors, as determined by the Asst. VP of Principal and Major Gifts
  • Related Development Functions: Work with DEA staff to reach objectives set for operational, endowment and capital initiatives. Responsibilities include close coordination with fundraising colleagues, Development Research and Prospect Management, Donor Relations, and Records and Gift Administration to share important biographical and relevant philanthropic information regarding alumni, parents and friends in the portfolio.


Education and Experience:
  • Bachelor's degree required
  • Five (5) years professional work experience.
  • Proven major gift ($100,000+) fundraising or sales results is preferred. Knowledge of sales or fundraising management principles desirable.
  • Professional work experience in an academic/higher education setting, working with alumni, parents and volunteers.
  • Experience working a portfolio and developing strategic plans for securing gift commitments
Knowledge, Skill and Abilities:
  • Insightful, articulate and persuasive communicator who is committed to the support of advancement.
  • Ability to think collaboratively, strategically and creatively while participating in decision-making.
  • Ability to use web-based technology and system tools to keep in touch from remote locations as the position may require travel, communication and reporting while away from the office.
  • Knowledge of MS Office (Word, Excel).
  • Experience using Blackbaud Enterprise CRM or other relational CRM database software.
  • Travel is required on a monthly or bi-weekly basis, or as needed to cultivate and/or steward donors in the portfolio
  • Occasional evening and/or weekend work is required
  • Local and national travel may be required based on location of donors
Physical/Environmental Demands:
  • Bend, stand
  • Reach above shoulders, handle objects
  • Carry/lift 25 lbs.
  • Sit for long periods of time
Deadline to Apply:

The position is open until filled.

COVID Vaccination

SMU must comply with President Biden's Executive Order (EO) 14042 requiring those that receive federal contracts and their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they apply for and are granted an exemption for religious or medical reasons.

For more information regarding this requirement, please visit our website.
EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,

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