Skip to content Skip to navigation

Major Gift Officer

List Date: 
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Close Date: 
Friday, April 14, 2017

SUPERVISOR:  Chief Development Officer 


The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) catalyzes solutions to the complex challenges of ocean stewardship and economic growth in the Gulf of Maine bioregion. Our scientists explore dynamic ocean systems from marine life to environmental conditions to coastal economies. We infuse our discoveries into the policy arena and design solutions with fishermen and seafood businesses to protect fishery resources, harvest them responsibly, and market them as premium quality food. We share our discoveries with the public and nurture a culture of leadership in communities that depend on the sea. Our education programs cultivate science literacy and build a foundation of collaborative problem-solving among our next generation of leaders, scientists, citizens, and stewards. Each year, we serve over 25,000 stakeholders from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia.

GMRI employs 70 staff members, working across three programmatic (Science, Education, Community) and two operational (Finance/Administration, Development) functions. Our most recent annual report is available at: We seek an accomplished fundraising professional to join our Development team as a Major Gift Officer (MGO).

The Major Gift Officer will have an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with a diverse and growing mix of current and prospective donors with capacity to contribute significant revenue to fuel GMRI’s mission. The MGO will be a donor-facing fundraiser and will be responsible for making regular personal solicitation for five to seven figure gifts, as well as implementing dynamic, donor-centered cultivation and stewardship strategies. Reporting directly to the Chief Development Officer (CDO), the MGO will have ample opportunity to work both independently and as part of the Development Team. GMRI’s ambitious multi-year endowment campaign (Campaign for the Gulf of Maine) will be a key part of the MGO’s near term fundraising work.  Most importantly, the MGO will be expected to integrate into a team of highly competent development professionals and to work collaboratively and creatively to achieve fundraising goals which benefit the whole organization. Occasional travel (both in and out of state) and evening work will be required.

Primary Tasks and Responsibilities:

Prospect Management and Fundraising

The MGO will actively cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of up to 200 individuals at various stages of institutional engagement, including six-figure campaign prospects and leadership-level Annual Fund donors through personal visits, events, customized correspondence, and GMRI content updates. S/he will also work the CDO and Campaign team to strengthen major giving institution-wide.

  • Works with Development colleagues and program staff to develop and implement personalized strategies to bring existing donors closer to GMRI and identify opportunities for mutually beneficial increases in giving and/or planned gifts.
  • Works to qualify, contact, and engage new prospects; networks with staff, board, volunteers, and loyal donors as appropriate to obtain introduction and encourage attention.
  • Engages in at least 150 visits and face-to-face interactions annually.
  • Updates assigned portfolio with timely information on GMRI accomplishments and projects, using a variety of communication techniques. Establishes personal relationships with major donors, identifying their interests and articulating program work that would appeal to them.
  • Engages other staff, board, and volunteers as appropriate to build a network of reinforcing GMRI relationships and experiences around donors.
  • Represents GMRI at GMRI fundraising events, business meetings and networking opportunities to establish and develop contacts in specified communities.


Donor Stewardship and Solicitations with GMRI Board and Senior Staff

The MGO will have an opportunity to work with and support the Board of Directors, Campaign Leadership Council, and GMRI senior staff to develop cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategies for prospective donors.

  • Partners with GMRI President and CDO in managing their donor relationships as needed.
  • Prepares campaign volunteers and GMRI senior staff for solicitations and joins them on personal visits.
  • Collaborates with GMRI education, community, and research senior staff to extend donor relationships within the organization and provide more opportunities for donor interaction.


Communications, Reporting and Data Management

The MGO will have an opportunity to craft, contribute to, and collaborate on a wide variety of donor/prospect centric communications from formal written requests, to casual email updates, to deep content dives. S/he will also contribute to the Development teams’ collective efforts to maintain detailed, highly functional, and up-to-date records on our constituents. S/he will be expected to use GMRI’s established process for logging contact reports and will share correspondence with colleagues as appropriate. 

  • Drafts and coordinates correspondence to donors, including gift agreements, letters, email updates, stewardship reports, etc.; works with team members and program staff as needed to create and refine content heavy, specific use; and, on occasion new media, materials to support donor outreach.
  • Maintains strong records in GMRI’s database, Raiser’s Edge, to include action tracking, meeting debriefs, and regular updates to RE fields tracking biographical and contextual information about current and potential donors (both through self-service and by working with dedicated database staff).
  • Tracks and manages ongoing communication flow with donors in personal portfolio; monitors efficacy of various strategies.


Campaign for the Gulf of Maine

The MGO will participate as an active member of GMRI’s Campaign Team, working with President, CDO, colleagues, consultants, and volunteers to achieve an ambitious $50 million endowment campaign goal.

  • Participates in monthly strategy meetings with both the Campaign Leadership Team and Council to assess campaign performance, develop plans to strengthen the donor experience and expand the GMRI’s philanthropic reach throughout the regional, national and international community.
  • Provides staff support to a select group of volunteers around an extended portfolio of donors specific to those volunteers.
  • Manages relevant personal portfolio toward campaign solicitations.  



Given that GMRI is a small, lean marine education and research organization, the MGO will be expected to be flexible and assist with other Development team shared tasks that may arise, however challenging or menial. GMRI has a highly collegial and collaborative culture around philanthropy, sharing responsibility for fundraising goals, and celebrating the successes of all team members and program staff. The MGO should be prepared to enhance this culture and should become an expert on the organization’s mission and work, continually finding ways to increase her/her personal knowledge.



  • B.A. or B.S. plus a minimum of seven years of work experience with a background in fundraising (or very closely related field), preferably involving a mix of donor cultivation/solicitation and events planning;
  • Thorough understanding of the tools, techniques, and strategies employed in donor-centric fundraising;  
  • Interest in/knowledge of issues related to marine conservation, coastal economic development, fisheries management and/or STEM education;
  • Working knowledge of prospect research (including biographical and capacity assessments);
  • A flexible self-starter capable of shifting between outward facing interpersonal work and internal strategy and production;
  • A keen attention to detail and a demonstrated ability manage priorities and accomplish multiple tasks in a demanding environment with limited resources and staff support;
  • Exceptional phone and in-person communication skills, with a sensitivity to donor needs and confidentiality;
  • Comfortable in social situations and mingling at fundraising events;
  • Flexibility to attend evening and weekend events, and to travel within Maine and New England with occasional trips throughout the US;
  • Core computer skills in Microsoft Office, database applications, electronic communications, and an ability to learn and use other specialized software (a working knowledge of Raiser’s Edge or similar fundraising software a plus);
  • Team player with sense of humor, flexibility, intellectual curiosity and stamina to accomplish an ambitious vision in a rapidly evolving institution; and
  • An ability to manifest and communicate genuine passion for GMRI’s mission and accomplishments.

To Apply:

To submit your cover letter and resume  CLICK HERE.  (You will be navigating away from this website.) Questions should be emailed to Please note we will not accept resumes sent to this email address. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Deadline: April 14, 2017. Resumes reviewed upon receipt.


We are proud to confirm our long-standing policy and commitment to providing equal access and equal employment opportunities in all terms, conditions, processes and benefits of employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. Our employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. Applicants and employees are encouraged to voluntarily self-identify their race/ethnicity, gender, disability status and veteran status to assist us in fulfilling various data reporting requirements of the federal government. This self-identification is completely voluntary, will be kept strictly confidential and separate from your application data, and used only to meet federal reporting requirements. Providing or declining to provide this information will not result in adverse action of any kind.