Position Description

Major Gifts Officer
Location Chicago, Navy Pier
Job Code 350
# of Openings 1
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Who is Chicago Public Media?

Chicago Public Media is one of the largest, most decorated, aggressively creative, and journalistically ambitious public radio organizations in the nation. We are home to WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station, celebrating our 75th year anniversary broadcasting at 91.5 FM, and Vocalo Radio, Chicago’s Urban Alternative music station at 91.1 FM. We are the birthplace of such celebrated programs as This American Life, Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Sound Opinions, Curious City and most recently, a growing portfolio of podcasts that include Serial, the “Making” series, including Making Obama and Making Oprah, and The Trouble with Shannon Cason. WBEZ’s award-winning newsroom is growing in order to tackle the stories that matter most to our community.  As an essential source of news and context, we are a powerful connector among lines of difference.

An Opportunity To Make An Impact

At Chicago Public Media, we believe independent journalism is essential to a well-functioning democracy and access to fact-based, objective news and information a right of every citizen.  We serve the public interest by creating diverse, compelling content that informs, inspires and enriches.  We connect diverse audiences and help them make a difference in our communities, our region and our world.  If you are inspired by our mission and want to belong to an organization that inspires you, supports you, and challenges you, we encourage you to apply.

About the Role

The Major Gifts Officer is a proven front line fundraiser responsible for developing strategies to secure individual gifts for WBEZ’s annual fund as well as planned gifts. This person will personally manage and develop a prospect portfolio aimed at significantly increasing the number of donors giving at the $5,000+ level at Chicago Public Media (CPM). Reporting to the Director of Development and partnering with the Development Team, the Major Gifts Officer collaborates with the CEO, board members, senior staff, and other key staff, as appropriate, in managing these donor and prospect relationships to foster and sustain a culture of philanthropy at CPM.

The ideal candidate will be collaborative and bring an entrepreneurial spirit and business building track record of success to the Development Team. The candidate will establish internal relationships to drive growth, support cross-departmental collaboration, and exhibit superior communication skills. The ideal candidate will also have a track record of accomplishment as a successful fundraiser, including securing five- and six-figure major gifts and stewarding high-capacity donors in an environment that employs a sophisticated moves management approach. The Major Gifts Officer will be active in the community, building relationships with top donors and community leaders to advance our organizational goals and realize a new level of philanthropic success for the organization.


Fundraising (80% of the job)

  • Serves as a key fundraiser managing a portfolio of 125 – 150 donors giving at or with the capacity to make $5,000+ gifts.
  • Identifies potential planned giving prospects and partners with the Director of Development in cultivating and soliciting those prospects.
  • Participates in all aspects of the gift cycle: identifies, qualifies, and prioritizes donors and prospective donors for cultivation, solicitation, and securing of gifts at the $5,000+ level.
    • Develops strategies to move donors and prospects through the pipeline from cultivation to stewardship.
    • Makes solicitations, and/or partners with volunteer leaders, to solicit and secure major gifts.
    • Monitors progress throughout the gift cycle, sets individual donor strategies, and actively employs moves management for each donor.
    • Manages proposal entries and targeted gift amounts with anticipated gift closure dates and records and tracks donor activity in a timely manner in the database.
    • Prepares personalized communication and customized proposals and recognition opportunities for donors.
  • Develops and maintains long-term, personal contact with donors and prospects to assure ongoing cultivation and stewardship, aiming to maintain and upgrade their financial support over time.

Major Donor Events (20% of the job)

  • Manages logistics for various types of major donor engagement experiences, including: annual fundraising dinner, small in-home cultivation events, WBEZ open house evening, pre-post donor receptions, and ad hoc experiences in coordination with official CPM Events.
  • With support from the Development team, prepares briefings for the team, executive management, and board members.
  • Conducts debriefings after each event and ensures follow ups are taking place.
  • Liaises with the Events team to keep on top of media sponsorships, Membership events, and other community engagement activities. 

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree. Advanced degree and/or professional certification (i.e. CFRE or ACFRE) a plus.
  • Five to seven years of experience in a frontline fundraising role, with demonstrated success in securing gifts at the $5,000-$50,000 level.
  • Successful experience in making cold calls, as well as developing cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies.
  • Proven problem-solving skills and ability to manage multiple priorities on varying deadlines and bring new concepts to fruition.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience developing case statements and donor proposals.
  • Superior interpersonal communication skills required, along with the ability to take initiative and manage complex projects, and work effectively in a results-oriented team environment.
  • Working knowledge of various planned giving vehicles (e.g., bequests, gift annuities, trusts, etc.) Previous experience working in an environment with an established planned giving program, a plus.
  • Proficiency with constituent management and fundraising software. Salesforce or other complex CRM like Raisers Edge, preferred. Has a portfolio of effective communications and marketing materials for major and planned gifts.
  • Possesses an understanding of fundraising industry standards, especially with regard to the legal and ethical aspects of donor solicitation, confidentiality, gift crediting, stewardship, and financial principles that shape the work of fundraising professionals.

Personal Characteristics Desired:

  • Experience with and commitment to mission-driven non-profit organizations; enthusiastic about the mission, programs, and services of Chicago Public Media.
  • Strong professional initiative, poise, and confidence.
  • Outgoing, energetic, and engaging.
  • Proven high degree of integrity, ethical decision-making, and sound business judgment.
  • Ability to honor a high degree of confidentiality.
  • A skilled negotiator.
  • Open, visible, and approachable in communications with everyone.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit with a demonstrated ability to take initiative, work independently, overcome obstacles, and achieve results.
  • Ability to embody and reflect the values of Chicago Public Media.

Working at Chicago Public Media

Chicago Public Media cares deeply about our employees as we know attracting, nurturing and developing talent is key to our success and enhancing our impact.  Our culture is one where collaboration, ideas, and innovation are encouraged.  We value colleagues who will enhance our culture by bringing new ideas, diverse experiences and talents to our dynamic workplace.

Chicago Public Media’s dedication to promoting diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion is reflective across our brands, WBEZ 91.5 FM and Vocalo 91.1 FM, in our staff and in our work.  We are fully focused on equality of opportunity and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin and all other fascinating characteristics that make us different.

At Chicago Public Media we believe dedication to a great workplace includes supporting our employees and their families. As a result, we provide a broad and generous benefits package for you at hire and in the years to come.  Our benefits include:

  •  6 weeks fully paid family leave
  •  12 weeks paid maternity leave
  •  High quality Medical, Dental, and Vision plans at an affordable cost
  •  A  403(b)retirement plan with a company match
  •  Generous paid time off, including starting with 3 weeks’ vacation and 4 personal days


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