Major Donor Relations Officer

New York City, New York
Competitive salary commensurate with experience.
May 20, 2019
Metro Area
New York
Full Time

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve systems of democracy and justice in the United States. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Brennan Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. Part think-tank, part advocacy group, part cutting edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them – in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion. 

We are currently a 120-person organization with offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. Our staff is made up of lawyers, policy experts, journalists, researchers, writers, communications and development professionals, and human resources and operations staff. 

Position Overview 

We seek a results-driven, dynamic professional to successfully build relationships with major donors and reach fundraising goals. The Major Donor Relations Officer is part of a high-performing 11-member Development Department and a key player in the team charged with raising the Brennan Center’s annual operating budget. Our diverse base of supporters includes: national foundations and institutional funders; major donors and family/personal foundations; direct response and online contributors; and an annual gala event, the Brennan Legacy Awards Dinner. 

The Major Donor Relations Officer reports to and works closely with the Deputy Director of Development to manage a subset of the major donor portfolio, and participates substantially in achieving fundraising goals from the full portfolio. The full portfolio consists of more than 250 individuals and family/personal foundations who give $5,000 or more. Major gifts currently account for about 65 percent of the organization’s overall annual revenue. 

Salary is competitive with excellent benefits.

Key Responsibilities 

  • Manage and secure gifts from a subset of the major donor portfolio, starting with approximately 75 current donors
  • Substantially participate in stewarding of other donors in the full portfolio as needed 
  • Identify and execute successful cultivation of prospects
  • Conceptualize and draft personalized communications with donors and prospects
  • Write compelling, succinct descriptions of programmatic milestones for varied written products and correspondence
  • Write and edit persuasive, clear, and accurate grant proposals and reports, and oversee full submission packages including tailored budgets and financial reports
  • Coordinate and participate in donor meetings and phone calls: effectively communicate the Center’s work and funding needs, fully prepare program leaders, and oversee donor research
  • Participate in and provide oversight of major donor planning and tracking of fundraising goals

Key Qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s degree required, with advanced degree or training in law, public policy, journalism, or public relations a plus 
  • At least 5 years of on-point experience, preferably in nonprofit development, communications, or public/corporate relations. 
  • Demonstrable progression and advancement in career
  • Success in fundraising and/or building similar partnerships or sponsorships
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills, with talent at translating complex, detailed information into clear and compelling language to audiences of varying expertise (experience as a journalist covering public policy is a plus)
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, unpredictable environment with tight timelines and multiple deadlines, while also completing priority projects and long-term goals 
  • Strong interpersonal skills – including ability to respond productively to direction and feedback, and maturity to work with staff and leadership at all levels
  • Proactive and self-starting – able to work independently, with keen issue-spotting and problem-solving capabilities
  • Team player – a spirit of camaraderie, a generous collaborator, and a sense of humor 
  • Outstanding attention to detail and accuracy -- work product is thorough, complete, and polished
  • Applicants must have demonstrable experience and commitment to public interest law or policy issues.

Applications: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, please visit and upload the following application materials: a 2-page cover letter in the spirit of a funding pitch or grant proposal (to intrigue and convince us of your candidacy) and a resume.  Please reference where you saw this posting.

Applicants invited for interviews will be asked to provide 3 references. If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: with “Major Gifts Officer” in the subject line, after registering in the online system.  No phone calls or faxes, please.  We strongly prefer applying through our website (link provided above).  

The Brennan Center for Justice is committed to a workplace based on equal opportunity and a strong belief in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, Brennan Center 

  • Hires staff that reflects this country's full range of racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic identities; 
  • Creates a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged; 
  • Ensures that all members of the Brennan Center community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and 
  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.

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