Director of Major Gifts


Carlow University invites applications for the position of Director of Major Gifts. The incumbent is responsible for the management of relationships with a portfolio of major gift prospects. Major gift prospects are individuals who have been determined to have the ability to make gifts that generally range from $5K to $250K. This gift officer will develop and implement strategies for securing financial support from this group and will manage a portfolio of 150 prospects. Extensive travel within the Pittsburgh region and nationally is required.  He/She will be responsible for identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major gifts prospects and donors and individuals working to further the mission of Carlow University. The Major Gift Officer reports to the Senior Director of Major Gifts and is an integral member of the Advancement Team. Working with the Advancement Team, this development officer will manage the process of acquiring, renewing and upgrading major donors in his/her portfolio on an annual cycle. 

Essential Functions:

  • Cultivate relationships leading to gifts of $5,000 or more through personal solicitation.
  • Contribute to the development and execution of a strategic plan for multi-year growth of revenue generated from major gifts.
  • Work collaboratively with other University departments and constituent groups to create optimal solicitation strategies matching the interests and objectives of donors and prospects.
  • Assist the Senior Director of Major Gifts and VP for Advancement with fundraising strategy, management, recordkeeping, and moves management of the prospect pool.
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit and steward an assigned pool of a minimum of 200 major gifts prospects.
  • Prepare written proposals, gift illustrations, informational materials and other materials to further the solicitation process.
  • Prepare donor reports as needed.
  • Maintain a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the University infrastructure, policies, and procedures.
  • In consultation with the Senior Director of Major Gifts, establish his/her yearly goals and objectives for major donors and a personal professional development plan.
  • Participate in the development and/or revision of policies and procedures relating to the major gifts process, marketing materials, major gifts cultivation, and stewardship and recognition activities.
  • Manage and attend Advancement events as needed.
  • Ensure appropriate processing and tracking of gifts, gift acknowledgment and recognition for portfolio. 
  • Demonstrate and reflect an understanding of and commitment to the mission and core values of Carlow University and the Sisters of Mercy.  

The intent of this list of primary duties is to provide a representative summary of the major duties and responsibilities of this job. Incumbents perform other related duties assigned. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary based upon departmental needs.


  1. Bachelor's Degree required.
  2. 5 years of development experience is required with relevant experience in cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding donors and with increasing levels of responsibility. Previous major gift solicitation experience with a proven track record of successful gift closings is highly desirable.
  3. The position requires the ability to participate in all aspects of the gift cycle: (1) to initiate contacts with prospects (2) to develop appropriate cultivation strategies for them, including working with volunteers; (3) to move prospects in an appropriate and timely fashion toward solicitation and closure; (4) to make solicitations when appropriate; (5) to maintain stewardship contacts with donors.
  4. Higher education experience is desirable.
  5. Excellent communication skills, both oral and written, with strong presentation skills, including the display of tact and diplomacy in difficult and sensitive situations.
  6. Excellent interpersonal communication skills with a high level of comfort with direct donor interaction, including when discussing personal and family finances and highly sensitive information. 
  7. Ability to travel throughout the country, and work evenings and weekends as needed is required.
  8. Ability to work in a team-based, goal-oriented environment.
  9. Strong organizational skills, including the ability to manage multiple projects concurrently and to manage priorities.
  10. Hold high ethical standards aligned with the Donor Bill of Rights and the AFP Code of Conduct.
  11. Interest in all aspects of education and a dedication to promoting the university's fundraising priorities through developing excellent working relationships with faculty, senior academic leaders, trustees and other volunteers, and the university advancement team.
  12. Knowledge of tax laws that impact charitable giving, personal assets and estates.
  13. Personal belief in mission, goals and objectives of private higher education.


Carlow University employees commit themselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct.  They commit to act with integrity, treat others with respect and dignity, carefully steward the University's resources, avoid conflicts of interest or commitment, maintain confidentiality, and to comply with legal and professional obligations.

Send cover letter and resume to   

Carlow University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. We strive for a campus that reflects our urban setting and is inclusive of underrepresented groups to enhance our University community.  

Full/Part/FT&PT: Full-time - exempt
Department: Advancement
Contact Name/Title: Search Committee
Contact Address: Carlow University 3333 Fifth Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact Email Address: