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Columbia University Major Gift Officer, Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute in New York, New York

Position Summary

Reporting to the Director of Development at the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute (Zuckerman Institute), the Major Gift Officer identifies, cultivates and solicits alumni, parents and friends of Columbia with the capacity to make gifts in the $100,000 to $3,000,000 range. The incumbent is responsible for a portfolio of up to 150 individuals. Focusing on this pool of prospects, the Major Gift Officer is responsible for moving gift prospects through the complete giving cycle: validation, engagement, cultivation, solicitation, gift negotiation and stewardship. The incumbent works closely with the Director for Development to identify priorities for fund raising focus. The incumbent must have effective writing and presentation skills and be a persuasive advocate for Zuckerman Institute priorities.


Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conducts a minimum of 150 personal visits annually to cultivate and solicit prospects and close gifts;

  • Completes a minimum of 15 major gifts asks annually and a minimum of 25 leadership annual fund asks annually. There is also an expectation of 10 planned giving conversations for this position each year;

  • Conducts regular validation meetings with prospects and alumni who have not been visited previously to help determine giving potential and opportunities for engagement;

  • Manages prospect relationships to enhance continued and increased support and attend events which facilitate contact with prospects;

  • Ensures maintenance of all records in the Advance database in a timely fashion;

  • Prepares written strategies for top tier prospects and solicitation materials, including proposals and executive summaries;

  • Meets with administrators and faculty to understand Zuckerman Institute priorities and attend regularly-scheduled team meetings to track and discuss major gift prospects.

  • Follow up with event attendees as possible prospects to be added to the Zuckerman Institute pipeline

  • Serve as point person for the Zuckerman Institute team on the University’s planned giving push

  • Support the Director of Development and the Institute in areas pertaining to the Brain Trust, principal gift strategy development and campaign planning

  • Perform other related tasks and special projects as required.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required. A minimum of 4-6 years of fundraising or related development experience is required. Computer proficiency (Word, Excel) required. Some evening and travel required.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced degree preferred.

Other Requirements

Must have a demonstrated success in achieving fundraising goals and managing high-level donor relationships. Possess a proven ability to present complex information in a clear and compelling manner is essential. The capacity to clearly comprehend and communicate the Zuckerman Institute mission, goals and ongoing initiatives is required. Prior experience in a not for profit, or similarly complex organizations a plus. Columbia University structure and cultures strongly preferred.

Demonstrated ability to work in a high pressure, fast-paced environment. Demonstrated excellence in a variety of competencies including: project management, teamwork, analytical thinking and client/customer awareness. Must possess the ability to develop, supervise staff, work with changing priorities and multiple projects.

Excellent analytical, organizational, interpersonal, oral and written communication skills, including a high level of attention to detail and active listening skills. Must be able to problem-solve and troubleshoot, in addition to the ability to work independently in a dynamic team environment. Demonstrated ability to effectively partner with a diverse group of administrators and academic leaders. Must be able to negotiate issues, resolve problems and have strong influencing skills. The successful candidate must be a strategic thinker, effective in moving strategic agendas, politically savvy, ensure the utmost discretion in all matters, as well as possess an ability to work well with all levels of management, both internally and externally, be flexible in nature, have a sound judgment with a collaborative style that fosters teamwork and cooperation beyond the immediate team to the broader organization. Must have a passion for excellent customer service and commitment to exceptional quality.

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.