Jobs: Major Gift Officer

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Midwest Regional Office, Chicago

Department: Development

Location: Chicago, IL

Reports to: Deputy Director of Development – Major Gifts

FLSA Status: Exempt/Full-time

Union Status: Grade 6


Lambda Legal seeks a dynamic Major Gifts Officer (MGO) to join their Development Department. This position is primarily responsible for acquiring, cultivating, and soliciting assigned individual donors and prospects with potential to give $1,500 or more annually, with a heightened focus on individual giving and upgrading donors to Major Donor levels ($5,000+).

The MGO will work to expand Lambda Legal's Liberty Circle ($1,500+) Donor Program and volunteer activities in their assigned area/market. This role will also be responsible for managing relationships, communications, and individual giving plans with leadership donors and managing volunteer leadership committees in their assigned markets.

The successful candidate will be an experienced nonprofit fundraising professional with a track record of building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with individual donors. This is an exciting opportunity for a fundraiser that is prepared to excel in a fast-paced environment.


Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Since 1973, Lambda Legal has used impact litigation and other advocacy tools to decriminalize same-sex relationships; challenge discrimination against LGBTQ people and people living with HIV in the workplace, in the home, in schools, in health care, and in the military; and protect LGBTQ families, including by winning and defending marriage equality. Clients are not charged for legal representation or advocacy and Lambda Legal receives no government funding. Headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

We believe that serving the full breadth of the LGBTQ and HIV communities requires cultural competency and enthusiasm for diversity of all kinds. To be successful, we must approach our work with an understanding that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not the only obstacle to achieving full formal and lived equality for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV; rather, we recognize the intersectional nature of discrimination, specifically including biases based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, education, and class. In light of this reality, we prioritize awareness and proactive commitment to counteracting these biases and their compounding effects.


The MGO reports to the Deputy Director of Development for Major Gifts in partnership with the Midwest Regional Director. The MGO role requires a “roll up your sleeves” approach and keen attention to detail and donor moves management processes, reporting, metrics driven workflow. The following is a list of the core responsibilities of the MGO:

  • Manage Leadership Donor fundraising programs in assigned markets, including acquiring, cultivating, and soliciting donors and prospects with potential to give $1500 or more annually, with a heightened focus on individual giving and upgrading donors to Major Donor levels ($5,000+). This includes face-to-face meetings and interaction with donors including direct solicitations and managing cultivation events/touch points including house parties.

  • Work to increase planned giving in the areas covered and is responsible for increasing Leadership Donor revenue in each assigned market and for overall portfolio. The MGO works as a team with other staff under the leadership of the Deputy Director of Development for Major Gifts to plan and execute a wide variety of development relationships and activities

  • Serve as the "point person" for individual donors and prospects, local corporate and law firm event sponsors, and volunteer fundraising committees in their assigned markets areas; and other markets and Leadership Donors nationally, as assigned.

  • Work with Lambda Legal staff, Board, National Leadership Council (NLC) members and other volunteers to execute fundraising and cultivation events in assigned markets and additional ones, as determined. The MGO will also manage volunteer leadership committees and Leadership Donor fundraising plans, including identifying and securing event sponsorships (individual and firm/corporate), in assigned markets and others, as determined.

  • Support and manage annual solicitation of donors in assigned portfolio by the Chief Executive Officer, Board, NLC members, other key volunteers, and other Lambda Legal staff. This includes identifying and securing major donor prospect meetings for senior staff and organizational leadership. The MGO will acknowledge contributions and coordinate annual report recognition for gifts received from donors in assigned portfolio and work with national staff to coordinate input into grant proposals for local foundations and prospective foundation grantors.

  • Additional duties as assigned.


Skills & Competencies:

  • 3+ years of demonstrated success in a major gift or planned gift fundraising function, and experience coordinating fundraising events desired.

  • Proven experience having expanded and cultivated existing donor relationships over time; campaign and annual giving experience is a plus.

  • Demonstrated experience working with racially and gender diverse volunteers and groups.

  • Experience working closely with Board and key volunteers and knowledge of LGBT and/or philanthropic communities in assigned areas is required.

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and interpersonal; ability to influence and engage a wide range of donors and build long-term authentic relationships.

  • Flexible, adaptive, and innovative work style; a collaborator who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives.

  • Ability to work both independently without close oversight, but also a team player who will productively engage with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside the organization.

  • High energy and passion for Lambda Legal’s mission is essential.

  • Strong organizational and time management skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills, with exceptional attention to detail.

  • Highly proficient with Microsoft Office applications and Raiser’s Edge database.

  • Ability to interact with all levels of the organization and to excel in an environment that emphasizes teamwork and collaboration.

  • Some travel is required for this position.

  • Bachelor's degree required.

  • Working at Lambda Legal requires a demonstrated awareness of and commitment to the concerns of the breadth of the communities that Lambda Legal serves. Prior work on behalf of the LGBT community and/or people living with HIV is highly desirable, and some experience working with historically marginalized communities (in a professional or volunteer capacity) is also desirable.  Any successful candidate will welcome the opportunity to work in a gender-diverse and racially-diverse environment.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel will be minimal.  In the future, however, some amount of travel (~30%) may be required.


The health and well-being of our employees and their loved ones are of the utmost importance to us. During the Pandemic, we have chosen to close our offices. Our employees are all working from home, and only visit the office voluntarily, only if absolutely necessary. We follow CDC and Department of Health guidelines to ensure the safety of employees who occasionally need to work from the office. We have an employee task force that is continually evaluating and assessing when we can re-open. At this time, we do not foresee re-opening our office in the next several months.


Salary is based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The annual salary range starts at $75,366. Competitive benefits package is provided, including medical, dental, life insurance, short and long-term disability insurance, employer contributions and match to 403(b)-retirement account, and substantial vacation.


The position is open until filled. Cooper Coleman is leading this search on behalf of Lambda Legal.

To apply for this position, please click here. Applications should be submitted as directed. Please do not contact Lambda Legal directly regarding this opportunity. Inquiries and nominations of qualified candidates can be sent to:

Johnny Cooper, Principal:

Kindly use the position title as the subject line of your email. All inquiries will be held in confidence. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the successful candidate has been selected.

No calls, please. Due to the high volume of applications, Lambda Legal cannot return phone calls about the position and cannot notify all applicants of status.   

Lambda Legal is committed to further building and maintaining a staff that reflects the full range of LGBTQ, HIV-affected and allied communities, and is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, transgender and gender-diverse people, women, people with abilities in multiple languages, immigrants, people living with disabilities, and individuals living with HIV are encouraged to apply.