Major Gifts Director

People For the American Way and its affiliate, People For the American Way Foundation, are progressive advocacy organizations founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity.

Over nearly 40 years, People For the American Way and PFAW Foundation have built a deep base of financial support from a broad range of donors, from small mail and online contributions from members, to major gifts from individuals and support from foundations. The Director of Major Gifts is a key member of the development team will be responsible for managing the major donor fundraising program for both the 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations. The ideal candidate will have experience designing and executing development strategies for advocacy organizations and/or political campaigns and a commitment to the mission and values of People For the American Way.

This Washington, D.C. based position reports to the Chief Development Officer and requires frequent travel throughout the U.S.


  • Manage all aspects of the major donor fundraising program (gifts ranging from $5,000 to $1,000,000), including personal solicitations by President, Board members, program staff and senior staff, major donor mail appeals, prospect research and tracking, solicitation materials and reports, and donor stewardship events
  • Work with the Chief Development Officer and the major gifts team to build out a clearly defined midlevel-major gifts-principal giving pipeline and use strategies that encourage retention and upgrades to hit and exceed annual department budget goals
  • Establish standard practices for identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, acknowledgment, and stewardship of major donors
  • Personally manage and solicit a portfolio of approximately 75 donors and prospects with capacity to give at the principal giving level, with frequent personalized communication via phone, email, and visits
  • Collaborate with President to plan and manage their fundraising efforts, including oversight of scheduling, coordinating donor meetings, and facilitating follow-up
  • Prepare written materials such as proposals, solicitations, reports, and appeal letters
  • Work closely with the President, CDO, Board development committee, and consultants to encourage Board participation in fundraising
  • Supervise a staff team including two Major Gifts Officers with regionally based portfolios and one Major Gifts Associate
  • Work collaboratively with the development operations team to facilitate reporting, research, and analysis
  • Report regularly on fundraising results to President, COO, CDO, CFO, and Board


  • Minimum 7-10 years professional experience in advocacy organizations and/or political campaigns
  • Significant development experience with special emphasis on donor cultivation, prospect research and major gift solicitation, including demonstrated success in direct solicitation of 5-7 figure gifts
  • Proven ability to think creatively about development opportunities, including connecting donor interests to current events and ongoing program work, identifying strategies to cultivate newly engaged political donors, stepping up the levels of engagement of existing major donors, and transitioning midlevel direct-mail and online donors to the major gifts level
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written; strong analytic and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work closely with the President, CDO, and COO in developing strong relationships with Board members and major donors
  • Strong strategic skills and proven ability to expand major gift program including materials, tracking, stewardship, solicitation and closing
  • Broad understanding of different aspects of development, best practices, and fundraising ethics
  • Previous experience setting and managing multi-million dollar budgets
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities effectively; ability to work both independently and in a collaborative environment
  • Ability and willingness to travel

To apply:¬†Please email an updated resume and a cover letter to¬†[email protected]. No phone calls please.

People For the American Way is an Equal Opportunity Employer