Job Posting

FEATURED - Major Gifts Officer

Minnesota Zoo Foundation | Apple Valley, MN
Salary Range: $65,000 to $75,000 

The Organization
The Minnesota Zoo Foundation (Foundation) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose purpose is to help realize the mission of the Minnesota Zoo by raising contributed income from individuals, corporations, and foundations; securing planned gifts; hosting cultivation and fund-raising events; leading and/or participating in Zoo programs and activities; and advocating on behalf of the Zoo. The Minnesota Zoo opened in 1978 as a state agency with a mission to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife. Today the Minnesota Zoo is the state’s largest environmental learning center and an international leader in providing high-quality education and conservation programs that bring families in touch with the diverse habitats, cultures, and animals of the natural world. The Zoo Foundation Board of Trustees and the Minnesota Zoo Board of Directors are separate but complementary groups. With different charters but many compatible and overlapping goals, the two Boards work closely together to advance the mission of the Minnesota Zoo.

The Foundation and Minnesota Zoo have recommitted in the past two years to a close collaboration in achieving our joint mission, most recently in our COVID-19 Impact Recovery Plan as we rebuild our capacity and build on our donor enthusiasm in the wake of the pandemic. The Foundation’s Priorities for this plan are People First, Data Driven, Sustainable Business Model, and Donor Journey.

Position Description
The Major Gifts Officer (MGO) is an integral member of the Minnesota Zoo Foundation team, pursuing and securing philanthropic gifts of $10,000+ to support the Minnesota Zoo’s operational, special project, programmatic and capital needs. The MGO will work closely with a three-person Major Gifts team along with the Zoo Director/Foundation President, Institutional and Annual Giving Teams to grow support for the Minnesota Zoo from individuals.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities
  • Major Giving 75%
    • Using research, wealth screening, and discovery calls, develop a portfolio of 150 individuals with capacity and inclination to give $10,000+. This will be a blend of current donors and new prospects.
    • Maintaining a focus on donor-driven, relationship-based gift development, build and implement strategies to cultivate and secure gifts of $10,000+ in unrestricted, restricted and/or capital gifts.
    • Conduct a minimum of 150 face to face visits per year (in person or virtually) with significant additional contacts via phone, mail and email.
    • Support the efforts of the Director of Major Gifts and Foundation President in securing new and renewed gifts.
    • Work with the Annual Giving Team to manage President’ Club solicitations ($10,000+) as part of the annual solicitation process.
    • In coordination with the Program & Events Manager, plan and conduct President’s Club events.
    • Solicit support from managed prospects for the Zoo’s annual fund-raising event, Beastly Bash.
  • Organizational and Operational: 25%
    • Ensure that donor database maintenance, donor contact information, donor gift acknowledgement and recognition, and gift stewardship are completed accurately and timely.
    • Track moves on a regular basis by entering contact reports in Tessitura and prepare regular activity reports.
    • Provide regular update reports on capital campaign activity and results.
    • Develop print materials for President’s Club appeals and coordinate mailing efforts with the Annual Giving team, ensuring deadlines and fundraising goals are met.
    • Ensure proper donor recognition in all publications and on signage and oversee accurate donor lists for those places.
    • Additional responsibilities may be assigned based on the changing needs of the organization and the successful candidate’s interests, aptitude, and experience.

Work Experience and Qualification Requirements
  • Requirements
    • A minimum of four (4) years’ experience working in development for a nonprofit organization(s) with a focus on individual philanthropy.
    • A track record of successfully asking for and closing gifts, including the ability to create personalized proposals and presentations for donors.
    • Basic knowledge of planned giving options.
    • A passion for the people, animals and programs associated with the Minnesota Zoo.
    • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, cloud-based software, and comfort working remotely.
    • Proficiency with donor and contact management databases. Tessitura experience preferred.
    • A valid driver’s license, with a safe driving record, and the ability to travel to offsite meetings with donors and prospects.
  • Additional Core Competencies
    • Results-oriented
    • Energetic
    • Creative
    • Analytical
  • General Foundation Qualification Requirements
    • Collaborative style and the ability to work with a diverse group of individuals both inside the organization and out in the community. Experience, ability, and commitment to working with individuals and teams that are mixed across lines of difference such as race, gender-identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, class and immigration status;
    • Ability to clearly represent and present the mission and vision of the Minnesota Zoo;
    • Ability to work independently and as a team member in a fast-paced environment;
    • Strong organizational skills, including the ability to prioritize and manage multiple deadlines;
    • High degree of integrity, ethical decision making, and commitment to maintaining confidentiality;
    • Occasional evening and weekend work required and must be capable of planning and managing independent travel.
  • Physical Demands and Working Conditions:
    • Must be able to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
    • Physical Demands: Required to use a computer and phone; Frequent use of hands for data entry/keystrokes and simple grasping; ability to navigate the Zoo and accompany donors and prospects on tours in variable weather conditions, both indoor and outdoor.
    • Working Conditions: Moderate noise level, occasional exposure to prevalent weather conditions.
    • Location: This position will begin 60% work from home, 40% in the office due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Long term, this position will continue as hybrid with split between home and office.
    • All Foundation employees must comply with our COVID-19 Vaccine or Test Policy.

Education Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or relevant work experience.

Reports to: Director of Major Gifts
Supervises: n/a
Type of Position: Full-time, exempt
Salary Range: $65,000-75,000, depending on qualifications.
Last Reviewed: 06/10/2022

Equal Opportunity Employer:
The Minnesota Zoo Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, and all employment decisions are decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need.

How to Apply:
Email cover letter and resume to

Applications received by June 30 will receive first consideration.