Major Gifts Director - Make-A-Wish Massachusetts & Rhode Island, Boston

Sterling Search Inc. - Boston, MA

Sterling Search Inc. has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new Major Gifts Director for Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island (MAWMARI).

Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island grants wishes for children between the ages of 2½ and 18 years of age with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. For a child with a life-threatening illness, a wish fulfilled provides profound joy and lasting hope to keep fighting and dreaming for the future.

MAWMARI began in 1987 when a little girl named Colleen, who had Niemann-Pick disease, made a simple wish for a family trip to York Beach in Maine. Since granting this first wish, our organization has granted close to 8,500 wishes for children in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, in collaboration with our generous donors, supporters, staff, and 600+ volunteers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 500 children in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are newly diagnosed with critical illnesses each year. Make-A Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island currently grants over 400 wishes each year. Our vision is to grant the wish of every medically eligible child every year.

MAWMARI is one of over 60 Make-A-Wish chapters around the country. We raise funds locally from individuals, corporations and foundations, and through fundraising events to support the wishes granted to children with critical illnesses. We receive no government funding. Fundraising activities cover the spectrum from internal and external events, corporate and individual giving, cause-related marketing, and foundation grants.

Under the leadership of CEO Charlotte Beattie, MAWMARI has grown from a revenue of $1.5M with 6 staff, to an annual revenue today of between $9 to $10M and a staff of 27. MAWMARI also has a dedicated and impressive member board of directors who are committed to significant annual gifts and the desire to introduce their network of relationships. With a well-structured platform, a high-performing team and a supremely recognizable mission, the Major Gifts Director is a highly rewarding and desirable role.

Job Summary

The Major Gifts Director is visionary and able to execute a successful major gifts strategy focused on connecting the interests and passions of donors with organizational funding opportunities. He or she will identify, engage, cultivate, solicit and steward current and prospective major gift donors. This newly created position will be responsible for managing and developing a portfolio of current major donor prospects, identifying new donors to the organization and cultivating individuals to make extraordinary gifts (six and seven figure donations). He or she will also create and implement a robust system of moves management and stewardship.

The Successful Candidate

The ideal candidate will be a development professional with demonstrated experience identifying, initiating, nurturing and maintaining close relationships with major individual donors and donor prospects. He or she will have a passion for the mission of Make-A-Wish and possess imagination, vision, leadership and integrity. To be successful, he or she will have broad knowledge of the principles of fundraising, including the ability to direct and participate in all aspects of the major gifts cycle:

  • Collaborate with the CEO, development colleagues and members of the board of directors to build and implement an effective and successful major gift strategy.
  • Identify, qualify, cultivate, close and steward major gift donors who have a capacity of $20k+.
  • Create individual goals for each donor on caseload based on donor’s history of giving and organization’s knowledge of donor’s potential.
  • Create a plan for each donor that will serve as a foundational communication and marketing plan for each person on caseload. Faithfully and timely execute that plan so individuals on caseload are retained and upgraded.
  • Work with development, program, and communications staff to secure appropriate project information, including budgets, and create offers, proposals and asks that will be used with donors on the caseload to secure gifts and report back on how their giving is making a difference.
  • Perform other major donor activities as may be required by management, including creating monthly reports that accurately reflect caseload activity and performance.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and laws, maintain accountability standards to donors, and ensure compliance with code of ethical principles and standards of professional conduct for fundraising executives.
  • Use Raiser’s Edge database to track and maintain accurate, concise and timely records including biographical data and donor actions.
  • Assure sound fiscal operation of development function, including timely, accurate and comprehensive reporting.
  • Execute all other reasonable duties as assigned by the CEO.

Reporting Structure

As a member of the Development Team, the Major Gifts Director will report to the CEO. He or she will work collaboratively with the VP for events and corporate alliances and Director of Development Operations to ensure a donor-centric and team- focused approach.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Requirements

As with all members of Make-A-Wish staff, the Major Gifts Director must believe in the mission and vision of Make-A-Wish as well as the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Standards. He or she must model integrity, work to inspire colleagues and contacts and strive to build a solid base of loyal donors. In addition, the Major Gifts Director should have:

  • Passion for the mission of Make-A-Wish.
  • Imagination, vision, leadership and integrity.
  • A minimum of 5 years demonstrated experience in successfully creating, managing and growing a major gifts program, effectively using a moves management process of stewardship.
  • Demonstrated experience in identifying, initiating, nurturing and maintaining close relationships with major individual donors and donor prospects.
  • Broad knowledge of the principles of fundraising, including the ability to direct and participate in all aspects of the major gifts cycle.
  • Significant experience and demonstrated knowledge of the donor community. Capital campaign experience strongly preferred.
  • A demonstrated ability to plan and operate strategically, to build public support, to strengthen infrastructure, to inspire staff and the Board of Directors and to develop effective programs.
  • Exceptional financial, organizational and administrative skills.
  • The ability to plan, set goals and objectives, organize and follow through.
  • A strong interpersonal and communication skill set and demonstrated ability to work effectively with and gain the respect and support of varied and changing constituencies, including staff, Board members, potential donors and volunteers.
  • Ability to juggle many responsibilities at once, and to operate both independently and hands-on, with the flexibility to be part of a team.
  • Computer literacy; knowledge of Raiser’s Edge required.
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred.
  • Strong relationship-building skills and the ability to get along with peers, subordinates and management and maintain a positive and constructive attitude while solving problems.


A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

Please send resumes to:

Sterling Search, Inc.    Phone: 714-433-7040

Direct all correspondence, emails and telephone calls to Sterling Search, Inc. Any resumes sent or telephone calls made to MAWMARI will be redirected to Sterling Search, Inc.

Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Posted On: Friday, August 16, 2019

Position Contact
Sarah Agee
(714) 433-7040
Costa Mesa, CA
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