Senior Manager, Individual Giving and Major Gifts

Location: Washington, DC
Team: Development Team
Supervisor: Vice President, Development, Partnerships, and Strategy

The Senior Manager, Individual Giving and Major Gifts supports the Vice President of Development, Partnerships, & Strategy in leading Challenger Center’s individual giving program by managing annual giving campaigns and by cultivating, stewarding, and soliciting donors. The Senior Manager, Individual Giving and Major Gifts is responsible for managing and executing strategies for growing revenue from Challenger Center’s two donor groups: Major donors, and “grassroots” annual donors. This is accomplished by identifying new major donors and soliciting existing major donors, and by planning and implementing the annual giving program, which includes leading year-round appeals and campaigns to solicit and steward donors. This position develops one-to-many and one-to-one strategies to secure donations and collaborates with the President & CEO, vice presidents, and board members in the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors, as appropriate.

Description of Duties

Responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Annual Giving Planning and Strategy
  • Understand and expertly articulate Challenger Center’s mission, vision, and funding priorities to donors and prospects.
  • Develop and execute a plan for donor solicitations for the fiscal year that includes fundraising strategies to retain, acquire, and upgrade annual donors.
  • Lead all annual giving appeals and direct mail. This includes actively conceptualizing, writing, and editing appeal content, overseeing mailing procedures and Challenger Center’s direct mail vendor, and serving as the lead for Challenger Center’s campaigns like Giving Tuesday.
  • Plan and execute all donor events, both virtual and in-person.
  • Regularly track and report on annual giving and major giving activity and results.
  • Educate donors about planned giving opportunities and solicit planned gifts when appropriate.
  • Collaborate with Development & Partnerships and Communications staff to develop or refine presentations, proposals, reports, impact updates, and other donor materials.
  • Under the direction of the Vice President of Development, Partnerships, & Strategy and in collaboration with the Office of the President, serve as a point of contact for all board members to discuss and document their philanthropic commitments and fundraising activities.

Major Gifts Program Responsibilities

  • Lead the augmentation of Challenger Center’s major gifts program, qualifying prospective major donors, leading the stewardship and engagement of major donors, and managing activities to maximize retention and increase giving of major donors.
  • Manage a portfolio of four-to-five-figure major donors and prospects, including qualifying high-capacity donors, forging strong one-to-one relationships, and developing tailored engagement strategies for upgrading key donors and prospects.
  • Collaborate with the Office of the President to lead the moves management of the President & CEO’s portfolio of high-capacity prospects and donors.
  • Leverage board and senior leadership in engaging major donors by offering sound strategy, staffing calls and meetings with prospects, and performing follow-up.
  • Travel frequently to meet with donors and prospects, documenting information gathered and conducting timely follow-up and regular relationship maintenance.

Program Management

  • Develop and manage smaller-scale projects. This includes managing budgets and timelines; ensuring deliverables are completed on time; and coordinating with other teams as needed.
  • Create and manage project budgets and timelines.
  • Assist in the development of the annual budget, as requested.
  • As required, draft reporting documents for key stakeholders, including the board of directors and grantors/funders. Collect information and appropriate data from appropriate teams. Ensure reports are accurate and on time.
  • Work with outside contractors/vendors as directed.


  • Maintain donor interactions in Challenger Center’s donor database.
  • Keep abreast of relevant industry trends and best practices in major giving, annual giving, board engagement, STEM education, nonprofits, etc. and share knowledge with others.
  • Attend staff meetings, and participate in professional networking and team-building activities.
  • Submit accounting and original receipts to Accounting Department each month on or before the due date
  • Accurately report time spent on projects, PTO, sick, etc. on time.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Strong commitment to Challenger Center mission and strategy.
  • 3-5+ years of experience cultivating major donors within a nonprofit setting. Proven track record of securing five-figure+ gifts.
  • Strong oral communication and interpersonal skills, with a proven aptitude for forging strong relationships with major donors.
  • Proven aptitude for writing compelling funding proposals, reports, and other donor stewardship communications.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail with the ability to independently manage time, multiple projects, and competing priorities
  • Ability to travel to meet with donors.
  • Ability to demonstrate discretion and hold sensitive and personal information about donors in confidence.
  • Strong computer skills: Word, Excel, Outlook, SharePoint, donor databases (e.g., Salesforce, Bloomerang, Raisers Edge, etc.).
  • Self-starter and a team player.
  • Creative thinking with a positive, can-do attitude under pressure.

Organization-Wide Competencies

  • Business Ethics
  • Continuous Learning
  • Quality
  • Teamwork
  • Level-Specific Competencies (Manager/Sr. Manager)
  • Cost Conscious
  • Initiative
  • Planning and Organization
  • Project Management

We are an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.