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Job Listing
September 13, 2021
Director of Major Gifts
Founded in 1889 by Sherman Day Thacher, The Thacher School serves academically talented students from 24 states and 9 countries in a rigorous college preparatory experience. Fifty-five percent of students identify as people of color. The faculty and students live and work closely together on a 427-acre campus nestled in the foothills of the Los Padres National Forest in Ojai, California (85 miles north of Los Angeles). Honor, fairness, kindness, and truth are the cornerstones of School life. Together, the school community commits to the belief that demands in the academic classroom, when combined with those of mountains and horses, of sports and the arts, produce independent minds, strong bodies, and powerful character. The School enrolls 260 students, has an operating budget of $25 million, and an endowment of $198 million.

Thacher’s track record of fundraising is exceedingly impressive. In 2008, the School completed an $81 million campaign: adding two new dorms, a performing arts center, student commons, all-weather track, a new field, and a weight room. In June 2021, Thacher finished the $190 million “Next Peak” Capital Campaign to enhance the endowment, create a new Dining Hall, and the new Creativity and Technology Center. The annual giving and events programs are very strong—56% percent of alumni and 95% of parents supported the school last year. Thacher is among the most supported schools in the nation, raising $4.8 million in the 2020-2021 school year.

Director of Major Gifts:
The Director of Major Gifts will report directly to the Director of Institutional Advancement and is responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gifts ($100,000+) and Annual Fund leadership gifts ($10,000-$50,000). They will also oversee the progress of other Major Gift Officers and serve as a connector between the Major Gifts Team and other teams. The Director of Major Gifts will work with prospective donors to determine their philanthropic interests related to the School’s fundraising goals through the Annual Fund, Endowment, Capital, and Planned Giving Programs. This role is expected to travel locally and long distance 50%-75% of the time. The Director of Major Gifts is expected to serve as an integral team player within the Alumni and Development office and with the Director of Development and Director of Institutional Advancement.

Major Functions and Responsibilities:
● Advocate for the direction of the School and its leadership.
● Manage a personal portfolio of 125-150 major gift prospects, which may include current parents, alumni, parents of alumni and grandparents.
● Craft proposals, talking points, contact reports and cultivation/stewardship correspondence as needed and in partnership with the Director of Institutional Advancement.
● Plan and execute a target of 120+ prospect visits per year.
● Oversee the work of other gift officers and monitor progress toward their goals.
● Prepare and submit goals that contain specific timelines, projected results, and outcomes.
● Assist in the identification of annual giving leadership prospects in partnership with annual giving and alumni relations.
● Continuously evaluate and support a comprehensive stewardship program for all MG donors.

Experience and Skills:
● Alignment with and an ability to articulate the mission and values of The Thacher School, the School’s commitment to equity and inclusion, and its current direction of strengthening the school culture.
● Strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication and database skills.
● Experience in successfully cultivating and securing major gifts is required and experience with planned gifts is preferred.
● A proven record of accomplishment in solicitations and cultivation of prospective donors, or comparable experience in sales and client development.
● Knowledge of educational fundraising culture is an asset and experience with secondary or higher education and moves management is preferred.
● Impressive track record in fundraising.
● Ability to work independently and as a member of a team in a fast-paced environment.
● Ability to work with senior administrators and faculty on a collegial basis.
● Ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks effectively and efficiently.
● Significant travel is required.
● Bachelor’s degree.
● Experience with Raiser’s Edge or an equivalent CRM.
● Trust, accountability, discretion, honesty, and a team player.

Compensation and Benefits:
This is a full-time, onsite, and non-exempt position. Start date TBD. Compensation is dependent on experience. In addition to meaningful and rewarding work, Thacher provides an excellent compensation and benefits package including medical, dental, life & long-term disability insurance, a generous retirement program, and paid time off. This position does not include on campus housing.

Interested Persons Contact:
Jonathan K. Ball
Managing Associate
Carney, Sandoe & Associates
617-933-3450 (dir)
[email protected]
All inquiries and nominations are kept confidential.

Sara Billings
[email protected]

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CAIS is an organization of approximately 200 elementary, middle and secondary schools in California. The Association serves and strengthens its schools by:
  • setting standards of academic quality and ethical conduct
  • facilitating the professional growth of faculty, administrators, and trustees
  • promoting ethnic and socio-economic diversity