Director of Major Gifts

Director of Major Gifts

Development Department

Union of Concerned Scientists

Cambridge, MA



The Position

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an independent national nonprofit working to solve some of our planet’s most pressing environmental and safety problems. Our scientists and engineers develop and implement innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feed, power, and transport ourselves, to fighting misinformation, advancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war.


Maintaining the role of science in American democracy in the face of high-profile attacks requires sufficient funding and partnerships. As a leader in the field, UCS is continuing to grow and enhance a forward-thinking development program that ensures resources are matched to the highest priorities. UCS seeks a Director of Major Gifts to be a part of this important effort.




Reporting to the Chief Development Officer, the Director of Major Gifts takes primary responsibility for the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of individual major and planned gift prospects and donors to meet or exceed annual revenue goals. The Director serves as a senior member of the development staff with a central role in developing and implementing major and planned gift strategies and programs. They will lead a seasoned major gifts team and works directly with the President, senior UCS staff, Board members, and volunteers to identify, cultivate, and solicit major and planned gift donors and prospects. Specific responsibilities include:


  • Develop and implement strategy for all cultivation and solicitation activities of the major gifts program, providing leadership to ensure that revenue goals, timelines, and activity plans are met.
  • Manage the major gifts revenue and expense budgets; includes developing ambitious revenue goals, managing the team, and monitoring individual portfolio progress toward goals.
  • Personally manage and solicit gifts from a portfolio of major gift prospects and donors, ensuring that annual dollar goals from this group of donors is met or exceeded.
  • Supervise and mentor a team of experienced Development Officers, a Development Coordinator, and Development Researcher.
  • Work closely with the Chief Development Officer and Deputy Director of Development and President to identify, cultivate, and recruit potential Board and National Advisory Board members; develop stewardship and solicitation strategies for Board and National Advisory Board members; and attend National Advisory Board meetings as required.
  • Direct efficient, effective, and timely processes for data entry related to the major gift team’s donor contacts, key metrics, gift processing and acknowledgement, and moves management.
  • Facilitate and foster positive collaborations with key staff within development and across the organization to ensure smooth operations, strategic deployment of the team’s resources, and the bility to capitalize on opportunities as they arise.
  • Develop and maintain a thorough understanding of UCS’s programs, using that knowledge to shape pitches, proposals, and collateral for the team as well as to be a compelling ambassador for the organization.
  • Serve as a leader within the development team and across the organization.
  • Maintain familiarity with planned giving tools/practices and assist with the development and implementation of planned giving strategies for major donors.






Qualifications and Experience

The ideal Director of Major Gifts will have a broad development background, with deep personal experience in cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major donors, a record of supervising a high- performing team, and comfort with data management systems. They will combine this experience with an entrepreneurial spirit and strong commitment to the role of science in public affairs and a passion for the specific issues on which UCS works.



  • 7 to 10 years of progressively responsible development experience, including experience in frontline fundraising and development systems; some experience in a supervisory role is required.
  • Bachelor’s degree is required.

Experience and Skills

  • Demonstrated ability to foster long-term relationships with high-net-worth individuals and manage a portfolio of donors and prospects.
  • Track record of growing a revenue stream, ideally from major gifts.
  • Ability to manage and prioritize all supporting tasks associated with major gift work, including writing successful and compelling proposals, using donor tracking systems, and completing stewardship activities.
  • Experience working successfully with Board members or other volunteers on major gift activity.
  • Superior oral and written communication skills and the ability to articulate the importance and urgency of UCS’s work in a compelling way.
  • Stellar interpersonal skills with a history of building strong collaborative relationships within an organization.
  • Record of managing and mentoring a successful development team.
  • Working knowledge of database tools.
  • Knowledge of planned giving is a plus.

Personal Characteristics and Work Style

  • Ability to work successfully toward goals with little direct supervision.
  • Comfort managing multiple tasks and planning, organizing, and communicating effectively about priorities.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively, with grace and good humor under pressure.
  • Possession of current driver’s license and ability and willingness to travel frequently, including overnight.
  • Personal commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive organizational culture.


At UCS, comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.


UCS is an equal opportunity employer continually seeking to diversify its staff. In particular, we’re dedicated to broadening opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy. We’re also committed to building an inclusive workplace culture where talented people of widely diverse backgrounds can thrive. We've adopted this commitment because we believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities. We are actively seeking people who bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives to join us in this work.


To Apply:

Development Resources, inc. (DRi) is leading this search for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications are invited to learn more and apply by visiting or via email at

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.