Major Donor Relations Officer

New York, NY
Full Time
Mid Level

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve the systems of democracy and justice in the United States. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. Among our core priorities, we fight to protect voting rights, end mass incarceration, strengthen checks and balances, and preserve constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them — in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

Position Overview

In a role that will advance the Brennan Center’s mission and expand its reach, we seek an experienced fundraising professional to join our high-performing Development team. Strong candidates for this position will have documented success in frontline fundraising from individual donors and a strong understanding of the prospecting, cultivation, and stewardship strategies needed to identify, engage, and retain five-, six-, and seven-figure supporters.

The Officer will serve a critical role within a Development department of 15 charged with raising upwards of $35m annually from a diverse base of individual and institutional supporters.  This position will be an integral part of a growing major gifts operation, helping to develop and implement strategies to strengthen donor acquisition and retention. The Officer will manage and steward a portfolio of donors and prospects, and will be tasked with developing a rigorous process for identifying, qualifying, and absorbing new major donors going forward.

Success in this role will require outstanding interpersonal, analytical, and organizational skills – and the ability to fluently communicate and promote the Center’s legal and policy work, goals, and strategies. The Officer must also be an excellent project manager, writer, and editor, with talent for tailoring products to meet the needs of specific donors.

They will report directly to the Managing Director, Development (MDD), with a “dotted line” supervisory relationship with the Deputy Director, Major Donor Relations (DD).

Core Responsibilities

  • Engage in frontline fundraising and donor relations
    • Steward a portfolio of approximately 75-100+ donors and prospects at the major gifts level ($15,000+), with a strategic goal of growing and absorbing new supporters through tailored outreach and stewardship.
    • Field donor inquiries generated through outreach and/or networking efforts, with a focus on encouraging and sustaining major giving.
    • Ensure the organization’s frequent and strategic participation in/outreach to relevant donor networks and collaboratives.
    • Facilitate and regularly attend in-person meetings, virtual/phone conversations, events, and briefings with donors, often alongside Brennan Center leadership.
    • Support major donor engagement efforts, including by creating and/or supervising preparation of donor profiles and talking points for meetings and events.
  • Help manage and grow a robust major gifts program
    • Play a significant role in the major gifts team’s continued success, working collaboratively with the full Development team to enhance donor stewardship and retention.
    • Oversee Development writers, associates, and others on the creation and maintenance of a variety of fundraising documents, ranging from organizational two-pagers to programmatic updates to gift solicitation materials.
    • Serve as a project manager with particular focus on donor events and fundraising trips.
    • Identify gaps in business process systems and work with the team to develop and adopt user-friendly solutions. A key area of opportunity will be in maximizing our Salesforce database as a tracking, analytics, and planning tool.
    • Serve as a thought partner on special projects and initiatives, including strategic prospecting, events, planning, etc.
    • Stay up to date on Brennan Center program goals, developments, and strategy to ensure consistently accurate and compelling donor communications.

Key Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree, and at least five years of related, transferable work experience, preferably in nonprofit development or public/corporate relations. Candidates with at least two years of frontline fundraising experience strongly preferred.
  • Success in fundraising and/or building similar partnerships or sponsorships, especially in raising five, six-, and seven-figure gifts from individual donors, corporations, or foundations.
  • Demonstrable understanding of and enthusiasm for the Brennan Center’s mission and goals, and a commitment to equity and inclusion across racial, gender, socio-economic, and other lines.
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills, particularly for translating complex, detailed information into clear and compelling language to audiences of varying expertise.
  • Advanced interpersonal skills, to connect with and build relationships with donors and prospects as well as internal colleagues.
  • Ability to handle donor inquiries with the utmost discretion and application of institutional priorities.
  • Background in using Salesforce (or other CRMs).
  • Outstanding attention to detail and consistent delivery of polished work product.
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, unpredictable environment and comfort with managing multiple projects and deadlines across complex teams.

The Brennan Center is committed to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. We continuously work with our staff to find new ways to increase diversity and to build and cultivate an inclusive and equitable work environment, where everyone can be their true self and feel a strong sense of belonging. As such, we seek to hire employees who have a commitment to and/or experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, we expect employees to participate/contribute with DEI initiatives or activities with recruitment, retention, and workplace culture. 

Applications: Applicants will be interviewed on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified.  We hope to expeditiously move through the recruitment process; therefore, we strongly encourage interested applicants to apply early. To apply, please visit   and upload the following application materials: (1) cover letter, (2) resume, and (3) contact information for three references. Applications without all of the previously listed materials will not be considered. If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: with “Major Donor Relations Officer” in the subject line, after registering in the online system.

Compensation and Benefits:

The salary range assigned for this position is $95,000-$110,000. We determine our salary ranges based on market competitiveness and internal equity for each job. The salary offered a selected candidate will be contingent upon the candidate’s qualifications and internal equity considerations. Additionally, we offer a very robust and competitive array of benefits such as a generous time off program, 401k plan, comprehensive health insurance (medical, dental, and vision), and wellness and office perks.

In addition, this position is part of a bargaining unit represented by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW local 2320.

Note: The Brennan Center is committed to public health and to the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and visitors.  As such, we have adopted a policy requiring all employees working in the New York and Washington, DC offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including having a booster, or to meet the legal guidelines for an exemption.


The Brennan Center for Justice is committed to a workplace based on equal opportunity and a strong belief in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, Brennan Center

  • Welcomes applicants with disabilities and applicants of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, socioeconomic identities, sexual orientations, and national origin or citizenship, including people who have been previously incarcerated;
  • Hires diverse candidates and works to improve our recruitment practices to allow for such
  • Creates a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged;
  • Ensures that all members of the Brennan Center community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and
  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.

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