Principal Gifts Officer

Overall Function

The Principal Gifts Officer will be part of a national development team responsible for generating over $300 million in annual major gifts, with plans to drastically increase that amount in the coming years. They will be responsible for managing a portfolio of 25-50 donors and prospects nationally.  Working closely with Senior Development professionals, Research, Events, Communications, Stewardship and Program staff, the Principal Gifts Officer is expected to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward individuals in support of Environmental Defense Fund’s national and international agenda. This is a unique opportunity for a development professional with success in individual major gifts fundraising to become part of the development team at one of the nation’s premier environmental organizations. The Principal Gifts Officer reports to the AVP, Major & Principal Gifts.

Key Responsibilities

  • In partnership with senior leadership, execute a strategic plan for increasing the revenue generated from donors in a portfolio with a concentration on seven to eight figure gifts.  
  • Contribute to the design and implementation of overall engagement and fundraising strategies as part of the national development team to advance the exponential growth of revenue coming from individual gifts.
  • Generate approximately $7-10M+ per year in sustainable annual revenue, as set with the guidance of senior leadership and with appropriate increases in each subsequent year.
  • Identify, cultivate, and steward major gifts prospects with an identified gift level of $500,000 - $1,000,000 and up.
  • Meet one-on-one with prospects and donors to build and strengthen relationships, as well as secure gifts.
  • Present compelling cases to external stakeholders for support of EDF, highlighting our work regularly and with professionalism.
  • Coordinate across the department and EDF, providing updates as needed, appropriately briefing program staff for meetings, and coordinating staff in the cultivation and solicitation of major gifts prospects.
  • Stay abreast of changes and innovations in federal and state tax laws that may be relevant to major gifts prospects and update the team as appropriate.
  • Oversee the drafting and editing of proposals and reports for potential donors, working closely with the donor communications department ensure the creation of captivating presentations to donors and prospects and senior leadership to ensure alignment with established strategies and goals.
  • Assist in setting and meeting annual income goals for major gifts prospects and donors in portfolio.
  • Assist other development officers on special projects or efforts that contribute to the organization’s larger regional and national development goals.
  • Participate in advancing EDF DEI goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values.
  • Manage principal gifts coordinator and other colleagues as assigned; mentor more junior colleagues.


  • 10+ years of frontline-fundraising experience with increasing levels of responsibility and a Bachelor’s degree required. A relevant Master’s degree may substitute for up to 2 years of experience.
  • Experience successfully developing donor cultivation and solicitation strategies.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including a high level of comfort with direct donor interactions and discussions related to personal and family finances.
  • Strong communication skills, including excellent writing ability and presentation and public speaking skills.
  • Proactive, attentive to detail, and highly organized.
  • Ability to prioritize, manage multiple priorities, and meet tight deadlines.
  • Demonstrated proficiency using fundraising databases.
  • High level of confidentiality, including discretion and respect for donor privacy.
  • Works well independently, as well as collaboratively as part of a team across multiple time zones.
  • Demonstrated self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • A valid driver’s license and ability to drive with a willingness and ability to travel out of state.
  • A commitment to Environmental Defense Fund’s mission and values.
  • Ability and willingess to travel for donor and team meetings as needed and to work effective across time zones.

We offer a strong total rewards package encompassing competitive salary, robust benefits, and professional development opportunities consistent with a modern global organization. We take into account factors such as candidate experience, skills, training, internal team equity and local norms.

Please note that pay ranges are country specific. As a result, the stated currency is not meant be converted into any other currency.


Pay range

$145,000 - $156,000 USD/Yr.




New York


June 10, 2024

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Put your passion and skills to work for the planet. Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time, and we need people like you to help us build a vital Earth — for everyone.

We’re Environmental Defense Fund, a fast-paced nonprofit with a growing staff of more than 1,000 people in nearly 30 countries. We deliver game-changing solutions that cut climate pollution and strengthen people’s ability to thrive despite the effects climate change is already having. We work wherever we can have the most impact, from local communities to top companies to governments worldwide, and even in space.

Our culturevalues and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion make EDF an exciting and meaningful place to work. Every job here makes a difference. Won’t you join us?