Position Description

Major Gifts Officer
Location Chicago, Navy Pier
Job Code 318
# of Openings 1
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About Chicago Public Media


To nourish the public conversation by telling the stories that matter – the stories that provide thought, entertain, capture emotion, and inspire action.


Chicago Public Media Mission Statement


Chicago Public Media is one of the largest and most respected public media organizations in the country. The organization has a legacy of innovative program development, having launched such iconic shows as This America Live, Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and the ground-breaking podcast Serial. With an unparalleled reputation for creativity and innovation across all platforms, Chicago Public Media provides substantive news and insights, thoughtful conversation, and meaningful connections to its diverse audiences throughout the Chicago area, as well as nationally and globally.


Chicago Public Media’s flagship station, WBEZ-Chicago (91.5 FM), is dedicated to producing high-quality, fact-based local journalism across multiple platforms, including broadcast radio, web, streaming services, smart speakers, social media, and mobile apps. WBEZ’s sister station, Vocalo Radio (91.1FM), is Chicago’s Urban Alternative music station. Through a unique mix of music and conversation, Vocalo Radio gives voice to those that enrich Chicago culturally and socially. With a tradition of excellence and innovation, and a culture that embraces positivity, diversity, ambition, inclusion, and impact, Chicago Public Media is posed for a new era of growth.



The Major Gifts Officer is a proven front line fundraiser responsible for developing strategies to secure individual gifts for WBEZ’s annual fund as well as planned gifts. This person will personally manage and develop a prospect portfolio aimed at significantly increasing the number of donors giving at the $5,000+ level at Chicago Public Media (CPM). Reporting to the Director of Development and partnering with the Development Team, the Major Gifts Officer collaborates with the CEO, board members, senior staff, and other key staff, as appropriate, in managing these donor and prospect relationships to foster and sustain a culture of philanthropy at CPM.

The ideal candidate will be collaborative and bring an entrepreneurial spirit and business building track record of success to the Development Team. The candidate will establish internal relationships to drive growth, support cross-departmental collaboration, and exhibit superior communication skills. The ideal candidate will also have a track record of accomplishment as a successful fundraiser, including securing five- and six-figure major gifts and stewarding high-capacity donors in an environment that employs a sophisticated moves management approach. The Major Gifts Officer will be active in the community, building relationships with top donors and community leaders to advance our organizational goals and realize a new level of philanthropic success for the organization.




  • Serves as a key fundraiser managing a portfolio of 125 – 150 donors giving at or with the capacity to make $5,000+ gifts.
  • Identifies potential planned giving prospects and partners with the Director of Development in cultivating and soliciting those prospects.
  • Participates in all aspects of the gift cycle: identifies, qualifies, and prioritizes donors and prospective donors for cultivation, solicitation, and securing of gifts at the $5,000+ level.
    • Develops strategies to move donors and prospects through the pipeline from cultivation to stewardship.
    • Makes solicitations, and/or partners with volunteer leaders, to solicit and secure major gifts.
    • Monitors progress throughout the gift cycle, sets individual donor strategies, and actively employs moves management for each donor.
    • Manages proposal entries and targeted gift amounts with anticipated gift closure dates and records and tracks donor activity in a timely manner in the database.
    • Prepares personalized communication and customized proposals and recognition opportunities for donors.
  • Develops and maintains long-term, personal contact with donors and prospects to assure ongoing cultivation and stewardship, aiming to maintain and upgrade their financial support over time.

Major Donor Events

  • Manages logistics for various types of major donor engagement experiences, including: annual fundraising dinner, small in-home cultivation events, WBEZ open house evening, pre-post donor receptions, and ad hoc experiences in coordination with official CPM Events.
  • With support from the Development team, prepares briefings for the team, executive management, and board members.
  • Conducts debriefings after each event and ensures follow ups are taking place.
  • Liaises with the Events team to keep on top of media sponsorships, Membership events, and other community engagement activities. 

Other duties as assigned

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree. Advanced degree and/or professional certification (i.e. CFRE or ACFRE) a plus.
  • Five to seven years of experience in a frontline fundraising role, with demonstrated success in securing gifts at the $5,000-$50,000 level.
  • Successful experience in making cold calls, as well as developing cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies.
  • Proven problem-solving skills and ability to manage multiple priorities on varying deadlines and bring new concepts to fruition.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience developing case statements and donor proposals.
  • Superior interpersonal communication skills required, along with the ability to take initiative and manage complex projects, and work effectively in a results-oriented team environment.
  • Working knowledge of various planned giving vehicles (e.g., bequests, gift annuities, trusts, etc.) Previous experience working in an environment with an established planned giving program, a plus.
  • Proficiency with constituent management and fundraising software. Salesforce or other complex CRM like Raisers Edge, preferred. Has a portfolio of effective communications and marketing materials for major and planned gifts.
  • Possesses an understanding of fundraising industry standards, especially with regard to the legal and ethical aspects of donor solicitation, confidentiality, gift crediting, stewardship, and financial principles that shape the work of fundraising professionals.

Personal Characteristics Desired:

  • Experience with and commitment to mission-driven non-profit organizations; enthusiastic about the mission, programs, and services of Chicago Public Media.
  • Strong professional initiative, poise, and confidence.
  • Outgoing, energetic, and engaging.
  • Proven high degree of integrity, ethical decision-making, and sound business judgment.
  • Ability to honor a high degree of confidentiality.
  • A skilled negotiator.
  • Open, visible, and approachable in communications with everyone.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit with a demonstrated ability to take initiative, work independently, overcome obstacles, and achieve results.
  • Ability to embody and reflect the values of Chicago Public Media.

At Chicago Public Media, we are looking for people who are curious about the world and have an excitement for the mission of independent, nonprofit journalism. If it sounds like you would be a good fit for our team, apply today. 


The essential functions described above are not all-inclusive and may change periodically to meet the needs of Chicago Public Media (CPM).  The information contained in this job description is not intended to create any contractual or other legal commitment.  Chicago Public Media may change the content or format of this job at any time in its sole and exclusive discretion without notice.


Chicago Public Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer, an Affirmative Action Employer and actively seeks talented people from all backgrounds, orientations, and walks of life.



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