San Francisco Symphony
January 12, 2021
San Francisco, CA
Job Type



Job Title:                     Major Gift Officer


Department:               Development


Reports to:                  Senior Major Gift Officer


Supervises:                 None


Interacts regularly with:         CEO; Senior Director, Development (SDD); Individual Giving

Team; and Volunteer leadership and Board members.


Status:                         Full-time, Exempt




The Major Gift Officer (MGO) reports to the Senior Major Gift Officer (SMGO) and is a member of the Individual Giving Team. The MGO is a frontline fundraiser responsible for managing a portfolio of 100-120 Major Gift and Planned Giving prospects that collectively contribute $1.5M - $3M annually to the Annual Fund. The MGO is charged with meeting Symphony targets and contributing to the overall growth of private philanthropy.


The successful candidate is optimistic and must possess a can-do attitude. The MGO will be an individual with a development background, who has had progressive and successful development experience including annual fund and major gifts. The ideal candidate has worked in the performing arts and is committed to success of the symphonic artform and is able to communicate thoughtfully and enthusiastically about the work of the San Francisco Symphony, its opportunities and its challenges.


Essential Job Functions and Responsibilities:


  • Manages a Major Gift and Planned Giving portfolio of 100-120 households through all stages of identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship totaling $1.5M - $3M annually. The MGO will work with donors to craft personalized giving strategies, providing individual major gift proposals or planned gift illustrations as appropriate.
  • Works with the SMGO, to establish annual goals for gift revenues, as well as other performance and productivity measures.
  • Collaborates with the Director, Planned Giving on identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship for Planned Giving prospects in the portfolio.
  • Works collaboratively and strategically with other Development staff and key volunteers, as appropriate, to coordinate strategic and purposeful cultivation and solicitation activities.
  • Authors and/or edits funding proposals, consistent with Symphony protocols, to facilitate effective gift solicitations.
  • Endeavors to be well informed of the Symphony’s strategic priorities and gift opportunities in order to best align them with the interests of those donors and prospective donors who have the capacity and inclination to support them.
  • Recognizes opportunities and anticipates needs, reviews requests for information and determines appropriateness of release, and keeps DIG & SDD informed of items requiring attention.
  • Ensures that his/her prospect portfolio is routinely updated with regard to contact reports, moves management, and documentation of other key milestones in the donor’s relationship with the Symphony.




  • Understands of the needs and interests of major donors in order to develop relationships between them and the San Francisco Symphony.
  • Able to articulate the case for support so that individuals "buy in" to the vision/mission/goals of the Symphony and with sufficient effectiveness to secure gifts at assigned donor giving levels.
  • Maintains a broad knowledge of tax laws that impact charitable giving, personal assets and estates.
  • Broad knowledge of the principles of fundraising – able to participate in all aspects of the gift cycle: (1) to initiate contacts with potential donors; (2) to develop appropriate cultivation strategies for them, including working with volunteers and senior leadership; (3) to move potential donors in an appropriate and timely fashion toward solicitation and closure; (4) to make solicitations when appropriate; (5) to maintain stewardship contacts with donors.
  • Excellent oral, written and interpersonal skills required.
  • Problem-solving, research and analytical skills.
  • Solid relationship-building skills, able to interface with external constituents, Staff, Conductors, Musicians, Guest Artists, and Board of Governors.


Other duties:


  • Attend concerts and events, regularly on nights and weekends.
  • Perform additional duties as required by the San Francisco Symphony.


  • Bachelor’s degree and three to five years of minimum experience in fundraising, with a track record of success preferably in the performing arts. Relevant experience outside the nonprofit environment working with High Net Worth Individuals will be considered.
  • Proven experience in major individual gift fundraising, preferably in performing arts organizations, and in cultivating and soliciting prospects capable of gifts at the $25K+ level.
  • Major gift success working during a Campaign in a sophisticated and complex environment preferred.
  • A passion for and interest in music is preferred.
  • Excellent communication skills, written and verbal.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office and donor database software. Tessitura preferred.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Good interpersonal skills and diplomatic abilities.
  • Ability to work successfully in a fast-paced environment while managing multiple assignments and priorities.
  • Must be willing to travel around the Bay Area as needed.



To apply, please visit our website at  Under the About Us tab, go to the Careers and Auditions page and click on “Jobs at the SF Symphony.”  Search for this job and click on “Apply for this Position” to submit your resume, cover letter, and application.



The San Francisco Symphony is widely considered to be among the most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the U.S. Under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas since 1995, the Orchestra is a leading presence among American orchestras at home and around the world, celebrated for its artistic excellence, creative performance concepts, active touring, award-winning recordings, and standard-setting education programs. In December 2018, the San Francisco Symphony announced Esa-Pekka Salonen as its Music Director Designate along with a group of eight Collaborative Partners from a variety of cultural realms who collectively form a new artistic leadership model. Salonen will begin his appointment as the SFS’s 12th Music Director in September 2020, at which time Michael Tilson Thomas will become the Orchestra’s first Music Director Laureate, following his remarkable 25-year tenure as Music Director.


The San Francisco Symphony presents more than 220 concerts and presentations annually for an audience of nearly 450,000 in its home of Davies Symphony Hall and through its active national and international touring. A cornerstone of the organization’s mission, the San Francisco Symphony’s education programs are the most extensive offered by any American orchestra today, providing free comprehensive music education to every first- through fifth-grade student in the San Francisco public schools, and serving more than 75,000 children, students, educators, and families annually. The SFS has won such recording awards as France’s Grand Prix du Disque and Britain’s Gramophone Award, as well as 15 Grammy Awards. In 2004, the SFS launched the multimedia Keeping Score on PBS-TV and the web. In 2014, the SFS inaugurated SoundBox, a new experimental performance venue and music series located backstage at Davies Symphony Hall. SFS radio broadcasts, the first in the nation to feature symphonic music when they began in 1926, today carry the Orchestra’s concerts across the country.


Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, the San Francisco Symphony will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

The San Francisco Symphony is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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