Director of Leadership Giving

June 2024 | Ojai, CA
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The Thacher School seeks a mission-driven, team-oriented Director of Leadership Giving to secure five-figure to seven-figure contributions in preparation for a Capital Campaign.

About The Thacher School

Founded in 1889 by Sherman Day Thacher, The Thacher School serves academically talented students from 24 states and 9 countries in a rigorous college preparatory experience. The faculty and students live and work closely together on a 427-acre campus nestled in the foothills of the Los Padres National Forest in Ojai, California (85 miles north of Los Angeles). Honor, fairness, kindness, and truth are the cornerstones of school life. Together, the school community commits to the belief that demands in the academic classroom, when combined with those of mountains and horses, of sports and the arts, produce independent minds, strong bodies, and powerful character.

Thacher trains young people in the art of living for their own greatest good and for the greatest good of their fellow citizens in a diverse and changing world. To that end, the School augments its highly challenging academic program with profound lessons learned from the care of a horse, regular chores around the School, teamwork on playing fields, outstanding instruction in the arts, the give and take of everyday life with schoolmates and teachers, and adventures shared in the wilderness. The aim is to inspire and encourage hard work, integrity, self-reliance, a lifelong love of learning and truth, self-knowledge, and a deep concern for the world in which we live.

The Thacher School is anything but typical. There, students encounter a combination they won’t find anywhere else: demanding academics, tough character-building challenges, and a healthy, authentic community culture that supports them every step of the way. It’s how Thacher succeeds in shaping resilient, compassionate, and ambitious young people who are prepared to take on the challenges of today’s world.

Everything Thacher does is guided by a set of deeply held convictions that have been tested, improved, and validated by research. Convictions that add up to the simple truth that high school can and should be a thrilling adventure.

Thacher School 2024Thacher enrolls 260 students. This year, 55% of students identify as people of color, and 44% of the faculty and staff identify as people of color and LGBTQ+. As an organization, they embrace a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in tangible ways—with thriving affinity spaces, culturally responsive teaching, anti-bias, anti-racist curriculum, with the elevation and celebration of the richness of the many identities and cultural traditions that comprise the community, and with all-gender advisories and residential space. Thacher is also addressing these critical issues in less concrete ways—scrutinizing their culture and confronting attitudes, practices, and assumptions that create barriers to building a fully inclusive community.

For more information about The Thacher School, please visit https://www.thacher.org/

About Philanthropy at The Thacher School

With an operating budget of $29 million and an endowment of $170 million, Thacher’s track record of fundraising has a strong foundation on which to continually build. In June 2021, they finished the $197 million “Next Peak” Capital Campaign to enhance the endowment, create a new Dining Hall, and the new Creativity and Technology Center. Annual giving and events programs are also robust—42% percent of alumni and 90% of parents supported the School last year.

Thacher School Horses 2024Thacher is among the most well-supported schools in the nation, raising $5.4 million for the Annual Fund and $13 million in major gifts in the 2022-2023 school year. Their dedicated, purposeful Institutional Advancement Division includes 15 staff, who prioritize a team-based approach, transparency, accountability, and openness to change. Ambitious fundraising goals are set based on each staff member’s unique portfolio and skillset. With a new Strategic Plan in process and plans to embark on a Capital Campaign with an anticipated goal of at least $250 million, it is an exciting time and the School is poised for continued growth.

About the Position

Reporting to the Director of Development and collaborating closely with a Leadership Giving Team of four, the Director of Leadership Giving is responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding Major Gifts ($25,000-$1,000,000) and Annual Fund leadership gifts ($10,000-$50,000).

The Director of Leadership Giving will work with prospective donors to determine their philanthropic interests related to the School’s fundraising goals through the Annual Fund, Endowment, Capital, and Planned Giving Programs, while serving as an integral team player within the Alumni and Development office and with their team and department leadership.

Thacher is open to hybrid work model, in which the Director of Leadership Giving would be expected to be on campus 6-10 days a month. They can anticipate traveling locally and long distance approximately 50% of the time.

Key Responsibilities

  • Manage a personal portfolio of 125-150 gift prospects, which may include current parents, alumni, parents of alumni and grandparents.
  • Thacher School Students 2024Craft proposals, talking points, contact reports and cultivation/stewardship correspondence as needed and in partnership with the Leadership Giving Team.
  • Plan and execute a target of 120+ prospect visits per year.
  • Prepare and submit goals that contain specific timelines, projected results, and outcomes.
  • Assist in the identification of annual giving leadership prospects in partnership with annual giving and alumni relations.
  • Advocate for the direction of the School and its leadership.

Key Qualifications

  • Alignment with and an ability to articulate the mission and values of The Thacher School.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to Thacher’s current direction of strengthening the School’s culture.
  • Five to ten years of experience in successfully cultivating, soliciting, and closing leadership gifts.
  • Successful track record of securing major gifts.
  • Ability to communicate with constituents across demographics.
  • Trust, accountability, discretion, honesty, and a team player.
  • Eagerness to work independently and as a member of a team in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks effectively and efficiently.
  • Strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication.
  • Experience work with Raiser’s Edge or an equivalent CRM preferred.
  • Willingness to travel considerably.
  • Knowledge of fundraising culture at secondary or higher education is preferred but not required.
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred.

Compensation

The salary range for this position is $125,000-$145,000. Final offers for the role will be based upon several factors including the position requirements, candidate’s experience and qualifications, and track record.

The Thacher School is dedicated to providing equal opportunities to all individuals regardless of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran’s status, or any other factor that is a prohibited consideration under applicable law.

To express interest, please submit your cover letter and resume in confidence using the form below. 

For more information, please visit www.developmentguild.com.

Tracy Marshall

Executive Director, Search Practice

Development Guild DDI

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