Major Gift Officer

June 2023 | Boston, MA
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New England Conservatory (NEC) seeks an enthusiastic and proactive Major Gifts Officer to build a comprehensive fundraising program.

About New England Conservatory

woman singing on stageFounded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1867 by Eben Tourjée, New England Conservatory (NEC) created a new model of conservatory that combined the best of European tradition with American innovation. NEC is an independent, not-for-profit institution, that is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools, educating and training musicians of all ages from around the world. With music students representing more than 40 countries, NEC cultivates a diverse, dynamic community for students, providing them with performance opportunities and high-caliber training by 225 internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.

NEC further distinguishes itself through its deep history of innovation, and the way it embraces diverse musical traditions. NEC was the first conservatory to offer a jazz program in 1969, and this year, it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its unique Contemporary Musical Arts program. NEC has been a pioneer in teaching students “offstage” skills as well, having developed one of the first entrepreneurial musicianship programs offered within a conservatory. The collaborative culture at NEC produces musicians of the highest order who are open-minded and generous, able to delve deeply into their particular disciplines while being present creatively for others. Its proven “learn-by-doing” experiential model is key to NEC’s distinctive standard of excellence; it unlocks the entrepreneurial potential of its talented and enterprising musicians, providing the foundation for the creative confidence that prepares them for a multitude of pathways beyond NEC.

NEC’s commitment to community engagement and music education through its Community Engagement and Professional Studies (CEPS) department, and its expansive NEC Preparatory School for youth ages 5-18, makes NEC unique among music conservatories today. During the 2021-2022 academic year, NEC students in the CEPS program taught over 850 hours, led over 550 teaching visits, and performed in over 107 performances and events, reaching an estimated 5,800 people through their community engagement work. NEC is further distinguished by its varied spaces that are home to over 1800 performance opportunities for NEC College and Preparatory School students annually, including Jordan Hall, the only conservatory hall in the US designated as a National historic landmark.

About Philanthropy at New England Conservatory and the Campaign for the Future of Music Education

Led by Kathleen Kelly, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Institutional Advancement, the Advancement and Engagement team at NEC raised over $11 million in annual, planned, and major gifts in FY22 and saw a 40% increase in the total number of donors over the previous fiscal year.

NEC is at a critical juncture in its 150+ year history and is currently in the quiet phase of a comprehensive capital campaign. Recognized internationally as a leader among music conservatories, NEC is dedicated to inculcating the highest standards of excellence, nurturing individual artistic sensibility and creative growth in students of all ages, and advancing music’s contribution to contemporary society. NEC benefits from the philanthropic support of a very sophisticated, loyal, and high-capacity donor base and as it plans for the future, the time is right to inspire new and increased philanthropy to support its vision.

The New England Conservatory Campaign for the Future of Music Education

wide angle view of the ornate new england conservatory theatreNEC is in the quiet phase of a comprehensive campaign to transform the Conservatory education experience and expand access to high-quality music education for learners of all ages.

The New England Conservatory Campaign for the Future of Music priorities include:

  • Enriching and innovating the NEC student experience through immediate investments in integrative learning, transformative programming, technology, and faculty
  • Removing financial barriers for students through increased scholarship support
  • Expanding NEC’s reach and impact by training the educators of tomorrow and expanding music education access for all
  • Sustaining NEC for the next generation of musicians through endowment and capital funding

During the campaign’s current quiet phase, momentum continues to grow. In December, NEC received an anonymous Foundation grant of $14.5 million to partner with the City of Boston to provide high-quality early music education access and bolster scholarship support for NEC Preparatory School students. Additionally, key leaders within the NEC community have gone on record with early commitments which, as of March 31, have NEC’s Major Gift program on pace to exceed $30M in gifts and pledges for FY23.

About the Position

The Major Gifts Officer (MGO) is responsible for the qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of major donors and prospects. Core to this work is the closing of $100K+ commitments to NEC. Focusing on the tracking and moves management for major gift donors/prospects within their assigned portfolio, the Major Gifts Officer will work to secure the appropriate funding to execute NEC’s strategic priorities as part of a comprehensive fundraising program.

An out the door frontline fundraiser, the new MGO will oversee a portfolio of approximately 125-150 donors/prospects and will play a key part in NEC’s innovative and strategic Advancement and Engagement Office. Serving as a trusted partner in the development of fundraising collateral, proposals, and stewardship plans, the MGO focus on building a major gift pipeline to help advance NEC’s strategic initiatives.  This person will report to Tricia Cheverie, the Director of Major Gifts, and will play an important part in NEC’s comprehensive campaign.

The incorporation of digital gift officer strategy is also a key part of this role, as is the development of data-driven reports and statistical analysis of the prospect pool and donor pipeline in coordination with the broader Advancement team. This role will require travel and the occasional evening and weekend work.

This role is eligible for a hybrid work arrangement.

Key Responsibilities

  • group of people playing string instrumentsCultivate, solicit, steward, and manage a dynamic portfolio of approximately 125-150 donors/prospects who have the capacity to make commitments of $100,000+.
  • Assist with planning and implementing of the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship activities for the department.
  • Conduct a minimum of 15 donor/prospect visits in-person or virtually per month and provide visit and gift data as part of prospect management tracking; use data to drive moves management activity.
  • Prepare reports, briefings materials, correspondence, proposals, and related documents for solicitation of major gift donors/prospects.
  • Meet quarterly and annual fundraising goals as determined by the Director of Major Gifts.
  • Coordinate major gifts donor recognition with donor relations and stewardship colleagues.
  • Attend and staff events as required, including travel, weekend and evening work.

Key Qualifications

  • 4+ years of development/fundraising experience with proven record of soliciting and closing gifts.
  • Experience soliciting and closing 5-figure gifts is preferred; 6-figure gift experience is a plus.
  • Campaign experience is preferred.
  • Previous experience with Raiser’s Edge Prospect Management or a similar prospect system and metrics—compiling, analyzing and reporting data.
  • Strong organizational and leadership skills.
  • woman conducting an orchestraExcellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to prioritize, multitask, and meet deadlines.
  • The ability and willingness to travel up to 40% of the time, primarily in the Boston area, is expected.
  • While a background in music education is not required, it is important to have a passion for the work and mission of NEC

All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

NEC requires all employees to be fully vaccinated with an approved Covid 19 vaccine or booster. As with all vaccinations an exemption may be requested for medical or religious reasons. Employees who wish to be exempt may be subject to additional public health measures as necessary.


The annual salary for this role begins at $100,000 and is commensurate with experience, competencies, and skillset.

If you are interested in being considered for this upcoming search, please use the form below or email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Jesse Bryan

Vice President, Executive Search


Mel Witman

Executive Search Consultant

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