Senior Director of Major and Individual Giving

May 2021 | New York, NY
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Friends of the High Line is seeking a dynamic, entrepreneurial and results-oriented professional to join their talented fundraising team as their new Senior Director of Major and Individual Giving.

About Friends of the High Line

high-line-aerial-photoFriends of the High Line (the High Line) is both a nonprofit organization and a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. Through their work with communities on and off the High Line, they are devoted to reimagining public spaces to create connected, healthy neighborhoods and cities.

Built on a historic, elevated rail line, the High Line was always intended to be more than a park. You can walk through the gardens, view art, experience a performance, enjoy food or beverage, or connect with friends and neighbors—all while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City. The High Line was once destined for demolition. Luckily, the community rallied together to repurpose it instead, creating the park you see today, for everyone to enjoy. It has since become a global inspiration for cities to transform unused industrial zones into dynamic public spaces.

The High Line offers family, teen and education programs including interactive, nature-based, and art-making programs, paid job opportunities for local youth, and in-school and after-school programs for thousands of NYC public school students.

In 2019, The High Line launched the Sustainable Gardens Project, a pilot program that supports the initiation or expansion of innovative urban gardening projects focused on cultivating pollinator plants across New York City. The participants in the inaugural session are Brighter Choice Community School, Kelly Street Garden, JM Rapport School for Career Development Farm/Garden, The Farmers Garden, and DeWitt Clinton High School Campus. These five gardens will work with the horticulture team to attain technical assistance and knowledge, but, most importantly, to start a peer network of community-led, self-determined gardens.

The High Line is owned by the City of New York and they operate under a license agreement with NYC Parks.

About Philanthropy at Friends of the High Line

Philanthropy at the High Line is a strategic priority, and funding has grown steadily over the last few years. With the support of leadership and the Board, opportunity exists to continue to grow philanthropy at the High Line.

With a 2019 annual operating budget of $18M, and a slightly reduced 2020 operating budget, the High Line provides virtually all of the park’s operating budget. Individual giving accounts for more than $4 million annually, in addition to fundraising for additional restricted giving for specific projects. Nearly 100% of the High Line’s annual budget comes through donations.

With the help of a tremendously generous board, the High Line was able to cut their deficit in half during these unprecedented times. With a capital campaign on the horizon in the next few years, a prospect pool with exceptional potential and a robust membership, there is no better time to join the thriving development team at the High Line.

About the Position

high-line-archesThe Senior Director of Major and Individual Giving (SDMIG) will be responsible for expanding the High Line’s individual contributed annual giving program from membership to major gifts. The SDMIG will further develop a large-scale major gifts and annual giving program to attract new donors, retain existing donors, and renew lapsed donors. 

As a senior leader of the development team, the SDMIG will excel at frontline fundraising, develop strategy and infrastructure, and manage a team to achieve successful outcomes. In addition to overseeing direct mail and online solicitations, the SDMIG will manage the annual giving program, focusing on moves management and documented systems to deepen relationships with individuals in support of the High Line. The SDMIG will also manage a portfolio of some of the High Line’s top major gift prospects.  With a campaign in the near future, the SDMIG will have an integral role in strategic efforts to develop the campaign pipeline and gift proposals, set goals and solicit campaign gifts.

This is an exciting opportunity for a leader to join a growing team to help build and strengthen effective fundraising systems and deliver on revenue goals while staying abreast of trends affecting revenue outcomes. Reporting to the Chief Advancement Officer, the SDMIG will oversee a team of six and work collaboratively with the Development and Communications teams.

This position provides the opportunity to help lead the High Line at a pivotal point in its history and take its individual and major giving to new levels.


Key Responsibilities

Leadership and Management

  • Ability to lead the organization’s efforts to build a strong philanthropic culture and vision that includes all internal and external stakeholders
  • Plan, develop, and implement a robust and creative fundraising program focused on individuals to achieve maximum growth to meet the High Line’s evolving needs
  • Conceptualize, create and manage a dynamic annual and long-term individual fundraising strategy including digital fundraising, direct mail campaigns, and monthly giving program
  • Partner with communications on digital fundraising programs including email, website, and social media in support of fundraising campaigns
  • Develop and sustain productive cross-functional relationships (communications, brand marketing, development operations & analytics) to accomplish annual giving and special project revenue goals
  • Create and oversee campaigns designed to improve both donor retention and upgrades
  • Think creatively about ways to actively use the park to promote contributions through annual giving weekend and messaging at programs and events on the park
  • Work closely with special events team to plan cultivation and stewardship events that support fundraising efforts for the individual giving program
  • Oversee prospect identification, research, and qualification for growth of fundraising pipelines
  • Partner with leadership and advancement staff on campaign strategy and execution
  • Work with the database administrator and individual and membership teams to develop and deliver donor analysis reports for all lines of annual giving
  • Utilize data and metrics to benchmark efforts, inform strategic and tactical decision-making, and identify broad-based solicitation opportunities
  • Establish, track and report on fundraising plans; manage budgets and proactively forecast shifts in revenue expectations
  • Set ambitious growth goals and develop and execute strategy to attain them

Frontline Fundraising

  • Manage a dynamic portfolio of individual donors and prospects with the capacity to make unrestricted and restricted philanthropic 5-figure gifts or more
  • Directly solicit and close gifts from major donors and prospects in collaboration with the Executive Director, Chief Advancement Officer and other internal stakeholders
  • Directly solicit and close campaign gifts
  • Strategically oversee the advancement of moves management system and craft integrated comprehensive strategies to increase giving levels and numbers of gifts
  • Work with program team to define and articulate a sophisticated case for support
  • Develop a planned giving program and plan for any patron group necessary to strengthen engagement with the work of the High Line

Key Qualifications

  • Minimum 10 years’ frontline fundraising experience
  • Minimum 5 years’ management experience
  • Demonstrated success with raising 5+-figure gifts
  • Experience developing strategies for cultivation and solicitation of individual donors
  • Experience partnering with organizational and volunteer leadership
  • Excellent research, writing, and organizational skills
  • Experience with Raiser’s Edge or similar fundraising database
  • Strong follow through; high-level analytical, problem-solving, and presentation skills
  • Strong working knowledge of integrated fundraising programs
  • Strong planning, strategy, financial, budgeting, and analytical skills for informing fundraising program
  • Highly collaborative, communicative and transparent, with the ability to build strong and effective internal and external relationships
  • Ability to manage multiple projects as priorities change, with an exceptional eye for detail and accuracy
  • Demonstrated success in meeting all deadlines and performance goals
  • Highly strategic with a “roll up your sleeves” mentality
  • Knowledge of and enthusiasm for parks, public spaces, arts and culture, and public/private partnerships a plus
  • An understanding of cultural fundraising and NYC donor/philanthropic landscape a plus
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and sense of humor
  • Planned giving experience a plus

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.

If you are interested in learning more or being considered for this upcoming search, please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

Suzanne Battit

Senior Vice President, Principal

Development Guild DDI

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