Director of Major Gifts



Northbrook, IL


Who We Are:

From its core programs for children and adults with intellectual challenges in the Chicago area, to its international consulting work, Keshet serves over 1,000 individuals with disabilities and touches the lives of many more family members, peers, supporters, and other stakeholders around the globe. For the past 36 years, Keshet has integrated students, campers, residents, and employees with disabilities into over 70 sites in the Chicago area and throughout the Midwest. Globally, Keshet has trained over 15,000 staff members, providing the tools necessary for successful inclusion. Keshet’s local leadership, comprised of nearly 100 lay leaders from all walks of life, provide the inspiration, direction, and funding required to fulfill the organization’s mission: to do whatever is necessary to allow individuals with disabilities to achieve their potential.

Core Values:

  • Children and adults with disabilities do best within the embrace of their own community, so we integrate participants into the mainstream of life at every opportunity.
  • We can serve individuals with complicated needs, so we do not have specific criteria for program acceptance.
  • No participant should be turned away for inability to pay for services, so we strive tirelessly to collaborate with donors, foundations, and program partners to keep tuitions reasonable and scholarships available.
  • Our community partners and donors should share in the lives and successes of the individuals we serve, so we deeply involve those stakeholders in the life of the organization.

Position Overview:

Reporting to the Chief Development Officer, the Director of Major Gifts will implement fundraising programs to successfully meet annual, program, and campaign goals. The position will also work closely with the Chief Development Officer to drive the organization’s fundraising initiatives and develop a fundraising and stewardship strategy for an assigned portfolio of donors. This person will have experience with planned giving programs and deferred giving vehicles. A strong candidate will have a minimum of 8-10 years of fundraising experience with a proven history of success in creating thoughtful campaign strategies, one on one gift solicitations of $5,000+ and high-level donor cultivation and stewardship.

This driven self-starter will be proactive, motivated, and detail-oriented. As part of this role, the Director of Major Gifts will work closely with the senior management team and lay leaders to identify the organization’s top philanthropic partners and prospects. This individual will also be charged with creating individual cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategies for all prospective major donors, including for the donors within the CEO’s portfolio.

Compensation Range

To apply

Please send your resume and cover letter to Lisa Tarshis at

Download Job Description

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement appropriate fundraising strategies to increase the campaign and overall fundraising with a variety of fundraising techniques that include face-to-face solicitations, events, and written communications.
  • Manage the CEO’s donor and prospect portfolio, which includes driving the strategy and ensuring steps are implemented according to schedule.
  • Identify, recruit, and train lay leaders in furthering campaign goals. This may include identifying event honorees and supporting fundraising efforts as needed for special events and/or campaigns.
  • Communicate regularly with donors and help create materials and initiatives that reflect an energetic approach to cultivation and support.
  • Manage a portfolio of 100-125 top donors and prospects.
  • Work with the Individual Giving Manager to identify new potential major donor prospects and establish a process for portfolio management between the two positions.
  • Oversee all reporting requirements of current Keshet endowment funds.
  • Implement a planned giving program and incorporate solicitations for deferred giving into donor strategies.
  • Create cultivation events and donor experiences that showcase the work of Keshet in a positive, inspiring light.
  • Record all moves and strategies in the donor database.
  • Advocate and advance best practices in fundraising and relationship management.

Qualifications & Skills

  • A minimum of 8-10 years of progressively responsible fundraising experience with strong generalist knowledge as well as the ability to build excellent donor relationships and solicit major gifts.
  • Excellent written, verbal and listening skills; strong presentation and public speaking abilities.
  • Proficient technology skills, including donor software and demonstrated ability to create an efficient, data-driven development operations plan.
  • Strong knowledge of the Chicago-area philanthropic landscape, including Jewish organizations and the willingness to stay informed of current trends in philanthropy.
  • Basic understanding of issues important to the Jewish Community; experience working in Jewish communal leadership, a plus.
  • Passion for Keshet’s mission and the ability to promote and communicate the mission, core values, and impact of the organization to external and internal stakeholders.The ability to create and implement a detailed campaign fundraising plan that includes specific revenue goals and other key metrics.
  • Experience and comfort working with corporate leaders, high-level donors and philanthropists, and a track record of successful face-to-face gift solicitations of at least five figures.
  • A bachelor’s degree or commensurate experience.

Key Responsibilities

Qualifications & Skills

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