Major Gifts Officer

Website HeartlandInst The Heartland Institute

Freedom Rising

The Position

The Heartland Institute’s Major Gifts Officer has responsibility for meeting Heartland’s fundraising goals for his or her caseload of donors, in collaboration with the fundraising team.   The position requires an experienced, diligent, self-managing individual committed to advancing the mission of The Heartland Institute.  The position reports to Heartland’s Executive Director of Development.

The Major Gifts Officer must understand and communicate Heartland’s position on a broad range of public policy issues.  He or she must manage the gift-making process, including the initial research of prospects, meeting with individual donors and foundation staff, and closing gifts. The Major Gifts Officer must be adept at making phone calls, building relationships, making donor presentations, writing letters of inquiry, comprehending application guidelines, keeping track of deadlines for reports and applications for funding, and writing and updating proposals.

Qualified candidates will have the ability to build trust with donors, explain Heartland’s role in the freedom movement, acknowledge gifts in a timely manner, execute other donor communications, properly utilize the database, and identify high-value prospects.


Founded in 1984, The Heartland Institute is an independent national nonprofit research organization.  Heartland’s mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.  Three things make Heartland unique among free-market think tanks:

  • It communicates with more national and state elected officials, more often, than any other think tank in the United States. Heartland contacted elected officials 812,789 times in 2018.
  • Heartland produces four monthly public policy newspapers—Budget & Tax News, Environment & Climate News, School Reform News, and Health Care News—which present free-market ideas as news rather than research or opinion.
  • Heartland promotes the work of other free-market think tanks on its websites, in its newspapers, at its events, and through its extensive government and media relations efforts.

In 2018, a telephone survey of 500 randomly selected state elected officials (no staff) found 78 percent of state legislators read at least one of Heartland’s newspapers “sometimes” or “always.” Forty-five percent reported a Heartland newspaper “influenced my opinion or led to a change in public policy.”

The Leaflet, government relations’ weekly e-newsletter, was read by more than half (58 percent) of all state legislators in the country in 2018. That equates to more than 4,200 state legislators.

In 2018, Heartland appeared in print and online, and on television or radio, nearly 5,200 times and its podcasts were downloaded 3.2 million times. Heartland’s Facebook page has more than 100,000 fans, and it uses Twitter to promote its free-market mission to more than 74,000 followers every day.

Heartland’s annual budget of approximately $6.5 million supports a full-time staff of 39. More than 500 academics, legal scholars, and professional economists participate in Heartland’s peer-review process, and more than 300 elected officials serve on its Legislative Forum. Heartland is supported by the voluntary contributions of thousands of supporters, and it does not accept government funding.


  • Conduct research on current and prospective foundation and individual donors
  • Help write and update proposals, letters of inquiry, and other solicitation communications
  • Meet with donors and prospects, make phone calls, submit letters of inquiry and emails as necessary to secure meetings and gifts
  • Apply for support, following the guidelines of foundations and the philanthropic preferences of individuals
  • Follow up on all outreach in a timely manner
  • Maintain a calendar for grant reports, application deadlines, and preferred meeting timelines
  • Maintain physical and/or digital files to ensure donors are contacted with frequent, relevant updates, performance reports, and additional funding requests
  • Assess the number of solicitations per month, the close rate, and revenue per solicitation
  • Make recommendations for improvement


  • At least four years (preferably more) of dedicated, professional experience as a fundraiser, including thorough knowledge of best practices in foundations processes, individual donors, and donor communications
  • Strong organizational skills, drive to succeed, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and the ability to produce excellent work on tight deadlines
  • Alignment with Heartland’s core values and mission; ability to articulate the critical role Heartland plays in expanding freedom
  • Outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal; excellent presentation skills and high attention to detail are essential
  • Integrity in managing sensitive and confidential information
  • Ability to identify audience needs and tailor messages to those needs
  • Collaborative spirit, works well with colleagues and leadership in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment
  • Executive mindset, demonstrated ability to think through problems, plan for success, evaluate outcomes, and continuously learn
  • Experience with Donor Relationship Management or Customer Relationship Management platforms (preferably with Salesforce)
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, internet-based research, and social media
  • Willingness to travel and frequently meet with donors, estimated at least 50% of the time
  • Bachelor’s degree in relevant area of study or commensurate experience

Other Workplace Matters

Salary: Competitive and commensurate with experience, payable biweekly or monthly.  Performance reviews are conducted annually by the Executive Director of Development.

Hours and location of work: 40+ hours per week is expected at The Heartland Institute’s Northwest Chicago office, plus weekly senior staff meetings and biweekly all-staff meetings.  Remote work is an option for more experienced candidates.

Benefits: Health insurance currently provided by Aetna available to full-time employees.  The employer pays 60 percent of premiums and offers a choice of two plans, a low-deductible plan and a high-deductible plan with health savings accounts (HSAs).  Employees who choose high-deductible plans also receive annual cash deposits into their HSAs of $1,500 for individuals and $3,000 for families.

Employer pays for life and disability insurance and fees for a 401(k) plan.  Employer does not match employee contributions to 401(k) plans at this time.

Vacation days: During the first year of employment, full-time employees earn 10 paid days off after their 90-day probationary period.  During years two and three, employees earn 12 paid days off each year.  During years four, five and six, employees earn 15 paid days off.  During years seven, eight and nine, employees earn 17 paid days off. During year 10 and above, employees earn 20 paid days off each year.  For the purposes of counting paid time off, full-time employment is considered to have commenced when an employee started serving Heartland at least 40 hours per week in any capacity, including as a contractor.

To apply for this position, please send your resume and a cover letter to Executive Director of Development David Hoyt:

To apply for this job email your details to

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