Job: Manager of Donor Relations

Department: HQ – Headquarters


Location: District of Columbia

About Carnegie Institution for Science

Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington (“Carnegie”) in 1902 as an organization for scientific discovery. His intention was for the institution to be home to exceptional individuals—scientists with imagination and extraordinary dedication capable of working at the cutting edge of their fields. The Carnegie Institution of Washington is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 institution.

Carnegie is headquartered in Washington, DC and has six departments located in 4 cities: the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, DC; the Department of Embryology in Baltimore, MD; The Observatories in Pasadena, CA, and Las Campanas, Chile; and the Departments of Plant Biology and Global Ecology in Palo Alto, CA.

Manager of Donor Relations

Carnegie Science is seeking an ambitious, creative development professional eager to pursue new initiatives and contribute to a best-in-class fundraising program. As an integral member of Carnegie’s development team reporting to the Associate Director of Advancement Services, the Manager of Donor Relations will work with the Chief Development Officer, Senior Managers of Individual Giving and Institutional Giving, and other development and institutional partners to create a protocol for engaging, recognizing, and stewarding the institution’s donors; deepening relationships; and expanding support for the institution’s research. Special emphasis will be placed on efforts related to major and principal gift prospects. The Manager of Donor Relations will also play a primary role in developing standards for and drafting written communications to donors.

Primary Responsibilities

Development Communications

  • Serve as primary developer and writer of a high volume of comprehensive fundraising collateral—including briefings, letters, proposals, and reports—that reinforce the fundraising appeals of the institution’s leadership and frontline fundraising staff.
  • As lead writer, ensure that fundraising communications reflect the voices of senior leaders and staff and provide coaching to development staff to achieve this fidelity.
  • Work with colleagues to craft appropriate and consistent language regarding Carnegie Science’s fundraising.
  • Identify and recommend communications strategies, vehicles, and messages to reach specific donor segments, match their interests to institutional priorities, and adequately recognize their gifts.
  • Ensure donor communications are recorded appropriately and efficiently in the institution’s CRM, Salesforce.

Donor Engagement and Stewardship

  • Design, execute, and continually evaluate a set of guidelines and procedures for acknowledgement, recognition, and stewardship of all donations.
  • Work with frontline fundraisers to develop, implement, and monitor stewardship plans for each major donor, such as stewardship letters and reports, events, and thank-you gifts.
  • Work with the Manager of Strategic Development Events to ensure event strategy and execution is consistent with institutional priorities and best practices.
  • Develop and implement a process that facilitates the participation of Carnegie’s research departments in donor recognition and stewardship activities.
  • Assist with data selection and list segmentation mechanisms to target activities.
  • Conduct regular research and assessments to enhance Carnegie’s stewardship program, including periodic benchmarking studies of peer institutions and market studies of target audience perceptions.

Institutional Engagement

  • Provide regular guidance to leaders, scientists, volunteers, and development staff on best practices in donor relations and stewardship.
  • Work closely with support programs—including communications, events, research, accounting, and information technology—to ensure effective delivery of all collateral.
  • Deliver comprehensive stewardship assessment reports, providing regular follow-up and evaluation for donor relations activities.

Key Attributes and Qualifications

The ideal Manager of Donor Relations will excel at the comprehensive engagement of prospects, supporters, and stakeholders. An excellent writer and speaker who is comfortable talking about science and who can also manage the development of multi-faceted long-term communication plans, s/he will be able to create a systematic and creative approach to engaging donors that includes a range of documents, events, and other forms of outreach. The Manager’s communication and planning skills will be polished internally as well as externally; s/he will be able to build strong working relationships with Carnegie Science’s many departments and to integrate them effectively into donor engagement activities.

  • Bachelor’s degree is required; degree in a communications or science field is preferred.
  • 3-5 years of professional experience, including at least 1 year of experience in a development or marketing role
  • Experience working with frontline major gifts fundraisers and/or in a science-related field is preferred; previous role coaching staff and volunteers is desirable.
  • Familiarity with the major donor life cycle and understanding of the principles and best practices of stewarding stakeholders.
  • Record of developing strategic and creative approaches to stakeholder communications and outreach.
  • Excellent written communication skills, particularly in the development of public-facing persuasive documents; application of these skills in a portfolio of development communications is preferred.
  • Ability to produce high-quality communications collateral at a high volume on tight deadlines.
  • Demonstrated capacity to write effectively in the voice of a range of others.
  • Technical literacy and comfort required to understand and creatively deploy complex data.
  • Experience using database systems to analyze, manage, and monitor complex processes.
  • Ability to listen carefully to and understand stakeholder needs, both internally and externally, and to respond proactively to those needs in a consistent and timely manner.
  • Ability to offer diplomatic guidance that influences others in an organization.
  • Highly empathetic, collegial, and service-oriented, with an ethos of “no job too big, no job too small.”
  • Ability to take the initiative to work independently and to be a responsive member of internal teams.
  • Reliability and discretion in handling sensitive, confidential matters.

Applicants should apply at