Come join a team of dedicated staff at an exceptional time in Smithsonian history, as the Institution continues a comprehensive strategic plan, expands the programming, educational, and scholarly activity of its museums and research centers, and completes its very first Institution-wide fundraising campaign.

Through this national campaign, the Smithsonian is building a model fundraising organization, one that will meet the growing needs of this unique organization and offer excellent professional opportunities. This position offers exciting opportunities for the successful candidate to make a significant impact on the future of the Smithsonian. There is no better time to join this amazing Institution.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery seeks a charismatic and creative Major Gifts Officer to join its hard-working, fast-paced advancement team in building the base of individual supporters for the Museum. The incumbent will focus on restricted support for exhibitions, collections, educational and outreach programs, and endowment. This position is located in the Office of Advancement at the National Portrait Gallery and reports to the Director of Major Gifts.

The Museum has significantly grown its advancement department in the last two years and, as a result, has seen dramatic increases in fundraising performance. Our challenge is to maintain this rate of growth for the duration of the museum’s $25 million comprehensive campaign, which concludes in 2018, the Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary year.

The Major Gifts Officer will:

  • Discover and qualify new prospects
  • Build and manage a national portfolio of 75-100 prospects rated at $25,000 and above
  • Develop and implement strategies to solicit 5-7 figure gifts
  • Close 10-15 major gifts per year toward an annual, individual dollar goal
  • Staff Museum executives and volunteer leadership, including preparing briefings, talking points, and follow-up letters
  • Design and execute appropriate events for the cultivation and stewardship of major donors
  • Maintain a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the Smithsonian’s infrastructure, policies, and procedures


Qualified candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of front-line fundraising experience, preferably within a large cultural institution or arts-related nonprofit. Must have a proven track record of fundraising success, including successfully identifying cold prospects and bringing them through the cultivation cycle to close six-figure gifts and above. In addition to possessing superior relationship management skills and the initiative and ability to work independently, the successful candidate must have the gravitas and leadership presence to interact with high level donors and arts patrons, as well as curatorial, administrative, and board leadership.

The Major Gifts Officer will be assigned to prospects in Washington, DC and in 2-3 other key regions across the country. Extensive travel is required as well as evening and weekend work to execute and assist with a variety of special events, tours, and meetings. A passion for history, art, and biography is a plus.

The National Portrait Gallery tells the multi-faceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The Smithsonian Institution is a unique complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers. The Smithsonian is a national and world treasure and is dedicated to its founding mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Its exhibitions, programs, collections, and outreach touch the lives of millions of Americans every year, as well as many who visit us from abroad.

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits. To learn more about the Smithsonian, please visit Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a cover letter to by February 29, 2016.

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


Job Information
  • Washington, Dist. Columbia, 20560, United States
  • 26869915
  • February 13, 2016
  • Major Gifts Officer, National Portrait Gallery
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Development/Membership
  • No
  • Full-Time
  • 25-50%