Posted on November 27, 2023 Full Time Development

Principal Gifts Officer I

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Principal Gifts Officer I

Remote (U.S.) Chicago, IL New York, NY Washington, D.C.

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. We partner with thousands of groups, supporters, individuals, and communities to engage in the critical environmental issues of our time and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections. We achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment. Our headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Seattle, Los Angeles, Bozeman, Denver, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., Tallahassee, Miami, and Honolulu.

Principal Gifts Officer I (PGO) reports to the Deputy Director of Principal Gifts and is a member of the Principal Gifts team. The Principal Gifts team reports to the Associate Vice President for Campaigns and Principal Gifts and works in close collaboration with organizational senior leadership and the Development team to develop and implement plans and strategies to achieve revenue goals. PGO builds and manages an individual portfolio of 25-30 (Ultra) High Net Worth donors and prospects who are capable of outright commitments of $5M+ or annual commitments of $1M+.

They conduct initial exploratory meetings with donors, prospects, and their advisors to determine capacity and interest for principal-level giving, build a portfolio of principal donors, prospects, and advisors, and manage their relationship with Earthjustice accordingly. PGO has a minimum fundraising target of $3 million per year.

PGO has latitude to make decisions about their work priorities and is expected to be entrepreneurial in their approach. They identify wealth events, and they understand and apply methods to secure complex gifts of noncash assets. PGO develops and executes comprehensive donor strategies and is responsible for direct asks that are in alignment with Earthjustice’s program needs. PGO builds constructive relationships with donors, prospects, advisors, and volunteer leadership, and engages and supports appropriate natural partners and primary players across the organization, keeping them apprised of interactions, issues and/or concerns, and addressing questions as needed.

They are capable of featuring organizational priorities and growth opportunities in detailed terms, understand project budgets, and capitalize on opportunities utilizing this knowledge. They are required to use Earthjustice’s donor database, systems, and other resources provided by the Development Department. This position will focus primarily on principal gift donors, prospects, and advisors across the U.S. with an emphasis in the eastern region with up to 50% travel throughout.

This role can be based in New York City, Washington, D.C., or Chicago, IL. Other major U.S. cities or remote U.S locations are negotiable.


  • Manages an active portfolio of 25-30 principal gift donors, prospects, and advisors; Builds relationships via personal visits, phone calls, ongoing written contact, events, immersion experiences, and engagement with Earthjustice’s leadership and program staff; Responsible for meeting revenue, solicitation, visit, and outreach goals set forth in annual work plan each year and regularly discussing progress with supervisor.
  • Achieves minimum fundraising target of $3 million per year for Earthjustice and Earthjustice Action; Collaborates with Gift Planning team to negotiate and memorialize future commitments and secure gifts of noncash assets.
  • Develops and implements strategies for principal gift donors and prospects and their advisors that lead to transformative gifts in support of Earthjustice’s mission.
  • Involves, guides, and supports Executive Leadership, Program Leadership, Volunteer Leadership, and program staff in principal gift strategy development, cultivation, stewardship, and solicitations.
  • Develops expert familiarity with assigned regions and programmatic needs and maintains working knowledge of national and international programmatic priorities; Provides program information to donors and prospects and their advisors; Contributes to the creation of personalized funding collateral, budgets, and correspondence that demonstrate impact, appreciation, recognition, and engagement of donors.
  • Collaborates with team members across different units within development, cross-departmentally, and regionally.
  • Supports planning and execution of donor events and field trips.
  • Uses donor databases to keep donor records up to date, track progress, and plan.
  • Consistently demonstrates an understanding of racial equity, structural racism, environmental racism, and other forms of discrimination (homophobia, xenophobia, ageism, classism, sexism, ableism, etc.). Demonstrates an understanding of the centrality of this analysis as it applies to Earthjustice’s work.
  • Integrates the above understanding into work projects and interactions by recognizing and addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions on groups and individuals within the context of job responsibilities; Evaluates processes and systems at Earthjustice to ensure equity.
  • Pursues professional growth opportunities that are relevant to industry trends, cultural competency, regional priorities, and organizational values and mission.
  • Travels up to 50% of time for donor visits, events, field trips, trainings, team meetings and regional events.
  • Promotes a culture of philanthropy and foster a respectful and productive working environment.
  • Other duties, as agreed upon.


  • Eight+ years’ demonstrated successful experience in major-gifts fundraising with a focus on prospect identification, relationship building, and solicitation.
  • Experience soliciting and closing seven-figure gifts from individuals.
  • Experience working with trustees, volunteers, and programs staff or equivalent.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required.
  • Experience using effective interpersonal skills, listening, diplomacy, and tact to build strong relationships with donors, volunteers, and all levels of staff.
  • Ability to absorb and synthesize complex program information and translate into a compelling case for donors.
  • Well-developed written and oral communication, negotiation, and organizational skills.
  • Working knowledge of current trends in charitable giving, particularly in the areas of major and principal gifts and gift planning.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and some experience with donor databases.
  • A valid driver’s license required.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement fundraising initiatives including cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies.
  • Aptitude to determine an individual’s interest, capacity, and inclination to help Earthjustice meet its goals, and act appropriately to tie those interests with Earthjustice’s work.
  • Ability to accurately assess situations with informal or incomplete information and make good decisions based on analysis, experience, and judgment; maintain confidentiality.
  • Ability to skillfully prioritize and manage a portfolio and juggle multiple priorities in a fast-paced environment.
  • Comfort working independently and as a team member with initiative and flexibility.
  • Sense of humor is desired.
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Contributes to the creation of a diverse, equitable and inclusive work culture that encourages and celebrates differences.

Salary & Benefits

We offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits that are comprehensive and competitive. We also offer an extremely congenial work environment and a casual dress code. Salary is based on experience and location. Preference for candidates working hybrid in New York, Chicago, or Washington, D.C. Remote candidates will be considered.

  • Salary range in New York, NY: $167,500 – $186,100
  • Salary range in Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C.: $159,100 – $176,800
  • Remote salaries will vary: $142,400 – $186,100

How to Apply

Earthjustice has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please submit your resume and expression of interest to: Chris Spagnola, Partner, at and Jessica Martinez, Partner, at

The application screening process is ongoing until a candidate is hired.

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected. As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are given equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.

For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment-qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

For positions located within the City of Los Angeles: We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.

Working at Earthjustice

Hybrid Work

Earthjustice employs a “team-centered” approach to hybrid work, where teams collaboratively shape their unique workflow, including what work location — virtual or in-office — is best for them and the tasks at hand.

Earthjustice is an equal opportunity employer

As an equal opportunity employer, Earthjustice is committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or any other factor specified under applicable laws that is not related to the position.

Fair Chance Hiring

Earthjustice will consider qualified applicants with a criminal history pursuant to the California Fair Chance Act, and any applicable local ordinance, such as the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, the Los Angeles County Fair Chance Act, or the Los Angeles City Fair Chance Initiative. You do not need to disclose your criminal history or participate in a background check until a conditional job offer is made to you.

After making a conditional offer and running a background check, if Earthjustice is concerned about conviction that is directly related to the job, you will be given the chance to explain the circumstances surrounding the conviction, provide mitigating evidence, or challenge the accuracy of the background report.

Our Values

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership, inclusion, and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected.

Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Green 2.0 Pay Equity Pledge

As part of Green 2.0’s Transparency Report Card, Earthjustice is committed to ensuring pay equity for people of color.

Live Well, Work Well

Earthjustice offers a competitive compensation plan, as well as a comprehensive benefits package. We pay 100% of all health and welfare benefits premiums for the employee.

Our health coverage includes medical, dental, prescription, vision and alternative care. We are proud to offer a generous vacation, sick leave, and disability benefit package. Additional benefits include retirement plan, flexible spending account, company-sponsored life insurance, and more.

Earthjustice also offers six weeks of fully paid sabbatical leave, following 10 years of continuous employment.

As a 501(c)3 organization, Earthjustice is a qualifying employer for purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.