Our organization

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an independent nonprofit that puts rigorous, independent science into action, developing solutions and advocating for a healthy, safe, and just future. We envision a peaceful, healthy, and just world where science serves people and the planet by guiding policy decisions, reducing risks, and improving lives.

For over five decades, we have been working as scientists, engineers, economists, advocates, and everyday people to create and advocate for innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feed, power, and transport ourselves, to fighting disinformation, advancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war. Values informing our work include:

  • Science in the service of people and the planet.
  • Justice and Equity for people of all races and incomes—now, and for future generations.
  • Courage to take principled, science-based stands in the public arena.
  • Integrity to always examine evidence critically, openly, and honestly.
  • Democracy to promote a voice for all in government decisions.
  • Action inspiring and mobilizing people to build a healthier, safer, and more just world.

UCS’s Development Department

The Major Gifts Director is responsible for the management of a team that identifies, cultivates, and solicits major gifts from individual prospects and donors in support of the organization’s annual operating budget. They play a central role in developing and implementing major gift strategies and overseeing the myriad processes that keep the eight-person team running smoothly. The Major Gifts Director serves as a senior member of the development staff. They work directly with the President, senior UCS leadership, board members, and volunteers in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting major donors and prospects.

Under the direction of the Chief Development Officer, the Major Gifts Director is responsible for advancing the major gifts program. Major gifts are defined as gifts of $25,000+ or more and are predominantly annualized gifts, with a growing number of donors making special one-time gifts. The major gifts team raises approximately a quarter of the organization’s budget.


  • Manage their portfolio, cultivating and soliciting and stewarding high-capacity prospects and donors, elevating the caliber and impact of the major gifts program, meaningfully contributing to revenue, and serving as a model and inspiration to the frontline fundraisers and the team.
  • Lead the annual process of developing the major gifts team’s collective work plan, including setting goals, objectives, strategies, activities, and revenue targets.
  • Prepare and manage the annual major gifts revenue and expense budget. This includes monitoring progress, re-forecasting, and adjusting work plans where needed to meet goals.
  • Manage a team of eight development professionals, which includes two Associate Directors, four seasoned major gifts officers, a senior operations manager, and support staff. Ensure application of proven as well as creative and innovative major gifts fundraising tools, systems, practices, and approaches.
  • Oversee a robust and results-oriented major gifts program that is effective at every stage in the donor cycle, develops and utilizes compelling collateral materials, fundraising packages, proposals, and impact reports, and existing and new in-person engagement opportunities and events, and supports the development and completion of targeted fundraising campaigns.
  • Support and foster a productive team culture that promotes personal engagement and accountability, learning, and individual and collective growth.
  • Ensure the accurate and timely input and ongoing management of major donors and prospect data into the database and e-files and oversee the analysis and reporting of revenue and other metrics to inform planning, forecasting, and evaluation.
  • As part of the development leadership team, serve as a leader for the major gifts department, mentoring staff and fostering a learning and collaborative team environment. Help identify ways to enhance cross-team connections and collegiality within development and across the organization.
  • Working with the Senior Development Researcher, support the identification of new prospects, both internal and external to UCS, to grow the major donor pipeline, as well as to inform effective cultivation and solicitation strategies of existing major donors.
  • Oversee the coordination between the major gifts team with development operations to ensure proper gift accounting and timely gift acknowledgment, and work to improve efficiency of systems in support of the major gifts team, and in alignment with other development programs.
  • Work in collaboration with the events and engagement team for the strategic development and execution of collateral materials and donor events to engage the major donor and prospect audience.
  • Partner with the planned giving team to develop and incorporate planned giving prospect identification and asks into major gift program as appropriate.
  • Collaborate with the membership team to ensure the transition of mid-level donors to major gifts is seamless and transparent to the donor experience.
  • Partner with the foundations team on major donor and prospect strategies linked to professional foundation giving and work collaboratively to explore trustee/board connections within the foundations landscape.
  • Work closely with the Chief Development Officer and other department and organizational leaders in identifying and recruiting National Advisory Board, Board of Directors, and Board Development Committee members in accordance with organizational priorities.
  • Attend National Advisory Board and Board meetings as required.
  • Participate in equity and inclusion initiatives, including organization-wide learning opportunities and departmental work to aid in the transition of UCS into an anti-racist organization.


Qualifications and Experience

The ideal Major Gifts Director will have a broad development background, with deep personal experience in cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major donors, a record of supervising a high-performing team, and comfort with data management systems. The Director will combine this experience with an entrepreneurial spirit, and strong commitment to the role of science in public affairs, and a passion for the specific issues on which UCS works. Specific requirements include:

  • 10 years or more of development experience with progressive responsibilities is required.
  • We desire candidates with minimally a bachelor’s degree, though, at UCS, comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.
  • Demonstrated success in individual donor work, including the identification, cultivation, and direct solicitation of major gifts.
  • Demonstrated success working with organizational leaders such as President, board members, or other volunteers to engage and solicit individual donors.
  • Demonstrated success managing and prioritizing all tasks associated with an annualized major gift program, including overseeing the production of successful and compelling appeals, proposals, and packages; experience using donor tracking systems such as moves management and donor research in support of major donor prospecting and cultivation; and experience overseeing analytics processes for data-driven decision making.
  • Demonstrated success growing a revenue stream of $25,000+ gifts.
  • Demonstrated commitment to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture that embraces differences.
  • Previous staff supervision experience required.
  • A seasoned leader with exceptional interpersonal skills.
  • An ability to manage multiple tasks, plan, organize, and triage effectively in a fast-paced environment; work with little direct supervision; and have excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • A collegial and collaborative approach to work.
  • A self-starter with a bright curiosity and willingness to learn.
  • Ability to adapt to a flexible work schedule and work well in a team environment.
  • Familiarity with UCS issues and experience fundraising for advocacy organizations preferred.

May spend extended periods at computer. Business travel as needed.

UCS is an equal opportunity employer actively seeking to diversify its staff. We’re dedicated to broadening opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy. We’re also committed to building an inclusive workplace culture where talented people of widely diverse backgrounds can thrive. We believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities.



This is a full-time remote position based near one of UCS’s four office locations in Washington DC, Cambridge MA, Oakland CA, or Chicago IL. For those who meet all position requirements, the salary range is $148,361 to $166,900. UCSoffers excellent benefits and a rewarding work environment. *CA Resident Only, we offer a 12% salary differential*

Information about the organization is available at http://www.ucsusa.org.

Comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.

More about the team:

Our team is made up of a dedicated group of researchers, scientists, communicators, campaigners, and advocates from wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive team and a collaborative and supportive work environment where all staff can thrive. We continually strive to create an environment which is a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, parents, empty-nesters, and people with a wide variety of interests and backgrounds.

To Apply: We know there are great candidates who won’t check all these boxes, and we also know you might bring important skills that we haven’t considered. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself. Please upload a cover letter and resume. In the cover letter, please confirm that the listed salary meets your expectations. Upload materials in Word or PDF format only. No phone calls, please.

Covid Mandate for New Hires:

For in office roles, UCS employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees are considered fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC. All new hires who will be reporting to an office location must provide notice of their vaccination status and vaccination documentation, on or before their first day of work. For all others, UCS strongly encourages full vaccinations among its employees, up to and including booster shots, even if working remotely.

Deadline: Until filled.