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Director, Philanthropic Partnerships

Location: DC or Flexible , DC

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. As a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas, the Institute fosters leadership based on enduring values and provides a venue for dealing with complex social issues. With campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, it also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

Three core tenets of the Institute’s work are: Ideas, Leadership, and Action, reflected in the following guiding principles:

  • Spark intellectual inquiry and exchange, connecting new concepts to timeless values (Ideas)
  • Create a diverse worldwide community of leaders committed to the greater good (Leadership)
  • Provide a nonpartisan forum for reaching solutions on vital public policy issues (Action)

The Institute endeavors to equip individuals with ideas on how to create better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. By engaging and enabling a broad and inclusive conversation, the Institute cultivates differing viewpoints and works to identify common ground to identify viable solutions to complex problems.

Today, the following elements constitute the core of the Institute’s work:

  • Policy Programs - Nonpartisan initiatives that drive dialogue and action on today’s challenges. 30+ programs provide nonpartisan forums that frame critical topics, bring new evidence to bear on a wide range of issues, propose innovative ideas, and gather leaders and experts to reach constructive solutions.
  • Leadership Initiatives - Multi-year programs in which leaders explore their core values to drive action in their communities and businesses. The Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) is a worldwide community of successful, high-integrity, action-oriented leaders committed to making the world a better place.
  • Conferences and Events - Public programs open the Institute to wider audiences ranging from major conferences — such as the Aspen Ideas Festival, CityLab, and the Aspen Security Forum — to more intimate roundtable discussion series.
  • International Partnerships - A network of partners that address global challenges and develop values-based leaders. Partners are in: Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Romania, Ukraine, India, Japan, and Mexico.

About the Position

The Director of Philanthropic Partnerships is a senior member of the Development management team who reports to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. The position is responsible for the creation and implementation of strategic fundraising initiatives and related programmatic activities that involve securing major and principal gifts from individual donors, corporations and foundations.   

In addition to serving as a major gifts officer, the Director of Philanthropic Partnerships collaborates with the Vice President to:

  •  Formulate department strategies,
  •  Review and assign prospect portfolios,
  •  Manage print and online communications,
  •  Craft messaging, and
  •  Ensure the accurate reporting and stewardship of gifts to the Institute’s strategic fundraising program.

Key Responsibilities: 


  • Oversee the implementation, management and monitoring of Institute major gift initiatives and planned giving programs. Create and implement annual plans to reach short-term and long-term financial objectives for major gifts and planned giving.
  • Establish forecasts and prepare evaluations of potential fundraising initiatives by identifying and rating prospects and engaging key Institute leaders and volunteers in the process.  
  • Design and implement fundraising themes, outreach, and communications strategies, including the development of compelling opportunities for donors to give their support.
  • Lead the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of significant major gift prospects, which includes managing a focused portfolio of 75 major prospects, with expectations for meaningful contact or attempted contact of 100% of the assigned portfolio in a given 12-month period. Portfolio will consist primarily of prospects capable of making gifts of $100,000 or more and regionally concentrated along the East Coast, Chicago, San Francisco, and Aspen.
  • Develop and enforce the highest quality standards in all cultivation, solicitation and stewardship materials, in particular the scholarship activity reports that are sent annually to major donors.
  • Maintain personal prospect pipeline (i.e., planned and executed solicitations) to reflect a minimum of 10 major gift solicitations per year.
  • Serve as chief proposal writer for the Institute’s strategic fundraising initiatives and ensure the highest standards of quality and accuracy whenever other staff members undertake this process.
  • Establish and manage benefits, privileges, recognition, and acknowledgment processes for donors and volunteers in order to maintain and improve relationships with these important stakeholders.

Leadership and Management

  • Actively participate in the Institute’s development leadership team to develop major gift strategies and assist in setting departmental priorities.
  • Work collaboratively with the relationship management team and other Development staff members, policy program directors, Executive Vice Presidents, the President’s Office, and volunteers to meet fundraising targets
  • Supervisory position with five direct reports and budget authority over the strategic/special fundraising budget.
  • Manage the process of assigning portfolios to major gift officers, meeting regularly to assess their progress and success, and assist in developing effective solicitation strategies.
  • Monitor fundraising results and activity on an ongoing basis by meeting with Development leaders and communicating regularly with volunteer committees in order to help project outcomes and to identify areas of highest concern and priority. 

Key Qualifications:

  • At least ten (10) years of professional experience in development or related field, including direct solicitation of five and six figure gifts.
  • Experience with managing major gift officers and working directly with high-level donors, staff, and volunteers.
  • Management experience and skills that will motivate and inspire staff while setting high expectations and professional direction.
  • Credibility, good judgment, integrity, and the ability to motivate others in a similar vein are essential.
  • A facilitator, collaborator, and coordinator with outstanding problem-solving abilities.
  • Able to travel regularly in the Washington metro area as well as periodically to Aspen, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other areas of portfolio concentration. Also requires occasional evening and weekend work and ability to staff events as needed.
  • Strategic mindset and skillful at planning, organizing and following through.
  • Firm understanding of the fundraising goals of the Aspen Institute and ability to communicate those priorities convincingly to prospective donors and constituents.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.  

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

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