February 7, 2014
SFZC Seeks Manager of Major Gifts

Employee Job Description

Title of Position:         Manager of Major Gifts
Department:               Development
Reports to:                 VP of Development
Salary:                       Competitive
Work Status:              Full-time, Exempt

Position Description

The Manager of Major Gifts is responsible for managing the cultivation and solicitation of major gifts $1,000+ to San Francisco Zen Center for the Widening the Circle Capital Campaign, general purposes, and specific programs. These gifts may be in the form of donations or pledges. Position reports to the Vice President of Development and works in collaboration with all members of the SFZC development team, Abbots, Development Committee, Board of Directors, Senior Leadership and volunteers. The Manager of Major Gifts also works closely with the Assistant Director of Development on the Legacy Giving Program, with identification, cultivation, solicitation, and volunteer and staff management/support, and other responsibilities commensurate with the major gifts role.

San Francisco Zen Center

San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) was established in 1962 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1904-1971) and his American students. Suzuki Roshi is known to countless readers as the author of the modern spiritual classic, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

SFZC is one of the leading Buddhist practice and training centers in the West. The SFZC community has a diverse population of internationally known Zen teachers, short and long-term residential students, non-residential lay practitioners, ordained priests, and visiting guests. We have three California practice centers: City Center (located in San Francisco), Green Gulch Farm (located in coastal Marin County), and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center (located in the Ventana Wilderness, inland from Big Sur). The purpose of SFZC is to express, embody, and make accessible the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha as taught and practiced in the Soto Zen tradition.

SFZC has completed the third phase of a challenge grant as part of a $17 million capital campaign, and has secured a sizeable endowment from a major donor. We are continuing the capital campaign, with approximately $2.5 million* left to raise.

*Specific amount will be informed by Master plan completion for City Center temple later this year.


Cultivation, Solicitation and Stewardship

  • Manage and support staff, board and volunteers in cultivating, soliciting and stewarding $1,000+ major and legacy gifts.
  • Receive direction from and coordinate with Vice President of Development and Assistant Director of Development.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with Annual Fund and Membership Manager, Database Administrator and Development Assistant as appropriate, to maintain SFZC portfolio of significant donors and prospects for cultivation, solicitation and stewardship purposes.
  • Manage team to identify, qualify and assign new potential donors.
  • Manage, in coordination with Annual Fund and Membership Manager, major gift cultivation, solicitation and stewardship assignments for Development Committee, and Annual Fund and Membership Manager’s portfolio.
  • Provide updated assignment lists, support and materials as needed to staff, board and volunteers to execute and report on cultivation, solicitation and stewardship assignments.
  • Respond to requests related to major gift process, including requests for information/materials from SFZC Staff, Board, Campaign leaders, Cultivators, Solicitors or donors.
  • Coordinate donor and prospect events, such as the No Race, salons and dinners.

Major Gifts Program Management


  • Manage major and leadership donor and prospect information in the Common Ground/NPSP/Salesforce database to ensure accurate and consistent data.
  • Create and refine major gift donor and prospect information processes and pathways between development areas to ensure timely and coordinated data.


  • Ongoing assessment of financial and strategic progress toward goals, alerting team when results are off-track from goals, and working together to assess and adjust strategies and tactics.
  • Produce, analyze and provide interpretation of financial reports on progress toward goals on a monthly basis, or more frequently, as needed.
  • Ongoing assessment of staff, board and volunteer cultivator-solicitors, working with Vice President of Development and Assistant Director of Development to address performance/other issues.


  • Work with the Vice President of Development to create, produce and implement cultivation and other collateral materials necessary to effectively promote major giving opportunities to members of the Zen Center sangha as well as the general public.

Requirements – Skills and Abilities


  • Minimum 5 years professional individual development experience, including major gifts.
  • Demonstrated success in major gifts management, stewardship, cultivation and solicitation.
  • Analytical, evaluative experience and orientation; ability to interpret a variety of fund development result reports to identify strengths and weaknesses and inform strategies and tactics.
  • Database expertise, ideally in Salesforce environment.
  • Moves Management experience preferred.
  • Proficiency in Excel.
  • Bachelors degree.

Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to navigate complex organization and decision-making in a consensus environment.
  • Ability to collaborate and work well in multiple, overlapping teams.
  • Takes initiative, balanced with transparency and keeping appropriate individuals informed of plans, activities and results.
  • Ability to effectively manage multiple priorities.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Customer service orientation and priority with donors, cultivators and solicitors.
  • Grace under pressure.
  • Sense of humor appreciated.
  • Understanding of mindfulness a plus.

Other information

  • Competitive salary and benefits

Application package

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Major gifts related writing sample
  • Development related planning document

Please email application packages or questions to:

Tova Green
Vice President for Development
San Francisco Zen Center
300 Page St.
San Francisco, CA 94102