Fundraising and Advancement

Deputy Chief Advancement Officer, Major Gifts

  • Sierra Club
  • Oakland, CA; Washington, D.C.; or remote. This position requires an ability to travel.

This position has been filled.


At the Sierra Club, we believe in the power of togetherness. Together, we remain committed to the fight for a healthy climate built on a foundation of environmental, racial, economic, and gender justice – a future where all people benefit from a healthy, thriving planet and a direct connection to nature. As the climate crisis and deeply entrenched systemic racism all fuel inequity, we will continue to fight for a bold, transformational agenda that recognizes the interconnectedness between our planet, our humanity, and our democracy. By recognizing that our destinies are tied, we continue to name that all things are fundamentally connected, and the overlap between ecology, race, gender, and representative government will move to either advance our collective humanity or to oppress it.

Sierra Club is comprised of 800 staff working across the country and a network of local chapters that support our grassroots engagement. We are also proud to be a unionized employer, with two labor unions representing more than half of our employees.


The Deputy Chief Advancement Officer, Major Gifts (Deputy CAO, MG) will join the Sierra Club during an exciting time of existential evolution and transformation. The Deputy CAO, MG must have a deep personal commitment to, and understanding of, equity, inclusion, and justice, and use that as a frame for major gift fundraising. As a member of the Advancement Leadership Team, the Deputy CAO, MG is responsible for developing and implementing major gift fundraising strategies to meet annual budgetary needs, and growing fundraising revenue through our comprehensive fundraising campaign – Sierra Club 2030 (currently in year three) to support the organization’s top priorities. Reporting to the Chief Advancement Officer, the Deputy CAO, MG will lead a talented team of 20+ staff—comprising gift officers, grant-writers, and prospect researchers—based around the country and responsible for raising both unrestricted/broadly restricted funding and restricted funding from individual donors and foundations giving at five-, six-, and seven-figure levels, annually. In all, this team is responsible for generating $60+ million dollars annually.

The Deputy CAO, MG will have experience managing diverse and complex teams through levels of management and the skills to grow and diversify this funding stream to support the progressive vision of the Sierra Club. They will develop sophisticated engagement strategies for major and principal level givers, conduct cultivation and solicitation meetings with a limited high-impact portfolio, and successfully engage the Executive Director and senior leaders as needed. The Deputy CAO, MG will promote a strong culture of philanthropy and foster a best-in-class and inclusive work environment for the major gifts team through focused attention on fundraising best practices, defining strategic priorities, and optimizing fundraising operations in the context of the Sierra Club’s commitment to equity and justice. Working in collaboration with key stakeholders in Program, Campaigns, the Sierra Club Foundation, as well as the Advancement Leadership Team, the Deputy CAO, MG will use the power of persuasive storytelling to shape program case statements, grant proposal narratives, and other relevant external-facing materials.

This is a full-time, exempt position, ideally based in our Oakland or Washington, D.C offices or Remote.

Job activities include but are not limited to:

  1. Provides world-class leadership to all aspects of the major gift team’s $60+ million revenue goal, including development, implementation, tracking, and regular reporting to staff, senior management team, and the boards of directors.
  2. Coaches and develops fundraisers committed to growing and diversifying our support base and developing a clear vision and fundraising plan to meet the long-term needs of the organization.
  3. Mentors and manages staff fostering a culture of collaboration, continuous learning and commitment to our organizational values which include equity, justice and anti-racism principles, by setting and modeling effective leadership practices, providing regular feedback, and supporting career development opportunities.
  4. Personally manages a limited portfolio of major and principal gift funders via sophisticated personal solicitations.
  5. Orchestrates funder engagement for the Executive Director, including high profile meetings with stakeholders, creating strategic solicitation strategies, and writing and compiling briefing materials.
  6. Oversees management and successful execution of Sierra Club’s five-year $1B comprehensive fundraising campaign, now in its third year. Works with Executive Director, CAO, and lead consultant to engage and grow the leadership committee, hit key fundraising targets and partner with the Advancement Leadership Team on the public phase of the campaign.
  7. In collaboration with the Senior Director of Chapter Fundraising, consults on major gift fundraising activities related to the work of Chapter staff, regional staff, and Chapter leadership.
  8. Partners with the Senior Management Team, Development managers, Board of Directors, and programmatic staff to cultivate a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization, including deploying organizational leaders in high-level fundraising efforts, as needed.
  9. Oversees the development, testing, and implementation of new and creative fundraising programs to attract new supporters and upgrade current funders to the mid-level and major level.
  10. Oversees prospect research team and provides guidance on systems to track and cultivate funders and prospects, utilizing our database (Salesforce) and wealth screening tools.
  11. Plans, monitors, and updates budgetary resources for the Major Gifts team and ensures sound fiscal management of expenses. Evaluates and coordinates resources needed to meet organizational priorities in collaboration with the CAO and Advancement Leadership Team.

The successful candidate must have the following mindset, skills and experience:

  • Mission & Values Alignment: A passion for the Sierra Club’s commitment to environmental and social justice. Understanding of and commitment to progressive environmental politics, social justice, and the Sierra Club’s mission.
  • Expertise & Leadership in an Advancement/Development/Fundraising Function: Exemplary track record directing a comprehensive, complex advancement team, including demonstrated results across functions, geographies, and/or affiliates. Knowledgeable about the full scope of fundraising activities at all levels of donation with demonstrated success soliciting $1,000,000+ contributions directly and as a manager of other fundraisers. Deep understanding of anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices in fundraising.
  • Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Leadership: Understands the connections between power, racial, sexual, economic, and gender inequity and its intersection with climate justice. Has experience operationalizing equity within a fundraising team, and setting an equity and justice rooted strategy for advancement.
  • Team Leadership: Substantial management experience and demonstrated ability to establish, lead, and drive objectives – particularly in a highly dynamic and evolving environment. Demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of how race and gender dynamics impact supervisory relationships, organizational culture, partnerships, campaigns and coalition work, and can demonstrate a history of successfully intervening in problematic dynamics and deepening a racial justice approach within an organization, team, or campaign.
  • Communication & Relationship Building: An emotionally intelligent, values- and results-driven leader who can positively influence staff and collaborate across departments and at all levels of the organization, and provide feedback and coaching to support the achievement of complex goals. Highly skilled communicator, both individually and in large audiences or public communications.

Nice to Have:

  • Experience working at a national federated non-profit organization.
  • Experience working in a unionized environment.
  • Demonstrated success raising C4, PAC and/or SUPER-PAC contributions from major donors.
Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $200,000-$225,000 if Salary Region 1 (e.g.; Oakland, CA or Washington, DC)

The Sierra Club offers a competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include paid time off, medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan.

This is a category 2 exempt, non-represented, confidential and managerial position.

Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. Sierra Club employees are not eligible to participate in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

Sierra Club values the expertise and talents of foreign nationals. Sierra Club sponsors both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas when certain criteria are met, based on immigration laws and organizational needs. Such sponsorship is at the discretion of the Department Head and Sierra Club Human Resources in consultation with the employee’s manager. The Sierra Club cannot guarantee the approval of a visa petition.

The Sierra Club is an equal opportunity employer committed to workforce diversity.

To Apply

Applications will only be accepted through Sierra Club’s careers portal, Taleo, located on the Sierra Club website.

This position does not have an undergraduate education requirement. If you choose to include your education history, please remove your schools from your resume. You may leave your degree (e.g., “B.A. Philosophy”), but please remove any undergraduate and graduate school names.

This anonymous process is aimed at opening this opportunity to more candidates, reviewing applicants on performance assessments and mitigating bias in the decision-making process.

We are intentionally not asking for a cover letter, so please do not send one in with your application.

Sierra Club has retained the Diversified Search Group to assist in this confidential search process. Managing Director Gerard F. Cattie, Jr. is leading the search. Inquiries and nominations should be directed via email to

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