Job Listings

Principal Gifts Officer

Cornell University
Job Location:
New York City, New York
Development and Fundraising

Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.

Cornell requires that all faculty and staff members, regardless of their work location, disclose their vaccination status, and provide proof of vaccination if vaccinated, immediately upon hire.

Cornell University, a nationally ranked Ivy League institution, is looking for a Principal Gifts Officer to join the Alumni Affairs & Development division in our NYC based office. The Principal Gifts Officer is a senior development officer assigned to the highest-level development prospects in the Division of Alumni Affairs and Development. They will manage 25-35 principal gifts prospects who are defined as having the capacity to give $10 million or more within the next 5 years.

This position offers an opportunity to work with a best-in-class, donor-centric, and innovative Principal Gifts fundraising team consisting of approximately 20 experienced professionals. Collectively, the team manages more than 300 individuals/families with giving capacity exceeding $10M and interests across the range of colleges and disciplines at Cornell and at Cornell Tech in New York City.

Cornell provides exceptional benefits that include professional development, wellness programs, health care options, generous paid leave provisions, 12 holidays, employee education options, a retirement program, and Children's Tuition Assistance. Cornell receives national recognition, as an award-winning workplace for our health, wellbeing, sustainability, and diversity initiatives.

Key Responsibilities

This position is concerned with strategy development as well as staff support, planning, coordination, implementation and evaluation of initiatives for the individuals assigned to this prospect pool. The position will conceptualize, establish, and execute a principal gifts level friends fundraising program through studying best practice and industry techniques. The Principal Gifts Officer will set short- and long-term strategies and develop initiatives to advance each prospect's meaningful connection to the university so as to set the stage for solicitation in accordance with the university's priorities. They will participate in the assessment of a prospect's readiness for solicitation and in the development of the various tasks and activities associated with the solicitation, such as, coordination and execution of fundraising initiatives as well as gift proposal development. The officer will also be responsible for ensuring appropriate stewardship, coordinating with offices throughout the university as needed. Whenever appropriate, the principal gifts officer will develop his or her own relationships with assigned prospects. In addition, the individual in this position will be responsible for providing logistical support to deans, executive staff and high-level volunteers for the management.


  • Bachelor's degree and more than 10 years relevant experience or equivalent combination.

  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically about moving individuals across the spectrum of prospect development, culminating in significant solicitations appropriate to the donor as well as institutional priorities.

  • A keen sensitivity to human relations, with the ability to work with individuals from across the university, as well as with key alumni, volunteers and executive staff.

  • Strong analytical skills with a demonstrated ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.

  • Demonstrated ability to work independently with little supervision, make decisions and exercise strong judgment within a complex university environment.

  • Well-organized and extremely detail-oriented.

  • Knowledge of or ability to learn and understand the university s priorities and accounting and financial process is required.

Preferred Qualifications

Seven to ten years of practical fundraising experience, preferably in higher education fundraising or volunteer management is preferred. Understanding of the concepts and principles of nurturing fundraising, campaign and/or project fundraising and speculative fundraising is beneficial. Some proficiency with computer software applications, databases, informational systems and the internet is beneficial. Experience planning and coordinating business trips and special events would be beneficial.

University Job Title:

Principal Gifts Ofcr

Job Family:

Alumni Affairs Development



Pay Rate Type:




Contact Name:

Seraphinah Qureshi

Number of Openings:


Job Titles and Pay Ranges:

To learn more about Cornell's non-union staff job titles and pay ranges, see Career Navigator. The final rate of pay for the successful candidate will be determined considering the following criteria:

  • Prior relevant work or industry experience.

  • Education level to the extent education is relevant to the position.

  • Unique applicable skills.

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For general questions about the position or the application process, please contact the Recruiter listed in the job posting.

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EEO Statement:

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University's heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.

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