Job: Donor Relations Manager

Science Friday is looking for a resourceful Donor Relations Manager to cultivate donors and grow our stewardship and legacy giving programs.

This position serves a critical role in donor engagement and stewardship at Science Friday. The Donor Relations Manager reports directly to the Executive Director and is responsible for specialized donor cultivation and growing the stewardship and legacy giving programs at Science Friday. Supported by a larger fundraising team of three, this role focuses on interacting with Science Friday donor communities through excellent and regular communication, special engagement and events, and personalized efforts to inspire philanthropic support and facilitate increased donor satisfaction. The ideal candidate enjoys people, is a strategic thinker, capable of working alone as well as in collaboration, is passionate about science and learning, and is comfortable hosting events.


  • Establish a pipeline for growth of major donors for Science Friday.
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of 100 donor relationships with giving capacities of $500 or more.
  • Work in concert with the Individual Giving Manager to develop and deliver impactful donor solicitations, events, and reporting that cultivates and stewards prospective and existing donors.
  • Work with our Individual Giving Manager to identify new prospects for stewardship.
  • Draft and edit donor communications for the Executive Director and Executive Producer as needed.
  • Devise strategies for donor retention, facilitating successful implementation of donor benefits.
  • Assess donor relations opportunities and track donor relations trends. Recommend improvements based on findings.
  • Traveling with the Executive Director, Host, Board Members or solo to meet with donors and/or host donor events.
  • Launch a planning giving program; stewarding existing donors into legacy giving at Science Friday.
  • Support, edit, and author Science Friday’s Major Giving newsletter.
  • Work with the Audience team to develop assets to support donor engagement.
  • Work with the Audience team to track success and engagement of all donor activities including donation campaigns, donor experiences, and solicitations; incorporating data information into future fundraising efforts.
  • Establish clear metrics and benchmarks for fundraising and donor engagement, evaluating campaign success and report findings at production meetings, all-staff meetings, and Board meetings.
  • In collaboration with our social and engagement staff, track audience comments for donor profiles and donor communication.
  • Follow fundraising best practices for fundraising and development, refining existing systems and making recommendations in regards to donor prospecting, data keeping, and analysis.
  • Upkeep of organization records and status n systems like GuideStar and Charity Navigator.
  • Collaborate with our Executive Director, fundraising colleagues, and our program leads (digital, radio, education, and events) to create compelling campaigns and strategies that appeal to both donors and general audiences.
  • Advocate for, and creatively implement campaigns for new and emerging donors using a variety of giving tools and platforms.
  • In collaboration with other program teams, develop questions that invite our donors to actively shape and inform our coverage.
  • Assist Individual Giving Manager with gift entry and donor acknowledgements.
  • Assist the Controller with Quickbooks donation reconciliation.
  • Attend and participate in workshops and conferences to stay updated on the rapidly advancing landscape of fundraising trends and practices.

Required Skills

  • Minimum three years experience as a front-line fundraiser, in particular working with major gifts and/or planned giving.
  • Comfort and demonstrated experience with making direct monetary asks of individuals in intimate settings.
  • Advanced written communication and storytelling skills, including the ability to write and edit letters and reports.
  • Demonstrated ability to craft effective and personalized solicitations, translating editorial content into compelling donor storytelling.
  • Ability to measure impact and articulate fundraising progress to multiple stakeholders.
  • A proven record of meeting and exceeding fundraising goals.
  • High emotional intelligence, a background in relationship management, and strong intuition for people.
  • A high level of discretion and diplomacy, excellent judgement, and comfort working with confidential and sensitive information.
  • A desire to work in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment.
  • Masterful relationship and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated experience crafting original and compelling donor solicitations engagements.
  • Strong attention to detail and commitment to accuracy.
  • Comfort with public speaking, video conferencing and webinar hosting proficiency with the ability to craft presentations and effectively present information to various stakeholders.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule with occasional evenings and/or weekends as needed.
  • Proficient in MS Office Suite, Google docs and web based relational databases (e.g. Salesforce, EveryAction) and prospect software iWave.

Preferred Skills

  • Ability to connect with a large variety of people on a range of topics and interests with enthusiasm, empathy, and kindness.
  • Willingness to travel for overnight trips.
  • People who love science or public media are very strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Strong time management skills, eye for creativity, and great attention to detail.
  • Familiarity with Asana, Canva, Airtable, Notion, iWave and other communication, project management, or donor tools.

Education: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.

How To Apply: Apply here. Candidates must include both a resume and cover letter.

Deadline: This is an immediate vacancy. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Candidates should be prepared to participate in multiple interviews.

Salary Range: $75,000-$85,000

Additional Information

This is a full-time role that includes benefits. Science Friday offers competitive compensation with medical, dental, and vision insurance, and generous time off benefits including vacation, and sick time and parental leave.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Science Friday (and this role) is operating in a hybrid capacity where all employees can work remotely or from our New York City office. However, this position has been classified as a flexible remote position and can be deemed permanently remote or alternatively from the New York office as desired.

Commitment To Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Science Friday is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  SciFri operates with the knowledge that journalism, science, and learning benefit from a broad range of perspectives, from all backgrounds. Diversity is essential to honest, trustworthy, accurate storytelling and promotes a healthier, happier, and more creative atmosphere. Science Friday strives for creating an institution in which all voices are encouraged, valued, and heard.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.

About Our Workplace

  • We have a flexible leave policy that easily accommodates religious holidays, travel vacation, personal and parental leave, and sick days. We close our offices twice a year for a week for whole-staff recharge time (Mid-year in July and in December for a Winter break). We do not work on Thanksgiving or the Friday after.
  • Our building has a secure lobby with a fully handicap accessible entrance and key card elevator service. We have a flexible open office with adjustable standing desks, adjustable chairs, and large external monitors; our office also includes a small recording studio, lounge area, and a handful of flexible separate offices and conference rooms. 
  • We use headphones a lot during the work day. We are really into office plants. 
  • We provide 401K matching, health, vision, and dental coverage, mental health support, an FSA, and often get great science and scifi books to read for free.