Major Giving Specialist


Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. is seeking a Major Giving Specialist to join our Development Team. For over 40 years, we have been providing civil legal services to the poor, elderly, and people with disabilities. Prairie State Legal Services is a 501(c)(3) with an annual budget of over $18M, largely funded by federal and state grants. We currently generate approximately 7% of our funding through charitable giving, and seek to significantly increase this percentage through active efforts to increase private support.


Prairie State Legal Services’ first Major Giving Specialist will report to the Director of Development and will be primarily responsible for developing strategies for the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors with a special focus on four and five figure gifts to support the mission of Prairie State Legal Services and its ongoing programs. This position will have direct impact on the organization’s reputation among donors, sponsors and clients, as well as will impact the financial and operational performance of the organization. Travel throughout Prairie State’s 36-county service area and evening/weekend work may be necessary. While Prairie State’s Administrative Office is located in Rockford, the position could be located anywhere in Prairie State’s service area (please see for Prairie State’s locations).

The Major Giving Specialist’s duties will include:

  • Overseeing a portfolio of approximately 150-200 donors and prospects
  • Participating in each step of the donor pipeline including: identification, qualification through research, cultivation, briefing, request for support and prompt follow up, stewardship, and recognition
  • Soliciting sponsors for PSLS’ major mail and email campaigns, including but not limited to the spring Lawyers for Justice campaign, #GivingTuesday, and the year-end appeal
  • Working with managing attorneys, board members, and the Executive Director to schedule meetings with major donors
  • Developing individual donor strategies, along with materials, to renew and upgrade donor gifts
  • Collaborating with the Annual Giving Specialist, local staff, and local fundraising committees to enhance relationships and create greater fundraising and outreach opportunities
  • Providing fundraising training for local committees and staff
  • Participating in departmental portfolio review process and maintaining an organized system for donor stewardship by updating constituent records and project management tools as appropriate
  • Assisting in creating the case for support, special giving opportunities and related tools (for local efforts)
  • Drafting and coordinating annual mail and email solicitations
  • Overseeing acquisition efforts for new donors
  • Building relationships with local donors, including new donors
  • Coordinating special event with local committees
  • Coordinating and promoting staff and board giving efforts on the local level
  • Community/local business/corporate fundraising: research, relationship-building, tailored solicitations
  • Analyzing and evaluating local gift information and fundraising strategies
  • Applying for local foundation grants


  • Bachelor’s degree required (graduate degree preferred)
  • Demonstrated experience, success, and progressive responsibility in fundraising with a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience working with major donors preferred
  • Ability to set goals strategically and oversee execution
  • High level of discretion and ethical approach to fundraising
  • Experience motivating and managing high-profile volunteer leadership and senior executives
  • Ability to work cross-functionally with various internal and external constituents
  • Ability to organize and complete multiple tasks simultaneously with close attention to detail and prioritization to meet deadlines
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills
  • Understanding of and experience working within the legal community preferred
  • Demonstrated success meeting fundraising goals
  • Strong leadership, organizational and communications skills, including strong writing skills
  • Proven ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with board members, volunteers, donors and staff
  • Proficiencies in fundraising software and information management, preferably Raiser’s Edge NXT
  • Ability to travel throughout the northern and central Illinois service area
  • A solid understanding of and commitment to the mission and philosophy of Prairie State

Salary and Benefits

The Major Giving Specialist position is a full-time position at 37.5 hours per week and will be located in the office that best suits the chosen candidate. Our Major Giving Specialist salary scale starts at $50,000 for candidates who meet the minimum qualifications, and increases with each year of relevant experience. PSLS is committed to providing an excellent, comprehensive benefits package to its full-time employees that includes:

  • Health insurance, including the opportunity to qualify for a wellness credit
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • 403b retirement plan including employer contributions
  • Extensive training and education program
  • PTO that starts at 3 weeks/year and increases with additional years worked at PSLS
  • Paid sick leave
  • 6 weeks of paid parental leave after one year of employment
  • 12 paid holidays

Application Details

Please indicate “Major Giving Specialist” in the subject line and e-mail a cover letter explaining your interest and experience, resume, and three references to [email protected] The Administrative Office is located in Rockford, Illinois, but this position may be based out of one of our other offices. A list of office locations and areas served is available at please include your office preference.  Resumes accepted until position is filled.

Prairie State Legal Services is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive working environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We recruit, employ, pay, and promote qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, expression, or presentation, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or any other legally protected status.

The Organization

Prairie State Legal Services is a not for profit civil legal aid organization that serves northern and central Illinois, maintains 11 office locations, and has a staff of nearly 200 employees including training and litigation staff with extensive experience. Our 36 county service area includes rural communities, suburban areas, and mid-size urban cities which necessitates the development of diverse strategies and we encourage our staff to cultivate and utilize creative approaches to reach and serve our client population. Employees of PSLS benefit from the expertise and community connections of their local office staff along with robust program-wide resources. We strive to provide an array of services responsive to the needs of our clients and therefore have developed several specialized projects and maintain one of the most productive pro bono programs in the nation. PSLS has excellent fiscal controls and upholds the highest rating from Charity Navigator and Guidestar. For more information regarding PSLS services and operations, please visit our website at



Posted on

September 9, 2022