Paschal•Murray Tapped by Lowell Observatory to Find Major Gifts Officer

March 20, 2019 – Major gifts officers are among the most vital roles for educational institutions. The position involves identifying potential donors, cultivating relationships and, above all, garnering much-needed contributions from key supporters.

Recruitment firms that can find the right person for this top-level fundraising position are much-valued partners of not-for-profits everywhere. And for recruiters, the business of finding major gift officers is booming.

Recently, executive search firm Paschal•Murray was retained by Lowell Observatory to lead in its search for a new major gifts officer. Collette Murray, the recruitment firm’s CEO, is leading the assignment.

“The major gift officer is responsible for increasing overall giving to Lowell Observatory and the Lowell Observatory Foundation through the utilization of the development process to create and maintain positive relationships between major donors and the observatory, resulting in a wide variety of significant gifts,” said the search firm.

The position is newly created to assist with the advanced number of prospects that have been identified. The individual will routinely identify, qualify, cultivate, solicit and steward gifts from new donor prospects.

Paschal•Murray said that the ideal candidate will be energetic and have a passion for science and attractive experiences working with a wide variety of people, and bring skillful techniques to build those relationships. “Candidates should be outgoing, personable, and enthusiastic with excellent public speaking and interpersonal skills—as well as a track record of closing major and/or planned gifts,” the search firm said. “The position will require significant travel meeting new donors as well as long term donors committed to the scientific and educational work done at the observatory.”

In addition, the ability to work in a team atmosphere and perform duties in a positive manner is essential to the success of this position and to the development team. “As evidence of team work, the successful candidate is expected to be highly organized and diligent in record keeping that would enhance shared communications relative to donor cultivation details,” Paschal•Murray said.


Aspen Leadership Group Seeks Major Gifts Officer for Ithaca College
Aspen, CO-based search firm Aspen Leadership Group was selected by Ithaca College to lead its efforts to find a new major gifts officer. Principal and founder partner Ron Schiller is heading the assignment. 


Lowell Observatory is a private, non-profit, research institution founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell. Its mission is to pursue the study of astronomy, especially the study of the solar system and its evolution; to conduct pure research in astronomical phenomena; and to maintain quality public education and outreach programs to bring the results of astronomical research to the general public.

Fundraising-Focused Veterans

Established in 1978, Paschal•Murray is focused on the recruitment of fundraising professionals for non-profit organization. Ms. Murray has a professional record of over 35 years in senior-level advancement at major education and health institutions throughout the U.S. She started her advancement career as executive director of the Cal Alumni Association.

Ms. Murray has served as senior advancement executive at UC Santa Cruz, University of Louisville, Texas Tech University, Henry Ford Health System and Sharp HealthCare. Her administrative responsibilities for these organizations have primarily included fundraising and alumni affairs. As CEO of Paschal•Murray, Ms. Murray oversees a highly regarded and varied staff of professionals and support personnel.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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