Development Officer, Institutional Giving

Mersky, Jaffe & Associates, a national executive search and consulting firm, has been engaged to conduct a search for a Development Officer, Institutional Giving for YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (YIVO) in New York City.


Founded in Berlin and Wilno, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1925 as the Yiddish Scientific Institute, YIVO’s mission is to preserve, study, share and perpetuate knowledge of the history and culture of East European Jewry worldwide.

Forced to relocate to New York City in 1940 due to World War II, YIVO is the only prewar Jewish archives and library to have survived the Holocaust. The YIVO Archives contains over 24 million items, from sound and music, theater and art, communal, photographs and films, manuscripts, diaries, memoirs, and personal correspondence, and a library containing over 400,000 books. YIVO’s world-renowned archives and library represent the single largest and most comprehensive collection of materials on East European Jewish civilization in the world and receives upwards of 5,000 on-site visits, email, and phone requests annually. Additionally, YIVO’s websites draws over a half-million unique visitors a year.

YIVO offers over 50 public programs a year, both online and in-person; educational courses – from the oldest intensive Yiddish summer program in the world to the YIVO-Bard Program on Ashkenazi Civilization – all of which explore how Jewish history and culture continue to shape our lives.

Position Overview:

Reporting to the Chief Development Officer, the Development Officer, Institutional Giving, will work collaboratively with the development team, as well as senior colleagues of YIVO, with the primary focus being securing foundation, corporate and government grants.

Essential responsibilities and duties:

  • Devise and implement strategies to expand, acquire, renew and upgrade YIVO’s pipeline to support both unrestricted and special projects.
  • Lead on writing, editing and copy editing of foundations and major donor materials, including proposals, letters of inquiry, concept notes, grant reports, progress updates, and other related written materials.
  • Participate in identification and cultivation of donor prospects.
  • Maintain familiarity and understanding of YIVO’s work, goals, and priorities.

The ideal candidate will be

  • A self-starter, who is able to work with minimum supervision, with proven abilities to secure high-level gifts/grants.
  • Detailed-oriented, ambitious, and motivated with a strong work ethic and who values a results driven and highly collaborative work environment.
  • Someone who demonstrates the ability to present the mission convincingly and professionally and who engages, inspires, and generates enthusiasm among prospects.
  • Determined and decisive, exhibiting sound judgement.
  • Willing to work evenings and some weekends.


  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • 3-5 years of successful fundraising experience within a Jewish communal, higher education or nonprofit setting.
  • Demonstrated experience, success, and progressive responsibility in fundraising.
  • Excellent computer skills; proficient in Microsoft Office, Raiser’s Edge and other relevant programs, databases, and reporting systems.

Salary & Benefits:

Salary offered is $100,000 plus benefits which include the following: Healthcare (Medical, dental, and vision), 10 days of vacation plus federal and Jewish holidays, 12 sick days and 2 personal days. 4% employer contribution to retirement fund, Life insurance, transit checks, disability insurance and flexible spending are also included.

Mersky, Jaffe & Associates is proud of its association with YIVO to be conducting the search for its Development Officer, Institutional Giving. If you, or someone you know, might be a suitable candidate for this position, please forward, in confidence, the person’s name, cover letter, resume, salary requirements and contact information to Lori Fodale at