Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement

Northern Arizona University
Arizona, United States
Salary Not Specified
Oct 20, 2020
Employment Type
Full Time
Workplace Culture

NAU is a community devoted to student success and sustained by an unshakable commitment to our shared mission, vision, and values. We—faculty, staff, and administrators—thrive by combining our efforts and working side by side to further NAU’s culture of excellence.

HR website .

Job Description

NAU seeks an entrepreneurial, innovative, and collaborative leader to serve as Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Engagement and Executive Director of the NAU Foundation. The successful candidate will have significant and successful prior experience developing, implementing, and managing the overall integration of highly successful Advancement and Alumni staff, as well as managing an institutionally related foundation. This is an exciting time for a new Vice President, as NAU plans for its most ambitious campaign. While the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the launch of a new comprehensive campaign, the incoming VP AAE will be expected to develop and lead this effort, with a proposed goal of $200 million that has the opportunity to take the university to the next level, truly building the program rather than simply fine-tuning it. The new Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Engagement has a unique opportunity to build on a strong Advancement team and drive an already well-established institution, which has made significant strides on all fronts in the last several years, to a sustained position of excellence as a Top 200 Research Institution that is perennially ranked by US News and World Report as a “Best College.”

The NAUF offers an extraordinary opportunity for the Executive Director of the Foundation to recruit and enhance a well-established and evolving Board of Directors. Working with this highly committed group to move the campaign forward and managing the growing endowment will be an integral part of the candidate’s success.

The Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Engagement and Executive Director of the NAU Foundation will be responsible for the following:

  • provide hands-on, visionary leadership for the Advancement and Alumni Engagement team;
  • establish systems and operational excellence to engage the team and drive outstanding performance to achieve goals;
  • serve as a strategic leader and Chief Fundraising Officer to develop and successfully lead NAU’s multi-year, multi-million-dollar capital campaign;
  • lead the transformation and growth of the Alumni Board, including operations management, budget leadership, and metrics to enhance national outreach of Alumni and Friends of NAU;
  • ensure all Advancement units and support functions are integrated and coordinated effectively in support of the university’s priorities and mission;
  • continuously increase fundraising through progressive initiatives in major gifts, capital support, annual giving, project and special event programs, planned giving, and alumni giving;
  • effectively manage the Foundation Board’s charter, including effective management of the endowment fund, Board succession planning, and all pertinent day-to-day Board operations;
  • develop and manage a multi-unit budget and effectively manage financial resources;
  • interact closely with the President, and other leaders, inside and outside of the organization, focusing on the alignment of key donors’ philanthropic objectives with the university’s vision, strategies, and operational plans;
  • support the President’s development activities, managing engagement of prospects for major university priorities, providing research, and conferring on strategies;
  • engage as part of the President’s core leadership team and participate as a member in the President’s Cabinet to effectively promote and achieve the university’s priorities and mission;
  • develop and lead the comprehensive advancement strategies toward fulfillment of the university’s priorities;
  • maintain collaborative partnerships with academic affairs, enrollment management, athletics, student affairs, finance, marketing and communications, and other campus units whose active participation and engagement is essential to an effective development program;
  • work closely with marketing and communications to employ communication and social media strategies to maintain a strong online and print presence to engage current and potential donors;
  • manage a portfolio of leadership gift prospects, developing and executing strategies directed toward a leadership gift solicitation for prospects and donors, managing the direction, and leveraging the maximum philanthropic potential of each prospect;
  • develop personal relationships with key stakeholders and high-net-worth benefactors and potential donors;
  • serve as exemplary advocate for NAU in building external relationships that closely link the community with the university; and
  • demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity and broad-based access to higher education.

Minimum Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree is required for this position along with at least ten years of senior leadership experience.

Preferred Qualifications

Significant progressive experience in non-profit fundraising at the principal or leadership gift level is preferred, as is a graduate degree.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities

The successful candidate for the position of Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Engagement and Executive Director of the NAU Foundation should have the following qualifications and qualities:

  • a strong understanding of executive level skills in strategic planning and implementation of advancement priorities with effective operations and performance management;
  • strong leadership and communication skills that demonstrate the ability to coach and develop staff to enhance excellent fundraising and operational performance;
  • proven success in identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gift prospects through stewarding, maintaining, and leveraging professional relationships with high-net-worth individuals;
  • demonstrated success in consistently securing philanthropic investments at the leadership ($1M+) level;
  • knowledge of the legal requirements and best practices of fundraising stewardship with donors and the ability to apply them in innovative ways;
  • a highly flexible nature, sophisticated and professional demeanor, and the ability to think quickly and react effectively to unanticipated circumstances, opportunities, and complex situations;
  • demonstrated success and the desire to work in a collaborative, team-based environment;
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
  • an ability to navigate complex environments with evolving priorities and communication plans;
  • an ability and willingness to travel and work a flexible schedule when required;
  • an ability to apply innovative approaches to the university’s development and institutional goals through fundraising practices and systems;
  • proven experience working with diverse constituencies, high-level volunteers, and senior leadership;
  • demonstrated experience leading complex organizational operations and effectively building and deploying teams;
  • a demonstrated record of results-oriented action and leadership;
  • a demonstrated ability to assess fundraising performance and implement strategies for improvement;
  • a proven track record of cultivating highly engaged alumni, university friends, and donors; and
  • experience in community involvement and institutional representation on community boards and organizations.

General Information

Northern Arizona University (NAU) seeks a dynamic, metrics-driven, results-oriented fundraising and operations leader to serve as Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Engagement (VP AAE) and Executive Director of the NAU Foundation (NAUF). This leader will be responsible for the success of Advancement operations and the development of a team of fifty talented Advancement and Alumni Engagement professionals. The successful candidate will also be responsible for progressive leadership of the Alumni Association Board, whose growing role is to significantly increase constituent involvement and financial support for NAU among its more than 200,000 living alumni. Over the next several years, the VP AAE will develop and lead a multi-million-dollar campaign. Additionally, as Executive Director of a large, institutionally-related foundation, this individual will be responsible for leading the NAUF Board, which has more than thirty-five members and an endowment of over $185M.

Founded in 1899, NAU is a public university centered on students. Its academic programs, research, public service, and creative endeavors enrich lives and create opportunities in Arizona and beyond. NAU develops solutions to challenges and drives innovation in a supportive, inclusive, and diverse environment. NAU is built on a student-first foundation—this was true when it opened its doors more than 100 years ago, and it is true today. NAU’s traditions and values of the past inform its present and help it shape the future.

Over the past decade, NAU has seen tremendous growth in its student population, research agenda, and academic programming. New construction has enhanced a large portion of the 740-acre Flagstaff campus, increasing access and affordability for students across Arizona. Today, NAU serves 31,000 students across 20-plus statewide locations and online. NAU offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, all distinguished by an ongoing commitment to close student-faculty relationships and rigorous academic quality. Seven academic colleges provide increased options for fundraising. In addition, the Alumni Engagement team is paving the way for greater outreach in the future across all areas of the institution.

Flagstaff is a growing and supportive partner with the university and offers an environment that is highly appealing to those who appreciate the outdoors, culture, and a highly educated populace. Flagstaff’s natural beauty compliments the area’s economic vitality and calls to those who want a big campus feel with a small town atmosphere. The warm and welcoming personality of the city and the university presents a wonderful lifestyle choice for many. With Phoenix only two hours away, NAU offers a wide range of opportunities. The university is committed to a diverse and civil working and learning environment. For information about diversity, access and equity at NAU, For information about diversity, access and equity at NAU, see the Center for University Access and Inclusion webpage .

Background Information

This position has been identified as a safety/security sensitive position. Therefore, per AZ Revised Statute, Northern Arizona University requires satisfactory results for the following: a criminal background investigation, employment history investigation, degree verification (in some cases) and fingerprinting.

Additionally, as an employer in the state of Arizona, NAU is required to participate in the federal E-Verify program that assists employers with verifying new employees' right to work in the United States.

Finally, each year the Northern Arizona University Police Department releases an annual security report. The report is a result of the federal law known as the Clery Act and contains policy statements that address the school’s policies, procedures and programs concerning safety and security including policies for responding to emergency situations and sexual offenses. The report contains three years of data for Clery reportable crime statistics for the campus along with the most current year’s Fire Safety Report, which includes policy statements and fire statistics for Flagstaff on-campus student housing.

The report may be viewed at or by visiting the NAUPD website at: . A printed copy of the report is available upon request by contacting the NAU Police Department, Records Department at (928)523-8884 or by visiting the department at Building 98A on the NAU Mountain Campus.


Commensurate with experience.


This is an Administrator (ADM) position. NAU offers an excellent benefit package including generous health, dental and vision insurance; participation in the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) or the Optional Retirement Program (ORP); 22 days of vacation and 10 holidays per year; and tuition reduction for employees and qualified family members. More information on benefits at NAU is available at

NAU is a tobacco and smoke-free campus.

Administrators are hired on a contract basis renewable each 6 months according to terms of the Conditions of Administrative Service:

Employees offered a position will be eligible for state health plans (including NAU's BCBS Plan). Employees will have 31 days from date of hire to enroll in benefits, and their benefits will then be effective the first day of the pay period following their completed enrollment.

If a new employee chooses the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) retirement option, participation in the ASRS Plan (and the long-term disability coverage that accompanies it) will begin on the first of the pay period following 183 days of employment. New employees who choose to participate in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP; an alternative to the ASRS plan) will begin to participate on the first day of employment. The long-term disability plan that accompanies the ORP will begin on the first day of the pay period following 90 days of employment. More information about NAU benefits is available at

Submission Deadline

Open until filled.

How to Apply

The Aspen Leadership Group is proud to partner with Northern Arizona University in the search for a Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Engagement and Executive Director of the NAU Foundation. Applications will be collected by Aspen Leadership Group.

All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter and résumé. Before submitting your materials, please read them over for accuracy. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the successful candidate has been selected.

To apply for this position, visit: .

To nominate a candidate, please contact Don Hasseltine: .

FLSA Status

This position is exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore will not earn overtime or compensatory time for additional time worked.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Northern Arizona University is a committed Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NAU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

EEO is the Law Poster and Supplements

NAU is an Employer of National Service. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other National Service alumni are encouraged to apply.

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