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Director of Development

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, Inc.
North Carolina, United States
$90,000.00 - $110,000.00
Closing date
Aug 23, 2021

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Position Type
Jobs Outside Academe, Non-profit & Government Organizations
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Job Details


Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society (“Sigma Xi” or “The Society”) is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Our mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Nearly 30,000 scientists are active as Sigma Xi members and connected to hundreds of chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel laureates have been members. Sigma Xi is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, with Development staff also located in Washington, DC.

This is an exciting time to join Sigma Xi. Our executive director, CEO, and Publisher of American Scientist was appointed to lead the Society in 2017. In 2020, the Board of Directors approved Sigma Xi’s 2020-2025 strategic plan. In 2021, the senior leadership team approved a set of priorities for philanthropy. The Board is engaging in structured dialogue about its role in advancing the Sigma Xi mission through philanthropy today and in the future. Incremental investments in Development during the past five years – such as in data analysis by Donor Search, a discovery initiative to engage and qualify new prospective donors, thoughtful cultivation of high-net-worth individuals and foundations, a Development marketing and communications assessment, donor events piloted in various regions and formats, and philanthropy goal-setting rooted in pipeline analysis – have positioned Sigma Xi to enter a new phase of Development growth.

Sigma Xi is enthusiastic and ready to hire a Director of Development qualified and motivated to lead a phase of systematic Development execution and growth. Sigma Xi seeks an ambitious and experienced builder and leader who is ready to take the Development function and philanthropic revenue to new heights, guided by a donor-centric philosophy. 


The Director of Development’s primary role is to lead and direct Sigma Xi’s Development function – including planning, organizing, and directing all fundraising – toward driving significant growth in philanthropic revenue over the next decade.

In partnership with the Board of Directors and the Executive Director, the Director of Development will build Sigma Xi’s Development capacity over a multi-year period and will drive growth of contributed revenue streams including individual major giving, planned giving, institutional giving (foundation, corporate), and digital/community giving – incorporating segmented donor communications and a program of donor relations and stewardship.

The Director of Development will build a Development team that can, in collaboration with board, staff, and volunteers, raise $3.6 million over the next three years, and sustainably generate a minimum of $1.6 million annually thereafter, in support of Sigma Xi’s priorities for philanthropy and core operations, with further long-term growth potential.

The Director of Development will be donor facing and will be expected to discover, qualify, cultivate, engage, solicit, and steward donors, toward strengthening their lifelong relationships with and commitments to Sigma Xi. The Director of Development role also requires experience managing development operations, including CRM management, budget building, and gift processing.

As a member of the senior leadership team, the Director of Development is expected to be a proven and effective fundraising professional and an excellent organizational representative and leader. Externally, the Director of Development will help forge new relationships to build Sigma Xi’s visibility, impact, and financial resources. Internally, the Director of Development will collaborate with Sigma Xi executives, Board of Directors, and staff toward the shared goal of ensuring high quality, seamless, positive experiences for all prospective and current donors who interact with Sigma Xi.

The ideal Director of Development candidate has a clear grasp of all core components of Development, including all phases of cultivation, individual contributions and stewardship, annual and online giving campaigns, corporate partnerships/funding, foundation strategy, and special events – plus a proven track record of effective Development function leadership and management.


The Director of Development reports to the one individual who serves as the Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer, and Publisher of American Scientist.

Primary internal relationships include the Executive Director, CEO, and Publisher of American Scientist; Director of Memberships and Chapters; Director of Programs; Director of Finance & Administration; and Editor-in-Chief of American Scientist. External relationships involve frequent interaction with the board of directors, and individual, foundation, and corporate donors and partners.

The Director of Development position supervises the following positions:

  • Major Gift Officer (current)
  • Consulting specialist in corporate and foundation relations (current)
  • Special Gifts Officer (future)
  • Manager for Development Marketing, Communications, and Events (hire soon)
  • Manager for Development Data and Reporting (hire soon)

The Major Gifts officer supervises the Discovery Ambassador(s).


Leadership and Management

  • In collaboration with the Executive Director/CEO, represent Development during Board development committee and Board of Directors meetings.
  • Serve as the staff leader and liaison on Development to the Board of Directors and cultivate relationships with all Directors to empower their role as donors and fundraisers.
  • Represent the Development function and contribute to organization-wide success as a member of the senior leadership team.
  • Prepare the Development budget; proactively and effectively manage Development resources.
  • Develop and direct the execution of annual and multi-year fundraising plans – inclusive of Development marketing and communications -- with input from the Executive Director/CEO, Board of Directors, and senior leadership team.
  • Contribute to the establishment of fundraising performance measures, monitor results, and help the Executive Director/CEO, Board development committee, and Board of Directors evaluate the effectiveness of Sigma Xi’s fundraising efforts.
  • Design and update a regular progress-to-goal report and Development dashboard for the Executive Director/CEO and Board Development committee; collaborate with the Director of Finance and Administration on regular updates.
  • Strengthen the Development infrastructure to efficiently and effectively enable Sigma Xi to reach its philanthropy revenue goals.
  • Encourage a culture of philanthropy among Sigma Xi staff and volunteer leaders to create an appreciation for and inclusion in Development functions.
  • Develop and maintain a detailed understanding of philanthropy priorities – i.e., Sigma Xi programs and initiatives – to fully optimize giving to these priorities.
  • In collaboration with the Director of Finance and Administration, ensure Development operations and business practices comply with all relevant government regulations and professional standards for fundraising executives. Ensure security and confidentiality of all donor records.
  • Hire Development staff and form a collegial, highly productive Development team.


  • Meet annual fundraising goals.
  • Direct the implementation of a comprehensive approach to fundraising incorporating annual giving, a major gifts program, special events, corporate partnerships, local and national foundation grants, and new sources of revenue for the short- and long-term growth goals of the organization.
  • Manage own major gift portfolio of approximately 50 prospective donors; proactively identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of major donors with capacity ratings of $100K+ toward minimum gift closure of $700,000 per year from this portfolio.
  • Assist the Executive Director/CEO with managing and advancing his portfolio, guiding him on how best to spend his time and efforts for philanthropy.
  • Attend and travel to local and nationwide events, and evening/weekend programs, to meet with donors, cultivate and steward relationships, and encourage and further collaborative fundraising partnerships with key program partners.
  • Direct Development marketing and communications, working closely with the (to be hired) Manager of Development Marketing, Communications, and Events. This includes directing annual online/mail appeals, gift processing, and acknowledgements; donor event strategy; donor communications.
  • Direct the corporate and foundation strategy, working closely with the Consulting specialist in corporate and foundation relations.
  • Direct donor data and pipeline management, working closely with the Manager for Development Data and Reporting (to be hired). Proactively manage the donor pipeline for potential expansion of the major gift portfolio.




Bachelor’s degree required. Baseline certification in fundraising, the CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) preferred. Master’s degree preferred in nonprofit management, business administration, public administration, community development, or public policy.


  • Minimum 10 years’ fundraising experience required with proven track record in developing and closing major gifts.
  • Experience and confidence in working and communicating with Board members, senior executives, and external stakeholders.
  • Minimum three years’ experience in a managerial role leading a Development team required.
  • Experience working with scientists and higher education faculty as volunteers and prospective donors is preferred.
  • Experience working in diverse community settings is preferred.


  • Advanced knowledge of fund development theories, principles, and practices, including donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Knowledge of nonprofit communications, especially with a donor-centric focus.
  • Knowledge of donor database systems.
  • Knowledge of direct mail requirements and best practices.

Skills and Abilities

  • Must be comfortable working in small teams and in start-up environments.
  • Confident leader and mentor able to inspire, motivate and develop a fundraising team including providing and receiving feedback on donor strategies and portfolio development.
  • Collegial disposition and ability to work well with staff at all levels of the organization as well as with Board members, donors and others outside the organization.
  • Understanding of small teamwork dynamics and willingness to collaborate across departments on creative solutions.
  • Creative, persuasive, and sophisticated communicator – both written and verbal.
  • Adherence to the highest ethical standards with the ability to act with discretion, self-assurance and diplomacy.
  • Ability to skillfully prioritize.
  • Must enjoy building relationships and be able to influence and engage a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Aptitude for discerning an individual’s interest, capacity, and inclination to help Sigma Xi achieve its vision for the future.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop successful strategies for donor recruitment and retention.
  • Able to work independently; driven to achieve and be accountable to fundraising goals (“goal oriented”); excellent follow through.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle a heavy workload and achieve results.
  • High level of discretion with donor’s private information and motivations; ability to respect and maintain confidentiality.
  • Ability and availability to travel locally, nationally, and internationally (once safe to resume).
  • Commitment to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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