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
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
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
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
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.
REPORTING AND RELATIONSHIPS
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
- Major Gift Officer (current)
- Consulting specialist in corporate and foundation relations
- Special Gifts Officer (future)
- Manager for Development Marketing, Communications, and Events
- Manager for Development Data and Reporting (hire soon)
The Major Gifts officer supervises the Discovery
Leadership and Management
- In collaboration with the Executive Director/CEO, represent
Development during Board development committee and Board of
- 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
- 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
- Encourage a culture of philanthropy among Sigma Xi staff and
volunteer leaders to create an appreciation for and inclusion in
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Advanced knowledge of fund development theories, principles,
and practices, including donor cultivation and stewardship.
- Knowledge of nonprofit communications, especially with a
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Demonstrated ability to handle a heavy workload and achieve
- 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