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Senior Director of Engagement (SDE)

Sidwell Friends School
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not Specified
Closing date
Aug 18, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Business & Management, Management, Other Business & Management, Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Development & Advancement, Alumni Affairs, Executive, Other Executive
Employment Type
Full Time
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Job Details

Careers At Sidwell Friends School

Welcome to the Human Resources Department at Sidwell Friends School. Sidwell Friends prides itself in offering a high quality educational experience to those who will lead the next generation. To that end, we are seeking qualified individuals with the knowledge, skills and abilities to enhance the student experience at Sidwell Friends. We encourage you to review the job postings below and to contact us for additional information.

Senior Director of Engagement (SDE) Department: Office of School Advancement Location: Washington, DC
Position Start Date: Immediately
Status: Full-Time

REPORTS TO: Assistant Head of School for Advancement

The Senior Director of Engagement (SDE) is a strategic leader on the Advancement team and is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing the comprehensive and effective engagement program for donors, alumni, and friends of the School. Reporting to the Assistant Head of School for Advancement, this position builds strong and sustained relationships with constituent groups and key stakeholders, engaging them in meaningful ways in the life of the School. The SDE works collaboratively to advance the goals of the department and is responsible for the leadership and management of a team of five in effective conceptualization and implementation of engagement programs. The SDE has a demonstrated track record of strategic planning, collaboration, innovation, and creativity, and is well versed in current relationship-driven engagement strategies and tactics.

Key Responsibilities:

Leadership and Management

  • Serve as a member of School Advancement Leadership Team that helps guide the strategy, culture, and goals of the institution
  • Elevate and integrate the School’s efforts to build a strong philanthropic culture and vision across all constituent and donor engagement initiatives
  • Thoughtfully lead and efficiently and effectively collaborate with the Director of Alumni Engagement, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement, Director of Donor Engagement, Assistant Director of Donor Engagement, and Engagement Coordinator
  • Plan, develop, and implement a robust and creative engagement program that provides meaningful experiences and deepens connections to the School
  • Develop and sustain productive cross-functional relationships (individual giving, development operations/analytics, and communications/brand marketing) to advance comprehensive engagement goals
  • Serve as a key partner to the Assistant Head of School for Advancement on all engagement activity, identifying opportunities and troubleshooting challenges

Engagement and Stewardship

  • Strategically lead and actively collaborate with the Engagement team and align its initiatives with the comprehensive campaign
  • Define, plan, and implement strategy to support and advance the goals of the School’s alumni and donor engagement and stewardship programs
  • Set ambitious growth goals and develop and execute strategy to attain them
  • Create and implement high-level engagement opportunities that articulate the School’s priorities and objectives
  • Utilize data and metrics to benchmark efforts, inform strategic and tactical decision-making, and identify prime engagement opportunities.
  • Establish, track and report on engagement plans; manage budgets and proactively forecast shifts in expense expectations
  • Manage a dynamic stewardship portfolio of 50 principal and major gift donors, providing personalized, impactful stewardship plans that ensure thoughtful engagement opportunities and high-level touch points
  • Support leadership and advancement staff on campaign strategy and execution


A Bachelor’s degree is required with five to seven years of management experience in donor relations, stewardship or alumni engagement, preferably in a higher-education or independent school setting. The successful candidate will be a strategic thinker who has an understanding of sustained relationship management, fundraising, stewardship, and engagement programming. Professionalism, discretion, creativity, and the ability to deal with confidential information are vital in this role.

Skills and Abilities:

  • Must be able to develop strategy, provide direction and mentorship, and lead implementation of short and long-term plans.
  • Must be able to organize and prioritize work, be proactive, take initiative, resolve problems, follow through, and simultaneously manage multiple priorities to ensure goals are met in a timely manner.
  • Demonstrated experience in sustained relationship management and stewardship of charitable gifts.
  • Ability to create engagement programming for varied constituents.
  • Knowledge of fundraising principals and best practices in stewardship.
  • Skill in project and event management, both in-person and digital.
  • Strong writing and oral presentation skills.
  • Excellent organizational ability and management skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively colleagues.
  • Ability to self-motivate, work well with others and influence staff of all levels of seniority.
  • Ability to inspire and lead a team of professionals.
  • Ability to represent the School with internal and external constituents in the community by attending events and social gatherings as needed.


  • Master’s degree in a business-related field.
  • Experience using The Raiser’s Edge NXT in a non-profit setting.

As a condition of employment, all employees hired after August 1, 2021 are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and able to provide proof of such vaccination. To make application for a medical or religious exemption, please contact the Human Resources Department.

Candidates should upload a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three professional references via our online application.

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