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Executive Director, DAR Marketing and Donor Experience

Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Dec 16, 2022

Welcome to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) … a world unlike any other. We combine learning, research, creativity, service and discovery with a commitment to inclusive excellence. Ranked by U.S. News as one of the 30 “most innovative” public universities in the country, VCU is a premier, urban, public research university home to multiple nationally ranked programs. Here, your success is supported, and your career can thrive. VCU offers a generous leave package, career paths for advancement, competitive pay and mission-driven work. To explore our benefits further, please visit We advance a conscientious drive to support a climate where excellence and success for all people are valued and differences are celebrated. Together, we can be unstoppable.

The mission of VCU’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations is to inspire and foster lifelong connections that transform passion into reality. As VCU and VCU Health prepare for the public launch of an ambitious philanthropic campaign, the Office of Strategic Marketing and Engagement is charged with inspiring our stakeholder communities and fulfilling donor expectations for outstanding stewardship. DAR’s overarching ambition is to engage diverse communities, in partnership with our schools, programs and campuses, by employing innovative and data-driven marketing strategies.

Reporting to the assistant vice president for Strategic Marketing and Engagement, the executive director is a new leadership role developed to align, expand and optimize VCU’s stakeholder relationships using state-of-the-art approaches and technologies. The executive director oversees programs that specifically increase involvement, donor satisfaction and philanthropic results among diverse constituencies. This leader will lead and grow talented teams of annual giving, donor relations and digital engagement professionals who execute multichannel tactics in a variety of marketing platforms. The department works collaboratively and creatively to deliver value acquisition, stewardship and retention solutions for alumni, friends and community constituencies, including grateful patients. As VCU prepares for its most historic comprehensive campaign, this marketing executive will consolidate legacy annual giving and donor stewardship strategies developed within a wide variety of schools, centers and units.

Applicants are encouraged to submit a cover letter and diversity statement, for consideration. Interview scheduling will begin during the week of January 15, 2023. Preference will be given to applications received by that date.

In this role, you will:

- Lead the formulation, execution and evaluation of strategy for email, digital, mobile and direct mail, including solicitation and retention, campaign engagement and donor lifecycle
- Lead a team of experienced professionals, recognizing their skills and strengths, to activate a comprehensive marketing plan inclusive of acquisition and retention through meaningful stewardship
- Lead the assessment of marketing needs across VCU audiences and channels
- Collaborate with key VCU and VCU Health stakeholders to develop data-driven philanthropic marketing strategies focused on alumni engagement, annual giving and donor stewardship
- Oversee strategies that allow for robust, constituent-tailored messaging and automated experiences across multiple channels, resulting in increased engagement, acquisition, retention and philanthropic participation
- Set direction for comprehensive fundraising marketing, working closely with senior content creators to reinforce, coordinate and evaluate targeted programs
- Oversee the technical design and delivery of automated journeys that increase lifelong alumni engagement, annual giving and donor retention
- Collaborate with Advancement Solutions to optimize the existing CRM and deploy additional systems to enable preference centers, content libraries, audience builders and continual evaluation of program outcomes
- Collaborate with senior leaders, foundations, university marketing offices, DAR Communications and campus partners to develop goals, timelines, budgets and content requirements for marketing and stewardship campaigns
- Collaborate with DAR and Medical Philanthropy communications teams to present creative content in its most compelling form to drive emotional connections, engagement and philanthropic commitment
- Establish and enforce policies and procedures associated with marketing and donor stewardship experience
- Work with the AVP to manage external vendor relationships to implement specific campaigns or marketing tactics, as needed
- Work with the AVP to operationalize and enact the comprehensive marketing strategy for the university’s comprehensive campaign, with a commitment to creative problem-solving and program evaluation

As a team member, you will:
- Encourage transparent and respectful relationships within the team, DAR, VCU schools and units, VCU Enterprise Marketing and Communications and VCU’s institutionally related foundations
- Research and analyze research university and grateful patient trends to inform new initiatives and changes in tactical campaigns to increase result
- Lead and support change in marketing and donor experience strategy, systems and business processes.
- Work in a fast-paced, performance-based professional environment
- Establish relationships with VCU’s peers to add to DAR’s collective perspective and knowledge
- Align with DAR’s core purpose and values

Required qualifications/skills:
- Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, business or related field
- Ten to 15 years of professional experience in building and executing multichannel marketing campaigns resulting in increased stakeholder engagement, retention and action
- Creative problem-solver and “What if?” thinker who enjoys collaboration with diverse stakeholders throughout a complex, matrixed organization
- Demonstrated appreciative leadership style in managing direct reports, while inspiring team pride and momentum
- Ability to articulate, propose and convince internal stakeholders on how to best engage targeted constituencies
- Results-oriented and data-driven with the ability to tell the story behind the number
- Deep knowledge of the digital landscape, including emerging trends across social and fundraising platforms, with an understanding of utilization, benchmarks and evaluation
- Intrinsic commitment to the importance of analytics in fueling all decision-making
- Commitment to evaluate and change internal business processes
- Confident and capable of juggling multiple priorities and projects while working strategically, collaboratively and inventively
- Ability to build small collaborative groups, delegate and prioritize for direct and indirect reports, and lead discussions of strategy with campus partners
- Previous success working with large data sets to create comprehensive and thoughtful segmentation strategies
- Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff and student environment or commitment to do so as a university professional at VCU

Preferred qualifications:
- Master’s degree in marketing, communications, business or related field
- Knowledge of best practices for digital campaigns, email marketing, annual giving and donor stewardship in alumni, constituent and patient populations
- Proven ability to conceive, execute and manage philanthropic marketing processes in complex nonprofit settings
- Proven experience in donor or customer satisfaction, maintenance of brand value, and sustained brand identification and loyalty
- Deep familiarity and power user of marketing automation platforms
- Proven track record managing partnerships with marketing firms or consultants

Position Details:
Department: Office of Development and Alumni Relations
VCU Job Title: Senior Director CM (13414), Communications
Salary Range: Commensurate with experience, up to $150,000
Employment Type: University and Academic Professional
ORP Eligible: Yes
Hybrid Work Available: Yes
Restricted Status: N/A
FTE: 1.0
Exemption Status: Exempt

Contact Information:
Contact Name: Carolyn Lee
Contact Email:

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