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Executive Director of Development, College of Engineering

Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia, United States
Salary Not Specified
Date posted
Nov 2, 2023

At Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), we Make it Real through learning, research, creativity, service and discovery — the hallmarks of the VCU experience. A premier, urban, public research university nationally recognized as one of the best employers for diversity, VCU is a great place to work. It’s a place of opportunity, where your success is supported and your career can thrive. VCU offers employees work flexibility, a generous leave package, career paths for advancement, competitive pay, and an opportunity to do mission-driven work. To explore our benefits further, please visit

Reporting to the Senior Associate Vice President for Development for Colleges, Schools, and Units, the Executive Director of Development will serve as a strategic fundraising thought-partner for the College of Engineering (COE) leadership. The Executive Director works directly with the dean, SAVP, and Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) colleagues across the division to achieve Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) fundraising goals by designing and measuring annual long-range fundraising plans tied to the strategic needs of the school. The successful candidate will have at least seven years of demonstrated ability to plan, execute, secure and steward six-, seven-, and eight-figure gifts through individual effort by identifying, qualifying and soliciting major/principal gift prospects. The Executive Director coaches and manages a team of fundraising professionals tasked with securing philanthropic support for the school.

Primary responsibilities
● Serve an active philanthropic thought-partner and fundraising participant with the College of Engineering dean;
●Develop and implement annual operating plans for the College of Engineering, coordinating with DAR’s alumni engagement, leadership annual giving, and strategic marketing and engagement teams to produce a comprehensive and integrated roadmap for each unit; design and measure annual and long-range fundraising plans tied to the strategic needs of each school;
● Manage (identify, engage, cultivate, solicit, steward) a portfolio of approximately 60-100 top individual and corporate prospects with focus on those with a giving capacity of $250,000 or greater; engage in additional high-level prospect discovery work to build donor pipeline;
● Coordinate with the Executive Director of the College of Engineering Foundation (COEF) on engaging board members as philanthropic partners;
● Supervise, coach, motivate, and evaluate fundraising and development staff assigned to units to support their individual success and goal achievement.

Expectations of the role
● Maximize dean and academic leadership participation in fundraising and engagement efforts through strategic planning and good time management;
● In partnership with the dean, academic leaders, and SAVP, define and design each unit’s philanthropic priorities; collaborate with marketing team in producing campaign documents and cases for support;
● Integrate dean, faculty, students, and alumni into development activities where most appropriate and effective;
● With dean, academic leaders, SAVP, and other DAR leadership and colleagues, devise short and long-term donor-centric strategies and develop plans for advancing each prospect’s meaningful passions to the university;
● Collaborate and coordinate with other CSU operations, as well as colleagues on central teams (including planned giving, CFR, principal gifts, and university development) to develop donor-centric strategies to leverage and maximize giving and engagement; engage with colleagues for joint cultivation/solicitation/stewardship efforts when needed;
● Prepare briefing documents for deans, as well as VCU and DAR leadership, for functions in which they are in attendance;
● Ensure accurate documentation of all donor activity and major gift solicitation plans in the university’s prospect management system (RADAR);
● Coordinate with alumni relations and the strategic marketing and engagement team to ensure coordination of information to stakeholders and friends;
● Develop, support, and evaluate campaign volunteer opportunities; collaborate with central partners on recruitment and training of those volunteers;
● Audit internal operations in order to develop standardized procedures in keeping with university policies;
● Provide guidance and assist with stewardship events and correspondence in coordination University’s Office of Donor Relations;
● Coordinate with central teams on the composing, editing, and publishing of fundraising reports;
● Manage time and activities to support annually-established metrics on prospect/donor engagement and fundraising efficacy.

As a team member, you will:
● Demonstrate appreciation for the mission and aspirations of VCU and VCU Health
● Display a strong commitment to organizational success and delivering on individual responsibilities as a university citizen
● Demonstrate a commitment to the pursuit of excellence, high achievement and ongoing professional development by proactively seeking opportunities to develop new capabilities, skills, and knowledge
● Establish, cultivate and maintain collaborative working relationships with internal partners
● Demonstrate a commitment to the highest quality service to internal and external communities
● Demonstrate an open-minded approach to understanding people from all backgrounds, identities, abilities, perspectives and experiences
● Ensure work is completed accurately and within deadline. Set high standards, exhibit a positive attitude, maintain strict confidentiality, and show exemplary work ethic.
● Reflect DAR’s and VCU’s core purpose and values

Minimum hiring standards
● Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent experience
● Significant professional experience fundraising in an academic medical center or higher
education (Research I) setting or similar complex environments
● Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff and student
environment or commitment to do so as a university professional at VCU
● Demonstrated ability to plan, execute, secure and steward six- and seven-figure gifts through individual effort
● Sound judgment, strong interpersonal skills and professional credibility required to develop relationships of trust and respect with a diverse range of constituents, including donors and prospects, health care providers, research faculty, senior administrators, volunteers and stakeholders, and development colleagues
● Emotional intelligence, empathy and ability to relate to individuals impacted by health experiences
● Highest ethical standards, attention to confidentiality and a willingness to fully comply with VCU’s interpretation of HIPAA law as it relates to fundraising
● The ability to work independently, meet deadlines and consistently achieve goals while also driving and supporting team success in a matrix environment
● Demonstrated experience managing fundraising staff
● High level of initiative, strong orientation to teamwork and the ability to work effectively in complex environments
● Attention to detail and the ability to use a database to maintain and review records and reports such as donor data, prospect contacts, solicitations and proposals
● Working knowledge of tax laws affecting charitable giving
● Ability to travel via car and/or an airplane (overnight and long-distance travel will be necessary)
● Excellent written and oral communication skills

Preferred hiring standards
● Master’s degree or work experience at a level that equates to an advanced degree
● Ten years or more of demonstrated success identifying, qualifying and soliciting major gift prospects, preferably in the context of higher education and/or health care, and preferably working in conjunction with faculty partners. Experience working with corporate partners is a plus.
● Knowledge of and demonstrated experience in major and planned giving concepts and strategies as well as significant experience in creating and implementing major gift plans (campaign experience strongly preferred)
● Strong management capabilities and a commitment to mentoring gift officers
● Deep appreciation for the mission and aspirations of VCU and VCU Health and a desire to play a meaningful role in the life of VCU and in the Richmond community
● Collaboration skills consistent with bringing out the best in a matrix team, instilling pride in a team effort
● Personal commitment to the fundraising industry as evidenced through work ethic and aspiration to best practices

Position Details
Department: Development and Alumni Relations
VCU Job Title: Sr. Development Officer (multi-title)
Working title: Executive Director of Development
Salary Range - $150,000 - $175,000 commensurate with experience
Employment Type: University and Academic Professional
ORP Eligible: Yes
Hybrid Work Available: Yes; Must be within commuting distance to Richmond, VA and available to come into the office when needed.
Restricted Status: N/A
FTE: 1.0
Exemption Status: Exempt

Contact Information
Izzy Kane

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