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Senior Director/Director of Donor Relations (33856)

Position Summary

The Director of Donor Relations is responsible for the design, development, implementation and administration of a high performing, comprehensive campus-wide donor relations program, in collaboration with the Senior Director of Strategic Communications/Marketing and Senior Leadership. The position will focus on executing a comprehensive Donor Relations program designed to drive fundraising growth, ensuring every donor is appropriately thanked, aware of their impact, and inspired to give more. The Director serves as a key leader in the strategic communication elements of the Campaign in support of messaging, storytelling, stewardship, and partnership with the campus community.

As an integral part of the Division of Advancement, the Director of Donor Relations works to foster lasting relationships between the University and its benefactors, promoting positive attitudes toward giving among current and prospective major and planned gift donors.

Some travel is required and a professional commitment to a variable schedule is required.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Planning & Execution
  • Design, implement and direct a comprehensive integrated donor-centric stewardship plan to build donor trust and fulfillment through strategic and meaningful contact, experiences, and outstanding donor service.
  • Develop, implement, and manage institution-wide stewardship plan that includes continuous outreach to faculty and staff to ensure funds utilization compliance with donor intent; creating a centralized information hub to assist with crafting, deployment and tracking of donor acknowledgments; and customize donor events based on established cultivation and stewardship plans.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with the Gift Planning team to develop and implement an annual engagement plan for major and annual fund donors.
  • Manage all inventory of naming opportunities related to new and existing facilities, including oversight and project management related to the execution of donor communications and the installation of physical elements of donor recognition.
  • Develop and coordinate the timely delivery of comprehensive and engaging stewardship reports to donors, ensuring accurate reflection of the impact of their contributions. This includes gathering data, crafting personalized narratives, overseeing the production of supporting multimedia elements, in partnership with UA Communications Team, and maintaining ongoing communication to foster strong, trusting donor relationships.
  • Create a quantitative and qualitative measurement system to evaluate the effectiveness and success of all stewardship and recognition programs utilizing the data to improve standards and further the success of fundraising goals.
  • Conducts routine analyses of applicable inter/intra departmental processes, policies, and related materials through the deployment of donor surveys and/or focus groups to understand and improve the donor experience, increase retention, and increased giving.
  • Develops annual departmental goals, objectives, key performance metrics and associated budget which support the advancement of the Division’s mission.
  • Maintains working knowledge of industry best practices and standards to promote departmental longevity and divisional efficacy.
Donor Stewardship & Communication
  • The Director must create and maintain a positive and professional relationship between the university and its donors, alumni, and constituents; collaborate with various UA units to determine effective donor stewardship strategies; and elevate the overall philanthropic experience to support donor cultivation at NIU .
  • Serves as subject matter expert on donor guideline agreement process and implementation, in collaboration with the Gift Planning team, provides collaboration and training to division and university collaborators.
  • Utilizes qualitative and quantitative inputs from a wide range of leaders across campus to inform and develop highly customized stewardship plans for lead and major gift donors, lifetime and deferred/bequest giving societies, and annual fund donors. Collaborate with UA Communications/Marketing and identify areas of integrated marketing opportunities to tell donor impact stories and emotionally connect donors to NIU .
  • Serves as primary stewardship portfolio manager for major donors assigned to Executive- and Senior-level gift officers. Facilitate and execute stewardship efforts for annual fund donors, lifetime donors and donors of deferred/bequest gifts.
  • Manages and maintains regular stewardship interactions and communications to demonstrate donor impact, foster meaningful relationships and cultivate donors to their highest level of philanthropy.
  • Leads the development and execution of strategic recognition and stewardship events, and programs for key donors and giving societies, in collaboration with UA Events Team and other necessary departments.
  • May serve on scholarship review committee, as needed.
Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) (Civil Service)


Specialty Factors (Civil Service)


Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)


Minimum Required Qualifications (SPS)
  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Three (3) or more years of Donor Relations in a nonprofit or university advancement environment.
  • Three (3) or more years of experience managing teams.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office programs such as Excel, SharePoint, Teams, etc.
Additional Requirements (SPS)


Preferred Qualifications (SPS)
  • Two (2) or more years of experience interacting with donors in live, virtual, and phone settings.
  • Familiar with digital stewardship and engagement platforms such as ThankView, MailChimp, etc.
  • Proficient with constituent resource management tools such as Salesforce, Raiser’s Edge, etc.
  • Experience working in a higher education environment.
  • Experience working as part of a comprehensive campaign effort.
  • Membership and/or previous involvement with professional development organizations such as Association of Donor Relations Professionals, Donor Relations Guru, etc.
Physical demands/requirements
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear.
  • There is a high level of keyboarding and virtual meeting use.
  • The employee may be required to walk; use fingers and hands to feel, grasp, operate or handle objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands and arms.
  • Must be able to lift and carry 20 lbs. regularly.
  • Some travel is required and a professional commitment to a variable schedule is required.
Appointment and Compensation Details

Appointment and Compensation Details

Anticipated Appointment Start Date

May 15, 2024

Anticipated Appointment End Date

Percent of Staff Year


Standard Hours Per Week


Working Hours

University office hours are 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, donor work may also be professionally conducted at times and places consistent with donor availability. This may include nights, weekends, and trips outside the University’s primary locations (DeKalb, Napervi


Starting at $85,000/annually, commensurate with experience.

Hourly or Semi-monthly Pay Rate/Range

Starting at $3,541.67/semi-monthly

Earn Type


Application Procedure

Application Procedure

Application Procedure

For full consideration, please visit to submit the following materials by April 19, 2024 :

Required Documents:
  • Cover Letter – Please include your interest in employment with the NIU Foundation and how your previous experiences positions you for success in the role for which you are applying.
  • Current Resume
  • List of Three Professional References
Applications submitted after April 19, 2024 are welcomed, but will be considered as needed.

Special Instructions

Quick Link to Applicant

Is Background Check Required?


EEO Statement Summary

In accordance with applicable statutes and regulations, NIU is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, physical and mental disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications, and will comply with all applicable federal and state statutes, regulations and orders pertaining to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Ethics and Compliance Officer, Title IX Coordinator
Health Services Building Room 230

Visa Policy

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire.

ADA Accommodation

NIU remains committed to ensuring that its recruitment and application procedures include full opportunities for applicants with disabilities. Employment opportunities will not be denied to anyone because of the need to make accommodations for a person’s disability during either the application or interview process. An applicant who believes they require an accommodation to participate in the employment process due to a disability may request that accommodation through the Accommodation Request Form . For further assistance, please contact the office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity ( AAEO ) at .

Safety Information

NIU provides annual reports on campus security and fire safety.
Read the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report .
Contact the Ethics and Compliance Office at 815-753-9364 for a hard copy.
Applicant Documents
Required Documents
  1. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  2. Cover Letter
  3. List of References
Optional Documents
  1. Military Discharge Documents ONLY (DD214/DD215/NGB22/DD256)
  2. Transcripts (unofficial with official required at hire)
  3. Other

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

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