Skip to main content

This job has expired

Assistant Vice President for Principal Gifts

UMass Amherst Foundation
01003, Amherst (US)
Date posted
Apr 15, 2024

View more

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation (UMAF), which assists the University of Amherst (UMass Amherst) to realize its mission of access, affordability, and excellence, seeks a proactive, collaborative, and experienced principal gifts fundraiser to serve as the Assistant Vice President of Principal Gifts (AVP). The AVP will play a critical role in contributing to UMAF’s overall fundraising success at the highest levels by charting strategies that build towards principal gifts in support of institutional priorities such as social justice, sustainability, innovation, and capital projects. They will identify new pathways – ones that lead donor conversations beyond the traditional construct of loyalty-based alumni and affinity fundraising – that advance big, complex ideas at the intersection of 
innovation and creativity.

The AVP will join the UMAF Executive Leadership team at a time of transformation and growth as the Foundation enters the public phase of the Accelerate: The Campaign for UMass Amherst, which has a working goal of $600 million. This is a special moment to help set the future course of the University by 
exploring and co-creating interdisciplinary and transformational funding opportunities in partnership with University and Foundation leadership and faculty, and  to collaboratively advance relationships with ultra-high net worth individual donors and volunteers.

Reporting to the Vice President of Development, the AVP will be responsible for a blended set of responsibilities that include designing and implementing the principal gifts program, carrying a personal portfolio of major and principal gift prospects, and providing coaching and guidance
to principal gifts team members and partners. The AVP will identify and implement the structure and processes best suited to raising principal-level gifts that propel the University toward its future state. This includes establishing the principal gifts program as an integrated center of excellence, lending support and strategic thought to UMAF colleagues who serve as primary relationship managers to principal gift prospects, and diplomatically ensuring that these prospects are thoughtfully cultivated, solicited, and stewarded in each of UMass Amherst’s schools and colleges. The AVP will oversee the Assistant Director of Principal Gift Operations with intentions of growing the central principal gifts team.


Program Strategy & Implementation

  • Develop and implement fundraising strategies and coordinated activities for prospects who can give at the $5M level and above, including high net-worth individuals, corporations, and foundations.
  • Craft detailed strategies on the institution’s top-level donors, and those who are emerging, and lead prospect strategy integration with the Offices of the Chancellor, Provost, UMAF President, Vice Presidents for Development and Advancement, and school/college/unit-based Chief Development Officers.
  • Identify the funding needs of the institution’s strategic priorities, determine areas in which donors would be interested in making philanthropic investments, analyze the prospect base and set appropriate short- and long-term fundraising goals in consultation with UMAF and academic leadership

Cross-Department Collaboration

  • Lend strategic thought on fundraising strategies to colleagues, particularly when another fundraiser is the primary relationship manager.
  • Provide consulting support to all UMAF fundraisers managing principal gift prospects and working to secure significant gifts, including strategizing and maximizing the use of resources in significant solicitation plans.
  • Partner closely with UMAF colleagues in alumni relations, marketing and communications, stewardship and donor relations, foundation relations, and corporate relations to maximize the philanthropic experience for the university's top prospects and donors.


  • Build and manage a personal portfolio of principal gift prospects who have the capacity and interest in supporting one or more of the University’s strategic fundraising priorities.
  • Maintain thorough working knowledge of the vision and philanthropic "big idea" priorities of the university for spurring principal and transformational gift opportunities.
  • Play a key role in developing the UMAF Board by maintaining and cultivating relationships with assigned Board members.


  • Eight+ years of experience of demonstrated success in major gift (six+ figures) fundraising, preferably with an educational institution, and a track record of cultivating, soliciting, and closing gifts of $500,000+.
  • Two+ years of experience working as a principal gift officer (seven+ figures), preferably leading or working in close collaboration with the person leading the principal gift program. Experience designing and/or growing a principal gift program in a research university appreciated.
  • An ability to absorb and translate a broad range of academic areas into inspiring visions for donors and the demonstrated ability to close gifts that align philanthropy with an institution's key strategic priorities.
  • Proven ability to take initiative and build strong, productive relationships with a diverse set of constituents including high level volunteers.

To view the complete position description, visit

To express interest in the position, please submit your confidential resume and cover letter via email to

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert