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Associate Director, Donor Relations (Recognition)

Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Mar 24, 2022

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Communications, Public Relations & Advertising, Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Community Relations & Institutional Outreach, Development & Advancement, Public Relations & Marketing (Campus), Alumni Affairs
Employment Type
Full Time
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Job Summary

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) seeks an Associate Director of Donor Relations (Recognition). This is an exciting opportunity for a skilled individual to join the Institutional Advancement (IA) team who is responsible for engaging RISD’s alumni, parents, students and donors in meaningful ways, while cultivating relationships and raising money from a variety of sources to support the priorities of the college.

With a commitment to centering inclusivity, diversity and equity in executing key responsibilities, the Associate Director of Donor Relations (Recognition) is responsible for developing, planning and executing the stewardship of donor recognition societies and current use funds at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The successful candidate adheres to industry best practices and incorporates creativity to partner with gift officers and colleagues to develop and execute ongoing donor-centric stewardship and recognition strategies for RISD’s most generous donors.

Our students and alumni are diverse, coming from a wide range of geographic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, representing all forms of diversity. As such, the Associate Director of Donor Relations (Recognition) must be culturally competent in order to thrive in a campus environment that advances principles of social equity and inclusion, equal access to resources and opportunities, and recognizes diversity and inclusion as central to excellence.

Essential Functions:
  • Executes a comprehensive donor relations and stewardship program with a primary focus on donor recognition and giving programs. Actively engages with Development, Donor Relations and Communications colleagues and campus partners across campus colleagues to gain feedback and utilizes feedback to inform program design, enhancements or modifications.
  • Strategizes, researches, writes and produces narrative stewardship reports, and other customized pieces for all current use restricted funds, which includes identifying and creatively explaining how funds are used.
  • Builds and executes robust recognition programs for annual leadership donors (1877 Society), planned giving donors (Metcalf Society), consecutive giving donors (Centennial Society) and other donor recognition societies as determined by the Executive Director and based on input from the Development team. Implements and manages day-to-day fulfillment of routine stewardship programs for multiple donor levels including welcome packages, specialized donor communications, event communication and follow-up efforts.
  • Oversees the donor acknowledgement process in collaboration with Advancement Services to ensure the delivery of timely and customized letters; identifies and recommends options to further automate and streamline custom letters; seeks feedback from gift officers to support the personalization of all acknowledgement letters signed by the President and Vice President of Institutional Advancement. Partners with Advancement Communications to routinely refresh acknowledgement templates.
  • Partners with the Directors of Special Events and Advancement Communications to execute donor recognition events and special donor communications. Explores and evaluates additional stewardship and cultivation events for appropriateness at RISD as needed. Educates gift officers about additional engagement and stewardship opportunities.
  • Recommends and coordinates donor touchpoint activities for a broad spectrum of the college’s donors and prospects to promote meaningful involvement and engagement with the institution by actively collaborating with Donor Relations colleagues and various team members.
  • Catalogs existing named space and oversees process for new named spaces, including coordinating the ordering and placement of donor recognition plaques.
  • Maintains an accurate comprehensive filing and tracking system to ensure that all activity is recorded in the internal donor database (Raiser’s Edge). Analyzes captured data to provide progress reports on stewardship programs.
  • Leads the coordination of all donor and volunteer recognition listings; ensures donors are recognized accurately and appropriately.
  • Evaluates stewardship processes for leadership donors and develops best practices for donor stewardship and recognition. Explores and utilizes new technology methods, such as videos or web-based platforms, to engage and inform donors. Develops ideas for customized presentations, recognition for named spaces and other key gifts, and other creative touches.
Additional Functions :
  • Staffs and supports key RISD campus events, including but not limited to RISD Weekend, Founders Day and Commencement + Reunion Weekend.
  • May occasionally hire, supervise and acclimate work study students and interns to assist in department activities.
  • Performs other related assignments as requested.
Required Knowledge/Skills/Experience:
  • Well-honed writing, editing, research and analytical skills required.
  • Knowledge of, and interest in staying current in the principles and techniques relevant to donor-centric major gift fundraising.
  • Must possess strong interpersonal skills, high EQ, and superb first-in-class customer service and communications skills.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of divisional and institutional colleagues, within an environment that values diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Demonstrated expertise in the use of Microsoft Office, Adobe, CRM/database, and Google Apps (G Suite) and Asana, or similar project management collaboration tools.
  • Proven success in the planning, organizing and executing projects with multiple internal and external stakeholders.
  • Superlative diplomatic and communication skills, including an ability to work and communicate effectively with a broad spectrum of constituents (individual donors, alumni, business leaders, public figures, college leadership, faculty and staff), within a broad range of cultural environments.
  • Ability to build and manage relationships with a variety of constituents across all levels of institution.
  • Ability to anticipate unexpected issues and needs and to react quickly, calmly and confidently so as to instill trust and confidence.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, priorities and deadlines. Capability to work independently and collaboratively with moderate supervision.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree preferred.
  • Minimum of five (5) to seven (7) years of related experience in fundraising, donor relations, communications, or a related field.
  • Preference given to candidates with experience in higher education or nonprofit stewardship activities.


Work Schedule:

35 hours per week; 12 months per year

Employment Status:

Full-time; Exempt



Documents Needed to Apply:

Resume (Required)

Cover Letter (Required)

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please upload all required documents.

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

For internal use only - Job Family:

Development - Fundraising
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