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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Staffs and supports key RISD campus events, including but not
limited to RISD Weekend, Founders Day and Commencement + Reunion
- May occasionally hire, supervise and acclimate work study
students and interns to assist in department activities.
- Performs other related assignments as requested.
- Well-honed writing, editing, research and analytical skills
- Knowledge of, and interest in staying current in the principles
and techniques relevant to donor-centric major gift
- 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
- Ability to manage multiple projects, priorities and deadlines.
Capability to work independently and collaboratively with moderate
- 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
- Preference given to candidates with experience in higher
education or nonprofit stewardship activities.
35 hours per week; 12 months per year
Documents Needed to Apply:
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
For internal use only - Job Family:
Development - Fundraising