Principal Gift Officer

Job Description

Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts, the Principal Gifts Officer is a senior development officer assigned to the highest level development prospects for Virginia Tech. The individual will serve as a visible front line fundraiser and manage a portfolio of 15 to 35 principal gifts prospects. This position focuses on strategy development as well as staff support, planning, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives for individuals assigned to the prospect pool. The Principal Gifts Officer's primary emphasis is identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding high-level prospects who have the capacity to make transformative gifts of $5 million or greater to Virginia Tech. The Principal Gifts Officer will work closely with the Vice President for Advancement, the Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts, the President, Deans, and with other key academic leaders to set short and long-term donor centric strategies and develop initiatives to advance each prospect's meaningful connection to the university, setting the stage for solicitation in accordance with university priorities. Given the nascent profile of Virginia Tech's principal giving program, the Principal Gifts Officer must embrace the role of teacher and mentor of corresponding best practices. S/he must also champion the strategic engagement, creativity, and poise required to inspire and mobilize the aspirations of internal partners and prospective donors alike, and exemplify the sophisticated stewardship essential to maintaining and expanding donor relationships

Required Qualifications

Bachelor's degree and significant experience, or a Master's degree.||Significant progressively responsible experience in development positions with progressive levels of responsibility, preferably within an institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, or other environment of similar complexity with multiple stakeholders.||Experience with both individual and institutional principal gifts.||Particular strength in developing the case and support for strategic and complex fundraising plans, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives. ||Must have the ability to effectively strategize and engage various groups and constituents. ||Experience working directly with the most senior levels of an organization and its transformational donors is critical, as is a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of the confluence of relationships that facilitate principal gifts discussions and propel them forward.||Demonstrated ability to think strategically and to shape messaging in order to move individuals and institutions across the spectrum of prospect development, culminating in significant and potentially game changing solicitations appropriate to organizational priorities and donors interests. ||A track record of personally closing gifts at seven figures or greater, and of staffing organizational leadership in soliciting seven and eight figure gifts.||Steeped in national and international philanthropic networks as they relate to education, arts and culture, science and technology, and other charitable endeavors, with particular sensitivity and responsiveness to the culture and trends of those networks. ||The ability to penetrate the most elite philanthropic networks seamlessly, and with aplomb, is a must.||Experience identifying, nurturing, and motivating volunteers, and having an appreciation for their role in building an effective fundraising network.||Ability to understand and distill complex academic and scientific topics and projects for development audiences. ||Experience identifying and coaching project spokespeople.||Demonstrated familiarity with financial planning, tax and charitable gift laws, and planned giving vehicles and methods.||The ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about donor strategy and process. A working knowledge of modern data management practices and techniques, including database information systems, data modeling, and
analysis.||Willingness to travel nationally and sometimes internationally for the purpose of conducting field research, cultivation, and solicitation of prospects.

Preferred Qualifications

An advanced degree and strong academic credentials that will be credible to donors and alumni is preferred.||Previous work experience in a hybrid centralized decentralized fundraising model or similar structure involving many units, departments, and/or teams is preferred.||Participation in a major capital campaign is strongly preferred.

Pay Band


Appointment Type


Salary Information

Commensurate with Experience

Review Date


Additional Information

Cavan Executive Search is assisting Virginia Tech in the search.

To apply for this position, candidates must submit a Virginia Tech faculty application online at , and send resume, cover letter and five references to:

Lucretia A. Cavan

Cavan Executive Search

48 Wall Street, 25th Floor

New York, NY 10005

Phone: 646/378-3780

Fax: 646/731-6900


Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the executive director for Equity and Access at 540-231-2010 or Virginia Tech, North End Center, Suite 2300 (0318), 300 Turner St. NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges , a school of medicine , a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School , and Honors College . The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers . A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Advancement HR at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Advertised: February 24, 2023
Applications close:

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