The Director of Donor Relations is responsible for designing, coordinating and implementing an institution-wide comprehensive donor engagement and stewardship program that appropriately and consistently promotes engagement with and recognition of Western Carolina University's donors. The Director will be part of a dynamic advancement team focused on meeting rigorous annual goals and overall success, including the conclusion and celebration of WCU's Lead the Way campaign. The Director will be a proven leader with a track record of creating and implementing recognition and stewardship programs for all types of donors at all levels of commitment. A key goal is to increase our number of new donors and deepen the relationships with current donors and constituents. The Director will report to the Senior Director of Advancement Communication who is a member of the Vice Chancellor's leadership team.
The Director is responsible for creating and implementing key strategies and initiatives for donor engagement, recognition and stewardship for individual, foundation and corporate donor groups. The Director leads staff and volunteers in support of donor relations and stewardship activities and programs, including special events, gift societies, endowment reporting and other recognition. The Director will engage in initiatives that target programs of highest priority for Western Carolina University. The Director will be a member of the Advancement Services unit and must work in close collaboration with Development, Alumni Engagement, WCU Athletics, the Director of University Scholarships and the Marketing, Communication and Special Events teams.
The duties of this position require strong writing and communication skills as well as an understanding of endowments, scholarships and similar support for higher education. Other responsibilities include but are not limited to project management; establishing and maintaining timetables and budgets; coordination of volunteer leadership; management of vendor relationships; creating and maintaining endowment guidelines (with a heavy focus on scholarship guidelines) and creating annual operational plans.
The successful candidate will utilize industry best practices to execute the following responsibilities: -Create and implement a comprehensive donor engagement strategy to enable meaningful recognition and engagement of high level individual, foundation and corporate donors. -Stewardship of donor gifts through creation and delivery of specialized recognition correspondence, communication, and other collateral; special events; and through giving societies and initiatives. -Lead the successful creation and implementation of donor recognition events, including dedication ceremonies, scholarship recipient/donor luncheons, and unique experiences for donors on or off campus. -Collaborate and partner with WCU's special events staff. -Partner and collaborate with the university's financial aid and scholarship office and Advancement team members to manage the criteria, agreement and reporting of all endowed gifts. Lead regular reviews of endowed gifts to ensure proper stewardship that honors donor intent. Ensure accurate gift summaries for donors. -Establish and manage a 'top donor' program that recognizes the individual donors and volunteer leaders who are closest to Western Carolina University. -Lead and partner with advancement colleagues on tracking and reporting activities to ensure accurate stewardship and meaningful donor engagement. Manage and/or utilize the database, CRM system and other platforms within the university to support positive donor relations activities, including events, communications, direct mail, and volunteer engagement. -Develop engagement and communication strategies to support donor recognition programs such as the annual giving society, lifetime giving society and legacy giving society. -Partner with Marketing and Communications on development of collateral materials. -Research and recommend adoption of new strategies, programs and products that support best practices in donor relations and stewardship. -Serve as a member of the advancement services management team. Participate on cross-functional committees and teams.
Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
Minimum 5 – 7 years of non-profit (higher education preferred) or business experience with a demonstrated track record of success in creating and implementing stewardship and recognition programs.
Experience working in a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Experience managing events – large, small and high-profile.
Experience working with scholarship donor/recipient programs.
Demonstrated creativity and “out of the box” thinking on strategies and plans to engage and retain donors/customers.
Experience managing donor/customer relationships in a service driven industry.
Experience planning, executing and managing short, medium, and long-term projects and initiatives.
Demonstrated strategic planning experience. Includes setting and exceeding short and long-term goals and objectives. Able to allocate resources according to priorities.
Demonstrated strength in communication skills, oral and written. Includes creating and delivering presentations to audiences of all sizes.
Self-motivated, goal oriented, ability to get job done.
Solid relationship management skills at all levels in organization. Ability to successfully partner and collaborate to achieve objectives.
Strong computer skills, including above average competency on Microsoft Office — Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Comfort with and knowledge of digital and web-based platforms.
Experience with development of marketing and communication materials.
Experience working in Blackbaud Raisers Edge.
Experience working in Ellucian products (Banner, Banner Finance, Banner Advancement, Colleague, etc.).
Experience writing for senior level executives, nonprofit leaders, volunteers, etc.
Experience with scholarship management software and processes.
Understanding of higher education financial investment systems and processes such as endowments, scholarships, fellowships awards and other aid.
Special Instructions to Applicants:
To be considered, you must apply online. In order to complete the application process, candidates must attach a cover letter, current resume, and a list of references (include complete contact information).
For questions and additional information, please contact Elizabeth Honbarger at 828-227-7124.
As the westernmost institution in the University of North Carolina system, WCU provides comprehensive educational opportunities to residents in the state’s western region and attracts students from around the globe to explore the region’s vast natural diversity. Founded in 1889 as a teaching college, Western Carolina now provides an education to more than 10,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs.