Director of Donor Relations & Advancement Operations
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Salary: 72530.68 - 119675.62
Internal Number: 344121
Do you believe in a future where people and the planet prosper together – and do you see a role for higher education in helping to bring about that future? That’s the mission and purpose of the Institute on the Environment (IonE), and we seek someone to steer operations that build financial support for that mission.
Specifically, our organization is looking for a professional who:
Excels at forming and sustaining relations leading to financial support;
Is a skilled writer and communicator who can collaborate with academics, communications professionals, and external stakeholders to articulate a case for support;
Has experience creating inviting opportunities for donors and other supporters to engage with a mission-driven, innovation-oriented organization; and
Has a track record of substantially contributing to or leading successful fund-raising campaigns.
This Director of Donor Relations and Advancement Operations is responsible for developing and implementing an advancement strategy that deepens engagement with key stakeholders and expands support for the institute’s programs and students. The Director will focus on creating a sustainable advancement program in partnership with Institute leaders and the University of Minnesota Foundation.
The Institute on the Environment (IonE) is a mission-driven unit with big ambition. A UMN systemwide entity, IonE catalyzes interdisciplinary, community-responsive research; works to cultivate sustainability leaders; and uses storytelling as a tool to scale impact, convene our community, and drive change. In this work, and in our workplace, we are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Our immediate network includes some 225 affiliates, several dozen staff and post-docs, hundreds of students, and numerous other collaborators. Our funders include donors, alumni, foundations, and government.
IonE is focused on:
The development of savvy and action-oriented sustainability leaders among students, faculty and external decision-makers;
The pursuit of interdisciplinary research that moves the needle on sustainability. This includes research conducted within IonE, by IonE-based researchers, and research catalyzed through research awards and grants; and
Telling compelling stories about sustainability leaders and sustainability solutions to diverse audiences through public interest communications.
Across all of these aims, we emphasize impact and outcomes, partnership with external and implementing organizations, and programming that is equitable and inclusive and that combats racism and other structural injustices and social vulnerabilities.
At IonE, “sustainability” is a social, economic, and ecological state where the needs of all people are met in a way that sustains – and even restores – the natural world: where people and planet prosper together. A sustainable future includes clean energy and water, preservation of diverse ecosystems, and healthy communities.
The Director of Donor Relations and Advancement Operations should be excited about this ambition and the role of public research universities in addressing complex challenges. The Director will have real-world impact by attracting and securing resources to support and scale this critically important work.
The Director will manage and expand IonE’s donor base by:
Developing and implementing an annual fund program;
Serve as a liaison with the University of Minnesota Foundation;
Work with IonE External Advisory Board (EAB) to develop relationships and leverage their contacts for potential donors
Develop relationships with Community Foundations to access Donor Advised Funds
Create engagement and stewardship activities/ for donors and prospective donors; and manage a small portfolio of major gift prospects.
In addition, the Director will work closely with IonE communications staff around donor messages and engagement events/activities; with affiliates (faculty), students and staff across IonE’s programs to help them convey their case for support; and with individuals and organizations that share the Institute’s mission and purpose to help them discover IonE as an organization deserving of support.
The case for support at IonE includes all of its programs and aims (above). In addition, some of the funding we raise at or through IonE is administered and distributed outside the university, across all parts of the University. Thus, IonE is uniquely poised to collaborate with other university units to garner support for multi-unit, transformative gifts.
Given the diversity of these relationships and the institute’s reach, the Director should have considerable skill in building relationships, as well as confidence in developing strategy,providing counsel, working directly with donors. The job also includes a lot of space for experimentation and creativity – so a growth mindset and adaptability are highly desirable.
The Director reports to IonE’s Executive Director and brings critical perspectives of donor engagement and advancement to all of the Institute’s work.
Key Areas of Responsibility
Develop and lead implementation of an advancement strategy (25%)
Work with the Executive Director to develop an overarching advancement and donor relations strategy, and annually monitor the strategy and calibrate its impact.
Help build and maintain relationships with external stakeholders to garner various forms of program support, including scholarships and internships, research gifts, program advocacy and visibility, and other support that comes from successful stakeholder engagement.
Work with programs to identify needs and opportunities for acquiring gifts to support program priorities and initiatives, and partner with the University of Minnesota Foundation to develop strategies to obtain them.
Through the advancement strategy, develop and cultivate a culture of philanthropy at IonE.
Leverage and lead external engagement opportunities for donors (25%)
Provide leadership for the design and delivery of activities that engage supporters and potential supporters, such as speaker events, program anniversary celebrations, and annual student awards, including collaborating with program and other staff as needed to conduct these engagement events.
Develop and implement communication strategies for donors and supporters, in collaboration with IonE communication staff, including a case for donor support.
Lead a giving campaign (annual or otherwise), in coordination with the U of M Foundation and IonE communications, with the goal of conveying key organizational goals and expanding the pipeline of future major donors for IonE and related sustainability/environment programs across the University.
With the Executive Director, conduct one-on-one conversations with current and prospective donors about gifts and financial contributions.
Serve as Primary Liaison with the University of Minnesota Foundation (20%)
Attend UMF Chief Development Officer meetings and build collaborative relationships with development or advancement personnel across the University.
Interface with UMF staff to coordinate UMF support for fundraising efforts (e.g., principal gift officers and planned giving), and ensure that appropriate policies and practices with respect to fundraising are followed.
Work with internal program leaders and other staff to ensure excellent stewardship of gifts and external support, including some one-on-one interaction with individual donors.
Manage relationships with the IonE External Advisory Board (20%)
Work with the Executive Director to develop an annual engagement plan for members of the External Advisory Board, including opportunities for members to participate in IonE programming and activities.
Work with the Executive Director to build agendas for External Advisory Board meetings that help the board connect with IonE, its mission, and its case for support.
Extend invitations to External Advisory Board members to events and other programming that enhances their understanding of IonE and its goals, toward developing their own financial support and ability to advocate for IonE with other donors.
Communicate annually with External Advisory Board members about their financial and other contributions to IonE.
Relationship management and network-building within the IonE community (10%)
Provide support to IonE’s foundation relations, recognizing that investigators take the lead on proposal writing and that IonE collaborates with the Corporate and Foundation Relations team to foster relationships with foundations and identify foundation grant opportunities.
Establish relationships with IonE staff and affiliates to develop an understanding of the institute’s mission and priorities.
Foster relationships with other units at the university and similar organizations across the environment sector to identify best practices and advancement strategies and/or possible collaboration in donor relations, where appropriate.
The market midpoint for this job is $96K, and the salary offered will consider the candidate’s relevant experience and qualifications, as well as equity and parity within UMN.
Health care and dependent daycare flexible spending accounts
Excellent retirement plans with employer match
Disability and employer paid life insurance
Wellbeing program with reduced insurance premiums
Relocation reimbursement for up to 1 months’ salary equivalent
Student loan forgiveness opportunity
Opportunities for growth and promotion
Employee Assistance Program
The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and IonE endorses a “work with flexibility” approach that offers a welcoming and flexible work environment where everyone is inspired to do their best. Work location options include working fully remote, partially remote, or entirely in the office and are based on the work of the position. Some on-site work may be necessary for certain positions, even those designated as fully remote.
This position has been designated as OVPR Work Profile Two. OVPR Work Profile Two is expected to work on-site more than 50% of the time. Your office will be located at the Saint Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota. The Institute on the Environment management retains the right to modify flexible work arrangement agreements on a temporary or permanent basis for any reason at any time.
B.A./B.S. degree plus eight or more years of experience in an advancement, development, or related role, showing progressively increasing levels of responsibility
Demonstrated commitment to valuing diversity and equity – and contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment
Excellent writing and communication skills, leading toward relationship creation, cultivation, and commitment to organization and mission
Experience developing and executing integrated donor engagement or development plans including annual fund, donor events, or capital campaigns.
Experience engaging with stakeholders at events, small group meetings, and one-on-one
Highly organized and able to manage multiple activities and priorities simultaneously
Demonstrated ability to operate independently and perform as an effective and reliable team member
Preferred Qualifications, Skills, and Abilities
Qualities of strong candidates are likely to include:
A commitment to organizational mission and purpose and the role of donors and other partners in achieving that mission
An orientation toward teamwork and strong people skills, including knowing how to move projects forward in a collaborative manner
Strong interpersonal skills, anchored in a sense of shared commitments, relationship management, and donor wishes and intent
A connection or commitment to sustainability or environmental issues and related social concerns and an ability to express these issues to others
Professional or personal experience that could lend itself to working in higher education
Track record of engagement with communities of color and/or associated organizations
Track record of successful fundraising
Demonstrated ability to develop and grow long-term relationships with individuals and organizations
Previous work with an advisory board of external partners and stakeholders or board of directors
An ability to work across collaborating organizations, e.g., the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Foundation
Experience using various communications platforms and event and donor management tools
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.