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Associate Director, Development - Watershed Lit

George Mason University
Virginia, United States
Competitive Salary
Closing date
Dec 12, 2020

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Position Type
Fundraising, Donor Relations, Grant Seeking, Major Gifts
Arts, Education
Employment Type
Full Time
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George Mason University’s Watershed Lit: Center for Literary Engagement and Publishing Practice invites applications for a full-time Associate Director of Development. Chartered in Fall of 2020. George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.


About the Center:

Watershed Lit is home to the robust and diverse initiatives that have flowed from the Creative Writing Program since its launch in 1980. The center, which provides an efficient and effective way to articulate the community that these initiatives help cultivate, includes Fall for the Book, Stillhouse Press, the Cheuse Center for International Writers, Poetry Daily, and the Northern Virginia Writing Project, as well as literary journals Phoebe and So to Speak. Each entity maintains its own focused mission, governance structure, and budget, but will benefit individually and collectively through more strategic collaboration. Watershed Lit will also foster research by faculty and professional development of students, serving as a catalyst of transformational experiences. Watershed Lit is housed in the English department and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Please visit for more information about the center and for more information about the English department.

About the Position:

The Associate Director, Development will play a pivotal role in sustaining and growing the center and its partner entities. Independently and collaboratively with other institutional development offices, they will research external fundraising opportunities, cultivate a donor base, and take a leading role in writing and managing grant proposals on behalf of the center.


  • Research, prepare, and submit proposals for funding in coordination with the CHSS Development office and the university’s CFR team;
  • Develop strategies to build and maintain corporate and community partnerships, including the maintenance of all current partnerships and building new relationships with businesses to support programming and services;
  • Identify new funding opportunities and grant programs and manage existing grants;
  • Create and maintain a grants calendar and monitor progress;
  • Write sponsorship packages based on guidelines established by the GMU Foundation;
  • Review budget proposals with the program directors and Watershed Lit Director;
  • Follow all requirements and deadlines for grant applications;
  • Write and submit proposals directly;
  • Work with the CHSS Strategic Communication and Marketing and Development offices to create and maintain marketing materials and informational tools;
  • Serve as spokesperson for corporate events and other speaking engagements;
  • Travel frequently within the service area to visit current partners and prospective partners;
  • Organize, plan, MC and attend house celebrations and other events, in collaboration with director and leadership teams;
  • Oversee site visits for corporate and foundation donors/prospects, working closely with development officers, faculty and University partners;
  • Arrange and participate in visits with corporations and foundations with University leadership, as needed;
  • Develop and coordinate reports as required to industry partners;
  • Utilize donor database for reporting/analysis that measure progress against department goals.

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree or an equivalent combination of education, training, and relevant work experience;
  • Several years’ experience in successful Arts fundraising, or membership development;
  • Demonstrated ability of working with high-level corporate/foundation representatives, building donor/customer and prospect relationships and developing stewardship, activities and soliciting and closing gifts or grants of five figures or more. S/he will have demonstrated success in fundraising, as well as proposal writing;
  • The Associate Director will be a self-starting, entrepreneurial and creative individual who can express and recognize ideas and opportunities and communicate goals and objectives clearly;
  • Highly self-motivated with strong organizational skills and discipline to regularly set and achieve work goals, with a high level of accountability for dollars raised goals;
  • Strong computer and database literacy;
  • Must have the ability to synthesize complex material and have a great attention to detail;
  • Must have excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Must have the ability to manage many projects simultaneously, and a demonstrated record of completing assignments;
  • Must exhibit strong interpersonal skills that will enable him or her to work well with diverse groups of constituents and colleagues. On behalf of corporations, s/he may be responsible for liaising across campus;
  • Must demonstrate the aptitude to represent the University in a highly professional and effective manner.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • MFA or PhD in Humanities field;
  • Five years experience in fundraising and stewardship of corporate and foundation donors;
  • Experience working with senior executives, volunteers, senior administration and faculty;
  • Understanding of and commitment to, the values and role of the arts in a public, research university;
  • Experience in working with highly technical information;
  • Experience in higher education and/or industry.

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university, with an R-1 rating and is committed to keeping our doors open and accessible to as many capable students as possible. Mason was recently named the most diverse university in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report. Our students represent all races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, sexual orientation and gender identities and hail from over 130 countries. We are devoted to providing access to excellence, and that sets us apart from many of our peers. In a continuing effort to enrich GMU’s academic environment and provide equal educational and employment opportunities, we actively encourage applications from members of all ethnic groups underrepresented in higher education.



For full consideration, applicants must apply at; complete and submit the online application; and upload a cover letter, CV, a list of professional references with contact information, transcripts, and writing sample, preferably something specific to the position such as a successfully funded proposal.

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