Director of Advancement

American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AF) is seeking a Director of Advancement to coordinate development and engagement efforts to sustain its alumni network and generate financial support.  We are seeking a creative and team-oriented individual with broad experience in development and fundraising to help build strong relationships with US Humboldt alumni to secure their active participation in and financial support of our mission and activities.

Who We Are

American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is the professional partner of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) in the United States and a 501(c)3 organization under the US tax code. Based in Bonn, Germany, the AvH supports international scholarly and professional exchange through fellowships and awards and other support for the over 30,000 US and global alumni of its programs. Working with the Humboldt Foundation, AF partners with US Humboldt Alumni and others to promote national and international networking and creative collaboration among scientists, scholars, artists, and other professionals in the United States. We believe that international scholarly and professional exchange and cooperation strengthen cultural understanding and advance knowledge to benefit society. We embrace and are working toward a future of racial equity and just and equal access to opportunity in science, scholarship, and society.

Director of Advancement

The Director of Advancement will coordinate activities to engage and cultivate the US alumni of the Humboldt Foundation, in adaptive implementation of a multiyear (2019-2023) fundraising plan to enhance our financial sustainability, develop programs to serve alumni, and further build our small, but systematic and data driven fundraising system into a more fully scaled operation. Activities may include individual fundraising, convened alumni events, communications, and board support. The Director of Advancement will report to the President and work closely with all AFAvH staff and a collegial and engaged Board to solidify and sustain scholarly and cross-cultural exchange between the United States and Germany. The position will be supported partially by a Program Coordinator, whose responsibilities include support for fundraising and certain administrative tasks.

The ideal candidate for Director of Advancement will be someone with broad skills in development and fundraising in an academic context, including individual giving, annual appeals, and major/planned gifts; function as a positive and contributing member of a small collegial team; have an interest in continuing to build and shape a nonprofit fundraising operation; have strong written and verbal communications and interpersonal skills; and share our commitment to international scholarly and cultural exchange.  


  • Directs and coordinates AF’s fundraising efforts.
  • Identifies prospects and partners with the President and Board to cultivate and steward individual donors to acquire major, multi-year, and legacy gifts.
  • Develops creative approaches to sustain alumni and donor engagement during and following the Coronavirus pandemic. As domestic travel becomes possible, meets with selected alumni and attends convened alumni events.
  • Works with the COO/Director of Communications to ensure targeted and effective donor-centric communications.
  • Monitors key developments and trends related to charitable giving and institutional advancement in the United States and in the nonprofit sector.
  • Ensures compliance with state and federal legal requirements of a 501(c)3 organization pertaining to philanthropic solicitations and adherence to best practice ethical standards.
  • Oversees accurate and timely gift processing and maintenance of accurate donor records in AF’s data management and reporting systems.
  • Staffs the Board of Directors and President in institutional advancement functions.

Who Should Apply?

Required Qualifications:

  • Minimum of five (5) years broad and progressive experience in individual fundraising, including with annual funds, and major/planned gifts.
  • Experience with alumni engagement programs and activities and fundraising in an academic context or nonprofit membership association context.
  • Able to work independently but also collaboratively with the small AF team, Board of Directors, and diverse stakeholders and constituency groups.
  • MA preferred; candidates with a BA and equivalent professional experience may also be considered.
  • Proficient in the use of technology; experience with donor management and screening software preferred.
  • Must be authorized to work for any employer in the United States and have a valid driver’s license.

Preferred Candidate Qualities:

  • Strategic thinking, self-motivated, independent, and organized.
  • Superior interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Creative and adaptive thinker.
  • Intercultural competence; some acquaintance with Germany or German culture desirable.
  • Understanding and commitment to ethics and best practices in fundraising.
  • Commitment to the values and mission of American Friends of AvH.


Organizational Culture, Salary, and Benefits

American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has a strong institutional commitment to excellence and diversity among its staff, Board, partners, and in the alumni network and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich our commitment to academic and professional excellence and inclusion.

AF seeks to create a collegial and supportive environment for staff, volunteers, Board members, and partners. We provide a competitive benefits package, including an excellent health insurance plan, and are committed to flexibility in establishing work schedules to facilitate a healthy work-life balance.

This is a full-time salaried position. The salary will be commensurate with experience, and the position includes 12 sick days and paid personal leave of 20 days annually. AF is a four-person organization with an annual budget of ~$1.0 million.

Our office is based in downtown Washington, DC, but US Humboldt alumni are located in all 50 US states. Under normal circumstances, no more than 15% of travel is expected for this position. AF remains highly mindful of COVID-19 related travel restrictions; to ensure the safety of all employees, a normal travel schedule will not resume until US public health and government authorities have determined that it is safe to travel.

Work hours are flexible but should include common office (or “home office”) core hours [Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. EDT/EST]; the ability to work before and after-hours events on occasion will be required.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all AFAvH staff currently are working remotely and will continue to do so until US public health and government authorities indicate that it is possible to reopen and for employees to return to work safely. Post-COVID work arrangements may include newly flexible schedules for remote and in-office work. This position will begin as a remote work position.

Timeline and Selection Process

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until COB Eastern time on January 15, 2021.

AFAvH staff will review all completed applications on a rolling basis and schedule interviews (to be conducted via Zoom or Skype) in late January/early February. The position can start in late March/early April 2021.

How to Apply

In you are interested in the position, your application should include:

  • A cover letter in which you address why you are interested in this position, how your experience is relevant and qualifies you for the position, and why you would like to work at AFAvH;
  • A current resume;
  • A short writing sample (3 pages maximum), preferably one that demonstrates your ability to write in a development/fundraising context;
  • A list of three references, with contact information.


Please send all materials as a single PDF (max. 4 MB to, including “Director of Advancement” in the subject line).

No phone calls please.

AFAvH is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values of our organization and programs and seek to reflect these values in selecting our employees, board members, and collaborative partners.

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