Vice President of Philanthropy, University Development

The Institution | Averett University

Since 1859, Averett University has grown and developed into a dynamic institution that serves students of all ages, offering more than 30 undergraduate majors, minors, and special programs (on-campus and online), along with seven master’s degrees and 13 master’s programs that help drive the regional economy and quality of life.  Dedicated to preparing students to serve and lead as catalysts for positive change, the University’s historic main campus is embedded in the heart of southern Virginia and its hometown pride.  Averett enrolls a diverse student body and boasts an alumni network that spans the globe.

Averett University began as a school for young women at a time when educating women was not a popular idea. That spirit of innovation has carried through to the present day.  Averett University was among the first in Virginia to create an accelerated program for working adults, and is one of only a handful of institutions in the nation to offer bachelor’s degrees in aeronautics and equestrian studies.

Today, Averett University ranks among the top 15 of regional liberal arts colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report, and is the highest ranking of only three Virginia schools from the complete list of 63 schools on the “2020 Best Regional Colleges in the South” list.

Averett was also ranked No. 7 of best regional colleges in the south for veterans this year, as well as No. 8 for best value.  Additionally, Averett was ranked No. 7 of top performers on social mobility, No. 11 of best undergraduate teaching, and No. 29 of campus ethnic diversity. 

The Opportunity | Vice President of Philanthropy

The Vice President of Philanthropy reports to the President of the university and is a member of the President’s Council.  The Vice President is Averett’s senior fundraising officer, serving as a strategic partner with the President, with overall responsibility for strategically designing, planning, and initiating development programs.  Specific responsibilities for this position include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Develops and directs a comprehensive advancement program of charitable giving growth overseeing major gifts, planned giving, annual fund, alumni relations, grant writing, capital campaigns, event planning and advancement communications;
  • Collaborates with the President and Board of Trustees on all development activities for the university and reports and engages leadership on all institutional advancement events and activities;
  • Leads and develops a highly effective team of staff and volunteers who make successful and lasting contributions to the university’s mission and strategic plan through their relationship building and engagement of alumni, parents, students, staff, and friends of the university;
  • Develops a strong infrastructure for fundraising by strengthening ties with state and regional community leaders, working effectively with businesses, and providing stewardship that enhances alumni and donor relations;
  • Prepares and monitors cost effective budgets for development activity subject to the approval of the President and the Board of Trustees;
  • Directs the preparation of grant proposals for corporations, foundations and other charitable enterprises; and
  • Maintains currency in trends, database and communications technology and the environmental landscape of advancement and fund development in higher education.

Alumni and Constituent Relations leading the school’s “friend-raising” initiatives, including building and sustaining a network of highly effective alumni, parent, community, student and volunteer groups.

Marketing and Communications provides direction for the institution’s advancement branding, gift marketing, public relations and strategic print, media and online communications.

The Candidate

The Vice President of Philanthropy must be an experienced fundraiser and manager with a proven track record of success in development – having an acute sense of strategy at the individual donor level, as well as significant capital campaign and gift marketing experience.  The VP will have compelling personal qualities of integrity, leadership, and outstanding communications skills – especially as characterized by the ability to listen carefully, coach and mentor others, and employ an entrepreneurial nature.  The VP must understand and embrace the mission, vision, and values of Averett University. Click here for Averett’s mission – vision – core values.


  • Substantial fundraising and managerial experience, preferably with demonstrated success in higher education development.
  • A minimum of seven years of experience in advancement;
  • Proven in leading and directing complex institutions as well as developing appropriate metrics for the evaluation of the institution’s performance;
  • Experience in planning, implementing, and managing comprehensive campaigns;
  • Demonstrated and consistent ability to close on principal gift solicitations; planned giving expertise preferred;
  • Proven management and administrative skills, as demonstrated by experience in effectively leading a successful staff;
  • Superior verbal and written communications skills;
  • Ability to work collaboratively, engage and inspire others, and develop a rapport with many diverse people and groups;
  • The ability to build a local network of relationships with key constituents;
  • Lead and direct university and community events;
  • Experience in a small college church related environment;
  • Will be a permanent resident of City of Danville;
  • Availability to travel; and
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree.