Chief Operating Officer

Illinois, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Dec 17, 2020
Jan 15, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time

Title: Chief Operations Officer

Division Name: University Advancement

Department: Advancement & Foundation Operations

Campus Location: Normal, IL

General Summary

Reporting to the Vice President for University Advancement at Illinois State University, the chief operating officer (COO) is tasked with overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions within University Advancement (UA). The COO provides leadership to and directs the Finance and Administration of UA and the Illinois State University Foundation (ISU Foundation), Donor Relations, Information Systems, Research, and Gift and Records Processing functions for University Advancement Operations at Illinois State. The COO provides oversight of accounting and financial reporting functions of the ISU Foundation, guides various Foundation board committees, and leads the Donor and Information Services unit. The COO assists in strategic and tactical matters as they relate to budget management, cost benefit analysis, forecasting needs, and Advancement Operations issues. In addition, the position provides oversight of properties owned and managed by the ISU Foundation.

The COO is responsible for determining and managing alumni/donor data, data analytics reporting, and technology adaptation and strategy, as well as leading and directing support services and resources. The COO will provide institution-wide collaboration for building an advancement data-informed approach to reporting, analytics and forecasting, working with the academic colleges/units to ensure a strategic, integrated program of donor relations, research, and donor/constituent management in support of engagement and fundraising. The COO also oversees gift processing, documentation, management, and reporting to ensure fulfillment of donor intent. The COO will lead Advancement Operations with 5 direct reports and a staff of 15.

Essential Duties, Tasks, and Responsibilities

  • Finance and Budget Administration: The COO will perform professional budget management, planning, and forecasting activities for University Advancement and the ISU Foundation. The position is responsible for working with the unit leaders within UA on the development of the annual unit operating budget, budget forecasting, and helping initiate program cost analyses. The position will oversee and be responsible for working with budget transfers, reviewing/auditing unit financial transactions and expenditures, establishing/maintaining records, and accounts within various accounting systems. In addition, the position serves as a key liaison to the investment management firm that is the “outsourced chief investment officer” (OCIO) and manages the endowment to benefit Illinois State University. This position is responsible for administering donor gift agreements, allocating funds to the University, insuring compliance of funds with donor intent, and overseeing annual endowment reports, which all demonstrate the impact of donor support and fund management. The position provides specialized assistance and coordination to campus partners on general gift accounting and endowment matters.
  • Advancement Database and Information Systems Technology: The COO will assess the business information, technology, and systems needs for University Advancement. The position will monitor and improve the integrity of the information contained in all databases maintaining advancement customer relationship management system (CRM), ensure compliance with university policies and consistency with industry best practices, coordinate with functional and departmental systems specialists responsible for advancement data entry, reporting, data security, and business support to units across the institution. The position provides leadership to and management of prospect research to establish and obtain business and technical resources necessary for high-volume production operations and project support. The COO manages reporting delivery and tools that provide content conducive to data-driven decision making, proactively seeks technology improvements to optimize communication, fundraising, engagement, and reporting, and guides project identification and prioritization, cost effectiveness, and training delivery. 
  • Advancement Information Services: The COO leads the review and implementation of advancement systems, advancement information reporting and analytics, policies and procedures to support engagement, and sustained philanthropy. The position evaluates infrastructure needs based on industry best practice models to support effective return on investment. The position oversees reporting and benchmarking projects that compare ISU fundraising-related information with that of peer institutions and provides accurate and timely reporting of fundraising results in a format that enhances proactive fundraising strategies. The position also interacts with appropriate university administration to further University Advancement goals and resources.
  • Donor Relations and Stewardship: The COO oversees the implementation of a comprehensive donor relations program to effectively steward gifts to all colleges and programs at Illinois State. This position plays a critical role in building the culture of philanthropy at ISU by maintaining and enhancing the University's relationships with alumni and friends.
  • Development Research and Relationship/Prospect Management: The COO applies leading-edge research processes, analytics, and technology to ensure an accurate prospect database that identifies and prioritizes the best prospects. The position oversees the prospect management team that supports portfolio evaluation, assignment, and relationship management and assures a continual wealth-screening cycle for the prospect database. The position develops and supports, in collaboration with Development, portfolio success measurement tools for use in forecasting and evaluating performance.
  • Policy, Procedures and Compliance: The COO guides policy, in collaboration with Donor Relations and the Office of the Comptroller, with administrative recommendations for gift acceptance, entry, and receipting, and assures accurate pledge entry, billing, posting of payments, collections processes, pledge adjustments, and write-offs, as well as establishes procedures to assure that laws, regulations, professional standards, and procedures are followed. The position directs the timely collection and entry of biographical and contact information in the advancement database. The COO maintains strong working relationships with all entry points, users and consumers of constituent information, and fund fiscal agents, including but not limited to, University Comptroller, Internal Audit, General Counsel, Athletics, Enrollment Management, and Financial Aid.

Knowledge, Abilities, and Skillsets

  • Knowledge and Abilities:
    • Knowledge of compliance and ethical standards related to Advancement Operations, including Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations of gift substantiation, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), Association of Advancement Services Professionals (AASP), and the Council for Support of CASE guidelines.
    • Knowledge of current trends and best practices in fundraising and engagement, especially related to benchmarking and metrics, including major customer relationship management systems and data analytics and reporting tools and systems.
    • Strong understanding of database integrity that includes diagnosis and resolution of problems.
    • Knowledgeable in implementation of electronic screening and segmenting initiatives, data formatting, and migration in a networked environment.
    • Knowledgeable in best practices with CRM, reporting and accounting/fund software.
    • A sound understanding and support of Illinois State University’s mission and direction, specifically related to the University core values of Individualized Attention, Learning and Scholarship, Diversity and Inclusion, Respect, Collaboration, Civic Engagement, and Integrity.
  • Skills:
    • Financial acumen.
    • Ability to present complex information to groups (including boards) and individuals in an effective and understandable manner.
    • Business analytics within a cross-functional enterprise systems environment, and detail-oriented.
    • Strong ability to continuously realign all aspects of assigned operations and support services to facilitate and reinforce the effectiveness of strategic plans, including realigning key business processes, the organizational structure, communications, and the development and deployment of staff.
    • Excellent analytical and quantitative skills coupled with empathetic listening skills, with an ability to thoughtfully consider the perspective of users, constituents, and colleagues.
    • Strong leadership and team building skills as well as the ability to coach and motivate others.
    • Strong ability to interpret customer requests, understand what they need and why, and design and deliver effective solutions.
    • Ability to think creatively and strategically to successfully mediate and negotiate with individuals and groups internally and externally.
    • Ability to effectively manage cross functional teams, multiple deadlines, and tight time constraints.
    • Ability to work with numerous constituencies and board members.
    • Ability to be flexible, resilient, strategic, positive, and results driven.
    • Ability to handle confidential and sensitive information.

Required Qualifications

  1. Bachelor's Degree.
  2. Minimum of six (6) years of experience in finance/accounting, information technology, business information systems, development/fundraising, or equivalent combination.
  3. Minimum of four (4) years of supervisory experience (performance appraisal, goal/expectation setting, hiring, discipline, approving benefit time, etc.).
  4. Demonstrated ability to effectively manage diverse functional areas.
  5. Strong strategy-development and goal setting skills.
  6. Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  7. Ability to act as a liaison between technical operations and end users/customers, translating technical language and customer requirements as needed.
  8. Collaborative, professional, service-oriented interpersonal style in working with colleagues and staff.
  9. Demonstrated understanding of complex institutions and/or philanthropy.

Desired Qualifications

  1. Degree in accounting, finance, business administration, or economics.
  2. CPA
  3. MBA

Special Instructions for Applicants

Please submit your application along with a resume/C.V., cover letter, and reference list through our career opportunity portal:

For full consideration, please submit your application, including all required applicant documents, by January 13, 2021. 

Illinois State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Illinois State University:

Illinois State University, founded in 1857, is the oldest public university in Illinois. Illinois State is a co-educational, residential university that emphasizes undergraduate study with more than 20,000 students. Our 34 academic departments in six colleges offer 78 undergraduate programs and 83 graduate programs in over 300 fields of study.

Bloomington-Normal Community:

Illinois State University is located in the growing twin cities of Bloomington and Normal, with a population of approximately 125,000 and conveniently located approximately two hours from both Chicago and St. Louis. The community is home to GROWMARK, Illinois Farm Bureau, State Farm Insurance International Headquarters, Illinois Wesleyan University, Lincoln College, and Heartland Community College. The community has distinguished itself for its outstanding school systems and educational attainment, parks and recreation, health care, job growth, economic opportunity, and low crime. Forbes magazine, in a review of the best places for business, ranked Bloomington-Normal the 15th best place for business out of 168 small metros listed. Bloomington was also recently placed on CNNMoney's list of the 100 Best Places to Live.  Expansion Management Magazine rated Bloomington-Normal as one of two metro areas with a five-star quality of life, giving the community high rankings in such areas as standard of living, quality of schools, traffic and commute.  Please visit the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau website at for more information.