Director of Donor Relations

Washington, United States
Salary Not specified
Jun 25, 2021
Jul 24, 2021
Position Type
Fundraising, Donor Relations
Employment Type
Full Time

Director of Donor Relations
Whitman College


Located in the historic community of Walla Walla, Whitman's beautiful tree-lined campus is home to an intellectually dynamic, diverse, and supportive community of some 500 staff and faculty and 1,500 students. With an endowment exceeding $700 million, fiercely loyal alumni, exceptional students, and accomplished faculty and staff, Whitman College continues to build on its national reputation for academic excellence ranking as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.

Whitman College is building a diverse academic community and especially encourages applications from women, members of historically underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, and others who would bring additional dimensions to the college's learning environment. Whitman College is an EEO employer.


Sustaining robust philanthropic support from alumni, parents, and friends is critical to providing a liberal arts education of the highest quality for current and future generations of Whitman College students. Central to this tradition, Whitman seeks to hire a Director of Donor Relations to lead personnel and programs for donor-centered stewardship of gifts to the College.

The Director of Donor Relations reports directly to the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, serves as a member of the department's senior team, and supervises two staff members focused on stewardship and special events. The director is responsible for demonstrating through multiple channels of communication the outcomes of donor support for Whitman students. To this end, the director will partner with faculty, students, and staff to create print and digital storytelling as well as direct correspondence and reporting to individual donors. The director will work closely with the Vice President and development officers to develop strategies and personalized plans for donor stewardship. The role will collaborate with team members across development to ensure appropriate acknowledgement and recognition of all gifts, including major, leadership annual, planned, and in-kind donations. Finally, the director will have a significant role in setting strategy for special donor development and stewardship events to showcase the College's priorities and recognize the impact of philanthropic support.

  • Supervise two staff members focused on stewardship and special events.
  • Develop and execute a comprehensive, multi-channel approach to communicating the impact of donor philanthropy for the College.
  • Serve as a member of the Development and Alumni Relations Senior Team to collaborate and support all programs facilitating the investment and engagement of alumni, parents, and friends in the life and mission of the College.
  • Coordinate special donor recognition, including press releases, announcements, and signage.
  • Lead and manage general stewardship programs and activities. Direct staff work on stewardship event planning.
  • Oversee process for acknowledgement of all gifts to the College.
  • Work with campus partners to ensure proper administration of endowment funds.
  • Manage process for annual correspondence with scholarship, lectureship, professorship and other endowment donors.
  • Prepare endowment and gift reports for the Annual Report of Donors and other purposes.
  • Review and draft endowment agreements to ensure the uses and purposes described in each are not unduly restrictive for Whitman or against Whitman policy. Work with development staff on new endowment agreements.
  • Write collateral for events that engage, cultivate and /or recognize and steward the College's donors. These projects include letters, invitations, brochures, program books, signage, talking points, and briefing packets.
  • Initiate and write for publication projects, including annual reports, publications, and brochures.
  • Work with Communications staff to raise awareness of the impact of gifts to the College and promote giving vehicles through internal and external publications, advertising, feature articles, and other marketing mediums.
  • Participate in limited travel and regional events requiring occasional work outside business hours.


The Director of Donor Relations and Development Communications must be able to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the essential functions of the job, including, but not limited to:

  • Strong interpersonal and customer service skills, including ability to work with diverse individuals over the phone, in written correspondence, and in person
  • Strong writing and communications skills
  • An ability to establish collaborative working relationships with diverse constituencies, including staff, faculty, overseers and trustees, donors, volunteers, alumni, students, parents, and other friends of the College
  • Strong computer skills, including word processing and spreadsheets and the ability to learn database and other specialized software
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Ability to work independently and as a part of the department team
  • Ability to work with flexibility and accuracy in a fast-paced environment


Bachelor's degree required, post graduate education preferred. Five years experience in development or higher education is preferred.


Application review will begin on July 26 and continue until the position is filled.


September 2021

For full application instructions and position description, visit