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Executive Director, Major and Institutional Giving

University of California Merced
California, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Oct 2, 2021

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Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
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Executive Director, Major and Institutional Giving

University of California Merced

Hiring Range

$120,000 - $135,000 

Job Closing Date

Initial applicant review will begin on or around September 27, 2021. Posting will close when selection complete.

About UC Merced

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system's 10 campuses and the first American research university built in the 21st century. With nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, UC Merced offers an environment that combines a commitment to diversity, inclusion, collaboration and professional development. With bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, strong research and academic partnerships, and community involvement, the UC Merced campus is continually evolving and requires talented, knowledgeable and dynamic educators, researchers, staff and leaders.

Ranked among the best public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, UC Merced is uniquely equipped to provide educational opportunities highly qualified students from the San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. The campus enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design and supports the economic development of Merced and the region.

The University of California, Merced, is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and has a strong institutional commitment to the principles of diversity in all areas. In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of qualified people who would assist the University in demonstrating its essential values of leadership, diversity, engagement and sustainability The ideal candidate will have strong demonstrated accomplishments in areas contributing to diversity, equity and inclusion, and a desire to play a leadership role in advancing UC Merced's achievement of excellence right here in California's Central Valley.

About the Job

The Executive Director for Major and Institutional Giving will be a vital leader of a young and fast-growing advancement program and will oversee the regional and centrally based major gifts programs for the university. Reporting to the Vice Chancellor of External Relations, the Executive Director in partnership with the Vice Chancellor, will be responsible for the success of the department's annual fundraising goals, playing a leading role in developing strategy for major and principal gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations.

The Executive Director will manage a portfolio of approximately 50 major gift prospects capable of making gifts of $100,000 or more. Through guidance, direction and management of front-line staff and the institutional giving team, and working in cooperation with colleagues across the campus, the Executive Director will ensure the development of quality donor relationships that result in substantial support for university goals and priorities. The Executive Director will work with External Relations leadership, along with senior leadership across the campus, to support the development of fundraising initiatives and translate campus-wide priorities into donor strategies.


  1. Management: Leads effort to progressively increase the university's annual fundraising revenue by establishing strategic fundraising plans (short- and long- term) and overseeing the team of frontline fundraisers; Develops and oversees strategies to broaden the quantity and value of philanthropic donations to UC Merced; Analyzes opportunities and create strategic plans for fundraising in target geographic regions; Facilitates coordination between the development team and units across campus on fundraising strategies and donor relationships; Utilizes management techniques to ensure weekly and monthly activity benchmarks are met, annual fundraising goals are achieved, and increased goals are established for subsequent years; Sets, tracks, and drives the team's activity benchmarks with regular team meetings and individual one-on-one meetings with each director; Supports and advises fundraisers so that portfolios are robust with sufficient prospects at each stage of the donor pipeline, broad geographic reach, including trustees and their networks, have an affinity to the university and the capacity to give; Assists with event planning when related to major gift prospects, engaging new prospects, or includes a critical mass of trustees and/or university VIPs in attendance; Maintains appropriate records, monitors employees, analyzes data and generates reports to track and drive activity to inform strategy; Assists with hiring and onboarding new development staff; and Provides personalized support to employees to buoy their performance and professional development; Oversees development staff performance evaluations and provides constructive feedback and/or correction as needed. 
  1. Fundraising/Portfolio Management: Manages a portfolio of approximately 50 individuals; Develops, documents, and implements personalized strategies for cultivating, soliciting and stewarding top prospects and donors that lead to gifts of $100,000+; Utilizes management techniques to advance prospects through the pipeline and maximize gift potential; Conducts in-person preparatory meetings with campus leaders prior to donor visits and meetings to ensure  essaging and objectives are aligned; Attends networking conferences and community, regional, and internal events on behalf of UC Merced; Secures gifts totaling $1,000,000+ annually.  
  1. Fundraising Priorities - Planning and Implementation: Partners with Vice Chancellor to align fundraising strategies with campus priorities; Partners with university leaders to translate campus-wide priorities into donor strategies; Provides leadership in the development of case stating materials working in partnership with the AVC of Marketing and Public Relations and the Director of Donor Communications.




  • Bachelor's degree in related area and 5 years of related experience or 9 years equivalent experience/training.
  • 7 or more years of experience in management of teams, individuals and projects. (Preferred)
  • 10 or more years successful development experience, preferably in higher education. (Preferred)
  • Demonstrated ability to personally and effectively cultivate and close major gifts of $25,000 to $1,000,000 and beyond. (Preferred)


  • Excellent knowledge of all aspects of fundraising, donor and public relations including advanced knowledge of applicable laws, rules, regulations, policies, etc.
  • Excellent knowledge of leadership / management concepts, procedures, techniques and best practices.
  • Excellent written, oral and interpersonal communications skills, including excellent political acumen skills, to build and maintain effective working relationships within all organizational levels and with outside constituencies.
  • Excellent skills in meeting predetermined goals and objectives, including securing gifts and meeting fundraising goals.
  • Excellent strategic planning, critical thinking, analytical, problem-solving, persuasion/negotiation skills and marketing skills.

Background Check

Background check and fingerprinting will be required.

Policy Statement

How to Apply:
An online application is required for each position to apply.

Equal Employment Opportunity:
The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.
For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy:
The University of California, Merced is a smoke and tobacco free workplace.  Information and the Smoke and Tobacco Free policy is available at

All employers who receive Federal contracts and grants are required to comply with E-Verify, an  Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland  Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify electronically verifies employment eligibility by comparing information provided on the I-9 form to records in the DHS and SSA databases. Certain positions funded by federal contracts/subcontracts requires UC Merced to notify job applicants that an E-Verify check will be conducted and the successful candidate must pass the E-Verify check.

Pay, Benefits & Work Schedule:
For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University of California visit:

To apply, please visit:

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