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Senior Director of Gift Planning

University of Rochester Advancement
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Oct 6, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Major Gifts, Planned Giving
Academic Centers, Education, Health, Research
Employment Type
Full Time
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Reporting to and with general guidance from the Executive Director of Gift Planning and in concert with advancement policies, and advancement leadership the Senior Director of Gift Planning is primarily responsible for the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of life income and estate gifts in support of the annual Gift Planning goal within a $100M+ advancement organization. The Senior Director will take the initiative to partner with the Executive Director of Gift Planning, colleagues in the Gift Planning Office, and other Advancement Staff and academic leaders to advance the near and long term goals of the department; play a lead role in executing the annual operating plan; and recommend new strategies to enhance overall fundraising efforts for the department.  The Senior Director will manage a portfolio of approximately 150 prospects consisting of University alumni and friends, and will focus primarily on cultivating and soliciting gifts of $100,000+.

The Office of Trusts, Estates & Gift Planning serves as a central resource for the solicitation, closing and stewardship of planned gifts, including but not limited to, bequests, charitable trusts, charitable gift annuities, pooled income funds, University of Rochester Donor Advised Funds, publicly traded securities, real estate, closely held securities and other hard to value and illiquid assets.  In a unique position among leading American Universities, the University Of Rochester Office Of Advancement offers a full complement of gift planning options with a strong internal infrastructure including Institutional Resources, Office of Finance, Gift and Donor Records specialized computer software programs from PG Calc, external custodial support from Northern Trust Co, external counsel from Nixon Peabody LLC and services of a nationally recognized planned giving consulting firm, PENTERA, Inc. 


60%     Donor Visits and Solicitation Activity and Gift Planning

  • Manages a portfolio of prospects and donors to maximize their philanthropic contributions; completes assigned number of visits with planned giving prospects and donors, solicits and closes gifts, and plans and implements donor stewardship strategies.
  • Documents written strategies for each key prospect assigned in Oasis, ensuring information is up-to-date, including proposals.
  • Identify new opportunities to solicit gifts from existing donors; for example, initiating and continuing an annual process to solicit additional charitable gift annuities from previous annuitants, to meet divisional goals for repeat annuitants and generate additional gifts to the University. Take lead on batch calc project annually.
  • Take a leadership role in reunion gift campaigns, specifically the 50th year reunions with attention to 45th, 55th, and 60th year reunions. Work with the Director of Gift Planning to divide up classes and schools. Responsibilities include planning meetings; solicitation, negotiation, and close of planned gifts; and dissemination of age-appropriate marketing material. Successfully meet donor challenges when established. Assist with other unit reunions as requested.
  • Works with colleagues in prospect management to analyze the gift planning pool to identify donors with potential to increase support.
  • Works with colleague gift officers across Advancement in identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of gift planning prospects.
  • Travel and conduct joint visits with gift officer colleagues when deferred proposals are in stage upon request.
  • Actively track deferred proposals and proactively reach out to colleagues to offer assistance with strategies, proposals and illustrations.
  • Shares expertise in routine as well as unusual gifts, particularly with gifts of medical practice, artwork, real estate as well as certified appraisal of value of non-cash gifts.


30%     Program Support

  • Direct the University’s Planned Giving Advisory Council, to manage University-wide engagement with approximately 350 professional advisors. Responsibilities include recruitment and coordination of volunteers; planning and executing meetings of the Council; and managing development of educational programs for professional advisors on a quarterly basis. Responsible for interaction with Advancement colleagues as well as senior leadership across the University.
  • Work with colleagues and volunteers to develop content for Ambassadors in Gift Planning Volunteer meetings and events. Work with colleagues and volunteers to create learning opportunities, online and live events, to promote gift planning with select groups.
  • Analyze marketing data and work with colleagues to determine program plans for marketing responders and those who have demonstrated a predisposition to gift planning.
  • Organize educational seminars, salons, virtual events to promote gift planning concepts to predisposed prospects.


7%       Professional Education

  • Maintain an advanced knowledge of gift planning and advancement to be of effective service to internal and external clients. Attend a professional development conference and or specialized software training annually and participate in gift planning related webinars as possible to keep current on legislation and best practices
  • Ensure working knowledge of University programs at the University, school and unit levels by attendance at and participation in product knowledge presentations, briefings, and programs.
  • Maintain knowledge of current tax laws and disseminate current information to advancement colleagues and to internal constituents, including University leadership staff and volunteer boards, as well as external constituents.
  • Participate fully in periodic training on gift planning to advancement colleagues. In addition, reinforce gift planning opportunities with individual and small groups of advancement colleagues in customized coaching and small group discussions on specific gift planning topics.


3%       General Division Support

  • Participate in day-of-event support of large scale, strategic initiatives such as Rochester Forum, Garden Party; Wilson Society, regional and other major events, the success of which impact the gift planning program.
  • From time to time schedule and plan regional or unit based events for Wilson Society prospects and members in collaboration with colleagues in Regional, Schools and Units, Donor Engagement and Office of Trusts, Estates & Gift Planning.
  • Participate in a variety of University events to represent Advancement and learn more about UR programs.
  • Participate in Advancement Division meetings and programs.
  • Participate and represent the University in supporting AFP Association of Fundraising Professionals/Genesee Valley Chapter and/or the Planned Giving Council of Upstate New York PGCUNY.
  • Train new colleagues and ongoing training of colleagues as tax laws change and new opportunities emerge.
  • Encourage support of Advancement team members by individual recognition of $100K + gifts.

Knowledge and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s or professional degree optional.  Ten or more years of experience as a major gift officer in a complex advancement environment such as at a major research university. Three or more years of gift planning experience preferred. Professional certification encouraged but optional.
  • Working knowledge of planned giving methods, tax laws and responsibilities of charities and donors
  • Strong track record of success soliciting and closing major and planned gifts
  • Familiarity with software such as PGCalc and able to work in proprietary systems of vendors and other partner offices
  • Sophisticated understanding of “moves management” and annual, major, leadership, principal gift fundraising in a donor-centric environment
  • Desire to work as part of a team in a complex organization
  • Strong listening skills and demonstrated ability to work with mature constituents
  • Desire to help charitably minded individuals meet their philanthropic objectives through creative ways of giving

Skills and Abilities:

  • Able to see and understand the objectives of the advancement program and all divisions of the University Advancement Office, and to integrate their goals with those objectives
  • Able to work closely with highly motivated and fast moving leadership and staff
  • Ability to initiate, innovate, analyze, monitor, evaluate and advance strategic advancement plans
  • Ability to communicate effectively, speaking and in writing
  • Ability to patiently multi-task in times of high-pressure
  • High Energy, attention to detail, listening skills, confidential, credible and trustworthy, excellent judgement, self-actualized
  • Sense of humor and a desire to enjoy working in an environment of intelligent, highly motivated individuals
  • Excellent skills in developing and maintaining strong relationships with donors and advisors
  • Attention to detail; flexibility


Qualified candidates my apply online at

Or submit resume & cover letter via email to


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