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Director of Major Gifts

Northeastern University, College of Engineering
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Nov 16, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Major Gifts
Employment Type
Full Time
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Northeastern University’s College of Engineering seeks an accomplished and results-oriented Director of Major Gifts to lead fundraising for key programs as the College enters its next phase of strategic growth. This role will be focused on raising major and principal gifts through the identification and cultivation of new donors as well as inspiring current donors to higher levels of giving. The Director of Major Gifts will join a high performing team of dedicated development professionals at the College who have built significant momentum with donors and are optimally positioned for even greater achievements. 

Under the leadership of Dean Gregory Abowd, the College of Engineering has refreshed its strategic plan and re-established its mission of producing transformative engineers – both students and faculty – with global impact. Over the next five years, the College will focus on inspiring transformative thinking through an elevated undergraduate experience, delivering high quality educational products and leveraging the University’s global network to create access to lifelong learning opportunities, and becoming a destination of choice for research. These goals, along with preparations for the University’s next comprehensive campaign, present numerous opportunities to engage both current and new supporters. 

Reporting into the Assistant Dean of Development, the Director of Major Gifts will assume a national portfolio of individual donors at the major and principal gift levels with responsibility for deepening these philanthropic conversations. The Director will also be responsible for identifying and qualifying new donors that meet institutional fundraising goals. 

The Director of Major Gifts will leverage programming for the College of Engineering, collaborating closely with world renowned faculty across the Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering departments. Interdisciplinary programming and research as well as generating support for Underrepresented Minority students are areas of continued focus for the College of Engineering, in addition to professorships, scholarships, graduate fellowships particularly at the Ph.D. level, and creating unique research and instructional space such as next generation makerspace. 



Frontline Fundraising 

  • Build and manage a portfolio of ~125 major gift prospects including alumni, friends, parents and university leaders. 
  • Identify, qualify, and cultivate select major gifts prospects to assess their interest in the College of Engineering and their capacity to make gifts at the $100K to $1M+ level. Further develop and manage relationships with these individuals and actively solicit prospects.  
  • Partner with directors and department heads across College of Engineering to identify fundraising opportunities and new initiatives that resonate with donors and provide meaningful, substantive engagement opportunities. 
  • Build and enhance constituent’s relationship with Northeastern, involving them strategically in special programs and events, and connecting them to other university leaders and supporters. 
  • Travel as needed to qualify new prospects and build relationships with existing prospects and donors. 


Model Frontline Leadership 

  • Ensure seamless integration of College of Engineering development efforts with university-wide advancement efforts. 
  • Mentor and model best practices to colleagues.  
  • Demonstrate accountability to performance measures.  
  • Utilize Salesforce to log activity, create call reports and progress reports, and maintain data integrity of prospect portfolio. 
  • Partner with the Assistant Dean of Development and offer counsel on development strategy and execution. 


Strategic Planning 

  • Establish programming plan that supports and promotes giving among special constituents group, including special events, lectures, meetings, etc.  
  • Consider and employ innovative approaches to engagement, cultivation, and solicitation strategies. 
  • Work with Advancement staff, particularly with the departments of Parent Giving, Donor Relations, Communications and Events, to execute these activities. 
  • Coordinate donor cultivation efforts with other Central Advancement staff, such as the Planned Giving Office, to successfully meet donor interests and leverage their full philanthropic potential. 



  • Highly entrepreneurial, energetic and collaborative individual with 7-10 years of progressive fundraising experience. 
  • Track record of soliciting and closing major gifts at the 6- and 7-figure levels. 
  • Demonstrated ability in strategic planning for a comprehensive, sustained operation necessary to carry out the vision, goals, and fundraising aspirations of the College.  
  • Tested ability to work closely with high-level decision makers, trustees, and other top-level volunteers. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills necessary for building relationships with external (donors, prospects, trustees) and internal (deans, faculty, staff, colleagues) constituents. 
  • An appreciation for lifelong learning and the value of skills gained through a structured education as well as through hands-on work experience. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills necessary for building relationships with external (donors, prospects, trustees) and internal (deans, faculty, staff, colleagues) constituents. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. 
  • Highly collaborative in approach. 
  • Ability to travel frequently (including nights and weekends) as global health conditions allow. 
  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent work experience required. 



Dr. Gregory Abowd, a trained computer scientist and mathematician, was recently appointed as the new Dean of the College of Engineering after serving as a professor and endowed chair in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. While there, he conducted groundbreaking research in ubiquitous computing—the concept that computing is anywhere and everywhere, omnipresent in our lives in a way that traditional desktop computing isn’t. Internet-connected watches, refrigerators, and vehicles are just the start, and part of Abowd’s research is understanding the social impacts of such technology, which he will continue at Northeastern. 

Internationally renowned for its excellence in fundamental, interdisciplinary and use-inspired research, the College of Engineering boasts 16 multidisciplinary research centers and institutes with funding from eight federal agencies, over 175 faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and teaching, more than $86 million in external research awards, robust undergraduate and graduate enrollment, global experiential-learning opportunities, and a receptive alumni base. With these assets in place and the leadership of Dean Abowd, the College of Engineering has set an impressive pace for increased visibility, fundraising growth and donor engagement.  

Learn more at



Led by President Joseph Aoun, Northeastern University is a global, experiential, research university built on a tradition of engagement with the world, creating a distinctive approach to education and research. The university’s global network of campuses includes the Boston flagship campus, which offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in nine colleges and schools, as well as graduate campuses in Charlotte, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, London, and Portland, ME. 

Northeastern recently announced a merger with Mills College, which brings Mills’ distinctive mission focused on access, equity, social justice, and women’s leadership into Northeastern’s global network. In addition to Mills College at Northeastern University, the merger will establish the Mills Institute, dedicated to advancing women’s leadership and to empowering BIPOC and first-generation students. 

Classified as a top-tier research institution and listed at #40 according to the U.S. News & World Report 2020 Best National Universities Rankings, Northeastern has elevated itself to a powerhouse on par with the nation’s elite research colleges and universities. These achievements build upon Northeastern’s unprecedented momentum, which includes continued investments in research and faculty recruitment, record-high student applications, and momentous fundraising success. 

The Office of University Advancement plays an integral role in furthering Northeastern’s game-changing vision of transforming the University into diverse networks of learners and innovators, empowering members of its global community to succeed in an era of unprecedented technological and cultural change. Guided by Senior Vice President for University Advancement, Diane MacGillivray, the Office of University Advancement is a thriving fundraising environment with an engaged, dedicated, and generous donor universe that is ensuring a strong, sustainable future for Northeastern University. 

The Northeastern community continues to thrive during unprecedented and challenging market conditions and has shown tremendous dexterity and resilience during the current pandemic. Quickly transitioning to remote learning, the institution continues to educate its students and advance the frontiers of knowledge through its research. 

Strategic Plan: See the future in Northeastern2025 and learn more about the institution’s vision for lifelong learning and discovery as it embarks on a strategic plan to guide the university’s course for the next ten years. 

Lifelong Learning Network: Northeastern connects students to career acceleration through a revolutionary new approach to delivering quality, top-tier professional programs—bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, certificates, bootcamps—across multiple learning channels, including online, on-ground, and hybrid. The Network has been created to help a learner achieve more—by keeping pace with the hyper-accelerated world of technology, business, and industry in which we all work and live. 



Please submit your resume and cover letter to Adele Mezher and Maeve Clifford, Managing Partners at Pearl Street Collective, a national women-owned search firm committed to advancing the common good, are leading the search. 

Northeastern University is an equal opportunity employer seeking to recruit and support a broadly diverse community of faculty and staff. Northeastern values and celebrates diversity in all its forms and strives to foster an inclusive culture built on respect that affirms inter-group relations and builds cohesion.  

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. 

To learn more about Northeastern University’s commitment and support of diversity and inclusion, please see

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