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Senior Director of Donor Relations

The New School
New York, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Nov 27, 2021

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Position Type
Fundraising, Annual Fund, Donor Relations, Major Gifts, Administrative, Office Administration, Other Administrative
Employment Type
Full Time
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Candidate will to the SVP for Development and Alumni Engagement, The New School is seeking an experienced, highly motivated, and socially-engaged university administrator to serve as the Senior Director of Donor Relations. The Senior Director will lead the newly centralized Donor Relations team, composed of Gift Administration, Prospect Development, Special Events, and Stewardship & Donor Communications, which will act as a shared services hub for the Advancement division. Working closely with the SVP of Development and Alumni Engagement, frontline fundraisers, and additional partners, the Senior Director will develop and implement comprehensive identification, cultivation and stewardship strategies for donors at all giving levels. The Senior Director must be an effective manager and proactive leader who excels at relationship building. In this role, they will work closely with department colleagues and university partners to identify donors, understand their passions, and create bespoke engagement opportunities.    The New School was founded by forward-thinking educators in 1919 to defy the intellectual constraints of a traditional college education.    The New School is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and particularly seeks applications from members of underrepresented groups, as well as candidates who share this commitment.    Responsibilities:   
  • Lead the strategic development and implementation of a comprehensive Donor Relations program.
    • Develop, manage, and execute cultivation and stewardship programs for all donor levels, including giving circles, designed to strengthen The New School’s relationships with donors. 
    • Work closely with fundraisers to identify new major gift prospects and develop and implement high-touch strategies for current major donors, ensuring that the details are compiled and communicated to all involved parties with the executed plan documented in the database of record. 
    • Oversee and develop new ways of providing stewardship in addition to reporting, including special events or experiences, video stewardship, and social media to engage donors. 
    • Build buy-in and collaborate across units to collect, assess, and utilize stewardship assets, repurposing them as needed to maximize donor satisfaction. 


  • Evaluate the effectiveness of stewardship programs, events, and/or recognition activities, and recommend strategies for continuous improvement.
  • Supervise all aspects of gift processing, working closely with gift accounting and Finance to ensure all gifts are reported on accurately and in compliance with gift-reporting standards and relevant laws.
  • Manage and motivate four direct reports and a total team of 6+ professionals in a team-oriented culture of innovation and achievement. 
  • Cultivate, maintain, and steward strong relationships across the department and other areas of the university including, but not limited to, Marketing & Communications, Public Programming, Faculty, and the Offices of the Deans, Provost, and the President.
  • Interact frequently with Trustees, key volunteers and other external constituents of The New School.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent job experience required.
  • Seven plus years of experience in fundraising or constituent relations within an educational/cultural institution or related non-profit.
  • Deep understanding of donor needs and key principles of fundraising including strategies for donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Strong skills in consensus building, diplomacy, discretion, leadership, analysis and strategic planning.
  • Demonstrated success in developing and growing staff, with the ability to define goals and take and encourage initiative while working flexibly in a team environment.
  • Ability to set priorities, deal efficiently with multiple tasks, and meet frequent deadlines.
  • Exceptional organizational, verbal, and written communication skills with the ability to effectively engage and collaborate with colleagues at all levels throughout the University.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish credibility and confidence with current and prospective donors, while maintaining diplomacy and discretion as it relates to sensitive and confidential information.
  • Strong technology skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Office and Google Suite.
  • Some travel, evenings, and weekend hours required.

The New School is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that promises diversity and tolerance in all areas of employment, education and access to its educational, artistic or cultural programs and activities. The New School does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, creed, sex or gender (including actual or perceived gender identity or expression or transgender status), sexual orientation, sexual and other reproductive health decisions, pregnancy, religion, religious practices, mental or physical disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, veteran status, marital or partnership status, or any other legally protected status.    
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